Looking for the best things to do in Crystal Lake, Illinois? There are lots of exciting activities for anyone looking to visit Crystal Lake.
In McHenry County, Illinois, Crystal Lake proves to be the biggest city.
This town is a wealthy suburb in the northwest, located about forty miles beyond Chicago.
Despite its modest attractiveness, this city has some exciting features, especially its lake.
It offers a unique assortment of stores, eateries, and entertainment options you wouldn’t anticipate finding in a suburban area.
Its streets are studded with well-preserved structures from that era.
It is the ideal starting place for outdoor adventurers due to its accessibility to parks and other outdoor attractions.
Its unique historical landmarks and buildings will make the journey to the lake even more exciting.
Below are the best things to do in Crystal Lake, IL.
Things to Do in Crystal Lake, IL
1. Rock climbing gym at North Wall
The region’s functional and beautiful indoor rock center is located at Crystal Lake. In addition, over three thousand sq ft of gym space spread across three main locations are available to you at North Wall.
There is a sizable bouldering area, a gym, a training space, and an auto-belay/top-rope room.
With 200+ climbing paths ranging between V0 through V10, the bouldering area is open to everybody.
You’ll have a different climbing experience every time you go because these are changed each week. In addition, the gym provides a wide range of activities, from youth climbing leagues to an advanced bouldering league, in addition to day passes.
Address: 824 South Main Street #106, Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014, US
2. Adventure and Urban Air Trampoline Park
An indoor trampoline park franchise has a location back at Crystal Lake. Whether you’re searching for a challenging yet entertaining workout or a fun method for youngsters to blow off some energy, Urban Air has something for everyone.
A battle beam, a Ninja Fighter obstacle course, climbing walls, a sizable indoor park, a slam dunk playground, and ProZone performing trampolines for professional acrobats are just a few attractions.
The Peak Trampolines, which includes trampolines on about every accessible space from floor to ceiling, is the perfect place for gymnasts, cheerleaders, and anyone looking to try out new skills.
3. Col. Palmer House, a historic building
Visit the Col Palmer House as a historical detour while on your Crystal Lake vacation.
The late Col Gustavus Aspergillus Palmer, a soldier in the American Revolutionary War, owned this home.
After serving in the military, Col Palmer was granted a sizable amount of land in McHenry County.
He finally incorporated his Crystal Lake property.
Visit Colonel Palmer’s home and look around the permanent and changing displays to learn more about the interesting history of Crystal Lake & Col Palmer.
The Col Palmer House has items, tools, and records that illustrate how people at Crystal Lake lived back then.
In addition, the home’s magnificent Greek Revival & Federalist architecture provide it.
Address: 5516 Terra Cotta Road, Crystal Lake, Illinois 60012, US
4. Chicago Railway Museum
The largest rail gallery in the nation is in Union, and it can be reached in twenty minutes. It is situated amidst cornfields.
Since it opened in 1957, the Illinois Railway Gallery has had the largest functioning display track in North America.
What’s remarkable is how the gallery is run by a committed group of volunteers who run the carriages on the rails and restore the fleet of old locomotives.
Check online to discover which trains would be operating on specific days, as the museum has a large number of operational trolleys and trains.
The schedule is also loaded with special seasonal activities, like Easter, Labour Day, Halloween & Christmas, while a Day Outside with Thomas, during Saturdays in July, is essential for households with kids.
Address: 7000 Olson Road, Union, Illinois 60180, US
5. Prairie Trail hike
This is a great place for outdoor leisure, whether looking for the greatest trails near the lake or sometimes a spot for a fam bike ride.
Near the Wisconsin Border, the Prairie Trail extends about thirty miles beyond Algonquin.
It is a fantastic hiking trail, particularly for those that like to explore these cities from a unique viewpoint. It attaches eight groups of McHenry Province with the lake.
If you plan to travel here as part of your itinerary, don’t forget to pack your hiking boots.
6. Auto Museum in Volo
This renowned vehicle museum is a short drive from Crystal Lake and is one of a few well-known attractions nearby.
