The total package. You’ve heard those words before – maybe to describe a person or a job. But DuPage County, Illinois IS the total package in sports destinations: excellent venues, a friendly, small-town ambience, plenty of accommodations and a thriving cultural scene that will keep athletes and their families happy on or off the field of play.
Want a little background? Here it is. Safely tucked away 20 miles west of Chicago, DuPage County is comprised of 38 municipalities across 336 square miles. It’s a thriving, diverse area, with plenty of reasons to recommend it. In fact, from start to finish, DuPage has event owners covered. Here’s how:
Easy to Reach: Airline access is plentiful since DuPage can be reached by flying into either O’Hare or Midway, direct flights from across the country and internationally. Once there, the county is a short drive away. Those traveling to DuPage by car will find it equally accessible, within reach of seven major interstates.
Accommodations Galore: More than 100 hotels across various price points offer up more than 16,000 (no, that is not a typo) rooms to visitors. You’ll find everything from high-end lodging to budget-friendly rooms.
Excellent Venues for All Seasons
Whatever the sport, whatever the playing field, DuPage has it covered. Check out some of the facilities:
Swimming: The FMC Natatorium at Ty Warner Park is a 71,000-square-foot Olympic-caliber swimming and diving facility and is widely considered in line with the country’s top 10 indoor facilities. FMC boasts two pools – a 50-meter competition pool and a 25-yard training pool - complemented by spectator seating for 1,200, four locker rooms, parent lounge, hospitality rooms, concessions, weight room and swim shop. In April, the TYR Pro Swim Series moves in for the second year in a row, bringing Olympic gold medalists and world championship caliber athletes.
But FMC is not all about swim meets; it is able to host plenty of other pool-based sports. For example, this year, the Kap7 Champions Cup will come to town. The Kap7 Champions Cup is a three-day event with competition in two divisions, with the best youth water polo players going for gold in the girls’ and boys’ divisions. Champions Cup is specifically for athletes that are 14 years and younger, and in eighth grade or under, and features 24 teams and 480 athletes. March of 2023 will bring the USA Artistic Swimming U.S. Collegiate Championship at which varsity and college club programs will showcase top artistry and choreography as they compete in several championship categories.
Soccer, Lacrosse, Field Hockey, Baseball, Softball, Football and More: Oak Brook Fields offer a premier location for field sports. The fields are lighted, allowing for evening play, and can accommodate large tournaments with multiple age groups.
Golf: Did you know DuPage is home to the first 18-hole golf course? Did you further know that Golf Digest's 2021-2022 ranking for America’s 100 greatest golf courses included three DuPage County courses on the list? With more than 50 golf courses, the county has played host to professional tournaments over the years, including Ryder Cup, PGA Championship, BMW Championship, WGA Women’s Western Amateur, Western Open, and more. And don’t forget – the Medinah Country Club will host the 2026 Presidents Cup. Thinking of something at a more grassroots level? DuPage has municipal courses as well.
Bowling: Yes, DuPage has that too, at Stardust Bowl, which offers up an astounding 84 consecutive lanes that regularly host dozens of national events. One of the most recent was the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Women’s Championships, recognized as the world’s largest participatory sporting event for women with approximately 25,000 competitors. Stardust will also host the Kegel Midwest Collegiate Classic in January, drawing the region’s top teams.
Ice Sports: DuPage has the ability to host these. The CCM World Invite Chicago comes to rinks across the region in November. Ice hockey and figure skating have a home here, and inquiries about other events are welcome as well.
Polo: Bet you didn’t think you’d find this sport in the heart of the Midwest! But DuPage’s Oak Brook Polo Grounds will surprise you. This year, the Oak Brook Polo Club celebrated its 100th Anniversary. In its 100-year prestigious history, Oak Brook Polo Club once served as home to several national and international polo tournaments, drawing visitors from around the world. In addition to providing a fun and different backdrop for hosting corporate events, charity benefits and other group outings, the polo grounds are available to host other equestrian events.
College Football Facilities: The College of DuPage, a proud member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), is the second-largest provider of undergraduate education in Illinois. But it is also an epicenter for Midwestern football, with its Bjarne Ullsvik Stadium having hosted NJCAA’s Red Grange Bowl since 2016. It is currently home to the NJCAA Division III Football National Championship, and it can be home field for your event too.
Racquetball: In November, the LPRT (Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour) comes to the Glass Court Swim & Fitness Club in Lombard. The best female athletes in the world will be competing in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Glass Court has eight courts suitable for racquetball or wallyball, and the venue has pools, cardio equipment and an indoor track.
Esports: You didn’t think DuPage would leave out one of the fastest-growing disciplines in the world, did you? In February, the four-day-long Frosty Faustings comes to the Westin Chicago Lombard. This is one of the largest celebrations of fighting games and open bracket tournaments in the country. The event focuses on Guilty Gear and other anime titles but also features all the latest major titles, fan favorites, classic legacy titles and Chicago's famous Mystery tournament.
Municipal Fields: DuPage has plenty of park-based sports fields. Large tournaments that are seeking homes can be spread across multiple parks – or can stay in one area, depending on the needs of the event owner.
And that’s not even close to what DuPage can host. Men's and women’s flag football have a home here. So do pickleball, footgolf and a variety of other sports. Don’t see what you need? Ask about it!
There’s Plenty to Do After Hours, Too
After the games have ended, there’s no reason to retreat to your hotel room. For adults, this destination offers a thriving arts and culture scene, with plenty of history and interesting fun for kids. DuPage is home to a zoo, botanical gardens and numerous museums. Some of the most popular sites include Naper Settlement (a 13-acre re-creation of a 19th century village) and The Morton Arboretum (a 17,000-acre “tree museum” with recent exhibitions celebrating nature alongside stunning works of art).
Want to get outside and explore all the Midwest has to offer? In DuPage, you can. Opportunities to connect with nature are always right around the corner, with more than 60 forest preserves featuring 26,000 acres of land. For cyclists, hikers, runners and walkers, the 61-mile Illinois Prairie Path offers a beautiful way to experience DuPage and surrounding counties. Recreational fishing is also available.
Heading out to eat or celebrate? The area also has a full range of coffee shops, restaurants and bars, all in various price points.
The DuPage Sports Commission is Here to Help
The DuPage Sports Commission was created by the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau in 2019 to harness the power of sports tourism on behalf of DuPage County’s 38 communities and one million residents. Its services to event owners include the following:
- Sports Event Development and Recruiting
- Event Promotion, Marketing and Media
- Travel and Housing Coordination
- Event Logistics and Management
- Information Resource for Athletes
- Facility Development and Improvement
- Financial Support and Incentives
From arrival to departure, in the heat of competition or unwinding from it, from amateur sports to pro, from niche sports to mainstream, DuPage is the total package, ready to handle it all. Learn more at the website, www.discoverdupage.com/sports, or contact Igor Bakovic, Director of Sports, at Igor@DiscoverDuPage.com or 630-575-8070, ext. 215.