A growing southwest suburban community anchored by a world-class shopping, dining and entertainment center and ready for new growth
Bolingbrook has the slogan "A Place to Grow" and, like most taglines, it was chosen for a reason. As a newer suburb incorporated in the 1960s, Bolingbrook has expanded in population and amenities over the years and continues to welcome new residents, businesses and entertainment and recreational attractions. Beyond its human and commercial growth, this village of about 75,000 spanning parts of both Will and DuPage Counties has pockets of natural growth, with a popular nature center, parks, ponds and, if not an actual brook, then Lily Cache Creek. Let’s check out the roots, branches and seeds of new growth in this southwest suburb.
There are places to discover nature’s beauty in and around Bolingbrook, each worth a visit for an afternoon or even just to wile away an hour or two, no matter the season or the reason.
Find a hideaway . . . at Hidden Oaks Conservation Area, which really isn’t that hidden, considering it’s one of this suburb’s main attractions. Channel your own Dr. Doolittle by visiting live animals at the nature center or watching the many birds that flock to this space, which also includes a scenic park and picnic spots. Savor sweet bounty later this year with a taste of honey harvested from the honeybee hives on the grounds.
Go fishing . . . or just enjoy the view, at Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm, which is stocked with trout as well as catfish. Show off your skills at one of the trout derbies held once a month in April, May, June and September. Don’t have bait? It’s OK, you can pick up worms, minnows and other supplies at the on-site bait and tackle shop.
Take a walk . . . and take in the sights at the 42-acre Gateway Wetlands. Bolingbrook is also home to the Lily Cache Wetlands, another area that highlights the importance of conservation and preservation.
Ride or stride along . . . the many bike and running paths in town, like the Lily Cache Greenway and a pathway at the aforementioned Gateway Wetlands.
See a sight for sore eyes . . . by viewing the spring blooms at Johansen Farms nursery and garden center when it re-opens in April. Save some dates for a visit between mid-September and Halloween, when the farm opens its popular pumpkin patch, fall festival and children’s zoo.
Look for the deepest roots around . . . by seeking out a locally famous 200-year-old sugar maple tree that grows along Weber Rd. near Maple Park Plaza. This was a spot for genteel picnics and dances among early residents of this once-agrarian area.
Learn about the community’s agricultural roots . . . at the Bolingbrook Local History Museum, near the original village hall. It is open two Saturdays each month.
Since Bolingbrook became an official suburb in the 1960s, its branches have continued to extend in a variety of directions.
Visit Bolingbrook’s “downtown”. . . at The Promenade Bolingbrook, an outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment center on Boughton Road near I-55 and I-355 that opened in 2007.
Spiff up your wardrobe . . . at stores like Macy’s, American Eagle, Hollister, Loft, PacSun and Pink, among several other retailers at The Promenade.
Prep for outdoor recreation . . . this spring and summer by browsing the goods at Champs Sports, Footlocker, The Walking Company and Bass Pro Shop, where you can also dine aquarium-side at Islamorada Fish Company, or gawk at the pontoon boats and water sports equipment set up by the entrance.
Quaff a few drinks and nosh on bar bites . . . at the many drinking and dining establishments at The Promenade, such as Bar Louie, BD Mongolian Grill, Ted’s Montana Grill, Francesca’s, Mago Grill & Cantina, Mora Asian Kitchen, Salt Sports Bar and Two Pints Lounge, among others.
Entertain yourself and others . . . at fun-focused venues at The Promemade. Be prepared to “lol” at CG’s Comedy Club. Put your heads together to make your way out of The Escape Hour Room. Jump right in at FunFlatables Fun Center. Try dinner and a show — or a show and dinner, depending how you look at it — at IPIC Theater, which also hosts private parties.
Check out the full circle of things to do . . . via The Promenade’s “Live 360°” series of programs and activities, ranging from music bingo, to children’s storytimes, to the rather irresistibly-named “yoga with puppies,” featuring pups from a local non-profit dog rescue.
