Although your OHi team set expectations for the extent of your project, nothing can actually prepare you for when you are in the throws of the noise, the mess, and the stress. While we love construction dearly, we still understand that it can be disruptive to your everyday life.
However, construction doesn’t always have to be SO stressful!
In fact, right outside your front door is a whole world filled with exciting experiences just waiting for you and your family. While you may not be able to escape the woes of construction within your home, you can certainly escape them by getting outside. To make it even easier, we’ve compiled a guide with fun activities to help you get through this trying season. If your home isn’t under construction, don’t fret, these thrilling, mostly local activities are available to everyone, you just may be less desperate to try them.
Add in Some Exercise
While it may come as a surprise, surfing the web on your phone doesn’t count as exercise. Sure, your thumb muscles may be stronger and more agile than most, but what about the rest of your body? It might be a good idea for you to join a local gym. Then, you can set aside thirty minutes a day to blast music into your ears, watch the news with subtitles, and ignore the existence of every other human there (if you want). Plus, your body releases endorphins which make you happy and give you energy to push through the day, even when you’re in the midst of chaos and losing sleep over the mess.
If, of course, you’re already a gym rat, or you’re looking for a gentler exercise activity, consider hiking or biking on one of the serene forest preserve trails found all over the northwest suburbs. If you want to embrace an exercise to help you relax, consider joining a yoga studio. It’s another space to create a sense of peace, while also providing quiet. Of course, if you’re looking for fun, you can always try out goat yoga.
Here are our favorite forest preserves and parks for you to check out:
- Buffalo Creek Trail in Long Grove
- Busse Woods Trails System in Elk Grove Village
- Deer Grove Forest Preserve in Palatine
- River Trails Park District in Mt. Prospect
Check Out a Real Zoo
While it may feel like your home is a zoo, we promise visiting a real zoo is way more fun. You can explore a variety of furry friends (or scaly and feathery), while also investing in an overpriced souvenir that you will absolutely cherish for the rest of your life. If you like farm animals in particular, or lower admission prices, check out the multiple local zoos. However, if you’re looking for a wide variety, a lot of walking, and awesome year-round programs, such as extravagant light shows around the winter holidays, you can’t go wrong with either Brookfield or Lincoln Park Zoo.
Here are our favorite zoos for you to check out:
Root for a Local Team
The best thing about sports in Chicago is that there is never a season without a team to root for. Chicago is 1 of only 13 cities to have a team for the four major sports leagues in the United States. For you, though, it's a great way to get out, eat some greasy food like a hot dog or nachos, and lose your voice cheering every time your team scores. Not only will it get you out of the house for 3+ hours, but it will give you the perfect setting to spend time with friends and family. Plus, you can let out all your built up frustration by jeering at the other team or getting angry when, say, the field kicker misses the field goal costing your team the playoff wildcard… not that that ever happens. If major league sports aren’t your cup of tea, there are a few minor league teams for you to check out as well, which offer cheaper tickets as well as a more laid back environment.
Here are our favorite teams to root for:
- Chicago Bears
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Chicago Bulls
- Chicago Cubs
- Chicago Dogs
- Chicago Fire
- Chicago White Sox
- Schaumburg Boomers
Take the Time to learn
Your local library or park district is chock full of resources and classes. Between the BYOB (Bring your own board game) and the presentations on the History of Woodstock, there is something for everyone. Not only will you be bettering yourself by learning, but you will also have the chance to connect with other community members. At the end of the day, even if you want to take a pass at attending lectures or book club discussions, the library is a great place to take a break from the noise and just soak in the forced silence. The Arlington Heights Memorial Library is a great place to start, as their programs are top notch, and often don’t require a library card.
Catch a show
Do you feel like the lights of Broadway are calling your name? Forget about New York City, and look no further than your local suburbs! There are many community theaters or smaller theaters scattered about that offer a wide variety of shows. Not only will your attendance support the arts in your community, but you just might run into one of your neighbors that you had no idea could sing. If you want a more syndicated performance, but with the comforts of the suburbs and free parking, explore Drury Lane, which boasts a variety of both local and visiting actors. The sets, costumes, and intimate seating are sure to make it an enjoyable show. If you want the big guns, with impressive candidates and nationally touring actors, check out Broadway in Chicago.
