If you’re trying to plan a fun family outing, you might be looking for something todo that will keep everyone entertained without spending a ton of money. Family outings can get incredibly expensive, incredibly fast! Thankfully, the area in and around Westmont features a range of activities that are totally free to enjoy. Whether you’re looking to spend a peaceful day in nature with the kids or want to pencil an annual free festival into your calendar, you can rest assured you’ll find something close to home.
Crème de la Crème of Westmont is here to take the guesswork out of planning your next family day out and about. We’ve put together this list of five area events and activities to get you started when you’re looking for a way to bond as a family, without breaking the bank
Taste of Westmont Festival
Downtown Westmont hosts one of Chicagoland’s biggest free outdoor festivals in July, so you’ll want to have this fun event at the top of your list. Head over to Cass Avenue to revel in the atmosphere at the Taste of Westmont Festival.
You’ll find everything from delicious food from restaurant vendors to a craft show and commercial vendors, not to mention carnival rides to keep the kiddos entertained. Adults in your group will enjoy the beer tent, serving up a variety of beer, margaritas, and more. Of course, you won’t want to miss the live music from the two stages here. Put this Westmont event on your calendar for a memorable family adventure close to home.
Westmont Cruisin’ Nights and Street Fair
“red car photo” used with permission via Unsplash by davidstraight
Westmont summer nights mean another fun (and free!) tradition: Cruisin’ Nights, a weekly summer car show the whole family is sure to love. The downtown Westmont event takes place every Thursday night in June, July, and August from 5 to 9 p.m. All makes and models are welcome every week!
In addition to the cool cars, you’ll have plenty of other activities to enjoy. Cruisin’ Nights features live music, food and drink specials, and activities just for kids. With three street blocks closed off and dedicated only to classic car parking, this event is the place to go with any car aficionado in your life.
If you’re looking for an outdoor escape, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the DuPage River. The river delivers a unique natural setting in the heart of the suburbs, making for the perfect way to spend a day in nature. You’ll find areas where the river flows through scenic forest preserve as well as a few easy access launch areas.
The tributary of the Des Plaines River actually starts off as two individual streams. The 25-mile West Branch begins in Schaumburg at Campanelli Park in Cook County, then flows southward through all of DuPage County, going through towns like Bartlett, Warrenville, Wheaton, Winfield, and Naperville.
The East Brand is also 25 miles, beginning in Bloomingdale and flowing southward through towns such as Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Lisle, Woodridge, parts of Bolingbrook, and parts of Naperville. The two branches then meet between Bolingbrook and Naperville before the DuPage River continues southward, going through Plainfield, west of Joliet, and then meeting with the Des Plaines River.
You can fish on foot or by boat along both the East and West branches of the river. The West Branch also delivers a peaceful kayaking experience. With plenty of parking, put ins, and take outs along the way, you’re sure to find an experience that works for your family. Just keep in mind that the narrow river is consistently low, and it’s too small of large barges or power boats to get through. If your family is longing for days out on a kayak or just relaxing by the water, though, this river offers the perfect opportunity.
Interested in visiting the DuPage River but not sure where to start? Head over to Naperville and the Naperville Riverwalk, 1.75 miles of brick paths complete with wood-covered bridges, outdoor artwork, historic memorials, and a great playground for kids. You can grab a blanket and treat your family to a picnic lunch, enjoy some birdwatching, or simply relax while taking in the atmosphere.
The Riverwalk is considered Naperville’s “Crown Jewel.” It was created in honor of Naperville’s 150th anniversary in 1981, and continues to draw in visitors from local towns and beyond thanks to the relaxing atmosphere. Look forward to highlights like Fredenhagen Park (complete with a landmark clock tower and Exchange Club Memories Fountain) to the east, Rotary Harmony Park with percussion instruments the kids will love trying out midway, and popular Centennial Beach further west.
DuPage County’s Forest Preserves
DuPage County is home to an abundance of forest preserves, so it’s incredibly easy to spend a day in nature while enjoying time with loved ones. You’ll find an array of preserves throughout the county, each with its own unique activities and terrain, so you can put together an itinerary of visiting beautiful landscapes, gardens, and pathways for free in the area.
The Forest Preserve District draws in over 4 million visitors every year. It’s clear why when you consider the district spans almost 26,000 acres, including 60 forest preserves and 166 miles of trails. There’s no better way to reduce stress and improve your mood than by spending some quality time in the great outdoors, and our county certainly has great places to do so.
The forest preserves in DuPage County are open every day from one hour after sunrise to one hour after sunset, unless different regulations are posted. Some preserves do have winter closures. Overall, the network of preserves means there’s something that will fit your family’s needs whenever the mood strikes to enjoy the beautiful natural landscapes around you, without making a dent in your wallet.There you have it! Crème de la Crème of Westmont just gave you five suggestions of things to check out when you’re looking for free family-friendly activities close to home. Did we miss your family’s favorite free activity in our area? Let us know so we can add your recommendation.