Are you looking for things to do in Gurnee, Illinois?  Or you might be thinking, “where is Gurnee, Illinois!”  Gurnee is a town just 40 miles north of Chicago.  One of the major attractions in this city is Six Flags Great America.  

My husband grew up in Gurnee and his parents still live there.  Needless to say we have made many visits to Gurnee.  We also lived there for a short time.  It is a great place to visit and there are some fun things to do in Gurnee! 

Let’s explore all the things to do in Gurnee, Illinois! 

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Directions to Gurnee, Illinois

Direction to Gurnee Illinois

Milwaukee to Gurnee

Directions to Gurnee are pretty easy from both Chicago and Milwaukee. 

Coming From Chicago

Without traffic, Gurnee is about a 45-50 minutes drive from Chicago.  Gurnee is located right off the I-94 tollway. There are ways to get to Gurnee without taking the toll road if you’re coming from Chicago, but it will cost you a lot of time.  It is probably better to just pay the toll and make it easier on yourself.

Now, you will want to pay close attention as you approach the exit.  If you are coming from Chicago and miss it you will almost end up in Wisconsin before the next exit. Don’t ask me how I know this! 

Coming From Milwaukee

Speaking of Wisconsin, Milwaukee is less than an hour away from Gurnee.   So you can see how Gurnee is an attractive location to draw crowds from both the north and the south.

What County is Gurnee, Illinois in?

Lake County is the area where Gurnee is located. It is one of the most expensive counties in Illinois. So be prepared, the sales tax is higher.  However, my husband who grew up there never felt it was an issue.  

Fun Things to Do in Gurnee, Illinois

Things to do in Gurnee Illinois - six flags

Image courtesy of enjoyillinois

There are so many fun things to do in Gurnee.  Many people like to spend the weekend doing the following:

  • Six Flags
  • Hurricane Harbor
  • Great Wolf Lodge
  • Gurnee Mills
  • Eating at the fun Restaurants 
  • Bass Pro
  • Flight Simulator

Let’s explore all the fun things to do in Gurnee, Il. 

What is Gurnee, Illinois Most Known For?

Six Flags is a big attraction in Gurnee, Il. Because Six Flags Great America is located in Gurnee this brings millions of visitors to this area each year.  Six Flags Great America had 3 million guests in 2017, ranking it the 20th top amusement park in North America for attendance. 

There are also some amazing attractions located in Gurnee that are worth checking out, such as Gurnee Mills and Great Wolf Lodge. But before we get to those attractions, let’s talk more about Six Flags Great America.

Six Flags Great America

Things to do in Gurnee - Six Flags

Six Flags Great America is the Midwest’s largest and most exciting theme park. Six Flags has 15 thrill rides, 19 family rides, as well as 11 kiddie rides.  

If you are familiar with Six Flags Amusement Parks (they are located across the country) a lot of the theming are superhero’s and Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny and friends).  

Hurricane Harbor

Six Flags Great American has a water park called Hurricane Harbor.  Hurricane Harbor is a great way to cool off in the summer. 


General Admission: For adults and kids over 48 inches: $74.99
Child Admission: For kids under 48 inches: $54.99
Children 2 & Under: Free

Six Flags is usually really good about offering discounts and promotions if you purchase your tickets online.  I would plan ahead to get a better deal.  

Hurricane Harbor: additional $5 to admission ticket

Hurricane Harbor is open Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28, June 2-3, June 9-August 19, August 25-27 and Labor Day weekend September 1-3.

Great Wolf Lodge

Things to do in Gurnee - Great Wolf Lodge

Okay, so now that you have a better feel for Six Flags Great America, let’s talk about some of the other attractions Gurnee has to offer.  Just one mile from Six Flags Great America is the Great Wolf Lodge.

Great Wolf Lodge is one of the best kid friendly hotels.  Great Wolf Lodge gives you a great reason to not only visit Gurnee for the day, but to make a vacation out of it.

Great Wolf lodge is more than a hotel.   It  includes a water park, arcade, fun attractions (mini golf, rope courses, bowling, and climbing wall), Build-A-Bear, giftshop, interactive parties, meet and greets with the Great Wolf Lodge characters, and MagiQuest (more on that later).  


A few years ago Great Wolf Lodge purchased an indoor water park called Key Lime Cove in Gurnee.  Great Wolf Lodge went in and remodeled it and added more slides. It is an amazing resort.

Age Recommendations for Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge was designed with kids in mind.  I would recommend this resort for kids 12 and under.  My 13 year old liked some of the bigger water slides and arcade but she would probably have had more fun spending most of her time at Six Flags.  

