Things to Do in Waukegan, Illinois

March 9, 2023

things to do in waukegan

There's plenty to do in Waukegan, Illinois. This lakefront city has a flair for the arts, a bustling downtown and a whole host of outdoor recreations.

Take a trip back in time to a period of Victorian life at the Waukegan History Museum, hosted in the beautiful Haines House in Bowen Park. This museum showcases photographs, artifacts and exhibits to give a glimpse of what life in the 1800s was like for Waukegan's residents.

1. Six Flags Great America

Located just between Chicago and Milwaukee, Six Flags Great America offers an abundance of activities and attractions. Guests can enjoy heart-pounding roller coasters, family-friendly entertainment and a 20-acre water park that’s included with admission.

With 14 thrilling roller coasters, including the world-famous Jersey Devil and Kingda Ka, plus a neighboring water park, Hurricane Harbor, it’s easy to see why this Gurnee amusement park ranks among the top in North America.

Six Flags also offers a variety of rides and entertainment for kids, from the Columbia Carousel to Big Easy Balloons. For thrill seekers, don’t miss Maxx Force, a triple record-breaking roller coaster that takes you from 0-78 mph in less than two seconds. Younger kids can also ride Buccaneer Battle, a pirate-themed water playground where you’ll shoot cannons at your fellow guests.

2. Navy Pier

Navy Pier is an iconic Chicago attraction spanning more than 50 acres of parks, shops, gardens, restaurants, and family attractions. It is home to popular crowd favorites like the Centennial Wheel, Pepsi Wave Swinger ride, Remote Control Boats, and Carousel.

Start your visit at the People Energy Welcome Pavilion, which provides information and comfy seating. Also stop in at Polk Bros Park, which features a dramatic fountain that mimics waves and fishes.

There is also a one-acre indoor botanical garden. The Crystal Garden is filled with 80 live palm trees and lush foliage.

There is also an array of entertainment and sightseeing cruises on Lake Michigan, with options from Odyssey Cruises, Spirit of Chicago and Shoreline Sightseeing. Plus, you can take in a spectacular IMAX show!

3. Waukegan History Museum

Located in Bowen Park, the Waukegan History Museum offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history. It is housed in the 1843-built Haines House and portrays the life of late Victorian period in Waukegan through the use of carefully researched wallpapers, carpets, light fixtures, drapes, and period furnishings.

The Genesee Theatre is a state-of-the-art theater that plays host to various concerts, musical acts, and comedians. It is an ideal place to visit during your stay in the area.

4. Founders Park

Founders Park is a great place to take the family for a day of fun. It features three playgrounds for children ages 3 to 14 and a variety of activities that they can enjoy.

It also has an Olympic sized swimming pool and an attached diving center with a 3 meter springboard and a 10 meter platform. You can also participate in sports activities such as basketball, tennis, volleyball and soccer at Founders Park.

Founders Park also offers an 88 slip marina that features a boat launch and fuel dock. There are also boat tours, fishing, and eco tours available at the marina.

5. Waukegan Brewing Company

Waukegan is a city on the shore of Lake Michigan and one of the earliest centers of industry. Its industries were ship and wagon building, flour milling, sheep raising, pork packing, and brewing of malt liquors.

The city has a history of working-class neighborhoods and a fair-sized middle class population. The town is also home to a number of blue-collar industries and a significant German community.

The city's historical integrity is exemplified by the Genesee Theatre, a downtown mainstay that was recently renovated and restored as a key performing arts venue. The city is also known for its artistic flair, as illustrated by the thriving monthly art extravaganza called ArtWauk.


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