This village is on the border between DuPage and Cook counties in the Chicago suburbs. One of Hanover Park’s great assets is the amount of public natural land that can be discovered on foot, by bike or even on skis in the winter.
These have interlinking trail systems, so despite being in a large metropolitan area you can go on long hikes in the south of Hanover Park, crossing a series of forest preserves and hardly encounter a vehicle.
In summer there’s plenty going on in the village, whether it’s an outdoor concert, movie screening or car show, and at this time of year the public aquatic center is a must for families.
There are lots of interesting things to check out in the neighboring villages, from a professional baseball team to a marvellous Hindu temple, eateries serving classic Chicago comfort food, and even the oldest and largest winery in all of Illinois.
1. Mallard Lake Forest Preserve
The largest recreational lake in DuPage County can be found to the south of Hanover Park, at this 948-acre preserve.
Mallard Lake is on the site of gravel and peat quarries that were worked in the 1950s, but the land was soon purchased by the district to be returned to nature, and the preserve has grown steadily since the 1960s.
Mallard Lake is a fishing hotspot for its muskie, northern pike, crappie, bluegill, catfish and largemouth bass, while on land there are four miles of trails.
These will take you through open fields and woodlands, but also through wetlands via a special 2.5-mile boardwalk trail. Among the many wild species to look out for are kestrels, red-tailed hawks, beavers and great blue herons.
2. Seafari Springs Aquatic Center
Managed by the Hanover Park Park District is a great little outdoor water park that wouldn’t look out of place at a resort.
Open during the summer, Seafari Springs has three water slides, a drop slide, a diving area, a zero-depth entry wading pool and a shallow play area for younger kids.
The center is embedded in greenery, with a lovely picnic area and plenty of lounge chairs for parents who need some timeout. There’s a discount for Hanover Park residents, and entry is usually cheaper after 5 pm.
3. Schaumburg Boomers
There’s a professional baseball team just one stop on the Metra from Hanover Park. Formed in 2012 and playing in the Midwestern Division of the Frontier League, the Schaumburg Boomers are based at the beautiful Wintrust Field.
This 7,365-seater stadium was built in 1999 to host the now defunct Schaumburg Flyers and has been used as a training site by the Chicago White Sox.
The Boomers, named for the dance of the male Greater Prairie Chicken, have had a successful first decade of existence, taking two division and three league championships.
The roster is dotted with up-and-coming talent and maybe some familiar MLB faces, and puts on spectacular post-game fireworks for every Friday and Saturday home game.
4. Green Valley Golf Range
For families looking for something to do in summer, this driving range on E Lake Street is one to keep in mind.
If you’re a keen golfer working on your swing you’ve got 80 lighted hitting stations, 20 of which are under cover and heated during the winter months.
There’s a special area to fine tune your short game, with a putting green, sand trap and chipping area.
Green Valley Golf Range has been open since 1969 and also caters to families, with an 18-hole miniature golf course and some of the best ice cream and dole whip you could hope to try.
5. Hawk Hollow
Right next to Mallard Lake, this DuPage County forest preserve is also on the West Branch DuPage River and is linked by the North Central DuPage Regional Trail, which we’ll talk about in more detail later.
Hawk Hollow is expansive, at more than 1,100 acres, and is made up of flower-rich meadows, fens and mature woodlands.
The grassland is a vital habitat for savanna, grasshopper and Henslow’s sparrows, as eastern meadowlarks and bobolinks, to name a few.
There are 5.6 miles of trails in the preserve, which can feel far removed from the suburbs, creating one of the county’s largest unbroken blocks of grassland.
At the north end, just off Stearns Road is the Hawk Hollow Dog Park, ideal for walking pups off leash, with separate areas for larger and smaller dogs.
6. North Central DuPage Regional Trail
Between Roselle in the east and Wayne in the west, this 19-mile multi-use trail weaves through DuPage County’s northern communities, connecting a series of parks and nature preserves along the route.
In Hanover Park the trail runs through the Mallard Lake Forest Preserve and Hawk Hollow for a long walk or bike ride in pristine nature.
At the time of writing the path was nearing completion, and before long you’ll be able to travel from the Elgin Branch of the Illinois Prairie Path to Busse Woods, ten miles east of Hanover Park, without having to use your car.
7. Hanover Park Car & Motorcycle Show
An event with a good cause, the Hanover Park Car & Motorcycle Show raises funds for local youth summer camp programs.
The show takes place on the first Sunday in August at the Hanover Park Metra lot. This is a free event, open to all ages and features eye-popping displays of classic muscle cars and more.
Prize categories include Best Engine, Best Paint and Best of Show. And alongside these vehicles there will be live music, a range of food trucks and a 50/50 raffle.
