Summer has arrived and sunny days are no longer few and far between. Thankfully, we are have seen Illinois stay-at-home orders recede and summer venues open under revised COVID-19 regulations. While concerts, fairs and other festivities may still be under strict limitations, that doesn’t mean you can’t safely enjoy other summer activities the area has to offer. Here are a few hobby ideas for you to make the most out of your summer in the western suburbs of Chicago.
1. Frisbee Golf
Frisbee golf is an excellent way to soak up the sun and enjoy some of the best parks the western suburbs have to offer. Also referred to as disc golf, the sport has continued to grow in popularity among Chicago suburbanites. Plus, the western ‘burbs hold claim to some of the best frisbee golf courses in Illinois. As the name suggests, the sport is usually played on an 18-par course under similar rules to its putting cousin, golf. With starter disc sets under fifty dollars and most courses located on public parks that are free and open to the public, disc golf offers a more accessible option.
Some great courses to start your disc golf experience
Lockport – Dellwood Disc Golf (The Canyons) – Route 171 & Woods Drive. This course is one of the most popular in the western suburbs and offers an on-site pro-shop that regularly organizes tournaments.
Glenview – Community Park West Disc Golf Community – 1001 Zenith Drive.
Hinsdale – Katherine Legge Memorial Park Disc Golf Course – 5901 S. County Line Road.
Hoffman Estates – Black Bear Park Disc Golf Course -1500 Essex Drive, Hoffman Estates.
Naperville – Knoch Knolls Park Disc Golf Course – 336, Knoch Knolls Road.
For more information and reviews on frisbee golf courses in your area visit discgolf.com.
2. Cycling: Bi, Uni, or Recumbent
Cycling is on the rise with hobbyists exploring new challenges between the wheels. In addition to bicycling, unicycling and recumbent tricycling have seen continual growth in popularity over the past few years. The Chicago suburbs have also seen further expansion of cycling trails that spread across the the state and trail through many of northern Illinois’ natural forest preserves. Here are a few places to enjoy your preferred means of cycling outdoors this summer.
Orland Park Bikeway – West 159th Street. This trail runs through Orland’s beautiful Centennial Park and parallels South Ravinia Avenue where cyclists can find shops and restaurants along the street. Also check out the Orland Park Cyclery, 1445 John Humphrey Drive, to find all kinds of cycles and gear for your summer adventures.
Palos Heights Bike Trail – 7607 West College Drive. This trail offers an excellent location to connect to Cal-Sag Trail at its north end and the Tinley Creek Trail at its south end.
Midlothian Meadows – West 155th Street. From here, cyclists can access the Tinley Creek Trail and reach Turtlehead Lake. Motivated enthusiasts can connect from Tinley Creek Trails to Orland Park Bikeway at the north end and Palos Heights Bike Trail at 131st Street to further explore the larger cycling trail network.
Lombard– Lombard Illinois offers two great trails for cyclist to explore, the Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail and the Tall Grass Greenway Trail. This network of trails offers 104 trailways and covers approximately 1010 miles for enthusiasts to explore.
The western suburbs provide a complex network of creeks, rivers, and lakes that offer an array of activities for those seeking outdoor fun.
Many of these waterways hug beautiful parks and shoreline that can only be experienced through kayaking or canoeing. The cost to enjoy such a hobby varies depending on whether you are buying your own vessel or renting from a park. If you’re looking to buy a Kayak, you can find them being sold at many local department and sporting stores, including Costco and Dick’s Sporting Goods starting at about two hundred dollars. Below are some great places to Kayak in the Chicagoland area.
Naperville – Knoch Knolls Nature Center, 320 Knoch Knolls Road.
Des Plains – Northwestern Woods, Joseph Schwab Road & South Minor Street. Offers a great location for landing and launching kayaks and canoes.
Orland Park – Tampier Lake Boating Center, West 131 Street, west of South Wolf Road. Rentals are available at this location for around twenty dollars an hour.
Oak Forest – 167th Street, west of Cicero Ave. Offers launch and landing for boats.
More information on Kayaking around Chicago visit the Forest Preserves of Cook County website.
Archery is another hobby that has emerged with growing popularity across the country.
The western suburbs of Chicago offer a variety of areas and clubs for enthusiasts to practice target shooting and get involved in the sport. This hobby offers a variety of paths depending on one’s interests including target shooting, contest shooting, and hunting. Here are a few places to get started.
Oak Park – G Woods Archery, 624 South Oak Park Avenue. This archery range and shop offers classes for beginners.
Plainfield – Glisson Archery Range & Pro Shop, 22900 East Main Street.
Montgomery – The Archery Place, 1725 Crescent Lake Drive Ste B.
For more information about Archery in Illinois check out the Illinois Target Archery Association.
5. Outdoor Workouts
It can be difficult to get a good workout if you aren’t ready to go to the gym, but moving your exercise routine outdoors provides new possibilities. Try being part of an outdoor workout group and help motivate each other for a fun social activity while still being able to keep a healthy distance from other participates.
Many parks around the suburbs offer a wide range of spaces for running, cycling and other cardio activities that can leverage the natural elements of the outdoors. Many outdoor exercise enthusiasts prefer public parks for activities like high intensity interval training (HIIT) due to the challenges the natural environment offers.
Miss classes from the gym? Mobile apps or exercise groups are a great way to provide some structure to your outdoor workouts. Buyersguide.org provides a list of the top exercise APPs that offer a wide range of workouts including yoga and HIIT. If your looking to join a group or start your own, Meetup.com is a great place to get your exercise group organized.
Great parks in the western suburbs to start your outdoor routines
Tinley Park – Centennial Park, 7800 West 171st Street. Excellent park with nature trails, waterways, baseball diamonds and open picnic areas.
Buffalo Grove – Willow Stream Park, 651 Old Checker Road. This park boosts 54-acres with an outdoor pool, basketball, tennis courts, picnic areas and bike paths
Schaumburg – Volkening Lake, 900 West Schaumburg Road. Offers public recreation area, boating, fishing and picnic spots along with a concession stand.
Downers Grove – Patriots Park, 501 55th PI. A lesser know yet excellent location for exercise activities, the park nature trails, a pond and play areas for kids.
Oak Park – Scoville Park, 800 Lake Street. Designed by Danish-American architect Jen Jensen, this park offers plenty of space. It has great shaded areas for workouts on hot sunny days, along with beautiful walking paths for power walks.