Things To Do

Discover the best things to do in Ottawa, Illinois

With so many things to do in Ottawa, there’s something for everyone. Learn some history by taking a tour or visiting a museum. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, maybe skydiving or a zip line is more your speed. Check out all the activities, adventures and things to do in and near Ottawa in our list below.

Awesome Ottawa Tours

As the only guided tour available in Starved Rock Country, Awesome Ottawa Tours is your concierge to the Ottawa area. All of our tours offer an in-depth history of Starved Rock Country from the struggles of our pioneers to the formation of the Illinois & Michigan Canal which shaped the beautiful State of Illinois. If you’ve lived in Ottawa your entire life or are visiting for the first time you’ll be amazed by the sights and the stories we share. Also, our tours hold nothing back! We offer an honest testiment of the “good, the bad & the ugly” that formed our area. Awesome Ottawa Tours is here to set the foundation of your visit and to offer a glimpse into the past, recommendations for today and a vision of what Ottawa could offer in the future. We are confident you`ll be back. Awesome Ottawa Tours invites you to join us as we research, preserve & share all that makes Ottawa & Starved Rock Country AWESOME!
Location: 501 W. Madison Street Ottawa, IL 61350
Phone: 815-343-4940

I & M Canal Toll House

The Toll House is one of the only remaining collectors along the I&M Canal. To take a tour by contacting the Ottawa Visitor Center! See in the windows to see the rope-bed used to take naps and view an actual toll log book.
Location: 1221 Columbus St Ottawa IL 61350
Phone: 815-434-2737

Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum

Dedicated to the preservation of the history of the Ottawa, Illinois area and Boy Scouting, Lone Scouts, Girl Scouting and Camp Fire.
Location: 1100 Canal Street Ottawa IL 61350
Phone: 815-431-9353

Reddick Mansion

Historically important and architecturally unique, the Reddick Mansion anchors Washington Square, the site of the first Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Built in 1855, this lovely 22-room Italianate mansion was possibly the most expensive and ornate private home built in Illinois before the Civil War. Take a step back into the 19th century and visit the Reddick Mansion, where numerous rooms have been restored to their previous grandeur. Tours take place 11am to 3pm Monday-Sunday. All tours begin on the hour with the last tour starting at 2pm. Adults: $10 Students (K-12): $5
Location: 100 West Lafayette St Ottawa IL 61350
Phone: (815) 433-6100

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas Debate Site

The first Lincoln-Douglas debate took place in Washington Square in Ottawa, IL. Back in 1858, the park was full of those who there to listen to Lincoln and Douglas to debate topics such as slavery and more. It was reported that 10,000 to 12,000 people stood in this park to hear the wise words from both men. Today you will see a boulder with a plaque, as well as, a fountion with two bronze statues.
Location: Washington Square Park Ottawa IL 51350
Phone: 815-434-2737

Allen Park – City Park

Allen Park is a great place to spend time with your family and friends. With picnic areas and playgrounds, there`s something for everyone. You can enjoy the park all year long with sledding down the toboggan hill in the winter..
Location: 400 Courtney Ottawa IL 61350

Buffalo Range Shooting Park

Buffalo Range Shooting Park provides a family-friendly environment to encourage the safe handling and use of firearms. They sell ammo as well as rent a wide variety of firearms. Range entrance fee is: Adult (age 16 & up) $30, Children (age 15 & under) $15.00. Open March to December. Monday 9am to 4pm, Thursday 9am to 4pm, Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sunday 9am to 5pm.
Location: 1252 N 2803 rd Rd Ottawa IL 61350
Phone: 815-433-2471

Buffalo Rock State Park

Buffalo Rock State Park is located on a bluff which was once an island in the Illinois River. Now standing majestically on the north bank, this promontory affords a magnificent sweeping view of the Illinois River. Located approximately three miles west of Ottawa in LaSalle County, this 298 acre park has long been a favorite picnic area, as well as a nature lovers delight. The area of Buffalo Rock was the home of the Illinois Indians when Louis Jolliet, the French explorer, and the Jesuit missionary priest Father Jacques Marquette made their trip up the Illinois River in 1673. Later the Illinois Tribe was virtually annihilated in protracted warfare with the aggressive Iroquois.
Location: Dee Bennett Road Ottawa IL 61350

Fox River Aqueduct

The Fox River Aqueduct was built in 1838 with the purpose of carrying the I&M Canal over the Fox River. The wooden trough of the aqueduct was replaced in 1922 with steel. The Fox River Aqueduct was the largest of the four aqueducts needed to carry the canal from Chicago to the Illinois River.
Location: Ottawa, Illinois

