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An Insider’s Guide to St. Charles, IL

Located about an hour from Chicago, St. Charles is filled with opportunities to make friends, memories and discoveries. It has something for everyone: upscale accommodations, a wide assortment of restaurants and bars, six local, craft breweries, fun and exciting opportunities for recreation along the Fox River and much more. Your main challenge will be trying to fit all you can find here into an ambitious itinerary of fun!


Hotel Baker

If you’re ready to take your trip to St. Charles to a whole new level, plan a stay at the Hotel Baker. Located right in downtown St. Charles, it’s the perfect spot to be right where the action is as you are right within walking distance of over 50 restaurants and bars, shopping, and activities on the Fox River. You’ll find amazing views of the downtown and the Fox River from Hotel Baker.

You’ll find there are also nine other hotels ready and waiting to give you an amazing stay here in St. Charles!

Getting Around Town

Like we said, there’s lots to do here in St. Charles! Downtown St. Charles is an easy 5-10 minute drive from all the hotels so you’re right near all the action. There’s plenty of Ubers and Lyfts that can get you to and from if you don’t have a car.

In downtown, there’s lots to see and do! Check out First Street and First Street Plaza to experience the heart of St. Charles and expand out from there. You can catch the Main Street drag from there and walk up and down to see all the amazing businesses there. There’s also Fox Island Square for some shopping and Riverside Avenue to catch hot spots like Pollyanna Brewing, Flagship on the Fox and the Arcada Theatre.

Ways to Find the Fun

Throughout the week, St. Charles has plenty of fun events going on – live music, trivia nights and even specials! If you’re looking for things to do, check out our Live Music Listing, Trivia Night List and Happy Hour Hub!

Local Tours

If you’re looking to take some self-guided tours, you’ll need to download the Travel St. Charles app – a free app that not only has tours listed on it, but also makes finding all the ongoing events and places for activities, dining and more easy to find and discover! We have the St. Charles Historic Walking Tour – a 27-stop audio tour that highlights historic buildings in downtown St. Charles; the Brewery Tour Challenge – where you can win a T-Shirt if you visit all six of the St. Charles breweries; Public Art Tour and much more!

Connecting to Nature

Fox River Boating – There’s plenty of ways to get out on the Fox River and enjoy all the wonder and beautiful sights along it. You can take a ride on the St. Charles Paddlewheel Riverboats or rent out kayaks or peddle boats from Riverview Miniature Golf Course to explore all the beauty and nature along the Fox River. Prices are very fair with all you can do during the rides and renting the kayaks!

Biking – You can also stop in to Sammy’s Bike Shop to rent a bike and go cycle on the Fox River Trail! You can head north or south along the river for some amazing sights and great stops to take in the beauty of the Fox Valley. Plus, you’ll be right near downtown St. Charles if you want to stop in to one of the shops for a post-ride meal.

Walking on Natural Paths

Connect back to your roots a bit and explore the Nature paths in St. Charles. Some of the most popular spots are the Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve paths and the Great Western Trail, as well as the paths in the Hickory Knolls walking paths.

Best Family-Friendly Activities

Parks – Lincoln Park and Pottawatomie Park

Break out some picnic baskets and tennis shoes – it’s time to hit the parks! Lincoln Park is right in the downtown of St. Charles and offers a quick walk to some restaurants and bakeries as well as a has a fantastic playground there!

Pottawatomie Park is also the perfect spot for a picnic with the Pottawatomie Pavilion and plethora of picnic tables there. There’s also a baseball diamond, tennis courts and sand volleyball court for some recreational activities while you’re there!

Urban Air Adventure Park

Head over to Urban Air Adventure & Trampoline Park to get all the energy out with some trampolines, obstacle courses and more! Tickets and passes are very affordable so you get a lot of bang for your buck when you visit!

Getting a Bite

There’s plenty to choose from for all meals of the day. We put together some ideas on places you can go for the best eats! There’s plenty of more to explore outside of this list so check our restaurants on our website or travel app for all of them!

Breakfast – Alexander’s Café, Brunch Café, Arcedium Coffeehouse, Kava Diem, Syrup and Southern Cafe.

Lunch – The Office Dining & Spirits, Colonial Café, Filling Station, The Hive, Jalapeno Grill, Smitty’s On the Corner, Bezos Sandwich Shop, Gia Mia, McNally’s Irish Pub, Throwback Sports Bar and Jalisco Tacos

Dinner – Moto iMoto, Chamber Red Bistro, Graceful Ordinary, Alter Brewing + Kitchen, E&S Fish Co., Riverside Pizza & Pub, Spotted Fox Ale House, Billy Bricks, Szechwan’s, Pho 95, Rox City Grill, Cooper’s Hawk, El Puente, La Mesa Modern Mexican and Wahlburgers

Shopping in downtown St. Charles

Magnolia’s is a fun stop for getting amazing soaps, bath bombs, and more! You can also go right down the street to Jeans and a Cute Top Shop for some fashionable clothes so you can look and feel your best!

You’ll also want to check out places like Broken Brix Home Brew Shop – where you can find homemade meads and wines, Rocket Fizz where you can get a whole bunch of candies, sweets and sodas, Mad Batter Bakery for amazing baked treats, Townhouse Books for all sorts of books, and SG Too Consignment and the Pep Line for home goods.

You’ll also want to consider stopping into Gindo’s Spice of Life – a store that sells their homemade hot sauces right outside the downtown off of Main Street!

There’s so much to see in St. Charles but this will give you a great inside look into the many wonderful places here and the businesses that call St. Charles home.


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