Often rated as one of the most livable places in the United States, Schaumburg is a northwestern suburb of Chicago, 30 miles outside the city.
Administratively, this is still a village, and beginning in the 1960s was transformed from a small rural community to an economic hub on the Golden Corridor, home to multinational companies like Zurich, IBM and Motorola.
Visitors have plenty to sink their teeth into at Schaumburg, not least the largest shopping center in Illinois at Woodfield Mall, and world-class artworks at the International Sculpture Park.
Schaumburg also has excellent public amenities, from water parks to an outdoor museum with a working historic farm and a creative natural playground.
1. International Sculpture Park
This extraordinary space on the grounds of the Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center is a collaboration between the Village of Schaumburg and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.
The International Sculpture Park comprises 20 acres of meadow and forest, and was laid out in the 1990s by Greek architect Ioannis Karalias. Placed throughout are captivating installations and sculptures.
A few of the artists featured are Nina Levy, Dennis Oppenheim, Charles de Montaigu, Egil Bauck Larssen and Jerzy Kenar. The Village of Schaumburg’s website has a link for an interactive map, giving you details about each artwork, its creator and location.
2. Spring Valley
A lovely place to reconnect with nature and Schaumburg’s past, Spring Valley is 135 acres of native habitats, from wetlands to streams, forests and open prairie.
The attraction is billed as an outdoor museum where you can wander along trails, take photos, paint and spot wildlife.
Waterfowl, deer and passerine birds abound here, and the whole place is a riot of colour in late spring and early summer when the wildflowers are in bloom.
We’ll talk about Spring Valley’s sub-attractions below, like the authentic Volkening Heritage Farm from the 19th century and the innovative Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground.
3. Volkening Heritage Farm
At this attraction in Spring Valley you can step back to Schaumburg’s roots. The Volkening Heritage Farm is a glimpse of the village in the 1880s when this was a German farming community.
You can make your way around the farm on an interpretive trail, meeting friendly docents in old-time dress, while kids will love seeing and petting domestic animals like horses, chickens, cattle and pigs.
At the homestead and accompanying barns you can check out period decoration and antique farming equipment.
Depending on the season, you can witness demonstrations of old-time skills, from cooking to planting and harvesting.
4. Olde Schaumburg Centre Farmers’ Market
A hotly anticipated summer mainstay, this producers-only market is held on Friday mornings from the beginning of June to the end of October.
The location is the Trickster Cultural Center Parking Lot off Roselle Road, where there’s a big gathering of vendors every week.
Sourced from the area, you’ll find pasture-raised meat, organic fruit and vegetables, freshwater fish, eggs, cheese, delectable baked goods, handmade cosmetics, honey, pickles, homemade salsas and much more.
The market also has a little food court, for anything from crepes to freshly roasted coffee, and you can take these to Schaumburg Town Square, right next door, for a picnic by the pond.
5. Schaumburg Boomers
Schaumburg has its own professional baseball team, and they’re based right by the village’s Metra station at Wintrust Field.
This stadium, able to hold 7,365, was inaugurated in 1999 for the now defunct Schaumburg Flyers, disbanded in 2010.
After a brief fallow period, the Schaumburg Boomers arrived in 2012 as part of the independent Frontier League.
Over the last decade the Boomers have taken three league and two division championships, and have a roster dotted with former and surely future big league stars.
Wintrust Field is a family-oriented place to watch a ballgame, with affordable tickets, lots of entertainment between innings and a calendar full of theme nights for kids.
6. Schweikher House
Schaumburg’s only listing on the National Register of Historic Places is the groundbreaking house and studio for the Mid-century Modern architect Paul Schweikher (1903-1997).
Designed for himself and his family, the Schweikher House was ready in 1938 and was used by the architect for decades.
Integrating eastern and western cultural sensibilities, this wood and brick property still looks fresh for its square angles and discreet profile, while elegantly dividing the living and working areas by a breezeway.
The Schweikher House opens regularly for tours, which last as long as 75 minutes and give you plenty of time to admire the verdant grounds and take photos.
7. Woodfield Mall
A shopping center of staggering dimensions, the Woodfield Mall is the largest in the state and one of the largest in the country.
Some 27 million people visit this mall annually, making it one of the most visited attractions in Chicagoland.
Woodfield Mall first opened in 1971 and has been given two multimillion-dollar remodels and expansions in the last ten years alone.
There are upwards of 200 stores, among them a mix of midmarket and luxury brands, from Gap to Apple, H&M, Lacoste, Hugo Boss, Michael Kors, Uniqlo, Zara and Armani Exchange.
