Even in the age of business casual, the necktie still has a place at the sartorial table. As long as that’s the case, men will still need the occasional necktie. The notion of the tie as a traditional Father’s Day gift, then, has not necessarily fully lapsed into the territory of misguided choice, but should maybe be scaled back to a once-in-a-while gift.
Who is Dad in his non-necktie hours? It’s a question to consider not just in terms of what he actually does during those hours—run errands, mow the lawn, shuttle kids from place to place—but what he would choose to do. Chances are it would involve an activity that, A speaks directly to his interests, B ideally can be shared with his kids and C doesn’t require a necktie.
So this year, take a pass on the men’s department and its novelty-imprinted neckties, and consider instead some adventure-based Father’s Day gift ideas. Instead of taking up another hook in his closet, these experiences will carve out a special place in his heart.
Naperville’s portion of the DuPage River is a wonderful asset to the community, but those who actually like to get out on the water (as opposed to just strolling or eating beside it) might want to check out the new Marge Cline Whitewater Course. If dad prefers his aquatic adventures to flow more in the direction of exciting rather than pleasant, this nearby whitewater chute on the Fox River near downtown Yorkville is a fun and convenient alternative to (or at least a holdover until) a big trip out west.
If you don’t have kayaks of your own, a quick stop at the Yak Shack rental place in Yorkville is all you’ll need to get geared up.
Ogden Avenue west through Oswego, take a right on Van Emmon Road to Bicentennial Riverfront Park in Yorkville
Admission is free; rentals run $15 to $65 and kayak lessons start at $80
The burgeoning local craft beer scene is both a blessing and a curse for beer lovers—it’s great to have so many new and nearby options to sample, but it’s hard to keep up with the latest arrivals. Solve that problem for your craft-crazy dad by organizing a pub crawl at local tasting rooms and brewery tours. Local tour options include Alter Brewing in Downers Grove (private tours only), Penrose Brewing Company in Geneva and Two Brothers in Warrenville. Two additional tap rooms include Solemn Oath in Naperville and Dry City in Wheaton.
Check websites to find out when brewery tours are offered to coordinate your timing and reserve tap room spots in advance.
Two Brothers tour is free, Penrose is $10. Growlers and pints vary.
Volunteer to be Dad’s designated driver and bar buddy for an immersive day (or several days) of craft beer bliss.
As much as your Cubs-loving dad would certainly appreciate a couple of game tickets, he’ll really be geeked about the chance to go behind the scenes at Wrigley Field, one of the oldest and most beloved parks in the league. Especially with all of the ongoing changes and upgrades the team has been making in recent years, the opportunity to check out everything from the iconic old scoreboard to the fancy new high-roller clubs is an experience (and a photo op) that no diehard fan will want to miss.
Reserve your spot in advance—and don’t forget your phone for pictures galore.
Allow plenty of time—Wrigleyville traffic is no picnic, even when the team is out of town.
$35/person gameday, $25/person non-gameday; private and group tours are also available
For those dads with an appetite for thrills, an excursion to the Chicagoland Skydiving Center just west of DeKalb is a great opportunity to turn one of those classic dad life lessons right back on the man of the hour. If everyone else jumped out of plane, would he do it too? Bonus: Any dad or grandpa who jumps Father’s Day weekend (June 16 to 17) gets a free “I Jumped Out of a Perfectly Good Airplane” T-shirt.
Dad always mandated 30 minutes after eating before getting in the pool. Better make it 60 for this.
I-88 west to IL-251, south to exit 76
Tandem jumps are $224.99; photo and video packages are available starting at $79.99
Let’s be clear: Taking the nightly tour of the brake-pumping rush hour red- light gauntlet on Route 59 may fulfill the technical definition of “driving,” but dad doesn’t walk in the door looking drained and defeated every night because he’s so exhilarated by the experience. So remind him why he fell in love with driving—real driving—in the first place with a few fast laps around the twisty track at the Autobahn Country Club in Joilet, where the lights are always green and the speed limit
is just a suggestion.
Save up. Depending on the package you select, a half day of driving, dining and instruction is a premium gift by anyone’s definition.
I-355 south to I-80 west; Route 53 south (exit 132) to Millsdale, right
on CenterPoint Way
$495 and up
Few things epitomize the spirit of Father’s Day better than a family fishing trip. But dad might enjoy it even more if instead of drowning worms in the local pond for a few hours, he gets to spend that time cruising the waters of Lake Michigan aboard a fishing charter with top-notch equipment, expert guidance and, best of all, a legitimate shot of bringing home a once-in-a-lifetime catch—the kind that actually lives up to the fish stories the day is sure to inspire.
If dad doesn’t already have a state fishing license, hit the Illinois DNR website (dnr.illinois.gov) before your trip. Pack food and drinks, plus a cooler to bring home your day’s catch.
Why Knot Chicago has boats in both Belmont (north side) and Burnham (near Solider Field) Harbors.
Rates start at $780 for six hours