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Top 15 Neighborhood Amenities in DeKalb, IL

DeKalb, home to Monsato and Northern Illinois University is a small and yet not so small city, as of 2010 the population was around 44,000. The city is named after decorated German war hero Johann de Kalb, who helped the United States during the American Revolution. This guide will show you around the most prominent sites in DeKalb.

NIU Art Museum

As part of the university, the art museum's primary mission is to add to the educational experience at NIU, help students develop their creative side and offer them a place to exhibit their own works. The museum is also open to the general public.

Image Courtesy of: Andy McMurray

Egyptian Theatre

The Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb is an Egyptian Revival theatre that is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The theatre was built in 1928 and 1929 as part of a much larger wave of national fascination with Ancient Egypt throughout the United States, due, in large part, to the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922. The theatre was added to the National Register in 1978 and its 1,430-seat auditorium is currently the largest in DeKalb County.

Elmer F. Behrns, who had an interest in Egyptology designed the building. The interior and exterior architecture reflect Egyptian cultural symbols. Stained glass work exhibits designs such as Ra, the Egyptian sun god and the scarab, a sacred Egyptian symbol. The building was nearly demolished in the 1970s but a restoration effort led by Preservation of the Egyptian Theatre (PET) saved the structure. Rumors have long surrounded the DeKalb Egyptian about secret messages hidden in the architecture and hauntings. While the theater maintains there are no hidden messages in the theater the ghost stories have persisted through the years. The Egyptian Theatre operates a 42-week season with up to 125 events annually.

Image Courtesy of: Teemu008

Ellwood House Museum

The Ellwood House was built as a private home by barbed wire entrepreneur Isaac Ellwood in 1879. The house is located on First Street in DeKalb. The Victorian style home was designed by George O. Garnsey and underwent remodeling in 1898-1899 and 1911. It was originally part of 1,000 acres (4 km²) which included a large stable complex that was known as "Ellwood Green." Isaac Ellwood lived here until 1910 when he passed the estate to his son, Perry Ellwood.

Nowadays the house is a museum, operated jointly by the Ellwood House Association and the DeKalb Park District and they offer guided tours for a fee. The museum offers tours seasonally beginning in late spring and ending after the annual holiday celebration in December. The Ellwood House Museum has a visitor's center, which includes a barbed wire gallery, carriage gallery, special exhibits gallery, and a gift shop. The museum offers tourists a chance to glimpse what life was like for the Ellwoods.

Image Courtesy of: Andy McMurray

The House Café

The House Café is a DeKalb landmark and favorite hangout for many NIU students. It has been hosting live performances by and for the local community for years, hosting everything from live bands to stand up comedy, art displays, dance lessons, etc. Their food and drink offerings are also extensive, catering to everyone from meat eaters to vegans.

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NIU Library, Founders Memorial Library

Founders Memorial Library is the main and largest branch of the NIU Library. It is located on the NIU campus and primarily serves the university's faculty and students, but it is also open to the general public.
Founders Memorial Library building offers six levels and over 300,000 sq. ft. containing 2 million volumes as well as periodicals, government publications, microforms, maps, recordings, audiovisual materials, and electronic databases.

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East Lagoon and park

The East Lagoon in DeKalb is located at the edge of the NIU campus and offers a wonderful place to rest and relax. Its serene lagoon and wonderful green spaces are always inviting and relaxing. There is a walking path around the lagoon and multiple benches to relax on.
Image Courtesy of: Kristen Lash

Prairie Park

Prairie Park in DeKalb offers visitors a disc golf course, arboretum, jogging pathways, green open spaces, and a peaceful creek to walk by.
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Buena Vista Golf Course

Buena Vista is a community oriented golf course welcoming everyone, players of any level and any age. It offers a 9-hole course, practice areas, driving range, etc. Buena Vista also offers golf lessons for adults and kids. Kids (ages 4-18) play free on Sundays ! Club rentals for kids are also free !

Image Courtesy of: Steve Burt

Star Worlds Arcade

Star Worlds Arcade is a locally owned and operated business for over 30 years. It is a small and off the beaten track place, held in the highest regards by arcade fans from the area and beyond. The arcade was was inducted into the Twin Galaxies International Registry of Historic Video Game Arcades.
The arcade is an old-school place with old-school games, it offers pinball machines, game machines from the 1980s up to the 2000s, games like Tetris, Galaga, PacMan, Ms PacMan, Donkey Kong, Joust, QBert, Dr Mario, etc.

Image Courtesy of: Greg Dunlap

Hopkins Park

Hopkins Park is a wonderful green area in DeKalb. It offers visitors endless green spaces, a peaceful creek, shelter house, baseball fields, playground, picnic areas, and fully equipped swimming pool complex.
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Mardi Gras Lanes

Mardi Gras Lanes is locally owned and operated family business. It offers bowlers of all levels a pleasant atmosphere for a pleasant friendly game or competitive league events. The alley offers 32 modern lanes, fully equipped food and drinks cafeteria, as well as video gaming.

Image Courtesy of: Jonathan Keelty

DeKalb Shopping Center

The DeKalb shopping center is a collection of major stores in DeKalb, it is home to: Walmart Supercenter, BestBuy, Lowe's Home Depot, MC Sports, Dollar Tree, and many others. There are several fast food venues in the region as well.
Image Courtesy of: Mike Mozart

Carmike Cinemas

Carmike Cinemas operates or holds an interest in 254 theaters with 2,623 screens in 37 states, and is one of the largest movie theater companies in the United States. The company bills itself as "America's Hometown Theatre" and Carmike theaters are largely positioned in rural or suburban areas. The DeKalb branch, Market Square 10, offers visitors 10 screens and all current titles, modern auditoriums and full concession stand. It is also the only major movie theatre in the area.

Image Courtesy of: Alex

Giordano's of Sycamore

Giordano's is a renowned name in the state of Illinois, it is almost synonymous with Chicago-style stuffed pizza. Giordano's opened in 1974 in Chicago and has since gained critical acclaim, it was named “Chicago’s Best Pizza” by NBC, CBS Chicago, New York Times, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Eater, and many others.
Their Sycamore/DeKalb branch does not disappoint, holding to the same standards as the original Chicago location and offering patrons some of the best pizza, along with other Italian dishes like pasta, salads, sandwiches, and more.

Image Courtesy of: A Gude

Kishwaukee Hospital

Kishwaukee Hospital, opened in 2007, is a modern 98-bed hospital in DeKalb, IL. It offers a range of emergency and hospital services, as well as hospice, home health, behavioral health, and cancer care services

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Timothy Wade

Guide Author
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Top 15 Neighborhood Amenities in DeKalb, IL