What to Do in DeKalb

One of the best parts of college can be discovering exciting things to do in a new town. DeKalb and its surrounding communities have a lot to offer, including hidden gems known only by locals. Whether you’re venturing out for the afternoon or a night on the town, there’s something close by to keep you entertained. Visit our interactive map for a comprehensive listing of local businesses.

Fun and Games

Bowling at Huskie Den
Bowling at Huskie Den

Local Flavors

  • Barb City Bagels in downtown DeKalb and The Junction Eating Place on Lincoln Highway are family-owned establishments that offer a small-town atmosphere with great food and service.
  • Old School Pizza, located in an old school building in nearby Malta, is a one-of-a-kind pizzeria with tasty eats and iconic pop culture décor.
  • Insomnia Cookies in downtown DeKalb has the sugary treats you crave, even when it’s late. They’re open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
  • The DeKalb Farmers’ Market brings locally grown produce, bread, baked goods, olive oil, honey, coffee, flowers, food trucks and live music to downtown DeKalb every Thursday from June to September. The Sycamore Farmers’ Market provides locally grown produce every Tuesday afternoon from June through September.
Cooking food at the Junction
Cooking food at the Junction

The DeKalb Foodie Map provides an overview of all the tasty places to visit in town. You can browse for ethnic options, places that provide delivery, restaurants that are open late, and places that are found exclusively in DeKalb.

Concerts and Shows

  • The historic Egyptian Theatre in downtown DeKalb hosts music performances, comedy shows, theater productions and more.
  • Stagecoach Players, DeKalb’s community theater company, brings stories to life on stage. Their performances typically take place Thursday through Sunday.
  • College of Visual and Performing Arts events, such as concerts and theater productions, are free for students. See a show and support your fellow Huskies.
Egyptian Theatre
Egyptian Theatre

Annual Festivals

  • 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.
Corn Fest
Corn Fest

Parks and Nature

  • Outdoor Adventures plans fun opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, from bike rides in local parks to trips to national parks.
  • The DeKalb Park District has something for everyone, including biking and walking trails, special events and concerts, and plenty of places to relax with a book.
  • Katz Dog Park, is a off-leash dog park with adjacent playground, skate park and softball field. There's something for everyone, including your furry friends.
Fishing at the Lagoon
Fishing at the Lagoon

Looking to Get Out of DeKalb for a Day or Weekend?

Our Huskie Bus Line provides daily shuttle service to the Elburn Metra Station, providing you with quick and easy train access to Chicago and the western suburbs. The shuttle picks up and drops off passengers at Locust Street and Normal Road, with additional stops in downtown DeKalb and Cortland.

Have a Question?

Take a look at frequently asked questions about getting involved.

Upcoming Events

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