A mecca for business, shopping and entertainment, with diverse dining options and plenty of green space for rest and relaxation
Anyone who says that retail is dead, that streaming and delivery have replaced restaurants and entertainment venues, and that corporate life is on its way out, might want to make a trek to Schaumburg. This northwest suburb, which experienced a veritable explosion of growth in the 1970s, 80s and 90s with a plethora of new stores and office buildings, continues to be a hub of activity for all kinds of dining, shopping and entertainment pursuits. Beyond the gleaming buildings and bright signs, visitors can find quiet places and spaces for recreation, relaxation or reinvigoration.
Have a Ball at the Mall
A trip to this ‘burg of a ‘burb starts with the iconic Greater Woodfield area. Bring your good walking shoes to browse one of the biggest shopping centers in the country —the two million-sq-ft Woodfield Mall.
Do some real brick-and-mortar shopping . . . for clothing, jewelry, gifts, books, electronics, toys and more at the nearly 300 stores at Woodfield, from A (Apple) to Z (Zara). Check out the goods at chain stores and classic department stores including Macy’s, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney and some of the last Chicago-area locations of their kind at Sears and Lord & Taylor. Pamper yourself at the many beauty stores, spas and salons inside the mall. Support a locally-owned business on Small Business Saturday during the holiday season or any day, for that matter, at places like Fali Jewelers.
Indulge in some grub . . . after burning calories with all those steps at the recently revamped dining area on the upper level, featuring Blaze Pizza, Chill Bubble Tea, Maoz Falafel & Grill, Stan’s Donuts, Wok-a-Holic and Chipotle. (Fans of “Stranger Things” on Netflix can get a Starcourt Mall vibe by ordering a cone at Baskin-Robbins or Cold Stone Creamery.)
Sit down for a meal . . . at one of the full-service restaurants at Woodfield Mall, like Rainforest Café (entertaining for the kiddos, too), the Cheesecake Factory, Texas de Brazil or Uncle Julio’s, among
Hit the streets . . . at The Streets of Woodfield. Located near Woodfield Mall, this is another shopping, dining and entertainment area that includes national chain stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods, LOFT and Crate & Barrel. Dine at one of the restaurants in this open-air mini mall community, like Shaw’s Crab House, Tokio Pub or Maggiano’s Little Italy. We all scream for the custom-ice cream sandwiches at Cream Bar.
Beyond the Mall
Pursue other avenues for shopping and dining in this bustling ‘burb. You can board a free Woodfield Trolley that makes stops at different points in Greater Woodfield, from the mall and the Streets of Woodfield to IKEA, as well as hotel and convention center locations.
Shop and dine . . . as you savor Swedish meatballs right after buying a new table set at the giant, colorful IKEA. Or satisfy carnivorous cravings for steaks, burgers and other meats at Weber Grill (where you can take a class on grilling), Morton’s, Sam & Harry’s or Kuma’s Corner.
Rise and shine . . . at breakfast spots like Wildberry Pancakes & Café, Checkers Pancake House or Maxfield’s Pancake House & Restaurant, to name a few.
Eat your way around the world . . . courtesy of ethnically-inspired fare at restaurants that specialize in African, Asian, Latin, Italian, German, Greek, Indian, Middle Eastern and Polish foods and drinks; try the Ayamashe spicy stew
at Bisi African Restaurant, for example, or sample stuffed cabbage and homemade Polish pierogi at Bacowka Restaurant.
Remember why Chicago staples are so good . . . at Chicago-centric spots like Firehouse Dogs, named the best spot for hot dogs in Illinois by Travel + Leisure magazine.
Say “Cheers!” . . . at Miller’s Ale House or Granite City Food & Brewery.
Stay out late . . . and live the nightlife at hot spots like Drink, Alumni Club, Finn McCool’s Irish Club, Escape Lounge & Sports Bar or Coach House Bar & Grill.
Eat old style . . . by visiting the historic downtown district of the village near Schaumburg and Roselle Roads. You can savor the homemade German pancakes at Walker Brothers Pancake House. Once you’ve enjoyed a glimpse of Schaumburg past, try the catch of the day at Bonefish Grill or spoon a cold treat at Oberweis Ice Cream & Dairy or Menchie’s yogurt.
Entertain New Ideas
Prevent cabin fever this winter, with so much to do and see at Schaumburg’s many entertainment venues.
Chuckle, chortle, cackle or downright guffaw . . . at Chicago Improv at Woodfield Mall and the Laugh Out Loud Theatre at the Streets of Woodfield. Catch a headliner on the weekend, watch an up-and-coming comic, go on a group outing or, in the case of LOL Theatre, take a class and crack up your friends.
Put it all together . . . at LEGOLAND Discovery Center, designed for kids between ages three and 10. Yes, they can build something with LEGO bricks, but they can also ride a roller coaster, watch a 4-D movie, build a test car and see it go on the track, and much more. Parents, you can listen as a LEGO master builder shares some tips, so next time you help with LEGO, you can totally crush it.
Eat with your hands . . . and watch a feast for the eyes at Medieval Times, a longtime attraction that stages medieval tournaments with jousting knights on horseback and hearty dinners (try the tomato bisque with the garlic bread!) that don’t require any bothersome utensils.
