Calumet City, a suburb located on the west side Illinois-Indiana Line is bordered to the north by Chicago.
Although the Calumet region is well-industrialized, it has many green pockets where nature is regaining its hold.
These areas, such as Green Lake Woods or Powderhorn Lake are managed by Cook County’s Forest Preserve District. They are great for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing.
Calumet City offers a variety of great local amenities including excellent local parks, a craft brewery and a golf course. It is also close to Hammond IN which boasts a vibrant arts scene.
1. Calumet Memorial Park
The Calumet Memorial District’s main park offers a wide range of amenities, particularly if you are into sports.
There is a multipurpose field as well as a baseball and multipurpose field. Also, there are bocce courts, volleyball courts, and a batting cage.
The nine-hole miniature golf course is a wonderful option for families. There’s also a playground and splash pad, sand area, picnic pavilion with barbecue grills, and concessions in the summer.
Memorial Park also serves as the venue for many beloved community events such as the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and Calumet City’s Labor Day Parade on Wentworth Avenue.
2. Castaways Bowl
This Calumet City bowling alley is open since 1950.
Castaways Bowl features 32 lanes. It uses a cutting-edge scoring system. There is cosmic bowling in evenings, and there’s a party atmosphere on weekends. The alley remains open until late at night.
If you have any questions, there is a pro-shop right here. The Windy City Pizza Works in the alley has a great reputation because of its freshly made hand-made dough. Even the Italian beef is slow-roasted, seasoned and cut in-house.
3. River Oaks Center
Calumet City’s main shopping spot is a sprawling mall with a history dating back to 1966.
Since then, the River Oaks Center has seen expansions several times. Today there are upwards of 140 stores that are anchored by Macy’s and JCPenney branches.
You can find rue21, Kay Jewelers and Victoria’s Secret here.
The mall’s food court is located on the east side. There are also locations for Taco Bell and Panda Express, Starbuck, Sonic, White Castle, Sonic, and Starbuck in the immediate vicinity.
4. Calumet City Historical Society and Museum
Calumet’s Historical Society was established in 1975. It is located at the Calumet Cultural Center.
Built in the mid-1950s, this building served as Calumet’s public library for three decades.
The museum’s permanent exhibit features preserved historical fashion dating back to 1890s. It also includes a recreated interior of the post office, a 1930s kitchen, and many photos that document the city’s history.
The museum also has seasonal exhibits that provide more insight into a particular aspect of local life.
You can also find the Heritage Cabin (1830s & 1860s) elsewhere. It was discovered under two layers of siding in 1979 and is now west of Burnham Avenue (166th Street).
5. Towle Theater
A small professional theatre serving the South Shore has been operating in Hammond, Indiana for almost 20 years.
The Towle Theater offers intimate productions of high quality, with a varied program that includes dramas and musicals. All made possible by dedicated, welcoming individuals.
There are four shows per season. The theater also has a youth ensemble that performs two shows and a Christmas special.
Regular auditions are held for the youth theatre ensemble, ages 12-18. Workshops are also offered for boy scouts and girl scouts pursuing theater-related badges.
6. Paul Henry’s Art Gallery
The Towle Theater in Hammond has a vibrant gallery inside a historic hardware shop that dates back to 1887.
Paul Henry’s Gallery is open from Tuesday through Sunday. It is also open prior to and after performances at The Towle Theater.
You will find a wide range of compelling works to view and buy, including pottery, painting, and pottery. There are also installations that showcase local talent.
You can catch live performances on Thursday nights if you are there on Thursday night. They feature poetry, music, and storytelling.
7. Green Lake Woods
The Forest Preserve District in Cook County has a large area of nature right in Calumet City.
The namesake lake is located on the south side. It is unusually deep and drops to nearly 50 feet. Since 2016, rainbow trout are stocked here, and there are large numbers of largemouth bass, bullhead, crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, and sunfish.
Green Lake is also available for ice fishing in the winter. The preserve can be accessed via the Burnham Greenway and features four picnic groves for peaceful family outings in the summer.
The Holy Cross Cemetery is located east of Green Lake Woods. It is the final resting place of Gene Krupa (1909-1973), a jazz drummer and leader.
