Just outside of Chicago, Illinois, Downers Grove is a lovely suburb, close enough to the city, but much more peaceful, and a great place to get to know the area. Conveniently located between O’Hare and Midway airports, downtown Chicago, the lakeshore of Lake Michigan, and rural central Illinois, you’ll find everything you need in this part of the state.
When you book an RV in Downers Grove, you’ll have access to Chicagoland’s music and food scene, world-class museums, beautiful parks and a wide variety of fun things to do.
Experience the Sites and Scenery
The greater Downers Grove/Chicago area is dotted with green spaces including dozens of forest preserves designed for outdoor enthusiasts. From bicycling to jogging, canoeing and kayaking, and fishing on the lake’s piers, you’ll find a wide variety of things to do, including family picnics and fun in the sun. A local spot is Hidden Lake Forest Preserve, which is adjacent to Downers Grove’s west side. This tranquil spot features shade trees, ponds and water activities like fishing and boating.
Starved Rock State Park is a gorgeous place to camp with the Downers Grove rental RV, go for a hike or even a boat ride. There are extraordinary views of the valley and pretty rolling hills. Dogs are welcome here, on-leash of course, and there are amazing waterfalls after spring rains. Explore the 13 miles of trails, or drop your fishing line in the Illinois River, which also offers nice calm waters for canoeing and kayaking.
One of the most beautiful spots in the area is the world-famous Morton Arboretum. This diverse 1,700-acre nature preserve, with its unique maze garden, features a tram, picnic areas, hiking and biking, and peaceful gardens and tree stands. You’ll hardly believe you are in the middle of a metropolitan area when you spend just a little bit of time in Morton Arboretum. There is plenty of parking for your Downers Grove rental motorhome. Check their calendar for a variety of events including wine tastings, live music, nature adventures and art workshops. Morton Arboretum is just west of Downers Grove, adjacent to Hidden Lake Forest Preserve.
Visitors who are familiar with ocean scapes are often surprised by the vastness and beauty of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes. Explore this wonder of the landscape by driving your Downers Grove motorhome rental just under an hour, into downtown Chicago. You can also visit parts of the lake farther north, in more rural and driveable areas. From there, explore nearby forest lands, white beaches, lake wildlife, cliffs and bluffs and more. Charter and tour boats are available, as well as deep-”sea” fishing excursions that will compete with any ocean-going trip.
Did you know that the Chicago area has one of the highest numbers of golf courses per capita in the United States? There are hundreds of courses, public and private, showing off the rich landscape of the area.
You will not run out of things to do in the Downers Grove/Chicago area. There are fun activities for kids of all ages, and an exceptional variety of world-class museums and attractions. Take a Chicago Architecture Tour on the Chicago River, or see the expanse of the midwestern plains area (at least it seems like it, on a clear day) by heading up to the observation towers of some of the tallest skyscrapers in the country.
For a peek into the local history of the area, make sure to visit the Downers Grove Park District Museum. In a historic home and barn building of village founders, this small museum highlights what life was like before modern technology and conveniences, and showcases many exhibits giving you insight into the founders of the community. There are pretty picnic grounds, and this is a great place to spend a little time before you explore the great Downers Grove/Chicagoland area.
The Chicago area boasts two amazing zoos. Brookfield Zoo is just a 25-minutes drive from Downers Grove, and is famous for its ape and chimpanzee exhibit, as well as its realistic and comfortable environs for the animals from around the world. The Lincoln Park Zoo, just north of downtown Chicago, is adjacent to the lovely and large Lincoln Park, home of music and food festivals that are first-rate.
Art lovers can spend days at the Chicago Art Institute, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, and boasting an immense collection of modern, Renaissance, Impressionist, and abstract art including pieces by Monet, O’Keeffe, Picasso, Rembrandt, Lautrec, Gauguin and many, many more. Make sure to visit the furniture gallery, with historic and contemporary art as furniture, and the hallway of medieval armor.
On the south side of Chicago, kids of all ages just love the Museum of Science and Industry. Take a ride into a “real” underground coal mine, or walk through a human heart, imagine the future in space or learn about how the human body works. This museum has rotating exhibits, so there’s always something new to see and experience. Just 50 minutes from Downers Grove, the Museum of Science and Industry is a favorite. Other fun museums include Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium, located virtually next to each other, right on the shores of Lake Michigan.
If you are a music lover, check out the Ravinia Festival each summer, located in the northern suburb of Highland Park. From classical to modern dance, and from jazz to folk, artists from all over the world enjoy performing at Ravinia Festival, a relaxed outdoor venue where folks curl up around their blanket with dinner and wine, or a full table setting including crystal and china.
Where to Park It
You’ll find it easy to find a place to park your Downers Grove rental RV. With dozens of area state parks that offer camping, and a myriad of private RV parks and resorts, you’ll be able to find places in the area to make your base camp as you get to know the area.
You can also spend a night or two with the Downers Grove camper rental in the parking lot of one of the several Walmart Supercenters around the area, including at the Darien Towne Center shopping plaza and also in Glen Ellyn, just a few miles away from Downers Grove.
It would be hard to exaggerate the fantastic food options available in the area. Chicago is well known for its pizza, for sure, but did you also know that there are famous ribs recipes that come from Chicago? With its diverse population, you’ll find eateries featuring Ethiopian, Indian, Thai, authentic Chinese, Mexican, Greek and many other options. There are several well-known bakeries and breakfast nooks, too. Chicago is also known for its Polish and German population centers, so there are many options there, too.
Farmers markets are located throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. The local farmers market in Downers Grove is open every day except Sunday. Here you’ll find the freshest produce from one of the richest agricultural areas in the country.
Start planning your Chicagoland adventures, and book an RV rental in Downers Grove, Illinois.