Home to more than 36,000, Addison is a village in DuPage County in metropolitan Chicago. Addison is crossed by two major arteries, the US 20 and I-290, putting it just 20 minutes from the Chicago loop.
There’s never a shortage of things for families to do in Addison, with an indoor amusement center, the largest bowling alley in Illinois, a cinema multiplex, a laser tag arena, nine-hole golf course and indoor karting track all close by.
There’s also plentiful nature, especially along the banks of Salt Creek, which you can traverse along a 27-mile greenway.
And while almost all of the village has been developed since the 1960s there’s a cute little historic district, home to Addison’s historical museum by the Colonial Revival-style Village Hall.
1. Salt Creek Greenway Trail
Following the route of the namesake watercourse, this multi-use trail travels for almost 27 miles through the suburbs between Brookfield Zoo in the southeast and Busse Woods in the northwest.
On the way the Salt Creek Greenway Trail connects a long string of Cook and DuPage County forest preserves, as well as neighborhood parks like Community Park in Addison.
There’s a long, unbroken stretch of the trail, passing along the east side of the village, from Cricket Creek County Forest Preserve north to Oak Meadows.
The trail has its origins as a path for horseback riding and was first mentioned as long ago as 1964.
2. Addison Historical Museum
Right by the public library and Village Hall, the Addison Historical Museum is on a campus with three historic buildings.
The anchor here is the Balzer Residence, dating to 1892 and housing engaging displays about the village’s past, with particularly rich collections for decorative arts, antique musical instruments, military history and toys.
Next door is the coach house, which for decades was used as an office by the Addison Township Clerk.
Inside this building there’s a re-created clerk’s office, as well as a diorama of the old Addison State Bank and displays relating to agricultural and domestic life in Addison in days gone by.
Finally there’s the Century House (1893) raised for the house staff of St. Paul’s Lutheran School, and restored to its late 19th-century appearance to give a sense of local life in that period.
3. Community Park
Incorporating Addison Park District’s Community Rec Center, this spacious park is on the west bank of Salt Creek and is a handy access point for the Salt Creek Greenway Trail.
The Rec Center houses a gymnasium with a full-size basketball court, while outside, Community Park boasts a wealth of amenities.
In 50 acres there’s a playground, tot playground, splashpad, outdoor fitness equipment and a sledding hill in winter.
Elsewhere you’ve got facilities for bocce, shuffleboard and horseshoes, as well as fields for baseball and soccer, and a basketball half-court and sand volleyball courts.
4. Safari Land
A few minutes to the south at the Villa DuPage Shopping Center there’s a giant indoor amusement park in more than 62,000 square feet.
As well as 12 lanes of bowling and an arcade with more that 100 games, Safari Land has a soft play area, kids’ go-karts, bumper cars and a lineup of indoor carnivals rides, including a tilt-a-whirl, merry-go-round and even a rollercoaster.
The bowling alley offers cosmic and blacklight bowling for no extra charge, while Safari Land’s restaurant serves up Chicago favorites like Italian beef, Maxwell Street Polish sausage and Chicken parmigiana.
5. Stardust Bowl
Just off Addison Road in the heart of the village is an enormous bowling alley that has been around for more than half a century and recently completed a multimillion-dollar upgrade.
With 84 lanes, Stardust Bowl is the largest alley in the state, using the state-of-the-art AMF QUBICA scoring/entertainment system and free Wi-Fi.
To go with this are four lounges, including the Galaxy Lounge, which has 24 beers on tap, pool tables and multiple HD screens, always showing the big game.
You’ve also got a video gaming lounge, full-service pro shop and the “Big Labowlski” Grill, for pizza, burgers, sandwiches and small bites.
6. K1 Speed
The K1 Speed chain of indoor karting tracks has a location right here in Addison, on the west side of the village.
An indoor track has obvious advantages, especially in the Chicago area, offering year-round racing seven days a week.
Instead of noisy and polluting gas-powered karts, K1 Speed uses modern, European-built electric karts, able to reach 45 mph and with maximum torque at all speeds.
K1 Speed is ideal for corporate events, teambuilding, parties for all ages and also league racing, but also caters to casual, walk-in racers with packages of one, two or three races.
7. Centennial Park
This park, sitting beside the Addison Water Tower has more amenities than any other in the village.
That is partly down to the Addison Park District Club Fitness center, which has an indoor pool, a sauna, a busy program of classes and a superb gym with numerous machines and free weights.
