Planning any event is hard, but planning sporting events is doubly so. Selecting the perfect venue, finding the ideal hotel and anticipating downtime attractions is a lot of work. Some places have the perfect venue with no extracurricular activities, or the hotel and attractions are available, but the venue is not right. All these things can add up to a stressful situation, but before you decide that planning your event is too hard, look at Lake County, Illinois.
Ideally located between Chicago and Milwaukee, Lake County meets all of your event’s needs. With beautiful lakefront views, multiple downtime attractions and numerous sports venues, Lake County is the perfect place to host your next tournament. It doesn’t matter whether you are just passing through or planning on staying awhile—Lake County has the facilities to meet your needs.
What to do in Lake County
Sporting events are all about team bonding, and that bonding can happen both on and off the court or field. Having a steady balance of training time and free time is important for a rewarding trip. As any event planner knows, what the team does in its downtime can make or break the trip, and finding extracurricular activities to suit everyone’s tastes can be an arduous task. Luckily, Lake County has attractions to please everyone.
For thrill seekers in the group, Six Flags Great America theme park and its Hurricane Harbor water park have roller coasters and slippery slides to get your heart pumping. If you are looking for something unique, visit Ravinia Festival, the oldest music festival in North America that is lauded for presenting world-class music in an inviting, natural environment. The festival attracts over 600,000 listeners to some 120 to 150 events that span all genres including classical, chamber music, jazz, rock, world, music theater, dance and kids programming every summer from June-September. Experience the largest corn maze in the world at Richardson Adventure Farm and Corn Maze. Car-lovers in the groups will like the Volo Auto Museum and see famous cars such as the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine or the Batmobile. Whatever your interests, Lake County has it.
Let us connect you with Lake County CVB
Sports Event Specialist
- Centrally located and easily accessible, Lake County is just 30 miles north of downtown Chicago
- Over 65 hotels and three resorts—with great group rate values
- Gurnee Mills Mall and Hawthorn Mall, featuring over 200 stores
- Six Flags Great America
- Great Wolf Illinois opening in 2018
- Hundreds of family-friendly restaurants
- Outdoor recreation including Illinois Beach State Park and the Chain O’Lakes State Park, fishing charters, paddle boats
- 35 golf courses
- Downtown Chicago is just a short train or car ride away
Facilities to Know
Libertyville Sports Complex
Sports: Basketball, soccer, volleyball, football, lacrosse, baseball/softball, floor hockey, futsal, rock climbing, golf
The Libertyville Sports Complex is home to two indoor artificial-surface fields, eight multipurpose courts, a driving range, a softball field, climbing wall, a fitness center and a conference room. The two multipurpose fields are home to the Greater Libertyville Soccer Association and can host events for soccer, lacrosse, football and futsal. The courts have hosted multiple sporting events, graduation ceremonies, the annual Chicago Blackhawks Roadwatch Party, school fairs and fundraising events. The driving range is open every day of the year and offers 30 double-decker weather-protected tee stations, 50 outdoor matted tees and full lighting. The 29-foot climbing wall is the largest in the region and provides 360 degrees of climbing. The conference rooms can hold up to 120 people, and there is a fitness center.
Sports: Basketball, volleyball, rock climbing, swimming, running
The Waukegan Fieldhouse is a state-of-the-art facility that includes the Waukegan Aquatic Center, a 14,000-square-foot fitness center, a three-story climbing wall, six hardwood courts and seventh-mile indoor track. The fieldhouse also has locker rooms and meeting rooms.
Greater Libertyville Soccer Association
The Greater Libertyville Soccer Association hosts events at two facilities. The Libertyville Township Soccer Complex has 20 fields on 110 acres of countryside. There are multiple onsite parking areas and an onsite concession stand. The Libertyville Sports Complex has two indoor artificial turf soccer fields. The Greater Libertyville Soccer Association hosts multiple programs for children and adults and has hosted tournaments such as the Octoberfest Classic and the Libertyville Cup.
Vernon Hills Sports Complex
Sports: Baseball/softball, football, soccer, lacrosse, tennis
The Vernon Hills Sports Complex is home to 27 fields. There are 10 baseball/softball fields, 14 multipurpose fields and three tennis courts. There are multiple onsite parking lots and a concession stand.
