Naperville Travel Guide

Discover the best things to see and do in Naperville, from hiking and biking trails to museums and historical sites. Find out where to stay, what to eat, and how to get around in this charming town.

Introduction to Naperville

Nestled in the heart of Chicagoland in the Western Suburbs of Illinois, Naperville is a charming town with a rich history and cultural heritage. Originally founded in the 19th century, it has evolved into a modern city with a thriving downtown, superb restaurants, and a vibrant arts and cultural scene.

Whether you’re here for a family vacation, a romantic weekend getaway, or a business trip, Naperville offers something for everyone. From museums and historical sites to outdoor adventures, explore the best things to see and do in Naperville with this comprehensive guide.

List of Places to Visit in Naperville

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Naperville is home to several world-class museums and historical sites that offer a glimpse into the town’s rich history and cultural heritage. Here are a few must-visit destinations:

  • Naper Settlement: Take a step back in time and explore historic buildings and exhibits that showcase life in 19th century Naperville.
  • DuPage Children’s Museum: A hands-on museum with interactive exhibits, designed for children of all ages.
  • Moser Tower and Millennium Carillon: Climb up 253 steps to the top of this 160-feet tower and enjoy panoramic views of Naperville while listening to the sounds of the world-famous carillon.
  • Nichols Library: One of the oldest public libraries in Illinois, with gorgeous architecture and numerous exhibits.

Natural Attractions of Naperville: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

With its parks, nature reserves, and scenic trails, Naperville is a great place to explore the great outdoors. Here are a few top spots to visit:

  • Riverwalk: Take a stroll along this scenic pathway and enjoy art exhibits, fountains, and lush landscaping.
  • Herrick Lake Forest Preserve: A popular spot for picnicking, hiking, fishing, and birdwatching.
  • Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve: Home to several rare bird species and the largest grassland in DuPage County.
  • Naperville Biking and Hiking Trails: With over 130 miles of biking and hiking trails, explore some of the best views in the Western Suburbs.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Naperville

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a casual cyclist, Naperville offers numerous trails and routes to explore. Here are a few popular options:

  • Riverwalk Trail: A scenic path that runs alongside the DuPage River, with several stops on the way for art installations and resting areas.
  • Naperville Biking and Hiking Trails: With over 130 miles of trails, explore scenic views and nature preserves.
  • Centennial Beach: Take a dip in the Naperville’s own beach area while enjoying the adjacent 1.5-mile paved trail that goes around the quarry lake and park.

Best Things to Do in Naperville: Activities and Tours

Naperville offers a wide range of activities and tours, from wine tastings to sightseeing adventures. Here are a few popular options:

  • Wine Walk Wednesdays: Visit downtown Naperville on Wednesday evenings and enjoy a variety of wines, appetizers, and live music.
  • Naperville Trolley Tour: Discover Naperville’s history and architectural landmarks on a guided, historic tour.
  • Escape Rooms: Challenge your friends and family to solve puzzles and clues in a themed room.
  • Paddleboat Rentals on the Riverwalk: Rent a paddleboat and row along the picturesque DuPage River.

Week-Long Itinerary for Naperville

If you’re planning on a week-long vacation in Naperville, here’s an itinerary that covers some of the town’s most exciting attractions and activities:

Day Activity
Day 1 Visit Naper Settlement and DuPage Children’s Museum
Day 2 Hike in Herrick Lake Forest Preserve and have a wine tasting at Cooper’s Hawk
Day 3 Tour Naperville historic landmarks and enjoy dinner at Meson Sabika
Day 4 Visit Nichols Library and paddleboat rental on the Riverwalk
Day 5 Explore Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve and have dinner at Catch 35
Day 6 Climb Moser Tower and Millennium Carillon and have lunch at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
Day 7 Biking and Hiking Trail Exploration and dine at Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House

Food and Drink Scene of Naperville

If you’re a foodie, then Naperville won’t disappoint you. The downtown area features a huge number of restaurants, cafes, and pubs with a wide variety of cuisines and specialties. Here are a few dishes you shouldn’t miss:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Chicago-Style Pizza at Lou Malnati’s: Sample some of the best deep-dish pizza in town, with fresh ingredients and a flaky crust.
  • Beef Sandwich at Portillo’s: Slow-roasted beef dipped in savory gravy and served on a freshly-baked roll.
  • Chili at Jackson Avenue Pub: A hearty bowl of homemade chili topped with cheese and onions.
  • Butter Chicken at Curry Bowl: Tender chicken in a rich, creamy tomato curry sauce, served over rice.

Local Beverages

  • Beer at Two Brothers Brewing: Sample a variety of microbrews at this popular brewery and taproom.
  • Wine at Cooper’s Hawk: Enjoy a variety of wines, made in-house with locally-sourced grapes.
  • Specialty Cocktails at Vai’s Italian Inspired: Sip on trendy and classic drinks while enjoying Italian-inspired bites in a cozy atmosphere.

