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Getaway Guide: One-Tank Trip to Naperville

By Kenneth Johnson

Naperville is probably the most archetypal definition of a western suburb. A town of about 150,000 residents, Naperville has three times been named one of the top five "Best Places to Live" by Money Magazine. Highlights include a walkable downtown, a beautiful river walk, restaurants, museums and a great swimmin' hole.

Getting There

Naperville is about 30 miles east of Chicago. From the Loop, head straight out the Eisenhower, continue on the Reagan (I-88) and exit at Naperville/Freedom Drive. Turn south on Freedom Drive, then west on Diehl Road and then south on Washington Street for about two miles to downtown. Naperville is also served by Metra via the BNSF line. The Metra station is near the Naperville Historic District and about five blocks from downtown.

Children's Museum

What To Do

DuPage Children's Museum
301 N Washington St
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 637-8000

Located across the street from the Metra Station, the DuPage Children's Museum features three floors of different exhibit "neighborhoods" which explore art, math and science. In addition to exhibits, there are programs and special events for families year round. These include extended hours on Friday nights for working parents and their children to enjoy time together and the monthly Third Thursday event for families of children with autism, visual impairments and/or mobility impairments.

Related: Best Spots For Kids In The Western Suburbs


Naper Settlement
523 S Webster St
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 420-6010

Located near downtown and the Riverwalk, the Naper Settlement is a 12-acre outdoor history museum which shows life in the 19th century (and how it changed) for people in northern Illinois. History comes to life through costumed interpreters working in and around 30 historic buildings. The 1883 Martin Mitchell Mansion, original to the site and completely renovated a decade ago, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The settlement and its buildings are also available for special-event rentals such as company picnics, birthday parties and weddings.

The Riverwalk

Located just west of downtown on Jackson Ave


Moser Tower and Millennium Carillon
443 Aurora Ave
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 848-3540

Centennial Beach
500 W Jackson Ave
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 848-5092

The Riverwalk is known as the "Crown Jewel of Naperville." Dedicated in 1981 to commemorate Naperville's 150th birthday, the five miles of winding trails, covered bridges, distinctive landscaping, fountains and special venues have made it a community gathering place. Prominent occupants of the Riverwalk are the 160-foot Moser Tower and Millennium Carillon with its 72 bells spanning six full octaves. Also Centennial Beach is nearby with an old quarry converted into an outdoor community pool, hosting events from adults-only float times to sprint triathlons.

White Chocolate Grill

Where To Eat

White Chocolate Grill
1803 Freedom Drive
Naperville, IL 60563
(630) 505-8300

The White Chocolate Grill offers contemporary American dining in a rich Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired setting. As the name suggests, a specialty is housemade white chocolate desserts. Entrees include wood-fired steaks and ribs, fresh seafood, burgers, sandwiches and chopped salads. Gluten-free items are also available.

Quigley's Irish Pub
43 E Jefferson St
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 428-4774

Quigley's Irish Pub is a favorite in downtown Naperville. If the interior looks authentic, it's because it was designed and built in Ireland and shipped to Naperville. Outside is a beer garden and dog-friendly patio. Speaking of beer, Quigley's has a big selection of draught beers including its own Patron's Reserve house beer. Food choices include Irish entrees, sandwiches and wraps, and breakfast on weekend mornings.

Kenneth Johnson is a freelance writer covering all things Chicago. His work can be found on

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