Hiking, fishing, and kayaking are among some of the popular outdoor sporting activities in which the locals engage. Ottawa provides numerous trails for hiking, free fishing days at Starved Rock State Park, and even kayaking lessons for beginners. Especially during the summer months, festivals abound in the area, including the annual 2 Rivers Wine Festival. One of our favorites is the yearly Cruise Night where a parade of custom and antique cars take over LaSalle street for an evening of auto bliss.
Activities like Music in the Park and the Ottawa community garden bring together neighbors and further unite the community.
A plethora of local food venues are available, bringing the tastes of the world right into our backyard. Neighborhood diners, pizzerias, sushi bars, grills, cafes, and the like offer a variety of cuisine added to area signature dishes for a food experience truly unique to Ottawa. Corner 230 and B.A.S.H. Burger and Sushi House are two of our favorite spots.
Tucked within the rich history of Ottawa, Illinois is the burial site of one of the Boy Scouts founders, William Dickson Boyce. Boyce called Ottawa home during his lifetime, and the Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts as well as the history of Ottawa. The museum is one of the area’s popular attractions and a must-see for visitors.
Another historical spot that attracts locals and visitors alike is the site of the famous debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. The first of the seven senatorial debates took place right here in Ottawa. The community has preserved the location with a boulder at the site in Washington Square Park, and statues of the two men.
Though not too far from the bright city lights of Chicago, Ottawa has a charm of its own that welcomes visitors into its community, offering a wealth of events for all ages, a wide variety of delicious foods, and pride founded on the area’s rich history.