Who doesn’t love a bargain, especially when your wallet might be short of funds?
Alexander Hamilton, one of the genius U.S. founding fathers and the man on the front of the $10 bill, is talk of the country for the last few years because of Lin Miranda Manuel's Tony Award-winning, 'Hamilton.' We thought it would be helpful to find a couple of inexpensive things to do around Lake County.
You've earned yourself some time to relax and unwind – so you can refrain from dipping into that emergency fund. All you need is a crisp (or balled up) $10 bill (it's all about the Hamiltons) for some good old fashioned fun.
Whether you are going on a date, hanging out with friends or taking out the family, here are 101 things to do under $10 in Lake County.
- Take a scenic stroll through Lake County Forest Preserves and snap a few pictures to capture the beauty at locations like Independence Grove in Libertyville. Independence Grove Non-Resident Admission, other Lake County Forest Preserves Admission: Free. Parking: $5-$12
- "99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer." Taste a variety of house-brewed flavors from Lake County Libation Trail participant Ravinia Brewing Co. in Highland Park. Beers: $5-$7 per brew.
- Indulge yourself in sweet satisfaction by ordering a perfect slice of Chicago-style cheesecake or grilled berry shortcake at Cadwell’s Grille located inside Embassy Suites Chicago-North Shore in Deerfield. Price: $9 each.
- Cool off, splash and relax on the beach at Bangs Lake in Wauconda. Be sure to build a sand castle. Admission: $5 per resident daily beach pass, $7 per non-resident.
- Be awestruck as you take a tour of the Mother Rudd House and Museum, one of Lake County’s oldest structures. This haven for the Underground Railroad was built in 1841. Entry Fee: Free.
- Chomp down on some peanuts (throw them on the floor) and devour a delicious slice of pie at Bill's Pizza & Pub in Mundelein or Bill’s Pub North in Grayslake. Price: Individual Pizza $9.40 plus tax; Peanuts are free.
- Village-hop aboard the Metra Rail for some land of lakes experiences on the Lake County Libation Trail: Price: $8-weekend passes.
- Spend a day shopping in over 70 exclusive shops at the open-air Deer Park Town Center. Window Shopping: Free.
- Order a mouthwatering stack of flapjacks at the renowned Wildberry Café in Libertyville. Price: $7 for Buttermilk Pancakes, $8.50 for Chocolate Chip Pancakes, $9 for Berry Pancakes and Cinnamon Roll Pancakes and $9.50 for Caramel Apple Pecan Pancakes, Oreo S’more Pancakes and Fig & Walnut Multigrain Pancakes.
- If you are looking for a spoon full of sugar to put some pep in your step, stop by Uniquely Sweet in Grayslake: Price: Buttercrunch Toffee: $7.95, Salted Pecan Patties: $5.95, Gourmet Turtle Sticks: $7.95, Chocolate Covered Potato Chips: $7.95, Toffee Apple and more.
- Party like its 1776 with a plethora of pyrotechnics at Celebrate Fox Lake in late June/early July along the lakefront. Admission: Free.
- Arrive curious and leave inspired at the Dunn Museum in Libertyville after meeting a dryptosaurus, a Lake County dino. Admission: Free-$6.
- Catch a flick at Gurnee Mills, as the mall’s Marcus Theatre has discounted Tuesdays for movie buffs. Ticket Price: $5 on Tuesdays.
- Lake County has over 200 lakes and rivers for your pleasure, and Fish Lake Beach in Volo has plenty of activities perfect for you and the family under $10. Price: $4 Per Person for Family Weekday Beach Admission; Kids under 3 are FREE. Weekdays only. Fishing $2 extra per person. Weekend Beach Admission: $8 Per Person, Kids under three are free. Fishing is included. Holiday Weekend Beach Admission: $10 Per Person, Kids under 3 are FREE. Fishing included. Paddle Boats - $10 per hour.
- Feel like living on the edge or practicing your tee off game? Libertyville Sports Complex’s climbing wall and driving range are both under $10. Price: $10 for a day of wall climbing, $5-$10 golf range card.
- Browse a variety of talent from Antioch's students at the Annual Art Crawl on MainStreet Antioch. Admission: Free.
- View the young talent of Illinois and Wisconsin perform new, old and original tunes on Fridays from May-July at the Bitter Jester Music Festival in Highland Park: Admission: Free.
- Do you want to take a walk down memory lane? See the past revived in modern times in late June as Zion hosts its Annual Nostalgia Days featuring an antique custom car show, a carnival, live tunes, good eats and more. Admission: Free.
- Witness the intricate architecture of the Shiloh House in Zion built in 1901. Bring your camera too to snap the memories. Admission: Free.
- Test your knowledge on several hodge-podge questions during Timothy O’Toole’s Tuesday Night Trivia. Admission: Free.
- Have a meet and greet with some cold-blooded creatures at the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest. Admission: Free for individuals and related families of eight or less.
- Attend one of Long Grove’s famous festivals like Chocolate Fest, Strawberry Fest, Apple Fest, Irish Days or Vintage Days. Admission: Free-$5.
