Things to Do

There’s never a shortage of things to do in DeKalb, Sycamore and the surrounding towns any time of the year. In fall try apple picking or navigate your way through corn mazes. In the winter, check out a show at the Egyptian Theater or enjoy an indoor workout at one of the many fitness centers. In the spring, get back outside and enjoy the many parks and trails throughout the community. In the summer, swim at Hopkins pool or play an affordable round of golf. Here are just a few ideas to get you started. Visit the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau for a longer list of things to do in our county.

Arts and Culture

  • Stage Coach Players – For over 70 years, DeKalb residents and NIU faculty, staff and students have taken the stage, worked on the crew, and helped direct and produce a variety of live theater productions, including musicals, dramas, comedies and mysteries.
  • Egyptian Theatre – Catch a live performance or view a movie at this classic theater in downtown DeKalb.
  • WNIJ/WNIU – Listen to NPR-affiliated radio stations at 89.5 FM and 90.5 FM to get the latest news, information and entertainment.
  • Ellwood House Museum – Learn about the history of DeKalb County at this historic property. Tour historical buildings and gardens on 10 acres of in the heart of DeKalb. And check out the Music at the Mansion schedule for free concerts on the front lawn of Ellwood House.
  • Kishwaukee Valley Art League – KVAL is a nonprofit organization with over seventy members dedicated to encouraging the practice, promotion and appreciation of the arts. With online and storefront galleries, group art shows, art education and monthly meetings, KVAL is your connection to the visual arts in DeKalb county!
  • Community Music Ensembles – There are several opportunities for amateur musicians to develop their craft and share their love of music such as The DeKalb Festival Chorus, Bread & Roses Women’s Chorus, the Celebration Chorale, the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Kishwaukee Concert Band and the DeKalb Municipal Band.
  • Children’s Community Theatre – For more than 50 years, Children’s Community Theatre has offered theatre camps and performances for children.

Recreation

  • DeKalb Park District – With over 40 facilities, including parks and golf courses, the DeKalb Park District makes it easy to enjoy the outdoors all year long.
  • Sycamore Park District – Hiking, golf, a swimming pool, splash pad and recreation center, and indoor and outdoor sports leagues, the Sycamore Park District provides fun for all ages.
  • Great Western Bike Trail – Connecting the towns of Sycamore and St. Charles, this abandoned railway-turned-trail is 17 miles of limestone for easy riding and walking.
  • Chief Shabbona Forest Preserve – One of many forest preserves in DeKalb County, this one is only 17 miles from NIU’s campus. Perfect for spending the day hiking, cross country skiing or having a picnic. Merritt Prairie, Afton Preserve and Sycamore Forest Preserve are all less than 10 miles from campus. Check out the DeKalb County Forest Preserve website for more details.

With our Pets

  • Katz Dog Park – Visit this off-leash dog park with your furry friend, with adjacent playground, skate park and softball field, there’s something for everyone.
  • Tails Humane Society – Take care of your pet or adopt a new one! Tails offers low cost spay/neuter services and dog training classes. Tails also coordinates dog and kitten fostering and adoption services.

Events

  • CornFest – DeKalb’s annual end-of-summer festival includes many games, performances, educational demonstrations, and of course, corn.
  • KiteFest – Enjoy a picnic and watch the kites fly or fly one yourself at this yearly fall festival.
  • Sycamore Pumpkin Festival – Sycamore’s annual Pumpkin Festival celebrates fall with a parade, carnival and pumpkin carving contest.
  • Reality Bytes Film Festival – Short fiction films and documentaries are accepted for submission into the festival from high school, undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States and around the world. Local residents are invited to watch the films during the three-night celebration each April.
  • STEMFest – The Midwest’s premier festival celebrating science, technology, engineering and math, NIU’s STEMFest features hundreds of hands-on exhibits, contests and activities.  STEMfest is free and held on NIU’s campus.
  • Summer Camps – NIU offers over 60 day and residential camps for students in grades 3-12. With topics in STEM, arts and athletics, there’s a camp for every kid.
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