The Volo Auto Gallery boasts the greatest array of Hollywood movie and television cars in the world, so there’s no shortage of things to see there.
See out Death Car from Bonnie and Clyde film (1967), the Ecto-1 with Ghostbusters (1984), the Bluesmobile from Blues Brothers (1980), KITT from Knight Rider (1982–1986), the Nostromo Research Buggy from Alien (1979), and James Bond’s Vanquish from Die Another Day (2002).
The museum’s expansive site also houses vintage tents, antique kiddie attractions, ancient arcades, Disneyland parade vehicles, airplanes, life-size dinosaur models, an 1885 Ford Model T, and more.
Address: 27582 Volo Village Road, Volo, Illinois 60073, US
7. The Lippold Park
There is a public park full of amenities for family fun on the lake’s northern shore. The most notable of them is the Family Golf Center, which has two eighteen-hole small golf pitches, a 60k-sq ft. putting green, sand traps, and a driving range with 40 lit tee spots.
A restored marsh & wildlife area with walking and bicycling trails surrounds this institution.
Batting cages, golf course, skate park, picnic pavilion, numerous mixed-use fields, and Hound Town, a gated dog park with distinct sections for pets of different sizes & ages, are additional amenities at Lippold Park.
Address: 851 Illinois-176, Crystal Lake, ILLINOIS 60014, US
8. Brewing at Crystal Lake
In contrast to most, it is located downtown by the Metra station rather than in an industrial park on the outskirts, as is the case with most.
By using the right ingredients, the Brewing stays true to the tradition of its varied brews while still producing approachable yet distinctive beers.
For instance, malt and hops from Germany are imported to make the German Lager. You may visit the taproom to try the selection, which includes a number of seasonal beers like an IPA, Belgian Wit, Hard Seltzer, & Reel Hazy(England ale), and the German Maibock.
Address: 150 North Main Street, Crystal Lake, ILLINOIS 60014, US
9. Farmers’ Market at Crystal Lake
Every Saturday morning from June to October, a tiny but interesting farmers’ market is held at Depot Park close to the Metra station.
When fruit and veggies are in season, this is a great location, and you’ll enjoy the added gratification of purchasing them straight from the grower.
Additionally available for purchase are freshly made items like bread and doughnuts, flowers, herbs, vegetables, cheeses, meat, eggs, jams, jellies, syrup, & herbal cosmetics.
Address: Depot Park, Crystal Lake, ILLINOIS 60014, US
10. Park for the Arts at Lakeside Dole Mansion
The renowned industrialist Charles S. Dole erected this residence in the 1860s just a few feet from the lake.
With no expense spared, Dole hired European artisans to create the woodwork, parquet floors, & interior furnishings.
For his daughter’s wedding in 1883, Dole even erected a trunk line from Chicago & Northwestern rail to his property, which he used to organize opulent parties throughout the late 19th century.
The asset is now founded and operated by the nonprofit Lakeside Legacy Foundation. A grand Tudor-style annex was constructed on the property in the 1920s.
Numerous artist studios are located inside the mansion, which is being renovated to resemble what it did in the 1920s. You can attend a variety of programs, including cooking lessons, workshops, and art classes.
An annual feature is the Lakeside Festival, a fundraising event that spans four days and features music, carnivals, midway games, kid-friendly activities, as well as delectable food and beverages.
11. Center for Arts at Raue
This 750-seat theater, designed for vaudeville and movies, has been a downtown fixture since 1929. The location, formerly known as “El Tovar,” stands out because of its terracotta tiles and adobe-style walls.
The theater is unique as well since it resembles a patio with a starry night sky above. The structure, like many downtown theaters, fell into disrepair during the end of the 20th century and appeared hopeless, but a thorough two restoration at the start of the new millennium brought it back to life.
Today, the Raue Centre is a significant, cutting-edge venue for a live concerts, from comedy to music, and for more than twenty years, it has hosted Tony, Grammy, and Academy Award winners.
Address: 26 North Williams Street, Crystal Lake, ILLINOIS 60014, US
12. Oaks Recreation Area
A number of gravel quarry used up to the turn of the 20th century may be found on the southern side of Crystal Lake.
