The Naperville Riverwalk: Minutes Away and Hours of Adventure
May 10, 2017
Spring has most assuredly sprung. Budding trees dot the landscape like Impressionist paintings, bulbs reach for the nourishing sun, and butterflies alight here, then there, seeking the nectar so plentiful this time of year, especially at Monarch Landing. Residents need go no farther than their windows to see Mother Nature in all her glory.
But spring is for getting out, stretching the legs, the imagination, and the boundless limits of life in retirement. A good place to start is just a few miles southeast of Monarch Landing: Naperville’s “crown jewel,” the Riverwalk. A gem within a gem, you might say, as Modern Maturity and Kiplinger recently deemed Naperville one of America’s best places to retire.
Along the west bank of the DuPage River, the Riverwalk teems with life of all kinds. Ducklings swirl in the eddies, geese honk to comic effect, dogs trot merrily along the paths, fish jump in the river. People come to life as well, awakening to the many things to do and see along the paths that can make for a brief, leisurely stroll, a brisk workout, or something in between.
Embellished with beautiful covered bridges, fountains, gardens, sculptures, statues, sanctuaries for gathering and rest, an outdoor amphitheater, a manmade beach, expansive playground, stately carillon, outdoor café, paddleboat quarry, and more, the Riverwalk is the ideal place to spend a spring afternoon, particularly with winter-weary grandchildren eager for outdoor play.
Were all this not enough, there is a new allure along the water, the Water Street District. For many years, this non-descript area at the south end of downtown Naperville seemed little more than “the end of the Riverwalk.” A fizzle after the dazzle. Today, this section of town is reborn and luminous, exuding a “wow” factor that is much more than the sum of its parts, including 2.5 acres of chic new shops and restaurants, a luxury hotel, office and banquet space, and a parking deck. For all its pomp and circumstance, the Water Street District already feels like a seasoned member of the Riverwalk “family,” with nary a growing pain in sight. Conceived ten years ago, what was formerly nothing is now
something – really something.
Adding to the excitement are the three-wheeled, electric Tuk-Tuks that have come to town, numbering three of only 65 in the U.S., shuttling people around the Water Street District and elsewhere in downtown Naperville. These little transporters with the funny name are lit up at night and lend a festive air to the streets of Naperville. Former Mayor George Pradel is said to be a frequent passenger. People can ride the Naperville Trolley, too, for a tour of the sights and attractions or private parties on wheels (think grandkids’ birthdays!).
Naperville is thriving in industry and progress, ranking year after year one of the country’s best places to live. But the downtown area holds tight to its small-town charm and rural roots, making it that much more accessible to Monarch Landing residents and their families. Spring on down!