College life was never this swanky. At Waterleaf—a fine-dining restaurant at the College of DuPage—floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a pond flood the dining room with natural light. The scene is in the college’s Culinary and Hospitality Center, near classroom kitchens. But don’t be fooled by the location. A professional executive chef turns out intricately crafted dishes: prosciutto-wrapped monk fish, Chianti-braised short ribs and pear tartine.
After dinner, check into a room on the third floor of the same building on campus, located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, 28 miles west of the Loop. Inn at Water’s Edge has six guest rooms with plush beds and oversize showers. Expect trays of chocolate truffles at turndown and free espresso in the lounge.
The college’s newly renovated McAninch Arts Center stages a colorful palette of art displays and performances. Explore the center’s Cleve Carney Art Gallery and its year-round shows of contemporary works by regional and international artists. During the school year, catch a concert by the college’s New Philharmonic, a 60-member professional orchestra, or the student jazz and chamber ensembles.