- Travel the Lake County Libation Trail starting at Buffalo Creek Brewing in Long Grove for a 12-16 oz. draft and work your way North to the rest of these Lake County brewery, distillieries and wineries. Buffalo Creek 12-16 oz beer: $6-$8.
- View all the fascinating natural activity by taking a tour of Illinois’ only remaining open-water quaking bog: National Natural Landmark Volo Bog State Natural Area in Ingleside. Admission: Free.
- Watch Charles Dickens’ tales come alive in Downtown Antioch. The famed British author’s lifelike wax characters are displayed along the sidewalks of the town's Main Street between November-December. Price: Free.
- Bike, boat, run, relax on the beach and marvel at the beautiful sights of Independence Grove in Libertyville. Admission: Beach $4 for residents, $7 for nonresidents. Canoe or kayak rental: $10 per hour. Comfort bike rental $8.
- Find the freshest, locally-grown and deliciously ripe fruits and veggies of the season in one of Lake County’s community farmers markets. Admission: Entry is free; Fresh fruit and vegetable prices vary.
- Embark on a treasure hunt and explore all of the filming locations of Dylan Kroll's song and video ‘Lake County: The Bounty of Illinois.’ Kroll was the winner of Visit Lake County's I Love Lake County Song Search in 2015. Price: Gas money.
- Pick up a good book from Historic Downtown Long Grove, MainStreet Libertyville or Waukegan MainStreet book store and read it cover to cover on a peaceful Lake County Forest Preserve beach. Forest Preserve Admission: Mostly free.
- Say cowabunga as you land an ollie in one of Lake County's skate park halfpipes: Warren Township Center Skate Park, Viking Park, Betty Russell Community Park and Churchill Hunt Park (Gurnee), Jewett Park Skate Park (Deerfield), Williams Park (Antioch), Daniel Barry Memorial Skate Park (Grayslake), Waukegan Skate Park and Sullivan Community Center. Admission: Free.
- Tell a few cheesey jokes over some white cheese curds at the Lodge of Antioch. Price: $6.95 plus tax.
- Take a selfie at the end of Amstutz Expressway in Waukegan before Batman disappears into the Bat Cave. Or you could try to escape Punxsutawney, PA like weatherman Phill Connors attempted to do in "Groundhog Day." The end of this expressway is where the 2005 film 'Batman Begins' was shot. Admission: Free.
- Journey to Ingleside’s Miller’s Dogs ‘N Suds to taste their world famous root beer float. Price: $2.85-$5.59 plus tax.
- From Wednesday-Saturday, visit the National Museum of the American Sailor and learn the storied history of our proud service men and women at sea. Anchors Aweigh! Admission: Free.
- Listen to the exceptional sounds from local musicians during the summer at various Lake County bandshells: Brook Bandshell (Antioch), Viking Park Bandshell (Gurnee), Shiloh Park Bandshell (Zion), Stiner Pavilion (Waukegan), Arbor Theater (Vernon Hills), Grayslake Bandshell, James C. Mitchell Pavilion and Jewett Park (Deerfield) and various locations in Historic Downtown Long Grove. Admission: Free.
- Bike, walk, blade, skate or run the Des Plaines River Trail Challenge that stretches a continuous 31.4 miles of uninterrupted Lake County trail. Price: Free.
- Scour through a variety of antiques, collectibles and other cool nuggets Volo 4 Antique Malls. Window Shopping: Free.
- Pack some lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy a family Movie in the Park after dusk at DeerPath Park in Vernon Hills. Admission: Free.
- Check out an assortment of hot rods parked along MainStreet Libertyville at Car Fun on 21 in mid-August. Admission: Free.
- Arrange a dog social for your best friend so he or she can converse with other canine bachelor or bachelorettes at one of Lake County Forest Preserve's dog parks. Daily Permit Fee: $10 for Lake County residents.
- Take a tour, learn a brief history, taste a chocolate sample and see how magic is made at Long Grove Confectionery’s Chocolate Factory Tour in Buffalo Grove. Admission: $2.
- Reminisce about one of Waukegan’s weirdest and most favorite author Ray Bradbury at the Greentown writer’s Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival in early June. Admission: Free.
- Try your luck out on over 2,500 slot machines in the latest interactive themes and potentially win the jackpot at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee. Machine Buy-ins: one cent, two cents, five cents, $0.25, $0.50, $1, $2, $5 and $10.
- Honor and salute those who gave their lives for the freedom of this country as Lake County hosts an array of Memorial Day Parades. Admission: Free.
- Spice up your life with a sweet treat compliments of Chocolate Sanctuary’s Boutique. Price: Dessert, coffee and cappuccino $3-$12.
- Embark on a free train tour of the Jelly Belly warehouse in Pleasant Prairie and also munch on some free samples. Admission: Free.
- Enjoy the local talent and musicianship as College of Lake County’s Wind Symphony, and Choir performs three-to-four concerts a year at the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts. Ticket Price: $3-$5.
