Des Plaines is located approximately 19 miles northwest of the Chicago Loop and just north of O’Hare International Airport. Interstate highways I-90 (the Northwest Tollway) and I-294 (the Tri-State Tollway) traverse the city and offer easy access to nearby communities in all directions. Travel to Chicago and neighboring suburbs is also convenient via commuter rail service on the Union Pacific Northwest Line of Metra and PACE suburban bus service.
Des Plaines prides itself on being a progressive community with amenities to appeal to a wide range of people.
City-sponsored events include the annual Taste of Des Plaines, Fourth of July Parade, summer entertainment series, and December holiday activities. Fall Fest is an annual three-day family-friendly extravaganza of food, live entertainment, games, and carnival rides. The Big Noise Theatre hosts a series of community theatre performances each year, while the Des Plaines Art Guild and Des Plaines Arts Council advocate for art in the community and promote the work of local artists at locations throughout the city. The Performing Arts Center at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines is always hopping with a full menu of entertainment options including theatrical performances, concerts, film festivals, and speaker events.
The Des Plaines History Center contains exhibits and collections that showcase the history of Des Plaines and the people who have lived there. Some other interesting historical artifacts can be found — of all places — at a unique shoe store in downtown Des Plaines. People with an appetite for games or food can head over to the Rivers Casino, open nearly 24 hours daily. And yet, that's not all: revitalization of the downtown business district has begun with an extensive renovation of the historic Des Plaines Theatre.
In neighboring Park Ridge, movie-goers can enjoy any of several films in Pickwick Theatre, a beautiful and historic Art Deco movie palace that is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Northwest Symphony Orchestra and Park Ridge Civic Orchestra host concerts and events throughout the year. Allstate Arena in Rosemont is home to the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves, and also is a popular venue for other sporting events, big-name concerts, and ice shows. Arlington Park Race Track is open from May to September for thousands of visitors who enjoy thoroughbred races and family events in a beautiful state-of-the-art facility.
Many other unique attractions that are within a short drive of Des Plaines include the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Kohl Children’s Museum, Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park, Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, The North Shore Center For The Performing Arts and Northlight Theatre, plus the many activities that lie within the city limits of Chicago.
Sports & Recreation
The Des Plaines Park District boasts numerous public parks, playgrounds, and facilities throughout the City which contribute to the fitness and fun of the community. In addition to two neighborhood pools, visitors can head to the Mystic Waters Family Aquatic Center for a thrilling turn on the slides or a relaxing jaunt down the lazy river. The Lake Park Marina offers opportunities to engage in other water sports, including kayaking, fishing, and paddleboating. People can practice their mini-golf or batting skills at the Mountain View Adventure Center, or take in a show or join a class at the Prairie Lakes Community Center. Golf? You're covered. Day or night, there's a course for you. All year round, the Des Plaines Park District is brimming with activities and programs to keep residents healthy and happy.
The Des Plaines River runs through the city on its east side and provides beautiful scenery and many recreational opportunities for people who fish, canoe, or kayak. The 50+ mile Des Plaines River Trail connects communities across Lake and Cook Counties in Illinois and gives people plenty of space to hike, bike, ride horses or cross-country ski. Many of the recreational areas along the river are part of the vast Forest Preserve District of Cook County, the oldest and largest forest preserve district in the country.
Lake Michigan beaches and other area recreational areas are a big draw in the summer. There are several public beaches all along the lake, with some of the most popular in Evanston and Chicago.
Fans who want to watch sports rather than participate can root for their favorite professional or semi-pro teams in Chicago or enjoy college sports at the area’s universities.
Students in Des Plaines are served by elementary school districts #62, #59, and #26, plus high school districts #207 and #214.
Des Plaines and nearby communities are also home to several institutions of higher learning. A partial listing of campuses in the area include the following:
Oakton Community College
…plus many others in the Chicago area.
For more information on other fun activities in Illinois, please visit these sites:
Enjoy Illinois: The Official Web Site of the Illinois Office of Tourism
State of Illinois: Travel & Recreation
Photos courtesy of Des Plaines Park District