10 Fun Things to Do in Waukegan, Illinois

By jhenr | Updated November 6th, 2022

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If you’re looking to escape the cold and get some sun, there are lots of great places to visit in Waukegan, Illinois. The city has beautiful beaches along Lake Michigan, hundreds of acres of parks, and tons of outdoor activities to do in the summertime. And if you want to kick back in the evening, there are plenty of bars and restaurants where you can enjoy the local culture and craft brews with your friends. Here are ten fun things to do in Waukegan this summer.

Genesee Theatre

People applauding in the movie theater. Standing ovation.

You can enjoy a show at the Genesee Theatre. The theater has been around since 1921 and was originally built as a vaudeville house. It is now home to one of the oldest non-profit performing arts organizations in Illinois.

Waukegan Municipal Beach

Young man on the beach on sunset

If you’re looking for someplace fun and easy to reach, head on over the Waukegan Municipal Beach. It’s right by Lake Michigan and is one of the best places in town to experience the summer. There are plenty of picnic areas as well as volleyball courts and a playground for kids. The beach has concessions available so you can purchase food or drinks while you relax on the sand or play in the water.

Take A Walk Through Winslow Park

Winslow Park is a great place to take a walk and enjoy the scenery. The park has many beautiful trees and a small lake where you can feed the ducks. It also has a playground for kids, a basketball court, and plenty of benches for people-watching.

Relax At The Sunken Gardens

Young healthy beautiful woman in sportive top and leggings practicing yoga at home sitting in lotus pose on yoga mat meditating smiling relaxed with closed eyes, Mindfulness meditation concept

If you are looking for a place to relax with a nice view of the lake, check out the sunken gardens. They were created by the former mayor of Waukegan and are located right next door to city hall. The gardens are lush and offer the perfect spot for weddings or other events. There is even an old-fashioned gazebo that can be rented out for private events.

Bowen Park

Happy Father and Son together fishing from a boat at sunset time in summer day under a beautiful sky on the lake.

A great location for picnics and family gatherings, Bowen Park is a beautiful place to enjoy the outdoors. It also has a boat and bike rentals, as well as a historic house that you can tour.

Shop At The Downtown Mall

Portrait of an excited beautiful girl wearing dress and sunglasses holding shopping bags isolated over blue background

The Downtown Mall has a variety of stores. There is something for everyone! You can get your hair cut at a salon or pick out an outfit at one of the many clothing stores. If you are in need of some groceries, there are two grocery stores on the mall. For those looking to buy a new book or DVD, they can visit one of the three bookstores or two movie rental shops.

Enjoy Coffee In The Morning At Mill Creek Roasters & Patisserie

If you’re up early enough and looking for a good cup of coffee, stop by Mill Creek Roasters & Patisserie. They have a wide selection of coffees to choose from and you can get your coffee hot or iced. Breakfast is also served here so it’s the perfect place to start the day with a great cup of joe and a tasty breakfast dish!

Try A New Food at Pancheros Mexican Grill

Grilled Lobster and vegetables on the plate.

Pancheros Mexican Grill is the perfect place for a quick and delicious lunch. Stop by Pancheros Mexican Grill and try their burrito, quesadilla, or taco salad. You won’t be disappointed!

Visit Ginkgo Petrified Gardens & Nature Preserve

Forest pond in summer nature

In addition to the aforementioned sites, Ginkgo Petrified Gardens & Nature Preserve offers a truly unique experience. It’s a fossil site that contains petrified wood from an ancient forest. Visitors have the opportunity to hunt for fossils or just enjoy the scenery. There are guided tours available on Saturdays at 10:00 am and 12:00 pm. The cost is $5 for adults (13+) and $3 for children (4-12).

Have Fun On The Water Slide At Apollo Beach

Boy has into pool after going down water slide during summer

Apollo Beach is a great place to take kids because they have a water slide that is open during the summer. It’s just $2 for kids and $4 for adults and it’s close by. The water slides are really fun too! All you have to do is walk about 50 steps from the parking lot and you’ll be at the water slide.


We hope you enjoyed this list of fun things that can be done while visiting the great city of Waukegan! We’d love to hear from you. If you have any other suggestions for what should go on this list, please let us know.