Outside, Centennial Park has gradually been improved over the years, and now has sports amenities for baseball, tennis and soccer, as well as a fishing pond, walking loop, a shelter and picnic tables.
8. Lazer X
In the shadow of Addison’s water tower by Centennial Park is an old school laser tag arena, in business for more than 20 years.
Moving with the times, Lazer X is an immersive space where you’ll be equipped with computerized vests and phasers.
You’ll have to contend with your opponents of course, but also tricky interactive elements like robotic creatures and mines.
Under the same roof is a constantly updated arcade, with air hockey tables and a handful of retro machines.
9. Marcus Addison Cinema
With Streamline Moderne stylings, this multiplex opened next to Centennial Park in 1996. Marcus Addison Cinema has no fewer than 21 screens, all with stadium seating.
A much-loved recent innovation is DreamLounger reclining seating, taking you from upright to a full recline at the touch of a button and offering seven feet of leg space between rows.
As with most theaters there’s a list of specials, including cheaper tickets all day on Tuesdays and reductions for students on Thursdays.
10. Lake Manor Park
Unlike the other parks in this list, this peaceful 13-acre park is designed mainly for passive recreation.
Lake Manor Park encompasses a large pond with a fountain, and has a scenic track for walkers and joggers around the shore, a section of which is made up of boardwalk over the water.
The pond is a magnet for water birds, and families visit to feed the geese and ducks (birdseed, not bread). There’s a shelter by the path, as well as a playground, basketball hoop and baseball field.
11. The Preserve at Oak Meadows
Embedded in a DuPage County forest preserve in the north of Addison, this public golf course has won a raft of awards following a conservation-oriented renovation in 2017.
The 18-hole course is fully integrated into a water-rich natural habitat, helping to manage stormwater on the Salt Creek floodplain.
Grazed by the Salt Creek Greenway Trail, The Preserve at Oak Meadows is a par 72 on both banks of Salt Creek, with a maximum yardage of 7089 from the tips.
Water is practically ever-present on this course, and comes into play on at least half the holes, several of which cross the creek itself (3,5,8,9,10,16). There’s a large practice area by the clubhouse, featuring a driving range and practice green.
12. Wood Dale Grove Forest Preserve
Across the road from The Preserve at Oak Meadows is another important natural feature, on the Tinley Moraine.
This landform was created at the end of the last Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago, when rocks and soil were deposited around Lake Michigan.
Waiting to be discovered at Wood Dale Grove are upland forest and savanna, as well as ephemeral ponds and wetlands, and a natural wet prairie.
Blue-gray gnatcatchers, black cuckoos and hooded warblers nest in the preserve, while migratory birds like ruby-crowned kinglets, yellow-rumped warblers and common loons all stop by.
The parcel of upland savanna can be found in the northern portion of the preserve and supports gorgeous spring perennials like trout lilies, rue anemones, spring beauties and jack-in-the-pulpits.
13. Links & Tees 9-Hole Golf Course
Part of the Addison Park District is an executive par 3 course touted as the finest in the Midwest. Links & Tees has more that 1,100 yards of bentgrass tees, fairways and greens and is designed to test players of all standards.
This is an ideal introduction for less experienced players, while longtime golfers can work on their approach play and precision shots.
There’s also a practice range with more than 50 hitting stations, and a short game area with an expansive putting green, chipping green and practice bunker.
14. Addison Ice Arena
Addison is home to one of the top indoor skate facilities in Chicagoland, found a short way west of Addison Road.
Addison Ice Arena is a center of excellence for hockey and figure skating, with an NHL-size rink and an Olympic rink, complemented by the Blue Line Bar & Grill restaurant.
A wide variety of programs are available for hockey and figure skating, from “pre hockey” for kids to campos, stick & puck and freestyle sessions.
If you want to hit the ice in your own time you can check the website for one of the regular public skate sessions, with rentals costing as little as $4.
15. Songbird Slough
This DuPage County forest preserve in the north of Addison is one the area’s favorite destinations for angling and birding.
Songbird Slough is named for the shallow glacial lake that makes up the southern section of the reserve, a remnant of the ancient Wisconsin Glacier.
More than 200 bird species have been recorded at the preserve, and listed species such as hooded mergansers, boblinks, warbling vireos, spotted sandpipers, marsh wrens and American woodcocks have all been known to use Songbird Slough as a breeding ground in recent years.
The 14-acre songbird lake is popular with anglers for channel catfish, bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass and northern pike, while there are several picnic areas and spacious grassy spaces by the preserve’s access road.