Where to Play, Shop and Eat in Crystal Lake, Illinois
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Shouts of kids huddled around a sand castle float out over Crystal Lake, wafting up through the air, over tiny sailboats and family-powered pedal boats. Scenes like this play out from Memorial Day through Labor Day in Crystal Lake (population: 40,733), a historic town located 50 miles northwest of Chicago.
A lot of people living in Chicagoland think of Crystal Lake as just another suburb. But residents here know they have something special: independent businesses along Williams Street, family-friendly parks and beaches, and top-notch restaurants.
You can take the Metra train to Crystal Lake from downtown Chicago, but to enjoy both the beach and the downtown shops and restaurants, it's best to drive. What you find will remind you of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin—before it became an überpopular spot.
Click ahead for our favorites places to play, shop and eat in Crystal Lake. For more info, contact the McHenry County Convention and Visitors Bureau. (888) 363-6177; visitmchenrycounty.com