By Katie Cole
At Batavia High School, it seems as if there is a three or four-day weekend every other week. After you’ve ruled out homework, you can be left wondering what to do with all your free time. From Batavia to Oglesby to Chicago, here are the top ten places that are worth either trying out or revisiting.
Doughocracy is in downtown Geneva and is very easy to get to. This pizzeria adds a fun and modern twist onto its menu, which offers a wide variety of pizzas, salads, and desserts with moderately cheap prices. The environment is perfect for family and friends and offers friendly, fast service. The food leaves you feeling satisfied and is a lighter and healthier choice than most pizzerias.
2) West Main
West Main park is located on the outskirts of Batavia on Main Street. There are many things to do there. The park has several baseball and soccer fields, as well as tennis courts that are perfect for exercising with family and friends. And if you consider your dog a part of your family, then perfect! There is also a dog park complete with a pond, a puppy playground, and trees perfect for owners who enjoy hammocking.
You may be thinking “ew, Goodwill, really?” But thrift stores can be a really fun place to shop and even just look around, especially if you are searching for something hard to find. Both Goodwills in Batavia and St. Charles are clean, organized, and have friendly employees who will help you find just what you are looking for. Whether it’s a book, a movie, a purse, a kitchen supply, or even furniture, Goodwill most likely has it, and at an affordable price. Plus, you can spend hours looking through their endless supply of clothes and shoes, and it is a great place to shop if you are looking to make a statement.
4) Wok N Fire
Wok N Fire has two close locations: one in downtown St. Charles and one in Wheaton. Their menu is very contemporary and offers a wide variety of Asian-style cuisine like noodle dishes, maki rolls, sushi, and other seafoods. They are most known for their sushi, which ranges from $12-$35 but is half off during happy hour, that is on weekdays from 5:00 to 6:00. They also offer other great deals on pricier items. It is a great place to sit down and have lunch with family and friends.
5) Hawthorne’s Backyard
Tucked away in the most unlikely corner of West Chicago is Hawthorne’s Backyard. Hawthorne’s backyard is a barbecue restaurant and bar that has a large menu. From calzones, to burgers, to barbecue, to chicken pot pie, they have it all, and it’s delicious. The environment is perfect for families and when you go, make sure to sit outside if the weather is nice, because they have lots of activities. Hawthorne’s Backyard is complete with a volleyball court, bag boards, and a wiffle ball field where you can spend time before and after your meal.
6) Downtown Naperville
Downtown Naperville is extremely underrated. It is a bit of a drive, but it is completely worth it and there is so much to do. Downtown Naperville has endless stores, restaurants, and boutiques, so you are sure to find at least one that is perfect for you. They also have coffee, ice cream, and candy shops on almost every block if you’re looking to treat yourself with a little snack. It is a great place to spend a day with friends and when you’re tired of shopping and eating, they have a riverwalk that is a nice place to take a stroll.
7) Michigan Avenue
Michigan Avenue in Chicago is definitely a day trip worth taking with your family or friends. In walking distance from the train station, it seems to have endless stores and restaurants you could spend hours in. From your everyday stores and restaurants like Nike, Gap, Ulta, and Burger King, to more uncommon places like Burberry, Uniqlo, Shake Shack, and Dylan’s Candy Bar, Michigan Avenue has it all.
8) Rosemont Park Place
Park Place in Rosemont has tons of excitement within blocks. Rosemont is about a half-hour drive from Batavia and has plenty of restaurants and even an outlet mall nearby that is perfect for spending your day off. Family friendly, Park Place has restaurants like Sugar Factory, The Höfbrauhaus, and King’s and also has many entertainment options such as iFly indoor skydiving, AMC Rosemont Theatre, and bowling at King’s. And if that’s not enough for you, then head across the street to the Rosemont Outlet Mall which has over 100 stores.
9) Starved Rock
Starved Rock State Park is the perfect place for your weekend trip if you love the outdoors. It is in Oglesby and was voted the best attraction in Illinois. Illinois is the flattest state in the U.S, but that fact is not apparent at all when you visit the park and it’s many waterfalls. It is a little over an hour drive to get to the park, but hiking along the 13 miles of trails through the sandstone canyons is definitely worth it. You can also fish and boat in the Illinois River, which runs through the park.
10) Millennium Park
Millennium Park is another location in Chicago and is in walking distance from the train station. Visiting Millennium Park is the perfect day trip for you and your friends. Attractions like The Bean and the concert area known as Jay Pritzker Pavilion are free and are great places to take photos, grab a bite to eat, and relax in the grass. The Pavilion also hosts concerts every so often and is a great place to enjoy music.