Since 2010, one such location in the long-abandoned Vulcan Lakes has undergone an incredible transformation into a recreational area for the outdoors.
Boating, swimming in open water, scuba diving, hang paddle boarding, and wakeboarding are just a few activities available in 3 Oaks State Park.
The marina offers boat rentals for these activities, and there is also a lovely sandy beach where you can relax in the summer.
For the little ones, there is also a spray park. Its Lakeside Bar and Grille serves burgers and tacos in front of the cable park.
Address: 5517 NW Highway, Crystal Lake, ILLINOIS 60014, US
13. Park at Veteran Acres
After lunch downtown, you can just walk a few blocks to the north to this large park to stretch your legs. The park is perfect for more leisurely pastimes but also teems with sporting facilities for volleyball, basketball, softball, & handball.
A small lake has a boardwalk that you can use to cross a preserved wetland area and walking routes around the lake’s edge.
A playground, a splash pad that is always busy, and a terrific sledding slope are all available for children.
Address: 431 Walkup Road, Crystal Lake, Illinois 60012, US
14. Crystal Lake Main Beach
On the western coast of the town’s namesake lake, the park’s original location, you’ll find a stunning old bathhouse as well as a very clean beach.
From the beginning of June to Labor Day weekend, you may go swimming or relax on the sand at Crystal Lake, where the water is just as clear as it was when it first acquired its name over two hundred years ago.
During summer, there are fees associated with using the beach, but renting a watercraft for a leisurely paddle on the lake is free.
A fresh children’s park, walking pathways, baseball diamonds, and other amenities are all in the park, which is far from the shoreline.
Every Tuesday night during the summer, concerts are held here. It’s also a great place to watch the 4th of July fireworks. Visit in the winter to enjoy the superbly maintained skating rink.
Address: 300 Lakeshore Dr, Crystal Lake, ILLINOIS 60014, US
15. The Center of Crystal Lake
There is a fantastic core business center full of unique stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues on the lovely historic streets near the Metra station in Crystal Lake.
Various charming stores and boutiques selling antiques, chocolate, clothing, jewelry, ceramics, shoes, novels, freshly popped popcorn, as well as other specialty foods are located between them.
Address: 25 West Crystal Lake Avenue, Crystal Lake, Illinois 60014, US
16. Moraine Hills State Park
The best location for recreation is this enormous two thousand two hundred acres outdoor park outside of Crystal Lake. It is minutes from Crystal Lake in McHenry.
You and your loved ones can engage in a wide range of outdoor activities here, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing.
A portion of the park is occupied with waterbodies, making it perfect for water sports like boating & fishing.
It also features a huge forty-eight-acre lake in the middle of it.
Moraine Hills’ terrain, which consists of stones, boulders, & gravel, also makes it a great spot for trekking.
Address: 1510 South River Road, McHenry, ILLINOIS 60051, US
17. Visit Norge Ski Club to go skiing
You shouldn’t skip a skiing excursion to the oldest public ski club in the nation when visiting Crystal Lake.
It can be found at Fox River Groves, Illinois, which is Sixteen mins away from Crystal Lake.
The club has been in operation since 1905, run by Norwegian skiers who prospered in Illinois.
In the winter, Illinois snowboarders swarm here to enjoy the stunning ski terrain and club surroundings.
Visit the Club if you’re looking for a unique experience at the lake.
For a memorable skiing experience, take your family or traveling companions.
The club makes it convenient for everyone by providing a variety of ski jumps for both adults & children.
Address: 100 Ski Hill Road, Fox River Grove, ILLINOIS 60021, US
It’s possible that Crystal Lake isn’t as well-known as other American tourist destinations.
It does, however, have a ton of interesting sights that are well worth seeing.
Particularly for those traveling from Chicago & Milwaukee, this little city in McHenry makes for a great weekend getaway.
With family or friends, it seems to have all the attractions that make for the ideal and unforgettable outdoor adventure.
Plan your trip to Crystal Lake right away!