The City of Crystal Lake is the largest city in McHenry County and 50 miles Northwest of Chicago, a short drive from O’Hare International Airport.
There are plenty of means of public transportation in the City of Crystal Lake. The Metra Rail Union Pacific Northwest Line conveniently runs through 2 train stations in Crystal Lake to Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago. The Pace Bus system is also serving Crystal Lake.
The City of Crystal Lake boasts excellent schools, including two of the very best public school systems in the region. District 47
runs 9 elementary schools and 3 middle schools in Crystal Lake, and District 155 runs 3 high schools. Crystal Lake is also home to McHenry County College
, a local community college.
Parks & Recreation
The City of Crystal Lake is a very family friendly community and has plenty to offer when it comes to recreation! First, the Crystal Lake Park District
System (a separate unit of local government) oversees 42 parks spanning over 1,400 acres and program offerings of over 1,000 annually. In addition to parks, facilities and programs, the district maintains miles of bike and hiking trails enjoyed by many throughout the year. Three of the major parks run by the park district are Main Beach, Lippold Park and Veteran Acres.
Commonly known as Main Beach, Lake Park is a recreational gem located on the city namesake Crystal Lake. Numerous amenities include: a bath house, fishing pier, boat launch, picnic areas and band stage, boat rental facility, three basketball courts, concessions, parking lot and groomed ice skating area in the winter. A brand new playground made its debut in May 2018. Rental boats are available for patrons to explore Crystal Lake. The Pavilion Room is currently used for large Park District programs including fitness and self-defense, many special events and is available for private rentals. Handicapped beach wheelchairs are also available. Crystal Lake Main Beach is the heart of special event activities year-round. In the summer, visitors plan outings to Summer Concerts in the Park and the Kids Party in the Park. During the week, families take advantage of special activities planned daily at Main Beach. In the fall, many local children and their families gather for Truck or Treat. In the winter, Main Beach is the check in spot for adult golfers looking to challenge other teams in the Crystal Lake Park District Chili Open.
Lippold Park is the largest single park in the district and a site of impressive recreation facilities to accommodate every athletic interest level from passive to active! Home to many park district programs, Lippold Park has daily activities and events. It is a 310 acre mixed use park featuring an 18-hole disc golf course, eight baseball fields, four softball fields with infields of synthetic turf, nine soccer fields, three football fields, hiking trails, sand volleyball courts, batting cages, skate park, and even a dog park! Other amenities include restrooms, a picnic shelter, concession stands, fishing piers, and a playground. Lippold Park is also the home of Lippold Park Family Golf Center which include 2 18-hole miniature golf courses, putting green, a driving range, pro shop and lessons are available on site.
Veteran Acres Park is a favorite spot for the nature lovers! This beautiful 140 acre site offers a Nature Center, Rotary Building, and Oakwoods Lodge. Veteran Acres has a variety of outdoor athletic fields and recreational areas that include restrooms, picnic shelters, a playground, splash pad in the summer, two lighted tennis courts, a basketball court, a softball field, baseball field, a sled hill, and a fishing pier. There are many ways visitors enjoy this site year round with cross country ski trails and scenic hiking trails. Dogs are welcome be must be on a leash. Shelter, building and picnic grove rentals are also available.
Finally, one of Crystal Lake’s greatest attractions is Three Oak Recreation Area
. On the South Lake you can enjoy pristine waters, natural habitat, and incredible fishing. Rent rowboats, canoes, kayaks, sailboats, and paddleboats, or enjoy a grassy picnic, various overlooks with breathtaking views of the water and lake islands. Enjoy the swimming beach, hiking trails, a splash pad for kids and lunch on the outdoor lakeside dining patio. Experience recreational scuba diving or become a certified scuba diver. An exciting addition for thrill seekers is the Quarry Cable Park that opened in 2016. Located on the North Lake, enjoy wakeboarding at this next-generation cable wake park with features that accommodate both experienced and beginner riders. Stay a little longer and enjoy the lakefront tap + grille, fire pit, live music, sand volleyball, baggo, and open-air yoga.
Arts & Entertainment
For art lovers, the historic Dole Mansion
is a must see! This 12 acre park is an inspirational location to stimulate the senses. Learn to paint, take a culinary class, play an instrument, draw, hold meetings or host an event. They embrace creativity, inspiration, integrity, and history. Studio leasing is available for all creative arts.
The Raue Center for the Arts
is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of all through the arts. Theatergoers love that every seat is a great seat at The Raue Center located in downtown Crystal Lake. Since its restoration a decade ago, Raue Center has attracted the finest stars, Broadway shows, musicians, comedians, and other various artists.