8. Wednesday Night Live!
The Hanover Park Sports Complex at 1200 Sycamore Avenue has had a new outdoor pavilion erected especially for events like this one.
Wednesday Night Live! is a series of free summer concerts from mid-June to early August. The program is designed to suit all tastes and the bands booked for the concerts run the gamut from classic rock to country and Latin music.
The concerts start at 7 pm, and you’re welcome to bring lawn chairs, blankets and your own food and beverages.
9. Movies in the Park
A wonderful way to spend a summer evening in Hanover Park is with friends or family watching a movie at sunset.
The Movies in the Park program runs from early June through mid-August and has screenings in East Harbor Park, Community Park and Hanover Park Sports Complex.
The movies are always recent, family friendly releases, with a preference for animated Pixar and Dreamworks releases.
The movies start at dusk but there are usually activities beforehand. Remember to bring a blanket or lawn chair, while snacks and refreshments are available.
10. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
There’s an astonishing sight in Hanover Park’s Tri Village neighbor, Bartlett, a little way to the southwest.
Built for the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha Hindu denomination is a magnificent mandir or temple.
On almost 30 acres of grounds, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir went up in the early 2000s and you need to take a close look to gauge the true level of workmanship that has gone into it.
Fortunately the mandir opens its doors to visitors throughout the week, and stages regular tours.
This is worthwhile to learn some of the facts behind construction. For instance much of the building material was sourced from Carrara, Italy (marble) and Turkey (limestone), before being shipped to Rajasthan where some 2,000 craftsmen produced the intricate carvings that adorn many of the surfaces.
11. Brandy’s Gyros
A fast-growing small chain specific to the Chicago area, Brandy’s Gyros is fast food with a Greek twist.
Of course, gyros are a big part, composed of well-seasoned meat on pita and topped with cucumber sauce, onions and tomatoes.
Pair that with a Greek salad, or try the souvlaki, kabob, spinach pie (spanakopita) or the pastitsio.
Also on the menu is a wide variety of hunger-stomping Chicago-area favorites, like hot dogs, Polish sausage and subs, as well as burgers, ribs, pasta tacos, rotisserie chicken, fish and chips and a range of salads.
12. Lynfred Winery
Roselle, minutes from Hanover Park, is the headquarters for the oldest continually operated winery in the state.
Starting out in the cellars of the Fenz Home (1912), an elegant restored house in Roselle, Lynfred Winery was founded by the couple, Lynn and Fred Koehler in 1979.
Since that time the brand has won numerous awards and has opened tasting rooms in Wheaton, Wheeling and Naperville.
With a process overseen by noted Chilean winemakers, the winery imports grapes from California and Washington, but also Illinois and Michigan to craft a wide array of wines, from Chardonnay to Merlot, including dessert wines, Ports and a lineup of sparkling wines.
The tasting room at Roselle is open daily for tastings and purchases, and you can enjoy flights or wine by the glass, both inside and outside.
13. Firehouse Dogs
Effortlessly close is this old-school Chicago-style hot dog joint in Schaumburg. Opened in 2016, Firehouse Dogs is an homage to the classic Chicago hot dog spots that have started to disappear.
At the soul of the concept is an attempt to rekindle the close relationship between eateries’ owners and their customers, along with real pride in the menu.
Naturally the Chicago-style beef dog, with everything on it is front and center, but there’s a lineup of other local favorites, like homemade Italian beef sandwiches and grilled Polish sausages, Maxwell Street-style.
You’ll also find an array of burgers, as well as gyros, salads and more.
14. West Branch Forest Preserve
This DuPage County forest preserve sits just beyond Hanover Park’s southern limits. Like Mallard Lake and Hawk Hollow, the West Branch Forest Preserve is threaded by the West Branch DuPage River.
The preserve is best known for the 40-acre Deep Quarry Lake and neighboring Bass Lake, which occupy most of the northern portion.
These have large numbers of carp, sunfish, bass, crappie, bluegill and channel and flathead catfish.
There are more than two miles of trails to explore through the preserve’s former farmland, slowly being returned to native prairie, and the system connects with Hawk Hollow to the north.
15. Atcher Park
Another attraction just across the boundary in Schaumburg is this neighborhood park with a tropical themed water park, dubbed Atcher Island.
You can reach Atcher Park from Hanover Park via a mixed use trail that sets off from Ranger Park opposite the Westview Center, heading east through Fox Park and then forking into Old Salem Park (south) and Atcher Park (north) in Schaumburg.
Something special about Atcher Island is its unusual circular drop slide, while there’s an impressive sprayground for little ones and a spacious beach-entry wading pool.