- Hop to Launch Trampoline Park Gurnee with a group of 15 or more for some leaping fun. Price: Groups of 15-24 - $10 a person per hour, Groups of 25-49 - $9 a person per hour, Groups of 50+ - $8 a person per hour.
- Devour the gourmet eats that Lincolnshire’s Food Truck Fridays have to offer every other Friday during the summer. Admission: Free, Food Prices: Vary.
- In the winter time, there are nine free hills in Lake County for sledding and tubing fun. Price: Free.
- Sink your teeth into eight ounces of Angus bliss on Tuesday Burger Days at Chessie’s in Barrington. The burger is served with homemade French fries and coleslaw. Price: $5.
- Do you have a sweetheart you’re looking to impress? A piece of candy from the Long Grove Confectionery Nut & Candy House in Wauconda may do the trick. Price: A variety of candy and nuts under $10.
- Are you searching for some cheap fare? Take the family out to dinner because your kids eat for free at the following eateries: Half Day Brewing Co in Lincolnshire (Sundays), Route 41 Roadhouse (Monday-Wednesday) in Wadsworth, O’Toole’s, and Mickey Finns in Libertyville (Tuesdays) and Rainforest Café in Gurnee (Wednesdays). Price: Kids eat free with parents entrée purchase.
- Compete with some friends in a match of disc golf. There are many courses located throughout Lake County like Bevier Park (Waukegan), Keller/Sheppard Park (Deerfield), Adler Park (Libertyville), Tim Osmond Sports Complex (Antioch) and many more. Price: Free.
- In late August, see the interesting colors and designs of the inflated canvases showcased at the Annual Grayslake Color Aloft Balloon Fest. Admission: Free.
- Satisfy your soul with something sweet like a a delicious piece of Torta Lava Cake from Francesca's Intimo in Lake Forest. Price: $8.
- Explore the spread of shops at Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets like Go! Calendars, Toys & Games. Challenge yourself with a Rubik’s Cube. Price: $9.99.
- Delightful bites complement the exceptional artwork at the late-summer Annual Lincolnshire Arts Festival. Admission: Free.
- Making it a Netflix night? Head to the Popcorn Factory in Lake Forest for an array of different popcorn and chocolate covered nuts for your binge watching exploits. Price: $1.99-$3.99 per bag.
- During March, treat yourself to the sweet sap and sugar maples on a one-hour hike at Ryerson. On this trek, you will learn everything there is to know about how the maple trees supply that sticky substance that covers your pancakes, waffles and French toast. Admission: $6.
- Receive a taste of the Native American heritage to heighten awareness of their history at the Annual Potawatomi Trails Pow Wow at Zion’s Shiloh Park in late August. Admission: $2-6.
- Travel to Deerfield to see Lake County's eldest structure, the Caspar Ott Log Cabin. Admission: Free.
- The weather outside may be frightful during winter, but that means you can show off your best Tara Lipinski and Evan Lysacek impersonations on over 30 outdoor ice rinks in Lake County. Admission: Free.
- Race your friends for bragging rights on Lake County’s only go-kart course: Kristof’s Entertainment Center. The Round Lake center also offers bowling and mini-golf under $10. Go Kart Admission: $7 for one ride, $10 for two rides. Mini golf $6-$8. Wednesday all-you-can-bowl $10.
- Take 10 Days to Savor divine eats during Lake County’s Restaurant Week in early March where over 70 restaurants offer prix fixe menus and special offers on delectable dishes. Prices: Dining options under $10 at various restaurants.
- Uncork and unwind at Vigneto del Bino Vineyard & Winery’s Tasting Room and Gift Shop. Tasting Rates: $5 for four tastings, $7 for six tastings.
- "Everybody's goin' surfin'. Surfin' Wau-ke-gan." Imitate your best Beach Boy at the Waukegan Municipal Beach as you kick back, relax and unwind. Parking is $10 for non-Waukegan residents. Admission: Free Entry. Pedestrian and cyclist entry free.
- Have a glimps of Cairo, Egypt in Lake County as the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth is hosting concerts during the summertime. Admission: $10.
- 'Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring, up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear.' Have the time of your life at Chicago Botanic Garden's Kite Festival in the summertime. Admission: Free.
- Are you looking to take a journey with Ziggy Stardust or are you in searching the sky for Lucy with diamonds? Join Skokie Valley Astronomers to explore the final frontier at Ryerson Woods. Admission: Free.
- Choose from a collection of talented food vendors and head 'Out to Lunch' while listening to live music at Cook Park in Libertyville throughout the summer. Entry Fee: Free. Food Prices: Vary.
- Observe some of the best boats on the market at the Northern Illinois Boat Show at the Lake County Fairgrounds in early March: Admission: $5-$7.
- Gather your buddies for Gorton Community Center's annual Block Party and be blessed with a night of fun games, food vendors, live tunes, face painting and a movie under the stars. Admission: Free.
- Four days of summer fun in mid-August bring live entertainment, farmers markets, a 10K race, rib fest, petting zoo and much more at the annual Gurnee Days. Admission: Free.
For more things to do in Lake County, continue here.
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