Great Escapes Close to Home

10 March 2015
Published in Places

Exciting getaways are closer to home than you might think! Whether you’re planning your family's spring break, a couples retreat or a weekend with friends, explore what awaits you in our guide to great escapes! 




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Paramount Theatre presents "Les Misérables," a live Broadway-caliber performance March 18-April 26, 2015. Photo: Tom King


The Aurora area is perfect for weekend getaways, boasting exciting events and festivals year-round. From world-class theater to opera, and every type of live music imaginable, the performances never end. 


Live sports more your style? Aurora has professional baseball, college football, USSSA-sanctioned tournaments, biathlons, triathlons and whitewater rapids.


Need some retail therapy? The Premium Outlets is sure to cure. Find impressive savings with more than 120 designer brands such as Ann Taylor and Armani. Need more of a low-key shopping experience? Young and old alike fall in love with the local charm of Sandwich's renowned antique stores, where a vintage find can bring about memories to cherish forever.


View the entire Chicago area from Fermilab’s 15th floor. Take an architectural tour that includes works by Bruce Goff, Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. 


Dine at any of Aurora’s Culinary Champions or visit a real Enjoy Illinois Delicious Destination while traveling the historic Illinois Lincoln Highway. The kids will love the various waterparks and hands-on museums. Shopping and family packages available at – so hop on down and create a weekend experience that's worlds away from ordinary!


For more, visit or call 630.256.3190.





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The Morton Arboretum in Lisle is an amazing 1,700-acre garden of trees and other plants from around the world. 


No matter what time of year, there’s always something fun and unique going on in DuPage County. 


History: Cantigny Park (Wheaton) is a 500-acre park that features the Robert R. McCormick Museum housed in a historic mansion built in 1896, the First Division Museum with tanks, cannons and other historic equipment located on the grounds, more than 29 acres of formal gardens, picnic grounds, and a top-ranked public golf course. Naper Settlement (Naperville) is an outdoor living history museum that is a must-see for any American history buff. Graue Mill & Museum (Oak Brook) is Illinois’ only operating waterwheel gristmill. It was a stop on the Underground Railroad and now features fascinating exhibits and displays. 


Culture: Stroll through the unique Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art (Elmhurst). Thrill to the excitement of a Broadway-style live performance at the award-winning Drury Lane Theatre (Oakbrook Terrace). Enjoy a variety of performing arts at the McAninch Arts Center (Glen Ellyn) on the College of DuPage campus. 


Natural Wonders: Drive or stroll through The Morton Arboretum (Lisle), an amazing 1,700-acre garden of trees and other woody plants from around the world. Enjoy the Children's Garden, Maze Garden, 16 miles of hiking trails, guided tours, special events and more throughout their environmentally friendly and handicapped-accessible grounds and facilities. 


Shopping: DuPage County rivals Chicago for spectacular shopping. Oakbrook Center (Oak Brook) was voted Illinois’ No. 1 upscale shopping destination with more than 160 stores and restaurants. Chicago Premium Outlets (Aurora) already has more than 120 stores and is going through a major expansion. 


Dining: You’ll never go hungry in DuPage County, with hundreds of top-notch restaurants. Stop in for a tasting at the award-winning Lynfred Winery (Roselle) – Illinois’ first!


For more: Visit or call 630.575.8070.






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Geneva Lake is a great place to play on the water from swimming and boating to sightseeing and dining. 



Spring is here and it’s not too early to start planning your summer vacation. Whether planning a getaway for family, friends or couples, nearby Lake Geneva, Wis., is the perfect place to fulfill your summer vacation wish list. 


Geneva Lake is the most accessible body of water in Wisconsin, which means you don’t have to look any further for a great place to play on the water. The area’s four beaches provide ample opportunities for swimming and sunbathing. Boating fans can take advantage of a variety of watercraft rentals from Leatherlips Watersports, Jerry’s Majestic Marine, and Clear Water Outdoor. Guests of the Abbey Resort and Avani Spa can rent a slip in the resort’s harbor, giving them access to their own watercraft during their stay. 


The Lake Geneva Cruise Line offers a variety of tours including sightseeing, dining and historic cruises. The Mail Boat Tour is a perennial favorite as all ages get a kick out of watching the Mail Jumpers leap on and off the moving boat to deliver mail dock by dock around Geneva Lake.


