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24 Hours in Downtown St. Charles, IL

Theatres, shopping, dining, art...the list goes on and on with things to do in St. Charles, IL. However, for this visit, we are going to showcase some of the very best things to do around downtown in just one day! This 24 hours is going to be loaded with fun - so pack your duffle bag and head downtown and be sure to waste no time getting started on this adventure.


Where to Stay

Photo #1 Courtesy of Rachel Kawate, Photo #2 Courtesy of Brigette Burgman of Nomadic Soul Photography

You're going to have a full day ahead of you, so it's a good idea to get a great night sleep the night before. Downtown St. Charles is home to a waterfront historic hotel that needs no introduction: the Hotel Baker. This boutique hotel will leave you in awe the second you walk through the doors, and their rooms offer the latest amenities while still having a vintage style that you'll love. Stay where the stars stay - this hotel has been visited by notable celebrities such as Donnie Wahlburg and Jenny McCarthy who chose this hotel for the location of their wedding reception.


Start with a Morning Meal


Rise and shine! Begin your morning off right by waking up early and taking a walk on over to the Arcedium Coffeehouse. This award-winning coffee shop is only a short stroll from the hotel, and their fresh-roasted daily coffee beans will give you that boost you need to have a productive day. Sip on one of their specialty drinks, along with a bagel or muffin, and you'll find that it's the perfect breakfast combo! Can't get enough of their beans? You can even purchase some in the shop to take home to brew yourself! After you've finished your coffee and baked-treat, start making your way over towards 1st Street.


Shop on 1st Street

Photo #1 Courtesy of Boutique Baby, Photo #2 Courtesy of MION Artisan Soap

The shopping scene in St. Charles is second-to-none, and some of the very best shops can be found right on 1st Street. As you cruise down the road, you'll notice wonderful stores on both sides such as MION Artisan Soap, Boutique Baby, Jeans and a Cute Top Shop, and so many more. We can assure you, you will get lost in a shopping trance, exploring every inch of these stores discovering tons of exceptional, high quality products. If you want learn to learn more about all the amazing businesses on 1st Street and what they have to offer, please click here to read one of our latest blogs.


Have a Midday Bite

Photos Courtesy of McNally's Irish Pub & Kitchen

Now that your bags are full and your shopping spree has come to an end, it's time to grab some lunch. St. Charles is home to one of the best Irish Pub's around in McNally's Irish Pub & Kitchen. When you sit down at your table, you'll feel like you've instantly been transported to Ireland. If you're visiting on a weekend, try their brunch that they serve until 1pm, with dishes like their Mini Monty or Corned Beef Hash. If you're here on a weekday, they have a terrific lunch special where you can choose two between half a sandwich, salad, soup, or chips for only $12!


Learn About St. Charles

You simply cannot come to St. Charles without learning a little bit about it's past. Once lunch has concluded, make a stop at the St. Charles History Museum to learn about the beginnings of this city, and how it grew to what we know and love today. Right now, they even have a special exhibit that highlights St. Charles involvement with the 1933 Chicago World's Fair - which is available until the end of 2023. Before heading out, stop by the Curious Fox Gift Shop located inside the museum to pick up a special St. Charles keepsake.


What's Your Favorite Aspect of Downtown St. Charles?

  • The Murals

  • The Theatres

  • The Shopping

  • The Restaurants


Enjoy the Arts

Following your visit at the St. Charles History Museum, it's important to go support the arts. Arts and culture are such key characteristics of this town, boasting an array of galleries and over 180 pieces of public art around. Stop by the 116 Gallery, located inside a 5,000 square foot building right on Main Street downtown. They feature art of not only Chicago-based artists, but national and international artists, as well. The space is modern and tranquil, making it a wonderful spot to reflect on the unique and original pieces they host.


Indulge in Dinner

When it comes to Italian cuisine, not many places do it better than La Za'Za' Trattoria. Whether you're with your whole family, a loved one, or even by yourself, the dining experience they offer is outstanding. Savor their famous Pesce Bianco alla Spinaci, or one of their renowned Northern Italian pastas, and pair it with a drink from their extensive wine menu. This is the ideal spot for any special occasion, and certainly a must-stop for one of the best restaurants to go to downtown.


Catch a Show

No trip to St. Charles is complete without catching a show at the historic Arcada Theatre. Being a staple in this town since 1926, there have been plenty of big names that have graced this stage including Judy Garland, Pat Benatar, Gladys Knight, and so many more. This 897 seat venue hosts over 200 live concerts each year, along with silent film nights, musicals, and more. To find all their upcoming shows taking place, please click here.


Grab a Drink

Unfortunately, the 24 hours in St. Charles is almost up, so end it with a tasty night-cap. Alter Brewing + Kitchen is located in the heart of downtown, and they serve up some award-winning brews that hit the spot every time. Enjoy the nighttime sky on their outdoor patio overlooking the Fox River with a craft beer. If you find that you're still a bit hungry, choose something off their food menu, like their giant pretzel, to end the day on a high-note.



While this 24 hours was full of excitement, there is so much more to see and do that you just can't fit into one day. View the lodging options in this city here, that way, you can book a room and take on everything that St. Charles has to offer.

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