Waukegan Outdoor Sports Park
Sports: Softball/baseball, football, soccer
The Waukegan Outdoor Sports Park has 138.3 acres that are home to four fully lighted baseball diamonds and 14 soccer fields, 13 of which are natural grass and one artificial turf. The park also has two concession stands and parking for up to 665 vehicles. Equipment can be rented from the park for your sporting needs.
Lake County Fairgrounds and Expo Center
Sports: Volleyball, basketball, soccer, flag football
The 65,000-square-foot Expo Center has a 36-foot-high ceiling and a seating capacity of 5,540. It has multiple meeting rooms with a total of 1,620 square feet. The Fairgrounds include 100-plus acres of property and 12 acres of paved surface. The show barn (200 by 100 feet with a 24-foot ceiling), has been used to host music festivals, fundraisers and dances.
Waukegan Aquatic Center
The Waukegan Aquatic Center is a 23,000-square-foot facility, with an eight-lane lap pool, a therapy pool and a children’s splash pad. The center also has a sauna and a steam room with towel service available.
Trinity International University
Sports: Soccer, football, basketball, volleyball
Located just 25 miles north of Chicago, Trinity International University is able to accommodate sports tournaments involving soccer, football, basketball and volleyball, all on one beautiful campus.
Glacier Ice Arena
Sports: Ice hockey, ice skating
The Glacier Ice Arena has two full-sized NHL rinks with 350 spectator seats for each arena. The lobby offers viewing from four high-definition TVs and panoramic windows. The Puck Stops Here concession stand serves light snacks such as popcorn in a variety of flavors and Starbucks coffee. The venue offers public skating every day of the week and skating lessons for hockey and figure skating. The rink is home to the Ice Dogs Hockey Club, an adult hockey league and a rapidly growing figure skating program.
College of Lake County
Sports: Basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, cross country, baseball/softball
The College of Lake County has one multipurpose court, one soccer field, one baseball field, one softball field, one outdoor tennis court and a fitness trail. The college also has a fitness center with aerobic equipment, strength equipment and an aerobic room. The fitness center offers multiple programs such as zumba, yoga and pick-up basketball or volleyball.
Joy of the Game
Sports: Basketball, volleyball
The 50,000-square-foot air-conditioned Joy of the Game Sports Center is among the premier amateur playing environments in the Midwest with two professional level Connor wood courts. The facility also sports two high school regulation-sized multipurpose courts which are used for basketball, volleyball and other sports. All of the courts are available for rental for tournaments, parties, leagues and other events. Our upstairs mezzanine level provides additional seating for up to 250 spectators and is home to our concession area where we serve a wide array of snacks, beverages and other food items.
Sports: Volleyball, basketball, tennis, pickleball, soccer, baseball/softball, lacrosse, flag football
The Canlan Sportsplex is the largest multi-sport complex in the Midwest at 175,000 square feet. There are eight volleyball courts, four basketball courts and 85,000 square feet of multipurpose indoor turf field. The court and field space are available for rent any day of the week. The facility also houses the Sportsplex Grill, workout training center and multiple meeting/team rooms. The Sportsplex hosts after-school programs and kids and adult sports leagues. The state-of-the-art facility also hosts trade shows, community events and fundraisers.
Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion
Sports: Ice hockey, ice skating
Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion is home to two NHL-sized rinks, a pro shop and a concession stand. The pro shop sells equipment for both hockey and figure skating and does skate sharpening. The concession stand is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers everything from light snacks to full meals. Figure skating and ice hockey classes are available, and the facility hosts children’s and adult hockey leagues.
How to Get to Lake County
Centrally located between Chicago and Milwaukee, Lake County lies in the northeast corner of Illinois, and borders Lake Michigan to the east.
By Car: Located only 41 miles from Chicago and 53 miles from Milwaukee, Lake County is an easy drive. Interstate 94, which links Chicago and Milwaukee, runs straight through Lake County, making it the ideal highway to use from either direction.
By Air: Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, less than 15 miles from Lake County, is served by Delta, American, United and most other major airlines. Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport is less than 40 miles away and served by Delta, Southwest, American ,United and other airlines.