10 Things to Do in Joliet, Illinois: A Local’s Guide
By jhenr | Updated October 27th, 2022
Most people know Joliet as the birthplace of Ronald Reagan, but there is much more to this small town in Illinois. From history and architecture to parks and shopping, Joliet has something for everyone. If you’re looking for a fun day trip or a new place to explore, check out these eight things to do in Joliet.
To help narrow down your choices, here are ten things to do in Joliet that are popular with both tourists and local residents alike.
The Chicagoland Speedway is a 1.5 mile D-shaped oval track which hosts NASCAR and IndyCar races. You can take a tour of the facility and learn about its history or get an adrenaline rush by riding go-karts at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. The speedway also hosts events throughout the year such as concerts and conventions.
Visit Settler’s Park
Settler’s Park is a great place for kids and families. They have a playground that’s perfect for young children with slides, swings and a sand pit. The park also has a ball field and picnic area. There’s plenty of space for games of catch or Frisbee. It’s also nice because it’s surrounded by trees so you can sit under the shade on a hot day.
Rialto Square Theatre
The Rialto Square Theatre is one of the town’s most popular attractions. It first opened its doors in 1928 and has since grown into one of the Midwest’s leading regional theaters. The theater offers a variety of performances throughout the year such as Broadway musicals, opera, dance productions and comedy shows.
Harrah’s Joliet Casino
oliet, IL is home to the Harrah’s Joliet Casino and sits about 40 minutes southwest of Chicago. You can find all the gaming and entertainment you could hope for at Harrah’s. The casino features over 1,200 slots and 60 table games. In addition to gaming options, you’ll find restaurants like Guy Fieri’s El Burrito Loco and Johnny Rockets. Check out their website for a list of upcoming events at the casino.
Joliet Area Historical Museum
The Joliet Area Historical Museum features artifacts of the local region and offers historical information on the town. Special exhibitions are offered as well as a small gift shop with souvenirs.
The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and is closed on Mondays. Admission for adults is $4 with discounts available for students and seniors. This museum is a great place for families or individuals looking for more information about the history of Joliet.
Rusty Wallace Racing Experience, Chicago Speedway
The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience is a day at the races. You can get into the driver’s seat of a NASCAR-style car and race on a track that used to be a horse racing course. One lap around the track is about 3 miles. This is not an amusement park ride–you’ll need a drivers license or permit and you’ll be racing with other people who are just as skilled as you are.
Route 66 Raceway
Racers from all over the country come to Route 66 Raceway for some of the best drag racing action around. The facility features a quarter-mile drag strip, with a spectator viewing area that can accommodate up to 20,000 fans.
In addition, there is an event center and banquet hall with a capacity of 1,500 people. It is located just outside Joliet City limits on Route 66.
Joliet Iron Works Historic Site
The Joliet Iron Works Historic Site is a picturesque destination for history and architecture buffs alike. The site includes the Iron Works building which was constructed in 1869 as well as the company’s original canal system and blast furnaces.
St. Joseph Catholic Church
A beautiful spot that is worth a visit is St. Joseph Catholic Church. Established in 1876, the church was designed by James Renwick Jr., a renowned architect who also designed the Smithsonian Institution building in Washington D.C. The church features artwork by Frederic Clay Bartlett and stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany and John LaFarge.
Richard Petty Driving Experience
The Richard Petty Driving Experience is a one-of-a-kind driving experience that everyone should try at least once. You get to drive a NASCAR track car like the ones driven by professional racecar drivers. The speed limit on the track is 45 mph but you can go as fast as you want. It takes about an hour and fifteen minutes and costs $70 per person.
Joliet is a beautiful little town. It has the perfect mix of big city culture and small-town charm. Whether you’re passing through or looking for something new, there are so many great things to do around here. Check out this list of ten activities that every Jolie-ite should try at least once!