Get a taste of the local food scene . . . at events like the Bolingbrook Firefighters Chili Cook-off at Rock Bottom Brewery on March 18 or the expansive Food Frenzy Show throughout The Promenade on June 27.
Gain inspiration for your surroundings . . . and your own self-care at a Home & Garden Show from May 1-3, a Healthy Living Expo from May 8-10, and a Spring Vendor and Craft Show on June 5.
Explore . . . the many other stores, restaurants and entertainment spots in Bolingbrook, like IKEA, where you can shop for home décor and dine on IKEA’s famous Swedish meatballs, or Mandy’s Soul Food Kitchen, which offers up favorites like fried catfish, smothered pork chops, candied yams and black-eyed peas.
Welcome warmer weather season . . . when outdoor activities start to ramp up in Bolingbrook and extend through summer.
Get your Irish on . . . and get an early start to outdoor racing season at the AMITA Health Bolingbrook St. Paddy’s Day 5K and half marathon on March 15.
Sit back and enjoy the show . . . at the Bolingbrook Arts Center near the civic town center, which includes indoor and outdoor spots for plays and concerts. Listen to free summer concerts on a gently sloping, lawn-covered hill. Save the date for the annual Bolingbrook Picnic in June and the Jubilee Weekend in August.
Tee it up . . . at the 18-hole Bolingbrook Golf Club and at the nine-hole Boughton Ridge golf course. Both have clubhouse restaurants. During Lent and beyond, take advantage of the all-you-can-eat Friday night fish fry at The Nest Bar & Grill inside. Celebrate Easter at Ashbury’s at Boughton Ridge, with a special Easter Sunday brunch on April 12.
Sink a putt-putt . . . at Wilderness Falls Mini Golf, with three mini courses and a 40-ft waterfall. Take a few swings inside one of the batting cages, too.
Immerse yourself . . . at Pelican Harbor Aquatic Park at the Bolingbrook Recreation and Aquatic Complex, with indoor and outdoor water attractions for the whole family. Float along the lazy river or drop down one of the slides in summer. Get your laps in at the indoor pool, which also has a pair of water slides and a hot tub.
Watch take-offs and landings . . . while you eat lunch alfresco at Charlie’s Restaurant at Clow International Airport. Come on June 6 or 7 for the annual Cavalcade of Planes and see new and vintage aircraft up close on the ground or flying in formation overhead. Tour the adjacent Illinois Aviation Museum, which features two restored jet trainers and a helicopter from the Vietnam War era, among other vintage pieces and artefacts in its collection.
Celebrate spring and summer . . . at one of the many seasonal events in Bolingbrook, including an annual Easter egg hunt sponsored by the Bolingbrook Jaycees in April, the Bolingbrook Pride Picnic and Puppies event in June, and the Taste of Bolingbrook at The Promenade in August.
Take a spin on the ice . . . at the Rocket Ice Arena, which offers public skate times and lessons in addition to in-house hockey and figure skating programs for all ages.
Lay down some tracks . . . or shoot and edit video at the Studio 300 digital media center inside Fountaindale Public Library, a rich resource for community programs and print and digital materials.
Keep a lookout for Kindness Rocks . . . colorful rocks painted with messages, quotes and inspiring designs scattered throughout Bolingbrook as part of an initiative by the Village of Bolingbrook, Fountaindale Public Library and the Foundation for Bolingbrook Parks to inspire and spread kindness.
As this suburb continues to attract new residents, look for new businesses and services to spring up to cater to their needs and whims.
Keep an eye out for new eateries . . . slated to open soon, including Goat & Vine, Tanaka Ramen, Mariscos Mi Estilo La Perla and Chicago Ribs and Jerk.
Keep tabs . . . on the newsworthy development deal in Bolingbrook that has the potential to alter life in this suburb. Global behemoth Amazon reportedly paid more than $50 million to acquire nearly 120 acres of land on the previous site of the Old Chicago amusement park. However, longtime Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar has expressed reservations regarding Amazon’s planned warehouse facilities, so it is not yet certain if or when the project will become a reality.Edit Module