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Day Trip: Walkway beckons travelers to stroll along river

Naperville Riverwalk threads its way downtown

Naperville Riverwalk is a paved pathway along the DuPage River, which flows through Naperville. The pathway has fountains and covered bridges that enhance the experience.
Naperville Riverwalk is a paved pathway along the DuPage River, which flows through Naperville. The pathway has fountains and covered bridges that enhance the experience.

NAPERVILLE – Summer sunshine, a warm breeze, and the flowing DuPage River make this season an excellent time to stroll along Naperville Riverwalk.

Established in 1981, the walk leads visitors past interesting sights downtown, with free public parking lots making access convenient. Shepherd-hook-styled light poles, sculptures from the Century Walk on downtown sidewalks, fountains, and covered bridges are added touches that enhance the pleasant walk.

No. 1 on the riverwalk brochure is the Brethren Peace Plaza off Jefferson Avenue. Forty-eight points of interest are outlined. Here is a sample of what can be found along the river:

  • The Grand Pavilion on the west end offers a sheltered area for picnics and rest breaks.
  • Places for kids and play include the Jaycees Playground, which is ADA accessible; the Centennial Skate Park for inline skating or skateboarding; and Centennial Beach and Grill for diving, swimming, and sand volleyball.
  • The Millennium Carillon in Moser Tower and Visitor Center contains Big Joe, the bell, weighing in at 6 tons. The visitors center displays the history of the area with hands-on exhibits. Tickets can be obtained at the center to visit the tower, which has 253 steps.
  • Paddleboat Quarry and Fishing Pier provides an opportunity to rent four-person paddleboats. The Riverwalk Eatery on Jackson Avenue has information about this activity.
  • The Dandelion Fountain at Jackson Avenue and Webster Street has a shape that reminds visitors of the flower it’s named after. The fountain is near a covered bridge.
  • Horse Trough Fountain at White Plaza off Main Street used to be a real horse trough.
  • The Riverwalk Amphitheater, Millennium Wall and Labyrinth is an area for community events, shows, and outdoor weddings. The wall commemorates donors who supported city activities, and the labyrinth lets visitors find their way along a path – or not, as the case may be. It is a copy of the French Chartres Labyrinth.
  • Greenery is part of the walk, such as the Wehrli Family Garden, the Charles Vincent George Garden, and the O’Shaughnessy Garden.
  • Way down the walkway at No. 48 is the Edward Hospital Plaza, another entry point.

Those on the riverwalk won’t have to worry about the traffic around them. Only pedestrians are allowed; mobility devices and strollers are welcome.

So enjoy a leisurely stroll or a brisk walk and see the river flow through Naperville.


What: Naperville Riverwalk, 1.75 miles

Where: Near Jefferson Avenue in Naperville

When: Anytime

Cost: None; prices vary for attractions along the route

Info: or Naperville Convention & Visitors Bureau at 630-305-7701

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