Bring Your “A” Game
It’s game-on in this suburb, with all kinds of contests and pastimes to ramp up your competitive nature.
Play to your heart’s content . . . at PAC-MAN Entertainment, designed for gamers of all ages and interests. Go old school with video games like the namesake PAC-Man as well as bowling. Nosh on decidedly grown-up beverages and foods while you’re playing, including shareable plates, entrées and desserts.
Make another play . . . at GameWorks Schaumburg, which offers hundreds of interactive games in e-sports lounges, such as Fortnite, Super Smash Bros. or Minecraft. Try your hand at classic games like pool, darts, and air hockey.
In between the pivotal moments in your game, order up a burger or other foods featured on the menu.
Try to beat your best score . . . or compete with friends at the three-level Punch Bowl Social, whether it’s childhood favorites like foosball and Jenga or high-tech virtual reality. Belt it out at karaoke, if you’re in the mood.
Launch yourself . . . at Zump!Zone, where you can bounce around inflatables, work your way through an obstacle course, or careen down a slide.
Play ball . . . or at least watch the experts play when spring rolls around at the Schaumburg Boomers Stadium, home to the Schaumburg Boomers of the professional Frontier League. Stay for the fireworks after the game.
Serve ‘em up . . . at Schaumburg Tennis Plus, a tennis and fitness club run by the Schaumburg Park District.
Pretend its summer again . . . with a dip in the pool at The Water Works, an indoor water park complete with water slides, a rapid water channel, zero depth pool and water playground.
Deck the Halls
Ring in the holidays at happenings in Schaumburg. Begin with “Ooohs” and “aaahs” as they flip on the switch at the Village of Schaumburg Holiday Tree Lighting the day after Thanksgiving, at the Al Larson Prairie Center for the Arts.
Step inside a world of toys . . . at LEGOLAND Discovery Center, which puts on a “Bricktacular” holiday show, where you can build a LEGO ornament. Or stop by for the New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop (the balloons are real, not made of Legos, in case you’re wondering).
Get all the festive feels . . . at a holiday performance at the Al Larson Prairie Center for the Arts, including a Presto Holiday Concert by the Schaumburg Youth Symphony Orchestra with the Schaumburg Youth Chorus on Dec. 21, a “Celebrate the King” gospel performance on Dec. 22 or a staging of “The Nutcracker” between Dec. 6 and 15 by the Schaumburg Dance Ensemble.
Join the Culture Club
Appreciate all kinds of cultural and educational offerings at the Al Larson Prairie Center for the Arts, built on the grounds of the village’s Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center. Upcoming events include an evening with Abraham Lincoln portrayer and historian Kevin Wood on Nov. 23, a piano battle on Feb. 7 and lectures that are part of an ongoing series, like a program on the history of ladies’ hats on Nov. 10 and another on the fascinating role that Edith Wilson played in her husband’s presidency. Stick around in 2020 for Black History Month programs, a student film fest and Senior Follies, among a variety of other programs.
Take a stroll . . . through the Chicago Athenaeum International Sculpture Park on the grounds of the art center and take in the sight of contemporary sculptures from several American artists.
Rediscover America . . . and experience the only Native American-owned and operated arts institution in the state, the Trickster Art Gallery in downtown Schaumburg. Learn about Native American history and culture through exhibits devoted to a range of topics. On Veterans Day, discover the contributions of Native American veterans. Don’t forget to stop in the gift shop, which offers a variety of artworks for sale.
Be there or be square . . . at the Schaumburg Town Square located in the historic district that’s known as Olde Schaumburg Center. Visit the Veterans Memorial or check out the second biggest library in Illinois, the Schaumburg Township District Library.
Build up your knowledge of architecture . . . on a tour of the seven-acre home and studio of modernist architect Paul Schweiker, constructed in 1938.
Get ready for takeoff . . . at the Schaumburg Regional Airport, which also has an on-site flight school, “Red Baron” rides in an open-cockpit bi-plane, and a popular restaurant for all ages, Pilot Pete’s.
Heed Nature’s Call
See beyond Schaumburg office towers and developments by downshifting to serene surroundings at the Ned Brown Forest Preserve, the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve or the many parks maintained by the Schaumburg Park District.
Savor the four-season scenery . . . at the 135-acre Spring Valley Nature Center, with vast spaces of natural areas.
Throw it back to the 1880s . . . at the Volkening Heritage farm at Spring Valley, a living history farm that depicts the life of German settlers to the area in the 19th century. It features a farmhouse that is one of the oldest structures in Schaumburg. (Hurry, the farm closes Dec. 1 and re-opens in the spring).
Play where the buffalo roam . . . or at least where you can see life-size statues of bison, at the Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground at Spring Valley. It also features play structures that look like cliffs and is designed for imaginative play.
Hop on a bike . . . if the weather’s fine and see why Schaumburg is one of the state’s most bicycle-friendly communities. Map out the many scenic paths, that cut through town, nearing 90 miles worth.
Finally, if you’re going be in town for a bit, meet up or stay for a spell at one of the many hotels in Schaumburg, including the imposing Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center, home to a full schedule of events and programs throughout the yearEdit Module