One new addition is the sleek dining pavilion, with a host of food court favorites, and fast casual chains like Blaze Pizza, Chipotle and Charleys Philly Steaks.
8. Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground
Another of the fine attractions at Spring Valley is this nature-themed playspace immersing children in a native ecosystem.
The idea is to safely recreate the natural environments that children from previous generations were able to play in.
Bison’s Bluff includes a stream and pond, as well as a small tract of woodland and open space with grasses and forbs.
The three main environments are prairie, savanna and wetland, and using water, sand, wood, boulders and more, kids can take part in active and open-ended learning experiences.
They can build a beaver lodge, take a ride on a seed spinner, play musical instruments, scale the climbing wall, Bison’s Bluff, and slide down a rodent run.
9. Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology
For those with an eye for highly specialized museums, this library-museum relocated to Schaumburg from Park Ridge in 2014.
The institution was founded in 1933 by one Dr Paul Meyer Wood, who was then secretary-treasurer of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
The library holds some 13,000 books, serving as both a specialist medical library and a historical record, with a fascinating rare book room preserving letters, historic titles and other materials.
The museum has a sizable collection of anesthesiology equipment, from modern monitoring equipment to 19th-century masks and inhalers for ether and chloroform.
The History of Anesthesia exhibit is an interactive timeline for the field, landing on milestones like the first public demonstration of modern anesthesia in 1846 by dentist William T. G. Morton and surgeon John Collins Warren.
10. The Water Works Indoor Water Park
Schaumburg has some fantastic public recreation facilities, and this indoor pool complex can be found by the community recreation center.
Ideal for the Chicago area’s brutal winters, the Water Works Indoor Water Park combines a lap pool, beach entry pool and diving pool with three water slides, a rapid water channel, a water playground and a whirlpool/hot tub.
Also on hand is a bar and grill with reasonable prices.
11. Atcher Island
On the east side of the namesake park is a tropical-themed water park, perfect for families with younger children on hot summer days.
Being outdoors, Atcher Island is open June to August, and has two water slides descending from a tower, as well as a spacious wading pool and a sprayground with tons of fun equipment.
The circular drop slide is the kind of thing you’d expect to find in a destination water park. Those attractions are complemented by a concessions stand and lots of space to relax in the sun.
12. Medieval Times
The Chicago Castle for Medieval Times, one of ten around the country, is right here in Schaumburg and opened in 1991.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, Medieval Times is dinner theater in a large arena.
Over the course of a hearty meal, involving soup, rotisserie chicken and sweetcorn with no utensils, you’ll be regaled with feats of horsemanship, jousting, swordplay and falconry, all combined with a compelling storyline.
Aside from general admission there’s a menu of packages for priority access, VIP seating enclosures and inclusive group photos.
There’s also a souvenir shop, a dungeon that can be visited for an extra fee, and after the show you get to meet the talented performers.
13. Yu Kids Island
One of a handful of side attractions at Woodfield Mall is this expansive indoor playground with a variety of zones and colorful play equipment for active children, toddlers and babies.
For a quick summary there’s an 800 square foot jungle maze, a large bouncing bed with a climbable slide, a springy water pillow and soft carousels.
These are combined with all sorts of other spinning, bouncing and swinging equipment to ensure an hour or two of safe and engaging fun for wee ones.
14. LEGOLAND Discovery Center
Also at Woodfield Mall is a two-story LEGO experience with a range of activities based on the beloved construction toys.
The main event here is Miniland, a detailed model of the Windy City made up of 1 million bricks and recreating landmarks like the Bean, Willis Tower and Soldier Field.
Elsewhere kids can build their own car and then test drive it on the Giant Speed Ramp, or learn special tips and tricks from a Master Model Builder.
The LEGOLAND Discovery Center also has a couple of interactive rides, Kingdom Quest and Merlin’s Apprentice.
15. Busse Woods (Ned Brown Preserve)
Just off Schaumburg’s west flank is more than 3,500 acres of beautiful nature. A big chunk of this land is occupied by ancient flatwood forest, made up of black ash, swamp white oak and red maple, and found in damp, slow-draining environments.
The section south of Illinois 72 is water rich and you can rent a kayak or rowboat for a paddling adventure around the peaceful lake, which feels extremely remote despite being in a metropolitan area.
For cyclists there’s a large paved loop, more than ten miles long, as well as ample opportunity for hikes and cross-country skiing.
Since 1925 the woods have been home to an elk herd, kept inside an enclosed 17-acre pasture.