Historic Old Town District

Historic Old Town District stretches for 6 blocks on LaSalle Street. You will find many shops, restaurants, outdoor streetscapes, sculptures and more. Take in the history that is painted in murals throughout the town and historic buildings that are now home to cute boutiques and decor shops.
Location: Ottawa, Illinois

Pinheadz Entertainment Center

Pinheadz Entertainment Center is a one-stop entertainment center for league bowling, sand volleyball, birthday parties, live music, fundraisers and more. Located in Ottawa, it`s the perfect location for fun for the whole family. Hours: Monday 11am to 2am Tuesday 11am to 2am Wednesday 11am to 2am Thursday 11am to 2pm Friday 11am to 2am Saturday 10am to 2am Sunday 10am to 2am.
Location: 1758 Ottawa Avenue Ottawa IL 61350
Phone: 815-434-0378

Starved Rock State Park

VOTED THE #1 ATTRACTION IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS Starved Rock Park is a world apart from anything else in Illinois! You will know it the minute you enter the park, as you wind your car through the towering trees. Amazing waterfalls are active in the spring and after heavy rains. We have 13 miles of trails to explore and the Illinois River offers fishing (ice fishing, too), boating, extraordinary views and great places to relax. Visit the Lodge and see the largest two-sided fireplace in Illinois!
Location: 2668 E. 875th Road. Oglesby, IL 61348
Phone: (815) 667-4726

SkyDive Chicago - skydiving adventure

Skydive Chicago

Skydive Chicago offers group outings, first-time jumps, skydive teaching and more. With different programs, you can learn to skydive with their advanced freefall program or take a tandem jump with one of their instructors. Hours: Monday to Friday 9am to Sunset Saturday & Sunday 8am to Sunset.
Location: 3215 E 1969th Rd, Ottawa, IL 61350
Phone: (815) 433-0000

Open Spaces Art Gallery and Studios

Open Space Art Gallery and Studios is a community art center. It is a creative space for every age and skill level. The Gallery is a space for artists to show their work in a professional setting and gives them the opportunity to sell their pieces. The Communal Studio space is a place for artists to create. For a daily, monthly, or yearly fee you can rent the space to create work. There are tools, storage and easels provided. There are a variety of classes and workshops offered for all ages and skill levels. You can also plan parties such as birthday parties, corporate events, bachelorette parties, holiday celebrations, bridal showers, kids` parties and more! Hours: Friday 4pm to 7pm Saturday 11am to 6pm Sunday 11am to 3pm.
Location: 223 W Madison St, Ottawa, IL 61350
Phone: 815-293-7099

Illinois Waterway Visitor Center

Welcome to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center. You are invited to watch the operation of the lock and dam and to learn more about the Illinois Waterway`s use as a part of our National water highway system. In the winter months, you can enjoy viewing bald eagles from our wildlife viewing area. History detectives can discover displays about early users of the Illinois River, the Illinois and Michigan Canal and how water transportation transformed the United States. If you are interested in tours or educational programs by park rangers please contact the Visitor Center to make reservations. Hours Open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
Location: 950 N. 27th Road, Ottawa, IL 62350
Phone: 815-667-4054

Zip Chicago

Looking for that perfect daring escape for you, your friends or family? Zip Chicago Canopy Tours provides an experience you will not soon forget. It will create memories that last a life time. The tour has 8 different cables (150- 1,000` long and dual racing 800 footers!) each with its own characteristic of speed, heights roughly 85 feet off the ground, and great oversights of the river valley below. Your own personal Chicago wilderness awaits, an adventure that will make you scream and giggle like you are a kid again. We have no age limits but we do have weight limitations; our minimum being 70 pounds firm and our maximum 275 pounds. The tour is completely guided and contains no motorized machines for propulsion. All you have to do is enjoy your flight! Our guests can reach speeds of up to 45 mph. The platforms and suspension bridges are surrounded by an assortment of native trees. Check out our different tours to see which adventure is the right one for you! You will check in 30 minutes prior to your tour time to process payments and sign waivers. Then we will start the tour by zipping out the side of the building! Zip Chicago, is a dynamic adventure brought to you by the industry leader, EBL, Inc. (Canopy Tours), a team that brings years of research and technical expertise to this location. Come and enjoy what we have to offer and bring your friends.
Location: 2681 E Rte 6, Marseilles, IL 61341
Phone: 815-795-5001

Ottawa is full of things to do. So after a day full of adventure and fun, slow down for some shopping, a bite to eat or even more things to do