A helpful daytripper’s guide to exploring our Northwest Chicagoland region.
Glen Ellyn takes plenty of pride in its rich history. There’s a stagecoach tavern where Abraham Lincoln stayed, one of the area’s first drive-thrus (a dry cleaner), Illinois’ oldest volunteer fire department (107 years), and until recently, DuPage County’s oldest grocery store (McChesney & Miller). This fun and progressive community of 27,450 maintains a vibrant downtown filled with unique locally owned businesses, even as a lively business district thrives to its south, along Roosevelt Road.
➲ Stacey’s Tavern Museum
Originally a stagecoach stop for those traveling between Chicago and Galena, this restored 1840s-era house is now a museum. Public tours happen from April through November. 557 Geneva Road, (630) 469-1867.
➲ Lake Ellyn
This small lake was once the site of a summer resort, but is now a favorite playground. The boathouse is popular for local events, ice skating and fishing. A nine-mile trail winds through the park.
➲ Marcel’s Culinary Experience
An award-winning kitchenware dealer, this colorful store is also filled with handy tools, specialty foods and a demonstration kitchen, where some 200 classes are held each year for chefs of all ages and skills. 490 Main St., (630) 790-8500.
➲ Katy’s Boutique
For nearly 50 years now, owner Katy Balabinis has shared her love of quality women’s clothing and accessories, offering styles for all ages. Current lines include Joseph Ribkoff, Teri Jon and Frank Lyman. 427 N. Main St., (630) 469-4900.
➲ Glen Art Theatre
Opened in the 1920s, this downtown movie house still plays first-run films in its four auditoriums, with $5 matinees. The theater played a cameo role in the 1986 film, “Lucas.” 540 Crescent Blvd., (630) 469-1976.
➲ Anastazia, Treasures for the Home
Filled with a variety of home accents and seasonal decor, this retailer reflects the creative panache of its owner, Tom Konopacki, a former department store manager and catalog creator. A sister store is located in Geneva. 482 N. Main St., (630) 790-1993.
➲ Ten Thousand Villages
One of the oldest fair trade retailers in the country, this national nonprofit, which maintains some 400 stores, sells handmade goods gathered around the globe. 503 Pennsylvania Ave., (630) 790-1166.
➲ Glen Oak Cafe
A local favorite for nearly 50 years, this family-style restaurant serves up breakfast and lunch made from fresh ingredients. 479 Pennsylvania Ave., (630) 469-6262.
➲ 2 Toots Train Whistle Grill
A hit with the little ones, this new downtown diner delivers its meals aboard a model train that circles the dining room. Burgers, hot dogs and chili are made from 100-percent grass-fed beef; gluten-free dogs and buns are available. Area franchises are veteran-owned and –operated. 450 N. Main St., (630) 858-4300.
➲ A Toda Madre
Its name in Spanish is slang for “totally awesome,” and that’s how locals characterize this stylish new eatery. Spun off from Geneva’s Bien Trucha, A Toda Madre features signature tacos and inventive new culinary delights. 499 N. Main St., (630) 474-0969.
➲ Taste of Glen Ellyn
The biggest celebration in town happens on Main Street downtown, and includes a carnival, business expo, music and more. Scheduled for May 14-17.
➲ Cardboard Regatta
Each Independence Day weekend, boatbuilders compete to see whose cardboard watercraft can stay afloat the longest on Lake Ellyn. Tentatively scheduled for June 27.