Adventure seekers enjoy ziplining with Arial Adventures or Lake Geneva Canopy Tours or a hot air balloon experience with Lake Geneva Balloon Company. Dan Patch Stables at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa offers pony rides for little cowboys and cowgirls or horseback riding through acres of the beautiful Grand Geneva property for those 7 years old and older. 


Golfers can challenge themselves on championship courses including Lake Lawn Resort’s course Majestic Oaks, known for its stately oaks, deep sand bunkers and subtle undulations. The Palmer, Player and Trevino courses also await golfers at Geneva National Golf Club.  


Shoppers can also enjoy the walkable downtown filled with fun boutiques. And there are no shortage of restaurants with a view in Lake Geneva to enjoy.


For more, visit or call 800.345.1020.






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Take an electric streetcar tour along Lake Michigan and through downtown Kenosha.


Just a short distance away, an abundance of family fun awaits you on the Lake Michigan shore! The Kenosha area in Southeastern Wisconsin is perfect for a spring break adventure, a weekend getaway, or a summer vacation.


Kids of all ages love the free Jelly Belly Express train tour – and free candy samples – at Jelly Belly Visitor Center. Also enjoy a train of a different kind: a scenic ride aboard an authentic Electric Streetcar that travels along Lake Michigan and through downtown Kenosha. Enjoy educational and entertaining experiences at five museums – three are on the streetcar route. At the free Kenosha Public Museum, see the mammoths that were un-earthed in Kenosha County and plan to spend some time at the Field Station, where hands-on activities allow exploration of the arts and sciences. The free Dinosaur Discovery Museum holds the largest display of meat-eating dinosaurs in the country, while the Civil War Museum is one of only three venues featuring a 360-degree film experience in the country – and is the only 360-degree Civil War feature.


Learn about Kenosha’s industrial and automotive history at the free Kenosha History Center, and uncover Lake Michigan shipwreck history inside the seasonal Southport Light Station Museum. Get artsy at Alpaca Art Pottery Painting – and get active at RecPlex (home to an indoor waterpark and an ice arena) or Kenosha YMCA. During the summer months, enjoy Kenosha Kingfish baseball games, the Bristol Renaissance Faire and a climb to the top of Southport Lighthouse (ages 8 and older). 


For more, visit or call 800.654.7309.






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Take a walk up the picturesque Milwaukee Riverwalk to pose with the “Bronze Fonz” of “Happy Days” fame. 


Looking for somewhere to take the family for a spring getaway? You’re just a short drive away from a fun getaway in Milwaukee. Milwaukee makes it easier and more affordable to get away so you can focus on the fun. Now is a great time to visit the city with two brand new museum exhibits opening. The Milwaukee Public Museum’s "Crossroads of Civilization: Ancient Worlds of the Near East and Mediterranean" opens March 15 and will feature life-size figures created in-house, like a recreation of King Tut in his chariot and state-of-the-art interactive displays. Betty Brinn Children's Museum, designed specifically for kids 10 and younger, recently opened its new "Word Headquarters" feature exhibit, an interactive pretend communications company. Discovery World continues to inspire and entertain with its interactive science and technology exhibits, and a visit to the Milwaukee County Zoo provides year-round family fun.

Come up for Cubs/Brewers games May 8-10 and be sure to join in the tailgating at Miller Park or take in pre-game fun at a brewery tour at MillerCoors or Lakefront Brewery. Add arts and culture to the mix with Broadway productions at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, including Beauty and the Beast, Blue Man Group and Book of Mormon, and be inspired by original creations from fashion designers including Dior, St. Laurent and Cardin on display at the lakefront Milwaukee Art Museum’s current exhibit through May 3.

 Foodies can begin exploring Milwaukee’s burgeoning culinary scene at the Historic Third Ward’s Milwaukee Public Market, featuring Wisconsin products, seafood, chocolates, frozen custard and more. Take a short walk up the picturesque Riverwalk, past the “Bronze Fonz” of “Happy Days” fame, to Old World Third Street, where the city’s German heritage is celebrated with legendary Mader’s restaurant and specialty shops featuring Usinger sausages, cheese and spices.

For more, visit or call 800.554.1448.