Where to Stay in Naperville: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Naperville offers a variety of accommodations to suit your needs, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses. Here are a few options:

  • Hotel Indigo: A stylish hotel with modern rooms, a fitness center, and a rooftop bar.
  • Country Inn & Suites: A comfortable and budget-friendly hotel with a hot breakfast, pool, and fitness center.
  • Hotel Arista: A luxury hotel with a spa, fine dining, and a rooftop terrace.
  • Airbnb: Find unique local-type stays available in Naperville and the surrounding area, that cater to a variety of lifestyles, budgets, and preferences.

What to Buy in Naperville: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

If you’re looking for a souvenir or a unique gift to bring home from Naperville, here are a few ideas:

  • Naperville Riverwalk Map: A beautiful map that highlights the town’s scenic trails, parks, and landmarks.
  • Handmade Crafts at Naper Settlement: Support local artisans and find one-of-a-kind crafts, jewelry, and artworks.
  • Wine from Cooper’s Hawk: Take home a bottle of wine from this popular local winery, made with locally-sourced grapes.

Local Culture and Customs of Naperville

Naperville is a welcoming and friendly community that values diversity and inclusivity. Visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves in the local culture and participate in community events and festivals.

Best Time to Visit Naperville

The best time to visit Naperville is during the fall season (September to November) when the leaves turn gold and red and the weather is mild and comfortable. The spring season (March to May) is also a great time to visit when the weather is pleasant, and flowers start blooming. The winter season (December to February) is cold and snowy but offers the unique opportunity to experience winter sports and events.

Do’s and Don’ts of Naperville


  • Do take a stroll along the Riverwalk, one of the town’s most scenic attractions.
  • Do try some of the famous deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs.
  • Do explore the numerous hiking/biking trails and nature preserves.
  • Do engage with the local community and participate in events and festivals.
  • Do keep your surroundings clean and dispose of trash responsibly.


  • Don’t litter or damage natural resources.
  • Don’t trespass or climb on historic landmarks or buildings.
  • Don’t drink and drive or engage in reckless behavior.
  • Don’t disturb wildlife or bring prohibited pets to natural preserves.
  • Don’t forget to show respect and courtesy to local residents and visitors.

Safety and Health

Safety in Naperville

Naperville is a relatively safe town, with low crime rates and a friendly community. However, visitors are advised to take some basic safety precautions, such as:

  • Locking doors and windows while staying at a hotel or guesthouse.
  • Using a GPS or reliable map for navigation in unfamiliar areas.
  • Avoiding isolated or deserted areas at night.
  • Being aware of surroundings in crowded public places.

Health in Naperville

Naperville offers several medical facilities, hospitals, and clinics that provide high-quality medical care and emergency services. Visitors are advised to carry their health/medical insurance and contact local emergency services in case of an emergency or illness.

Getting to Naperville: Transportation Options and Logistics

Naperville is located about 30 miles west of Chicago and is easily accessible by several modes of transportation.

Airports Near Naperville

  • O’Hare International Airport: Located about 35 miles east of Naperville, O’Hare is the primary airport serving the Chicago metropolitan area.
  • Midway International Airport: Located about 30 miles southeast of Naperville, Midway is a smaller airport that is closer to the city center.

Bus Stations Near Naperville

  • Naperville Station: A Metra station located in downtown Naperville with commuter train services to Chicago and other nearby towns.
  • Greyhound Station: A bus station located in downtown Chicago that offers services to Naperville and other nearby towns.

Other Options

  • Car Rental: Several car rental companies offer services at the airports and in Naperville.
  • Taxi and Ride-sharing Services: Several taxi and ride-sharing services offer services in Naperville.
  • Biking and Hiking Trails: Explore the town and surrounding areas on bike or foot using the numerous trails and routes.

How to Get Around in Naperville

Getting around Naperville is relatively easy, with several transportation options available, including:

  • Walking: Most downtown attractions and restaurants are within walking distance.
  • Biking: Naperville offers several bike-friendly routes and trails.
  • Public Transportation: The Metra commuter train station and local bus services connect Naperville to other nearby towns and Chicago.
  • Taxi and Ride-sharing Services: Several taxi and ride-sharing services offer services in Naperville.

Where to Go Next from Naperville: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Naperville is a great starting point if you’re interested in exploring the greater Chicagoland area. Here are a few nearby destinations and excursions:

  • Chicago: A vibrant and bustling metropolis with world-class museums, restaurants, and shopping.
  • Morton Arboretum: Located in nearby Lisle, this nature preserve is home to over 200,000 trees and plants.
  • Starved Rock State Park: Located about 90 miles southwest of Naperville, this beautiful park features waterfalls and canyons perfect for hiking, boating, and camping.


Naperville is a hidden gem in the Western Suburbs of Chicagoland, with a vibrant downtown scene, a rich history, and a wide variety of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re here for a relaxing vacation, a business trip, or a family outing, this guide will help you make the most of your stay in Naperville.