8. Green Lake Family Aquatic Center
The public outdoor water park at Green Lake Woods, located opposite River Oaks Mall, is loved by families during the summer months.
Green Lake Family Aquatic Center offers a zero-depth entry pool as well as a water playground, lazy river, tube slide, and slide for children younger than 5.
The center can be rented out for semi-private parties or private parties outside of regular hours.
The park has a neat landscape and parents can relax on the sun loungers.
9. Sand Ridge Nature Center
The Sand Ridge Nature Center is located west of Green Lake Woods. It’s a series of contiguous forest preserves.
It features fascinating interpretive displays about wildlife from the Calumet area, as well live native animals such as turkeys, owls and red-tailed Hawks.
The nature center also has an interpretive garden as well as a beautiful butterfly that comes to life during the summer.
You can start your walk from this spot and follow the trails to different habitats such as prairie, wetland and oak savanna.
Sand Ridge Nature Center offers a variety of activities, including bird identification walks and story times for children.
10. One Trick Pony Brewery
Chicago has the largest concentration of craft breweries, with one located within minutes of Calumet.
One Trick Pony Brewery can be found in a quiet industrial area of Lansing. It pours up to 12 beers at its cozy tap room which boasts hundreds of growlers from across the country.
These small-batch beers are constantly changing, but there are still a few IPAs, a coffee lager, a Mexican-style lager and a Hefeweizen in the rotation.
There is also live entertainment in the tap room. Plans were being made to move from the industrial area to downtown Lansing when we wrote this article.
11. Beaubien Woods
The Forest Preserve District in Cook County has a beautiful parcel of natural land that is located across the Little Calumet River on Chicago’s South Side.
Beaubien Woods is home to many mature trees that date back to 19th century. They ponder large areas of prairie remnants, which include prairie dock and bluestem.
Flatfoot Lake, a 22-acre lake located on the former site of a strip mine, is the heart of the preserve. The lake is stocked with crappie and bullhead as well as sunfish, bluegill, largemouth bass and sunfish. There’s also a fishing pier near a picnic shelter. Flatfoot Lake is designated as an ice fishing lake during winter.
12. River Oaks Golf Course
This 18-hole course is also managed by the Forest Preserve district of Cook County. It’s located in a bend on Little Calumet River.
The River Oaks Golf Course is named after water, and it features 14 holes.
This course presents a challenging challenge. You must use every club you have, as there are 58 sand traps strategically placed around the course.
It is also worth noting that River Oaks has been certified as an Audubon International “Cooperative Sanctuary”.
13. Finneran Park
The outdoor pool is open from July 1st to Labor Day Weekend and brings life to this neighborhood park.
The facility includes a splash pad, diving area, and a sand play area. There is also sand volleyball. A 127-foot water slide is one of the highlights. There’s also a large grassy area for relaxation and sunbathing, and a concession stand.
Finneran Park is a short distance from the pool and features a playground, picnic shelter, and lots of open green space.
14. Powderhorn Lake
This lake, located north of Calumet city, is the southernmost in a chain that includes marshes, open water bodies, and wetlands. It stretches from the Illinois-Indiana border all the way to Lake Michigan.
Powderhorn Lake, which covers nearly 50 acres, is managed by the Forest Preserve District in Cook County.
It is located in a unique landscape of prairie, sand savanna and wetlands. The lake has remarkable biodiversity with over 250 species of plants and more than 100 types of birds.
A trailered boat launch is available on the shore. You can fish for bluegills, crappie and sunfish as well as largemouth bass, largemouth bass and grass pickerel.
15. Burnham Greenway Trail
Green Lake Woods is the entry point for a 11.5-mile mixed use trail that runs north through Calumet.
Burnham Greenway Trail runs along an old railroad right of way. It has a gentle gradient and long straight stretches.
It can be used to connect to the Pennsy Greenway in south. The northern trailhead is located at Calumet City Prairie, Marsh Nature Preserve and parallel to the tracks on E State Street.
The trail winds through undeveloped land, and then down the east side Green Lake Woods to cross the Little Calumet River near the River Oaks Center.