12 Unique Outings Only in Lake County 2022 - Visit Lake County - Official Travel Site

12 Unique Outings Only in Lake County 2022

By: Nick Borowitz 11/04/2022

These truly distinctive places provide visitors with a night to remember. From throwing beloved superhero Thor's weapon of choice to viewing myriad floral patterns; from vibing with a few adult beverages and earthy treats to bullying your buddies with bumper cars and everything in between, assemble the squad for these 12 unique outings, only Lake County can provide.  

The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and there is long shopping list. But, before we reach that point, indulge in one and/or all of these 12 experiences. Speaking of which, Lake County is season's greetings capital of Illinois. Holiday Your Way in Lake County is the most magical time of year to shop, eat, drink.

Lynfred Winery in Wheeling

(Image: Lynfred Winery Wheeling)

Before heading out to the nightlife, take the #HikeLakeCounty challenge running through November 30. Download a trail log and hit the paths to snag a cool medallion for the walking stick or a dog tag for your furry compatriot.

Continue scrolling to view 12 unique outings only n Lake County.

1. RISE Recreational Dispensary in Mundelein

RISE Recreational Dispensary and Lounge in Mundelein

(Image: RISE Recreational Dispensary)

RISE Cannabis is a busy dispensary here in northern Illinois. And with good reason: it's clean, the line moves quickly and they are expanding the facility. RISE has added a Smokeasy and the Lounge as part of their expansion. Depending on the day, you can catch various events in the Lounge. RISE hosts multiple lounge activities, including stand-up shows, themed dances, painting parties and more. These two spaces let adult consumers (21+) experience their products and have a place to ride out the waves of awesome. Adult consumers can try out their purchased products in the Smokeasy, a play on the idea of Prohibition-era speakeasies where you can eat, smoke and sip on cannabis-infused beverages in a chilled-out space. RISE rents out a variety of devices to experience consumption through a variety of methods. After sampling their purchased goods, customers can stroll to the lounge and kick back while they ride out the mandatory wait period. The Lounge at RISE allows for bring-your-own-food because sometimes, you want something different than an infused edible. 

2. Volo Museum in Volo

Volo Museum

(Image: Visit Lake County)

It's no doubt that Volo Museum offers a unique glimpse into automotive history, vehicular oddities and Hollywood cars. And if you happen to be in the market for a new vehicle while you browse their exhibits, you can pick up a new ride, too! The museum started in 1960 with brothers Bill and Greg Grams running an antique store out of a barn. They would use their profits to buy cars and fix them for fun. Over time, the inventory grew, and they decided to share the collection with the public instead. Today, the Volo Museum features 45 exhibits ranging from military vehicles, train cars, boats, and mechanical oddities. They recently added the Jurassic Gardens, which features animatronic dinosaurs, visual effects and a "fossil lab" where kids can make discoveries. The Volo Museum, aptly located in Volo, is expanding too. Look out for icebergs in the Titanic exhibit and witness what people did for fun in 1928 by checking out the Allan Herschel Carousel. It's a fantastic spot to bring a date, wander by yourself or bring the family for a fun day.

3. Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center in Grayslake

Lake County Beer Festival at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center

(Image: @sabooasiancraftbeer)

The Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center is a large complex located in Grayslake. The grounds' size means they can throw many events at any time of the year. During the spring, the fairgrounds play host to home & garden conventions, a beer festival (complemented by a skiball), boat shows and RV expos, dog shows and more. When the leaves start to fall, keep an eye out for antique shows, Jeep invasions, arts & crafts shows, prehistoric dinosaurs, Santa's Rock N" Lights, flea markets and more. The large showcases are an ideal way to keep the family busy for a day or to entertain guests visiting from next door or out of town. Arguably, their most (locally) popular attraction is the Lake County Fair, held every summer. When the weather starts to turn, they adapt to the seasons and keep the fun rolling. The large showcases are an ideal way to keep the family busy for a day or to entertain guests visiting from next door or out of town.

