Stay up Late! Nighttime Activities for Kids in Lake County

Summer Fun in Lake County

Just because the sun goes down, doesn’t mean the fun has to stop for your littles! Summertime nights are when the real magic of summer happens. From late-night swims and outdoor concerts to nature after-dark programs, Lake County offers a lot to keep your summer nights just as fun as the days. So get out your bug spray, skip that early bedtime and go have some fun this summer with these nighttime activities for kids in Lake County.

Nighttime Activities for Kids in Lake County

Outdoor Movie

Catch a movie in the park in Lake County this summer. Starting in June many towns, pools, and lakes play movies after dark. Most of the movies are free. Plan on getting to the events around 7:00 p.m. so you can find a spot to put your blanket and slather on some bug spray. Another favorite for catching an outdoor movie this summer is the McHenry Outdoor Theater.  They have showtimes most nights and are usually new releases. In the fall they play classic movies.

Late Night Ice Cream

Go out for ice cream after dinner (or why not have ice cream for dinner instead?). Most ice cream places around here are open until 10:00 p.m. so you can go whenever you want. My favorite is The Freeze in Grayslake, but check out our guide to ice cream in Lake County.

Many pools like Barefoot Bay have special night swims during the summer. Photo credit to Barefoot Bay on Facebook

Night Swims

Get your splash on after the sun goes down. During select nights some pools stay open late allowing water lovers to splash in the dark. For example, the Antioch Aqua Center keeps the pool open until 9:30 p.m. most Wednesdays. In addition, some pools such as the Hidden Creek Aqua Park and Mitchell Pool have events at night where you can watch movies while in the pool.

tuesday night concerts at independence grove
© T. Rubel | Little Lake | 2017

Twilight Concerts

Enjoy sweet summer nights with some music and sunset. There are many places in Lake County to listen to one of these evening concerts. Many of them are free and all you have to do is bring your blanket and some food. Check out your town to see when their summer concerts are.

Other options for twilight concerts include shows at Ravinia which has concerts available on a variety of times and days. Ravinia charges per person; however, many classical concerts this year are not charging admission for kids.

My personal favorite summer concert venue is Independence Grove. Independence Grove has concerts every Tuesday and each car is charged only $6. I have gone every week this summer (and really want to try their alcoholic snowcones!)

Summer Cruise Nights

At Summer Cruise Nights, enjoy walking around and admiring a grand array of fun cars. These are events the whole family will enjoy from your 80-year-old grandfather to your teenage brother to your two-year-old. Most car nights are free but have food and drinks available for purchase.


Summer nights are perfect times to scope out some stars. This can be done from your own backyard. Grab a telescope and binoculars and talk with the kids about stars. My son now knows all about the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper thanks to this!  Want to learn more?  The Volo Bog has free astronomy nights at 9:30 p.m. on the third Friday of every month where you can view and learn more about stars. Also, check out your local library, the Lake County Astronomical Society hosts a monthly stargazing night at different libraries, some even rent out high-powered scopes!

Farmers Markets

More and more farmers markets are staying open later giving more time for working families to attend. Some markets like as Hawthorn Woods and Highwood are open until as late as 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m.

Great America is open until 10:00pm most nights. © T. Rubel | Little Lake | 2015

Great America

Great America is the perfect place to go in the evening with the whole family. They are open until 10:00 p.m. most nights and have a firework show every Friday night. The best part is they will hopefully fall asleep during the car ride home.  Check out our kid’s guide to Great America!

Pajama Story Time

Bedtime stories in bed are overrated. Check one out at a library or bookstore near you.  Places like Cook Library and Deer Park Barnes & Noble host them regularly and you’re welcome to drop in for some stories in your pajamas.

For what will you be skipping bedtime this summer?? 

Find more Summer Fun in Lake County.

Stay up Late! Nighttime Activities for Kids in Lake County
About Tracy Rubel 58 Articles
Tracy dreams of someday being considered a “cool” mom and she can still remember the days when she had time to put on makeup in the morning. She is a young, single, stay-at-home mom to an awesome little boy named Jayden. She recently graduated college with a degree in Early Childhood Education and has lived in various parts of Lake County her whole life. Every day, she and her son set off in her Jeep, rocking a pair of oversized sunglasses, in search of a new and exciting adventure to go on. In her free time she enjoys photography, reading, dancing, yoga, shopping, and pinning kid’s activities on Pinterest. She truly believes that if she was given enough Starbucks that she could rule the world.

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