Waukegan is one of Illinois's oldest communities. The city was initially visited by Pere Marquette in 1673 (I know right? Way before the United States was the United States!?).
The City of Waukegan began as a French trading post. However, it was also known as a Potawatomi Native American settlement known as Little Fort. Some records indicate that a truce was signed between the Potawatomi and the U.S. federal government.
The town known as Little Fort became the county seat of government in 1841 and the town's population skyrocketed from 150 to 750 residents. By 1859, when the city was incorporated, the residency had risen to 2,500 residents.
The area known as Little Fort became a 'big little town' and by March 31, 1849, the city was renamed to the present day name Waukegan. Waukegan is the Potawatomi word known as fort or trading post.
One of the oldest structures in Lake County (and one of the oldest in the state) is the home of John C. Haines. Haines was the 20th Mayor of Chicago from 1858-60. Haines also was a founding member of the Chicago Board of Trade as well a co-author of Illinois's Constitution. The Waukegan resident retired as an Illinois State Senator, but long story short, his property in the Lake County city was built in 1843. It currently still stands and is known now as the Waukegan History Museum.
Some other notable residents from the City of Waukegan include author Ray Bradbury (sci-fi writing extraordinaire), actor Jack Benny (one of the 20th Century's most notable entertainers), actor Neil Flynn (known for "Scrubs" and "The Middle"), actor Jerry Orbach (known for "Law & Order"), former NBA All-Star Shawn Marion, former NFL Pro Bowl player Michael Turner and a slew of others.
Waukegan is home to some of the best boating, nightlife, arts, recreation, and dining in Lake County. After checking out Waukegan, take a look at our other village and city guides like the Villages of Gurnee, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Mundelein, Grayslake, Antioch and the City of Zion.
Enjoy your stay out on wonderful and sometimes 'weird' Waukegan. Here's your guide to the City of Waukegan.
120 N. Genesee St., Waukegan.
3500 Sunset Ave., Waukegan.
Tis the season to be freezin.’ Already Lake County has been hit with a lot of snow and low mercury temps. Kick the year off by chilling in the 18th Annual Polar Bear Plunge in Waukegan. This Waukegan Municipal Beach event awards a polar plunge shirt to the first 500 brave souls that take a dip in the drink. Water shoes or other footwear are required. Food, hot chocolate and polar bear hats will be sold on site. If you’re not enticed by a frigid hug with Lake Michigan, cheer your friends and family from slightly warmer shores.
New Years Day.
Every third Saturday.
The City of Waukegan is altering the ArtWauk, pray they don’t alter it any further. It’s not a trap because this edition of the Waukegan artsy celebration is transforming to StarWauk. This inaugural festival of the Star Wars saga and science-fiction genre during the monthly ArtWauk features free live entertainment, art exhibits, unique shops, costume contests, delicious eats and more. Have fun, you will.
Thank you to everyone who came out last night and made @dinosaurstudiotattoo 1st annual StarWauk event a success!! Can't wait for #Starwauk2018!! @davidmotley @waukeganartsdis @waukjam @waukeganmainstreet @waukeganparkdistrict @greaterwaukegan @explorewaukegan @drewsomeart @snafufig @siftedswts @billzilla_rex @duh47ronin @hiwaukegan @waukeganharbor @lmgx525 @sweettreasuresresale @lularoegypsydowns @swerving4irving @explorewaukegan @s0kay @edpincombe @nancytonkin7 @artwauk #imperial #rebel #rebelscum #TheLastJedi #newhope #returnofthejedi #tattooist #tattooing #tattooed #tattoos #tattoo #art #artists #artgallery #custom #fineart #fineartist #starwauk #calltoartists #edpincombedesigns #lakehousesoycandlesandbath #waukeganartsdistrict #waukegan #chicago #waukarts #weirdwaukegan #annualevent #1stannual #artwauk
Third Saturday of May.
Viewers will witness an unbelievable flight performance by the world-renowned aerobatic pilots at the Waukegan Regional Airport. The Northern Illinois Airshow – Wings Over Waukegan features vintage military crafts like the F-86 Sabre, delicious eats, mouthwatering drinks, photo-ops with the brave pilots and more. Don’t forget your camera so you can capture the best snapshots. As these captains of flight have said in the past and what pilots will exclaim in the future, “Aim High…Fly-Fight-Win.”
The third weekend of October.
Third weekend of December.
39 Jack Benny Dr., Waukegan.
This historic former movie palace now headlines premier music and entertainment acts on the stage of its opulent 2,416 seat auditorium. A slew of performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Chubby Checkers, Kristen Chenoweth, Jack Hanna, Blondie, Kenny G and countless others have graced the downtown Waukegan stage. The Genesee conducts free tours Tuesdays and Thursdays. The historic landmark also doubles as a venue for birthday parties, anniversaries and weddings.
203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan.
1917 N. Sheridan Rd., in Bowen Park, Waukegan.
2800 N. Lewis Ave., Waukegan.
A park that is home to Waukegan's History Museum. Bowen Park is also a former picnic in the park location equipped with a fitness course, playground and jogging paths.
1800 N. Sheridan Rd., Waukegan.
800 Baldwin Ave., Waukegan.
2200 N. Sheridan Rd., Waukegan.
The Waukegan Arts Council is a nonprofit organization that serves to advance the economic, social and cultural life of Waukegan through education, collaboration, networking and promotion of the arts. Visit their website for a list of arts & entertainment events taking place in Waukegan, as well as a listing of galleries, venues, and resources.
39 Jack Benny Dr., Waukegan.
55 South Harbor Pl., Waukegan.
This beach is open shine, rain or even snow. The beach features one mile of sand that is groomed daily, along with some of the area's only natural dunes in the area. The Stiner Pavilion on the beach hosts their concert series every Tuesday during the summer. Recreational activities include swimming, sunbathing, picnicking and sand volleyball.
201 Seahorse Dr., Waukegan.
2000 Belvidere Rd., Waukegan.
3391 W. Beach Rd., Waukegan.
1151 Waukegan Rd., Waukegan.
The 149-suite hotel is equipped with a pool, fitness center and restaurant. Located in the Fountain Square Plaza, it is nearby Six Flags Great America, Abbott, Cardinal Health and Naval Station Great Lakes. The facility also obtains 1,284 square-feet of meeting space.
3800 Northpoint Blvd., Waukegan
611 Lakehurst Rd., Waukegan.
1440 S. White Oak Dr., Waukegan.
For more information about the guide to the City of Waukegan, continue here.