4. WhirlyBall in Vernon Hills

WhirlyBall in Vernon Hills

(Image: WhirlyBall)

As Jared R., formerly from Hawthorn Elementary School, said, "You should visit Whirlyball in Vernon Hills because it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You have to be 12 to play Whirlyball, but what a great way to celebrate the 12th birthday!" Some of you may be asking, "what is a Whirlyball?" It's not a physical object. Imagine combining bumper cars, la crosse, hockey, and basketball simultaneously. Add a group of friends or equally competitive guests on the court, all vying to scare a goal. While riding in bumper cars. That's Whirlyball! The Libertyville location features a bar, delicious fare, laser tag, and activities for kids and adults. Bring a date here for a night of laughs or that group of friends who always try to be the best, and Whirlyball will quickly become your new go-to spot for a night of fun and gaming. Kids aged 12 and younger are not permitted on the Whirlyball arenas but are more than welcome to experience the other fun games and tasty fare.

5. The Joyful Gourmet in Libertyville

The Joyful Gourmet in Libertyville

(Image: The Joyful Gourmet)

Do you fancy yourself a pretty good cook or at least good enough that everyone peppers on the praise after a meal? Are you open to learning new techniques and recipes that keep family and guests hungry for another serving? When you visit the Joyful Gourmet in Libertyville, you can get all of the above, plus some retail therapy with their hand-picked brands of utensils for sale. The Libertyville kitchen store hosts a fine selection of cooking classes, culinary events, team and family bonding exercises, a wine bar and the occasional meet-and-greet with local chefs. Participating in culinary learning experiences is an exciting way to spend time with people where everyone learns something new about cooking. Plus, there are no dishes to clean afterward. It's like The Joyful Gourmet says, "Discover new items for your kitchen, have a fun night out with friends and grow as a community through cooking."

6. Extreme Flight Simulation in Gurnee

Extreme Flight Simulation in Gurnee

(Image: Extreme Flight Simulation)

Undoubtedly, most people have thought, "I wonder what it would be like to be a pilot?" While Extreme Flight Simulation won't let you fly a real plane, they allow you to do the next most excellent thing: simulations! They currently have two setups: an F-18 and a 737 simulator. Depending on your choice, the Gurnee attraction also has a VR headset that complements the experience and adds a touch of immersion. This experience is an excellent way to spend a day if you want something a little beefier than your gaming PC or console. Bring your date or friends and see who can make the cleanest landing on an aircraft carrier in different "weather conditions." A unique aspect is that real-world pilots and training aviators use the simulator to improve their knowledge as specific functions mimic real-world conditions. The flight controls are immersive and coded so well that their facility can help brush the dust off a pilot's wings. The best part is that no flight experience in real life is required. They say that every time a bell rings, a prospective pilot gets its wings.

7. Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth

The Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth

(Image: Visit Lake County)

Do you find the artifacts of ancient Egypt delightfully fascinating? Have you ever thought about what life would be like if you lived in a pyramid? What about having your a moat? When you visit the Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth, you can find those answers (while it also raises more questions). While this unique architectural oddity has shed its golden aesthetic, it now dons black armor and is open for business once again. The structure had a massive fire in 2018, but has once again opened its doors for visitors to marvel at the sights. The Wadsworth pyramid offers limited tours, features a replica of King Tut's tomb, creates vodka from the spring water in the moat and hosts car shows, private events and concerts. What better way to keep your kids busy or your date enamored with "ancient artifacts" while wandering around a pyramid in northern Illinois?

8. The Gallery Lake Forest

The Gallery Lake Forest

(Image: The Gallery Lake Forest)

Experience what happens when you combine gourmet fare with artistic creations by dining at The Gallery Lake Forest. This Lake Forest locale is what happens when you combine creative expression with fine food. When you visit The Gallery, you will find that the menu rotates in line with the creative exhibits. The Lake Forest locale change the art exhibits quarterly and craft new menus to add a connoisseur's twist to food pairings. Where else can you dine and take in fine art? This combination of sensory elements makes this Lake Forest venue an easy choice when you searching for a unique night out. Another bonus is that you can book private events at the restaurant, both large and small. They offer cooking classes for kids, adults and groups.

