McHenry, Illinois: A Small Town With A Big Heart - My Family Travels

When one thinks of northern Illinois they think of Chicago but, it is the suburbs of the Windy City that gave Chicago its’ reputation. Nestled midway between Chicago and Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the city of McHenry, Illinois. McHenry is a tight knit community with a significant amount of culture and history.


McHenry, Illinois is best known for being the heart of the Fox River which stretches a total of 202 miles from southeastern Wisconsin to the Illinois River. There are plenty of places to stop along the river in McHenry. Riverside Dr. is home to the Riverside Bakery best  known for their tasty treats including, the hometown favorite smiley face cookie.  Riverside Dr. is also home to various businesses and restaurants such as Bimbo’s Italian Kitchen, After the Fox, The Little Chef, Reeses Bakery and Pawtique for the pets, a music store, and much more.

Located in the center of town just off of Riverside Dr. and onto Pearl St. is Veteran’s Memorial Park. Various local events are held in the park throughout the year such as concerts in the massive, white gazebo. Veteran’s Park is also the ending point of the Toys for Tots, St. Patrick’s Day, and Fiesta Days Parades. Other events include arts in the park, annual River Run, and the summer children’s ice cream special.

Other areas to check out are historic Green St. and Main St. Green St. is home to the newly renovated River Walk, the two screen, Henry Downtown Theater , Green St. Café, and various antique and specialty shops. When walking down Main St. you’ll find a city favorite Plum Garden Chinese cuisine as well as other businesses and restaurants. You’ll also find the McHenry train station where the Metra rail line runs through McHenry all the way to Olgivie Transportation Center in Downtown Chicago.

There are only 447 active drive-in movie theaters left in the United States and McHenry happens to be the home of one of them. Throughout the spring, summer, and early fall seasons visitors can enjoy an authentic 1950s drive-in experience with a double feature of big time Hollywood movies and throwback nights in the fall. When visiting McHenry, the drive-in theater is a must on your list of things to do. Just down the road is McHenry’s favorite candy store, Riverside Chocolate factory. You name it they’ve got it.

If you’re the outdoorsy type then McHenry is your place to be. Out of the 35 different parks you’ll definitely want to make a trip to the McHenry Dam for fishing, biking and hiking trails, cookouts, playgrounds, and boat rentals. The bike trail connects the Dam and Moraine Hills State Park where you’ll find miles of wooded trails, nature walks, and various outdoor experiences all in one place. 

The greatest part of McHenry is how tight knit and caring the community is. The biggest event held through the community each year is our St. Baldrick’s Day event. In 2008 the high school district started the event through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to support childhood cancer research. It has been a growing event over the last 5 years and in March of 2013 McHenry was named the number one St. Baldrick’s event in the world, with the largest amount of shavees on record. Other community events include the toys for tots parade, high school play for the cure, relay for life, and much more.

There is much more to McHenry than can be said in a couple of paragraphs. It is a one of a kind place that you’ll have to see to believe.

To view a traveler’s video about McHenry, click on the link.

Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.

Comment on this article

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.