Illinois Small Towns February 13, 2023
by Linze Rice The Charming Town Of Sycamore, Illinois Is Picture-Perfect For A Weekend Getaway
The idyllic, charming small town of Sycamore, Illinois, sits quietly among the cornfields just 60 miles west of the hustle and bustle of Chicago. Its motto is, “Life offers more” in Sycamore, and its townspeople and visitors alike agree. With its historic downtown State Street, beautiful Victorian homes, fun festivals, and farm-fresh local foods, this quintessential small town is the perfect place to unwind — even if for a few days.
One of the first thing visitors will notice is the stately homes that line Sycamore's tree-lined streets.
This home is called the James Ellwood House. It's located in the Sycamore Historic District and was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The charming yellow home is just one of many like it that visitors can walk, drive or bike around to see.
Those who enjoy local shopping and dining will want to head to State Street — where you can find everything from candy shops to boutiques, bakeries, bars, and more.
A favorite shop just off the downtown strip is Blumen Gardens garden center and nursery, 403 Edward St. There you can find plants and floral arrangements for sale, and even check out a local maker's market!
The family-owned Sycamore State Theater, 420 W State St., is another great place to take the family, have a date night, or even enjoy a movie solo. The three-screen movie house first opened in 1925 and has been bringing the big screen to Sycamore ever since.
Sycamore is also beloved for its array of local festivals — such as the annual Turning Back Time Car Show, which fills the downtown streets with incredible automotive feats.
If you visit in the fall, make sure to check out the annual Pumpkin Festival — an autumnal-inspired, week-long event that culminates in an amazing pumpkin display on the lawn of the DeKalb County Courthouse and a parade.
Thousands of pumpkins are decorated and put on display for visitors to see. The festival has been a town favorite since it officially began in 1962.
In addition to the lawn decorations, there are local vendors selling foods (get in line early for your pork chop sandwich!) and festival merchandise. There's also a family-friendly carnival and a 5K Pumpkin Run for those who want to get in some exercise!
Across from the county courthouse is P.J.'s Courthouse Bar & Grille, 202 W. State St., where locals know to order the onion rings and Italian beef. The restaurant is housed inside a building that was completed in 1871!
Right outside P.J.'s Courthouse is Cassie's Popcorn Stand, 200 W. State St., where you can get fresh-popped kernels in an array of flavors. The iconic red shack has been there since 1924.
For those with an even sweeter tooth, the place to go is Dairy Ripple, 675 E. State St. The longtime stand is famous among locals for serving ice cream with "eyes" — but its hotdogs and hamburgers are favorites, too!
Right down the road is the Sycamore Speedway race track, 50W086 Old State Rd. Whether you're watching monster trucks, speed racing, or a demolition derby, the energy from the crowd will rev up your adrenaline.
One of the most unique places to stay in Sycamore is The Paper Doll House at 331 N Main St. Built in 1892, the Victorian mansion offers overnight guests a unique retreat-style experience complete with a daily tea time.
The bed and breakfast has six guest rooms and can accommodate groups of up to 12 at a time. Geared toward the artistically inclined, the home also includes a breadth of art supplies in its price! Sycamore also offers several chain hotels — but just imagine a weekend of scrapbooking in a gorgeously remodeled historic mansion, all while being able to binge your favorite show on Netflix. Now that's truly a perfect weekend getaway.
This tiny town may be tucked away in a cornfield, but for a weekend visitor, it offers the perfect balance of everything from the slower pace of window shopping downtown to an electrifying night under the speedway lights. Locals love it here, and it's easy to see why.
Have you ever been to the charming small town of Sycamore, Illinois? Tell us about your experience! If you’re looking to make your first trip, make sure to check out the
Discover Sycamore Tourism website and Facebook page for info on local events, restaurants, shops, and more.
While you’re in Sycamore, be sure to stop by another can’t-miss attraction,
the Chapel in the Pines.
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Address: Sycamore, IL, USA