Here are some of our favorite performing arts theaters:
- Allstate Arena in Rosemont
- Big Noise Theater in Des Plaines
- Broadway in Chicago
- Cutting Hall in Palatine
- The Dinner Detective in Schaumburg
- Drury Lane in Oak Brook
- Harper College in Palatine
- Laugh Out Loud Theater in Schaumburg
- Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in AH
- Music On Stage in Palatine
- Northshore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie
- Rosemont Theater in Rosemont
If musical theater or plays aren’t your thing, consider visiting your local movie theater. Will it provide a 2 hour break from your home? Absolutely! If the movie is boring, does it provide the perfect setting for an uninterrupted nap? You betcha. Now, we’re not saying to go to a movie to take a nap, it’s just, ever since they’ve started adding in those fancy recliner seats, it’s so comfy! In all seriousness, movies tend to be affordable, and many places have reward programs. There are local theaters to support, as well as national chains, such as AMC. However, if you want something extra special, consider finding a classic movie theater like the Pickwick or Music Box, which both have spectacular exteriors and theatrical interiors.
Here are some of our favorite movie theaters:
Grab your scrunchies and comb your mullets, it’s time to get nostalgic with some good old-fashioned indoor recreational fun. Reminiscent of the eighties, visiting your local arcade or bowling alley can be hours of guaranteed fun! You can get a gutter ball every frame, and still have a great evening! There is just something about the smell of stale beer in an old-time bowling alley that brings back childhood memories for me, but if this sounds unappealing, don’t fret! There are many modern establishments with sleek, neon-lit lanes that make you feel like you’re in a posh city hotspot! As a bonus, often you’ll find that arcades are attached to bowling alleys, making them easily accessible.
Here are a few of our favorite bowling alleys and arcades:
- Beverly Lanes in Arlington Heights
- Bowlero at Various Locations
- Elk Grove Bowl in Elk grove Village
- Gameworks in Schaumburg
- Main Event in Hoffman Estates
- Nickel City in Northbrook
- PAC-MAN Entertainment in Schaumburg
- Underground Retrocade in West Dundee
- Pixel Blast Arcade in Lisle
- Punch Bowl Social in Schaumburg
- Round1 in Bloomingdale
Explore the brewery scene
Perhaps you need to unwind a little bit more than the goat yoga allowed for. If that’s the case, consider going to grab a drink! You probably have a favorite local bar, however, sometimes you want to try something different. If you’re looking for more of a drinking experience, now is your opportunity to explore the brewery culture! There are many options in the suburbs of local breweries that offer handcrafted beers and other drinks. There might be some strange flavors out there, but this is a good season for adventure. So go ahead, and take a sip!
Here are some great local breweries for you to check out:
- Buffalo Creek Brewing in Long Grove
- Church Street Brewing Company LLC in Itasca
- Itasca Brewing Company in Itasca
- Mikerphone Brewery in Elk Grove Village
- Une Année Brewery LLC in Niles
- Wolfden Brewery in Bloomingdale
For Families with Kids
If you have children, the construction season of remodeling can be especially stressful. You have to watch your kid like a hawk. Of course, they can’t help their fascination with the construction site. It has fun tools that make incredible noises, and the opportunity to knock stuff down and tear things up - it’s a child’s dream! With this in mind, you may be extra desperate to get out of the house while also keeping your kids entertained. While many of the options above are friendly family, sometimes you need a getaway that is specifically geared towards kids. If school or daycare aren’t options, consider taking them to a hands-on children’s museum that offers opportunities for climbing and running. Or better yet, go to a jump zone or an indoor jungle gym. We don’t just mean a standard park jungle gym, we’re talking about a jungle gym on steroids. The type that will have your kids’ eyes bulging out of their heads.
Here are some of our favorite kid-focused activities:
- Ball Factory in Mount Prospect
- Chicago Children’s Museum in Chicago
- Enchanted Castle in Lombard
- Funtopia in Glenview
- Jump!Zone at Multiple Locations
- Kohls Children's Museum in Glenview
- Pump It Up in Schaumburg
- Urban Air Trampoline Park in Bloomingdale