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Neighborhood Spotlight: Waukegan, IL

Neighborhood Spotlight: Waukegan, IL

The first French colonist set foot in Waukegan, IL in 1673. Originally a Potawatomie Indian settlement and a French trading post known as “Little Fort”, Waukegan got its name after the community no longer wanted to be referred to as “little.” Waukegan actually means “fort” or “trading post” in the Potawatomie language. Located right on the coast of Lake Michigan, settlers were attracted to Waukegan because it was easy to ship produce and grain between counties in Illinois. The not so small town continued to expand and was officially incorporated as a city on February 23rd, 1858. 

Nowadays, people are drawn to Waukegan, IL for its beautiful recreational areas and rich history. Because it is located in the Chicago Metropolitan area, it is often overlooked.

Sunbathe on the Beach

Depending on what time of year you visit, Waukegan Municipal Beach is a must-see. The mile-long Lake Michigan lakefront is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offers endless recreational opportunities. Vacationers can swim, sunbathe, play sand volleyball, picnic, or take a leisurely stroll. There are also sailboat races you can watch that occur from May all the way to October! Additionally, Waukegan beach is great for the budget. Parking is free Monday through Friday and is only $20 on the weekends. You can walk or bike there to save even more money. There is no lifeguard on duty so swimmers should take extra care when enjoying the lake.

Brush up on Your History Knowledge

The Waukegan History Museum is located in Waukegan’s Bowen Park and is the former home of John C. Haines, the mayor of Chicago from 1858-1860. The long ago home was built in 1943, making it one of the oldest surviving buildings in Lake County, IL. Visitors of the museum can see wallpapers, carpets, drapes and light fixtures from the late Victorian period. There are also other artifacts, photographs and exhibits that portray the rich history of Waukegan, IL.  There is even a bed that Abraham Lincoln slept on while visiting Waukegan! The museum is open Tuesday and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., but it is advised to call the museum beforehand to make sure it is open. Admission is always free, making it a great spot for your budget vacation. 

Catch a flick at Genesee Theatre

Another historic spot, the Genesee Theatre, is located in downtown Waukegan. The theater opened to the public at the end of 1927 but has been renovated and updated to maintain its glory. Ticket prices vary depending on the event but you can tour the theater for free or give a donation if you choose. Tours are held on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. and Thursdays at 11 a.m., but you must call to reserve your spot beforehand, as group size is limited.

Visit SpeedyLoans in Waukegan, IL

If you need extra bucks while visiting Waukegan, stop into our SpeedyLoans neighborhood location. The helpful staff at Waukegan are always happy to assist you in applying for a loan. Whenever you need to get your cash and go, turn to SpeedyLoans

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