How Long Should I Stay at Great Wolf Lodge

I recommend staying at least two nights.  That way you can use the water park at least twice and still have enough time to do all the activities within the lodge. 

Water Park at Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee, IL

Best family resorts in the world - Great Wolf Lodge


The water park includes 7 big slides, 4 little slides, a big pool, lazy river, basketball pool area, a splash zone, and a baby area.  We loved the water park!

What is nice about the water park is that it is indoors.  It is nice to be able to have so much fun in the colder months of the year. 


Great Wolf Lodge is a themed location. In some rooms, the bunk beds are designed to look like tree houses.  One thing that we loved is that Great Wolf Lodge caters to big families.  There are rooms that can sleep up to 16 people.   This would be a great place to plan a family reunion.

Extra Benefits

Each day, Great Wolf has Yoga, character meet and greets, story time, and a dance party. It also has arcades, rope courses, and bowling. These activities are so much fun!

Magi Quest

Magic Quest at Great Wolf Lodge

Okay, so now let’s talk about MagiQuestion; my son’s favorite. Magi Quest is a wizarding game at Great Wolf Lodge. After you purchase a wand, you will begin a quest. There are kiosks, treasure chest, jewels, and paintings located throughout the lodge. As you find the items you need you will aim your wand and it activates the object.

The game can take about an hour or 2 but does not have to be completed all at once.

Things to Do in Gurnee - Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

Bass Pro Shops are a national chain that is known for its large wilderness themed stores, and selection of its hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear.  An impressive Bass Pro is located right in Gurnee, Illinois.  

Things to do at Bass Pro

There is a waterfall, aquarium, and archery and pistol range. If you are looking for a free thing to do in Gurnee, Illinois this is a perfect place to check out (though some of the activities cost extra).  Most kids like looking at all the displays of boats and out-door gear.  There are also fish feedings Fridays at 1:00pm

Gurnee Mills

Things to do in Gurnee, Il

Bass Pro is located at Gurnee Mills.  It is one of the largest outlet shopping areas in Illinois.  There are over 200 stores.  

On our recent trip we were very impressed with how big it was. The part of the mall closest to Six Flags Great America is about 1.5 miles away.  So if you want to get a little outlet shopping done this is a great stop. 

Extreme Flight Simulation

Flight Simulator in Gurnee Il

Image Courtesy of Flight Simulator


The Extreme Flight Simulation is a great way to get a feel of flying.  Prices range from $99 – $400 depending on the amount of time and people involved.  

You can also participate in virtual reality games at this location.  Prices range from $20 -$65. However, you can find some good coupons right on the website. 

There is also an escape room at ETS.  This is a 2 hour game that costs $54.99 per person.

Best Places to Eat in Gurnee Illinois

Ben and Jerry's in Gurnee

Gurnee has many of the nation wide chains available to eat at. There is a Rainforest Cafe located at Gurnee Mills, which has a great atmosphere, and plenty of dining options surrounding the mall. But if you want to try some of the best food in Gurnee, Illinois, then I have a few other recommendations for you. 


Best Things to Eat in Gurnee - Oberwise

I always like to start with dessert.  Oberweis is an ice cream and dairy store.  You can purchase frozen treats to enjoy onsite or you can pick up an ice cream carton for later. 

Kaisers Pizza and Pub

Best Things to Eat in Gurnee - Kaisers

If you are craving pizza Kaisers is the best option in Gurnee.  This pizza is delicious.  We loved how big each pizza was.  They are thin sliced pizza with great toppings.

We love pizza!  On our last trip we had to have Kaisers and I guess everyone else thought the same thing because this place was hopping.  A sure sign that you are in for a treat! 

Tina’s Italian Café and Bake Shop

Places to eat in Gurnee - Tina's

If you want to support a locally owned and ran business try Tina’s.  It is delicious. We love the homemade pasta dishes, gourmet sandwiches, and desserts.  This restaurant was highly recommended to us, and I recommend it to you. 

Rainforest Café

As I mentioned above, Rainforest Café is a national chain located inside of Gurnee Mills. It is one of those places that has a fun atmosphere that overrides the quality of food.  Get ready for a wild time! 

The Chocolate Sanctuary

Places to eat in Gurnee

Also, unique to Gurnee is the Chocolate Sanctuary.  This is a fancier location.  It is great for foodies and chocolate lovers alike.  All the food is inspired by chocolate and there are treats from local chocolatiers.

Spending Time in Gurnee Illinois

Fun Things to do in Gurnee, IL

You could definitely spend a weekend in Gurnee, Illinois having a great time.  Hopefully, this has given you a good idea of how you can plan a trip to Gurnee, Illinois. 

Gurnee, Illinois is a great place for a family vacation or a weekend getaway!

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