Things to Do in Riverside

There’s a lot to see and do in Riverside. Take a walking tour to discover architectural wonders. Enjoy an escape room adventure with family and friends. See a unique art exhibit. Tour a distillery and then enjoy an artisan cocktail in a speakeasy bar. The following is a list of the best things to do in Riverside.

History & Architecture

 

RiversideWalkingTour4Step back in time with a visit to Riverside. Recognized internationally as one of the first planned suburban communities in the country, Riverside is one of the most historic and beautiful communities in Illinois. Designed in 1869 by America’s greatest landscape architects, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the same landscape architects who designed New York’s Central Park, the entire village of Riverside is a National Historic Landmark.

Discover winding roads, delightful parks, beautiful landscapes, and architectural wonders with a walking tour from the Frederick Law Olmsted Society. The two-hour monthly walking tours feature an array of architectural masterpieces, including some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous designs.

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Today, visitors come from around the world to see such famous Wright gems as the buildings of the Coonley Estate and the F.F. Tomek House—both National Historic Landmarks. The Tomek House played an instrumental role in the creation and development of the Prairie School style of architecture. Meanwhile, Wright himself described the Coonley House as “the most successful of my houses from my standpoint.”

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Continue your tour of architecture and historic landmarks with a self-guided walking tour from the Riverside Historical Commission. Begin your tour with a stop at the Riverside Historical Museum. Located inside Riverside’s historic Water Tower Pump House, the museum contains approximately 16,000 documents and artifacts that are dedicated to preserving the rich history of Riverside and of its creator, Frederick Law Olmsted, and the many other noteworthy architects who have built structures in Riverside. Other tour landmarks include Riverside Public Library, Riverside Presbyterian Church, Schermerhorn Residence, and Riverside Water Tower, one of the oldest buildings in Riverside, and one of the village’s defining landmarks.

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Fun & Games

If navigating Riverside’s winding streets wasn’t enough excitement, how about a puzzle-solving adventure? Vault Escape Rooms on Harlem Avenue has lots of puzzles. Vault Escape Rooms is an immersive, puzzle-escape room experience for you and your family and friends. Choose from one of Vault Escape Rooms available themes and spend an exhilarating 60 minutes finding clues, solving puzzles and bonding with your teammates.

Brush up on your own skills with art classes at the Riverside Arts Center, located downtown on Quincy Street. This cultural learning center is also a gallery, home to several unique art exhibits from local and national artists that change throughout the year.

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A tour of the barrels at Quincy Street Distillery

Down the street is Quincy Street Distillery. Named one of the 25 Best Distilleries in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure magazine, Quincy Street Distillery is a great place to stop for handcrafted cocktails and a distillery tour. Inspired by the small craft spirit creators of yore, owner and distiller Derrick Mancini founded Quincy Street Distillery as a way to celebrate traditional, and create new, American spirits. Today, he oversees a small crew that crafts and bottles 12 artisanal, small-batch spirits, including a mead-based dry honey spirit, a railroad gin, a colonial-style single malt rye, and the first straight bourbon whiskey distilled and bottled in Illinois in 40 years. Take a tour of the distillery to bring the full story of these libations into focus. Distillery tours detail every step of the grain-to-whiskey production, including fermentation, distillation, cutting, barreling, and bottling. Conclude with a tasting in the speakeasy cocktail bar that includes a brief history lesson about many of the new spirit brands, and after where patrons can purchase classic or original cocktails or pick up bottles at the retail shop.

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