9. Lumberjaxe Axe Lounge in Libertyville

Lumberjaxe Axe Lounge in Libertyville

(Image: Lumberjaxe Axe Lounge)

There is no better feeling than throwing an object with enough force to stick to the surface of where you toss it. Lumberjax Axe Lounge in Libertyville lets you experience that thrill as you test your aim and throw hatchets at a target. The Libertyville axe-traction features 16 throwing lanes, two large televisions, dartboards and a truly unique experience. Should throwers need to receive a few lessons before letting the handles fly, Lumberjaxe has trained professionals that share their techniques and knowledge with you to better the chances of hitting a bullseye. You can bring the family for a day of competition, try to beat your friends or ham it up with a date while you inevitably miss the target. Lumberjaxe does not allow kids 12 years of age and younger on the lanes. Throwers ages 13-18 require parental consent and supervision. Visitors must wear closed-toe shoes when inside the throwing lanes. The best toss wins!

10. Peter Patterson Glass in Mundelein

Patterson Glass in Mundelein

(Image: Peter Patterson Glassworks)

Peter Patterson Glassworks is a full-service studio where professionals hone their skills and beginners come to learn a new craft. The glassblowing studio hosts events, classes and corporate team-building if you want to challenge the crew. When you want to shop for contemporary glassware décor for the home, visit their onsite store to pick out a piece that grabs your attention. Peter Patterson, the studio's namesake, has been in the glass art business for over 40 years and has won numerous awards, including an Illinois Maker Award from the Illinois Office of Tourism.

11. Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe

Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe

(Image: Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe)

The Chicago Botanic Garden sits on 385 acres of land inside Glencoe, but transports you to uniquely different worlds. Where else can you witness 28 different gardens and four natural areas on nine islands surrounded by lakes in the Chicagoland area? The Garden displays unique exhibits that change with the seasons. Watch the "Butterflies & Blooms" grow through the summer or catch a concert on their Esplanade. Stroll the trails during the dusk in autumn and witness 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns as they illuminate the evening. Lose yourself to the holiday spirit at the Lightscape as art installations glow against the snow on the ground.The Chicago Botanic Garden is well-suited for any occasion you want to bring the family on or for a casual stroll holding hands with that beautiful date. The Garden’s large size accommodates private banquets, corporate functions and educational adventures.  No matter the crowd you bring, the Chicago Botanic Garden will please the whole group.

12. The Lake County Libation Trail

Lake County Libation Trail

(Image: Side Lot Brewery)

Toast to the Lake County makers of craft beer, wines and spirits on the Lake County Libation Trail. Gather up friends, family and those old acquaintances for delicious drinks that only be made here in Lake County. The Lake County Libation Trail is highlighted by Bosacki’s Brewery and Tighthead Brewing Co. in Mundelein, Copper Fiddle Distillery, Roaring Table Brewing Co. and Phase Three Brewing Co. in Lake Zurich, Light the Lamp Brewery and Glunz Family Winery & Cellars in Grayslake, Nightshade and Dark’s Pandemonium Brewing, Zümbier Brewery and Oppidan Spirits in Waukegan, Buffalo Creek Brewing Co. and Valentino Vineyards & Winery in Long Grove, Half Day Brewing Co. and Wright’s Brew and Bistro in Lincolnshire, Mickey Finn’s Brewery in Libertyville, Ravinia Brewing Co. in Highland Park, Side Lot Brewery in Wauconda, North Shore Distillery in Green Oaks, Pazzo di Vino and 28 Mile Distillery Co. in Highwood, Harbor Brewing Co. in Winthrop Harbor, Wild Onion Brewery & Banquets in Lake Barrington, Harbor Brewing Co. and 9th Hour Brewing Co. in Lake Villa, Vigneto del Bino Vineyard and Winery in Antioch, Lynfred Winery in Wheeling and Highland Park, Liquid Love Brewing Co. in Buffalo Grove and Black Lung Brewing Co. in Round Lake Beach. No matter your locale, the Lake County Libation Trail is ideal for a fun night out with your adult friends or bringing that special someone for a pleasant evening in a fun atmosphere.

Click here for even more experiences beyond these 12 unique outings only in Lake County. 

Special Offers
Calendar of Events
Lake County Libation Trail
Free Visitors Guide
Tour Itineraries
Print Page
Road Trips Video