Nestled in the heart of the Midwest, Kankakee, Illinois, may not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a getaway. However, this charming city is brimming with hidden gems and unique experiences waiting to be discovered. From outdoor adventures to cultural delights, here’s a comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Kankakee.
- Kankakee River State Park: Nature’s Playground
Start your Kankakee adventure with a visit to the Kankakee River State Park, a sprawling natural haven that offers a wide array of outdoor activities. Whether you’re into hiking, fishing, or bird watching, this park has it all. The picturesque landscapes and tranquil river make it a perfect spot for a relaxing day surrounded by nature.
- Exploration Station: A Hands-On Learning Experience
For families or those with a curious mind, the Exploration Station is a must-visit destination. This interactive science center caters to both kids and adults, providing hands-on exhibits that make learning fun. From astronomy to biology, the Exploration Station offers a diverse range of educational experiences.
- B. Harley Bradley House: Architectural Marvel
Architecture enthusiasts will be delighted by the B. Harley Bradley House, a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece located in Kankakee. Take a guided tour to appreciate the genius of one of America’s most renowned architects. The house showcases Wright’s signature Prairie School style and is a testament to the city’s rich architectural history.
- Kankakee Depot: A Glimpse into Railroad Heritage
For a journey back in time, explore the Kankakee Depot. This historic train station, now a museum, showcases the city’s significant role in the development of the railroad. The exhibits provide insight into the golden age of rail travel, making it a fascinating stop for history enthusiasts.
- Bourbonnais Friendship Festival: Celebrate Local Culture
Timing your visit to coincide with the Bourbonnais Friendship Festival can add an extra layer of enjoyment to your Kankakee experience. This annual event celebrates the community’s culture with live music, delicious food, and a lively carnival atmosphere. It’s a fantastic opportunity to mingle with locals and immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Kankakee.
- Art in the Park: Creative Expression Outdoors
Art lovers will appreciate Kankakee’s commitment to public art, particularly the Art in the Park program. Take a stroll through various parks in the city to discover an array of sculptures and installations by local and regional artists. It’s a unique way to combine the beauty of nature with artistic expression.
- Kankakee County Museum: Unraveling Local History
Dive into the rich history of Kankakee at the Kankakee County Museum. The exhibits showcase the city’s evolution, from its early days to the present. With artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays, the museum offers a captivating journey through time.
- Perry Farm Park: A Recreation Haven
Explore the vast recreational offerings at Perry Farm Park. With walking trails, a fishing pond, and a charming playground, it’s an ideal spot for families and outdoor enthusiasts. The park often hosts community events and festivals, adding to its lively atmosphere.
- Baker’s Square: Indulge in Sweet Treats
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Baker’s Square, a local favorite known for its delicious pies and desserts. Whether you’re craving a classic apple pie or a decadent chocolate silk pie, Baker’s Square has a tempting array of options to please your palate.
- Kankakee Farmer’s Market: Fresh and Local Finds
If you happen to be in Kankakee during the warmer months, don’t miss the Kankakee Farmer’s Market. Held regularly, this market showcases the region’s best produce, handmade crafts, and local delicacies. It’s an excellent opportunity to support local farmers and artisans while enjoying the vibrant market atmosphere.
- Kankakee County Speedway: Rev Up Your Excitement
For thrill-seekers and racing enthusiasts, the Kankakee County Speedway is a must-visit. Catch a night of high-speed action as local drivers compete in various classes of racing. The electrifying atmosphere and roaring engines make for an adrenaline-pumping experience.
- Hidden Cove Sportsplex: Active Recreation for All Ages
Whether you’re into sports or simply want to stay active, Hidden Cove Sportsplex has you covered. With facilities for soccer, volleyball, and basketball, as well as an indoor trampoline park, it’s a great place for both solo and group activities. Check the schedule for open play sessions and join in the fun.
- Kankakee Railroad Museum: Delve into Locomotive History
Continue your exploration of Kankakee’s railroad history at the Kankakee Railroad Museum. This museum showcases an impressive collection of vintage trains, artifacts, and memorabilia. It’s a fascinating journey through the evolution of rail travel, perfect for both history buffs and train enthusiasts.
- Kankakee Public Library: A Quiet Haven for Bibliophiles
If you prefer a more relaxed pace, spend some time at the Kankakee Public Library. With a welcoming atmosphere and a diverse collection of books, it’s an excellent spot to unwind, read, or catch up on work. Check the library’s event calendar for book clubs, author talks, and other literary events.
- Ice Valley Centre Ice Arena: Glide into Fun
Experience the thrill of ice skating at the Ice Valley Centre Ice Arena. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a beginner, the arena offers public skating sessions and lessons. It’s a great way to have fun with friends and family while enjoying the cool, crisp air of the rink.
Kankakee, Illinois, may not be on everyone’s travel radar, but it certainly deserves a spot. From the serenity of Kankakee River State Park to the architectural wonders of the B. Harley Bradley House, this city offers a diverse range of experiences. Embrace the charm, delve into history, and savor the cultural delights that make Kankakee a hidden gem in the Midwest.