This post is sponsored, however, all opinions are my own.
It’s no secret that I love living in downtown Chicago. However, there are times that I like to escape the hustle and bustle for fewer crowds and less noise. My family and I enjoy taking weekend road trips on the regular.
Fortunately, there are many Midwest destinations within a short driving distance from the city. If it’s a Midwest destination on the water, that’s even better!
We visited St. Charles, IL, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with our trip for Dave and my anniversary weekend.
Where is St Charles, Illinois
St. Charles, Illinois, is located right on the scenic Fox River, about 35 miles outside Chicago. It’s an easy drive from the city. You can also ditch the car and hop on the Metra at the Ogilvie Transportation Center. It’s a little under an hour trip to the Geneva Stop, which is only 2 miles from Downtown St. Charles, Illinois.
Downtown St. Charles, Illinois
Downtown St. Charles, Illinois, is a lively, vibrant urban oasis and offers many things I appreciate having easy access to in Chicago. There are beautiful parks, trails, great restaurants, breweries, entertainment, and water activities, all within walking distance.
Where to Stay in Downtown St. Charles
We checked in at the Historic Hotel Baker on Friday night. The Hotel Baker is located right on the Fox River in downtown St. Charles and puts you within steps of a vibrant entertainment district. We parked our car on Friday and didn’t move it all weekend!
Established in 1928, the Hotel Baker provides a unique combination of old-world charm and modern amenities. There are so many nice touches and features in this elegant hotel. The National Registrar of Historic places includes Hotel Baker on its list due to its architectural, engineering, and historical significance.
Restaurants, Activities, and Entertainment During your Stay
Activities & Entertainment
There are lots of things to do in St. Charles. Dave and I enjoyed an entire weekend of activities, incredible food, libations, and shopping.
You’ll find a diverse selection of shops lining the streets of downtown to stop in.
Friday evening, we took a fun DIY board class inside the gorgeous space at Board and Brush. I’m not as artistic as Dave is; my most significant focus was making sure my lines were straight, lol. However, the class was easy, and the instructors were clear with directions. We each did a project. They offer wine, beer, and soft drinks during the course, which was a nice touch.
We took a Paddlewheel Boat Tour on the river, where we learned the history of St. Charles and enjoyed the scenery along the river, including Pottawonomie Park, the golf course, and homes in the area. The boat ride is slow and relaxing, so sit back and savor the view.
There are several parks to check out during your stay; we loved strolling through Pottawatomie and Mount Saint Mary Park. It was lovely seeing individuals and families picnicking, biking, or walking through the park. Mount Saint Mary Park has art installations scattered through the park to enjoy.
Where to get Drinks in St. Charles
There’s no shortage of places to enjoy libations in St. Charles, IL. We hit D and G Brewing Friday evening. Both of us genuinely appreciated the community feeling there, and the beer was fantastic! I highly recommend you spend some time there. Saturday, we visited Dawn’s Beach Hut and The Wine Exchange. Dawn’s Beach Hut was the perfect afternoon stop giving us all the tropical vibes! Their decor is colorful and cheery, and service friendly. Everyone inside was happy and cheerful.
Saturday evening, we had pre-dinner drinks at the Wine Exchange. The Wine Exchange is a vibe. We did a wine tasting and ordered glasses of wine to accompany our charcuterie. Delicious! I recommend all three places!
Restaurants in St. Charles, IL
E&S Fish Company
Our Friday evening dinner at E&S Fish Company was outstanding! Their featured fish is flown in daily from all over the world. If you don’t see your choice of fish on the menu, you may select something fresh from their cooling case. Then watch as the chef prepares it. I’d chosen fresh scallops, and the chef prepared them perfectly! E&S Fish Company is a BYOB restaurant with a small menu that changes daily.
Saturday afternoon lunch was at Filling Station Pub & Grill. Housed inside a building that was once a filling station, the restaurant is full of antique decor that will evoke fun memories and conversation. Be sure to try one of their tasty burgers.
Located on the Fox River, Eden restaurant offers Mediterranean cuisine fused with Moroccan, Italian, Spanish, and Greek cuisine influences. The restaurant has a lovely atmosphere and the silkiest hummus that I’ve ever had in my life (I learned that it takes 24 hours to prepare)!
A variety of tasty dishes prepared from family recipes covered our table. At a glance, you’d think there were more than two diners, but it was just Dave and me. We left stuffed. The restaurant features live music on the weekends, and the jazz trio playing that evening was solid. The food, atmosphere, water views, and music were the perfect combo.
Make your coffee stop at Arcedium Coffeehouse; their fresh roasted coffee is fabulous! They’ve been named best coffeehouse five years in a row by the Kane County Chronicle. I repeat, their coffee is excellent!!!
We stopped in for breakfast at Colonial Cafe before we headed home on Sunday. Their menu offers a wide range of options for breakfast and fast service. It was an excellent choice to end our weekend.
I see many more visits to beautiful St. Charles in the future. It’s a worthy choice when selecting a Midwest destination. I can’t believe it took me so long to find this resort community so close to downtown Chicago. So, for your next weekend getaway or road trip, plan a visit!