The city of Joliet is nested in Will County and is known in the local area for its plethora of diverse attractions that will appeal to a range of visitors, whether you are travelling solo, in a couple, or as part of a family. Joliet has a huge amount to see and do for anyone who makes the journey to this part of Illinois, and you will find shopping and dining options galore.
There is also a strong dedication to the arts which can be seen in the theaters and galleries that abound in this city, so art lovers will find plenty to keep them busy. If you are looking for some action, then Joliet is the place to find it, as you can attend fun and adrenalin packed sporting events such as NASCAR races as well as baseball games courtesy of the local team.
I’m an Illinois local and have traveled the length and breadth of the state. I’m sure my list will inspire you on your next visit, here’s my take on the best things to do in Joliet:
1. Joliet Slammers Baseball
If you want to catch an all-American game of baseball in Joliet, look no further than the Joliet Slammers, the local professional baseball team, who play at the Silver Cross Field.
The field can seat 6,000 spectators and the Slammers are known for belonging to the Frontier League of Professional Baseball’s West Division, so know that you are watching some serious ball players in action if you get the chance to check out a game here.
The best thing to do if you fancy watching the Slammers is to check out local listings when you are in town to see when they will be playing.
2. Bird Haven Greenhouse and Conservatory
The Bird Haven Greenhouse and Conservatory is nestled on the larger Pilcher Park, which itself stretches for 630 acres.
At the greenhouse and conservatory, you can expect to find beautiful flower features, many of which have won awards, and you can sign up for a guided tour that will take you around the facility and explain all about the local flora and fauna of the Illinois area.
3. Joliet Area Historical Museum
Come to the Joliet Area Historical Museum if you want to know all about how this city came to be and how it expanded into the powerhouse that it is today.
The museum has a range of interactive exhibits that encourage visitors to get hands on as they learn their history, and you will find a huge range of galleries such as the Route 66 Experience, the War Heroes Gallery, and the Children’s Discovery Room.
As if that wasn’t enough, there are new exhibits added all the time, such as The Soaring Achievements of John C. Houbolt which tells the story of the famous Apollo missions. I recommended spending at least a few hours here.
Further reading: Most Beautiful places to visit in Illinois
4. Chicago Speedway and Route 66 Speedway
Anyone who feels the need for speed when they are in Joliet should think about heading down to the Chicago Speedway and Route 66 Speedway which opened in 2001. The facility has the claim to fame of being the largest sporting venue in Illinois and has seen a range of high profile events held here such as the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
As well as watching a race here, you can also visit the adjacent Champions Park which is filled with live entertainment, interactive exhibits, and a special zone for children to enjoy.
At the Route 66 Speedway, which is the neighboring track of the Chicago Speedway, you can get behind the wheel yourself and even drive your own NASCAR.
5. Friends of Community Public Art
Art lovers should make sure not to miss a visit to the Friends of Community Public Art which has scheduled tours of the public art murals dotted around the city as well as the mosaic sculpture studios in Joliet.
Here you can watch as local artists create works of art in front of your very eyes, and learn all about the growing art scene in this part of Illinois.
You can also purchase a selection of art work here as a souvenir of your trip.
6. Splash Station Waterpark
For anyone looking to cool off in the Illinois summer, a trip to the Splash Station Waterpark is not to be missed. At the park you will find over 20 acres of water based attractions including iconic rides such as Miner’s Mountain and Raging Rapids Ravine.
For something a little calmer, you can also check out features such as the Pelican Pond and the Sandy Play Area, and there are also dining options onsite if you get hungry after all the water based fun.
7. Hollywood Casino Joliet
If you are feeling lucky when you are in Joliet, consider a trip to the Hollywood Casino where you can enjoy over 1,000 slot and video poker machines.
If you prefer, there are also a wide range of gaming tables here with games such as blackjack and poker, and there is also live poker daily held at the casino.
As well as the actual casino building and gaming floors there is also a hotel here and an RV resort.
8. Jacob Henry Mansion Estate
The Jacob Henry Mansion Estate dates from 1873 when Jacob A. Henry built this mansion on what used to be called ‘Silk Stocking Row’. The mansion sprawls over 16,800 square feet and features 40 lavishly decorated rooms, many of which are covered in black oak and walnut.
As you would expect, the mansion is now listed as a National Historic Landmark in Joliet, and is said to be one of the most beautiful Victorian buildings in the region.
You can come here to admire the gorgeous architecture of the mansion in its own right, or there are fun events held here such as the Jacob Henry Mansion Estate Dinner Theater where you can enjoy a lunch matinee that consists of a home cooked meal coupled with a musical production.
Related: 23 Amazing Hidden Gems in Illinois
9. Rialto Square Theatre
The Rialto Square Theatre first opened its doors in 1926, and it has been entertaining visitors in Joliet ever since.
The theater is known for booking some top performers in the United States, and you can expect a range of shows here such as Broadway spectacles, dance recitals, musical concerts, and much more.
If you want an entertaining evening out while you are in town, I suggest checking out their program before your visit.
10. Provena Saint Joseph Inwood Athletic Club
Opened in 2007, the Provena Saint Joseph Inwood Athletic Club spans an impressive 65,000 square feet and has a huge range of facilities for guests.
The best thing about the club is that you don’t have to be a member to visit, as day passes are available here, so you can come an enjoy the 25 yard indoor pool even if you are only visiting Joliet briefly.
There is also 10,000 square feet of fitness space and equipment, as well as a whirlpool and steam room if you want to relax after a workout.
11. Westfield Louis Joliet Mall
For some retail therapy in Joliet look no further than the Westfield Louis Joliet Mall where you will find an array of stores all under one roof.
The mall is known for its flagship stores such as Macy’s, Sears, and JC Penney, and you will also find a mixture of local brands here as well.
There are also a range of eateries on site in case you get hungry while you shop.
12. Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel
For anyone who wants to try their luck, a trip to the Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel is not to be missed when you are in town.
The casino is known for its superb gaming floors and is open until 6 o’clock in the morning, which means that you can keep playing through the night.
As well as the gaming tables and slot machines here, there are also an array of dining options such as a steakhouse and a diner.
13. Inwood Golf Course
Inwood Golf Course first opened its doors all the way back in 1931 and although it has been renovated since, it still retains an old world charm.
The course here is perfect for a range of different golf skills and there is also a putting green and a driving range so that you can practice all aspects of your golf game when you come.
There is also a concession area and a bar on site as well as a pro shop where you can pick up any equipment that you might need.
14. Pilcher Park
Pilcher Park is often said by locals to be the premium attraction in Joliet and you need to come here if you want to get a glimpse of the amazing flora and fauna in this part of Illinois.
Aside from its natural beauty, Pilcher Park is also home to the Pilcher Park Nature Center where you will get to see display animals from the region and where you can also learn all about the landscape of Joliet and wider Illinois.
You can also book a guided tour here with a naturalist who will answer any questions that you may have.
15. CPX Sports/Challenge Xtreme
CPX Sports is not to be missed if you love paintball and want to spend a day out with friends or family.
You can also come here as a solo traveler or as part of a group, and you will be able to explore over 150 acres of terrain that will mean that you will have to use all your skill to avoid being a paintball target.
The facility is open year round and is a great place to come if you want to get outside and experience some fun in the Joliet area.