Downtown Street Scene

On a Sunday afternoon a group of my friends and I meet for breakfast at the local Egg Harbor in downtown Naperville, and decided to walk around the Riverwalk. If you have not been to the river walk lately take a trip down to Naperville which was named as # 3 of the best places to live by Money Magazine in 2008.

Located in the far western suburbs of Chicago, Naperville is the 5th largest city in Illinois. Once considered a farming town, Naperville become a wealthy city as professionals moved in during the 1990’s seeking jobs in some of the local companies such as Alcatel-Lucent, Tellabs, BP North America Headquarters, and Nalco Holding Company. Along with its top rated public schools and its housing stock, it was also rated by Fortune Magazine as “one of the best places to launch a business” in 2008 rating 29 out 100.

Settled in 1831 by Joseph Naper and known as “Naper’s Settlement” it remained a mostly rural community until the 1960’s when it started growing its population and when the East/West Tollway was built in the 1970’s and 1980’s it kept growing. But it’s population really grew in the 1990’s as the more corporations brought technical and management jobs to the area and it’s location along Metra’s route allowed commuters to easily get into Chicago’s Union Station and access the city’s major employers.

The Riverwalk which stretches aproximately 4 miles running along the west branch of the DuPage River was built as part of Naperville’s Sesquicentennial anniversary in 1981. The river walk winds through downtown and neighborhoods facing the river.  Along with the scenic bridges, fountains,

Riverwalk Fountain

benches and memorials stands a very interesting statue.

Dick Tracy Staute

Located across from the busy downtown side and across the river is a larger than life statue of comic book hero Dick Tracy. Unless you cross over he looks like a statue of many of the downtown commuters that use the Metra station to go into Chicago. On closer inspection you realize it’s Dick Tracy. So why is a staute of Dick Tracy on Naperville’s Riverwalk?? The answer is that Naperville is the home of the current Dick Tracy comic strip writer and he gave the city the Statue. The original writer of the 1930’s comic strip, Chester Gould also was a resident of Illinois. It’s amazing what you learn on a walk through downtown Naperville!

Close Up of Dick Tracy

Along with the Dick Tracy statue there are 29 other pieces of public art along the River Walk. This Century Walk sculpture depicts Jim Moser and Mayor Chet Rybicki representing the volunteer spirit that has helped build theRiverwalkas one of Naperville’s “must see” attractions.

Statue of Jim Moser and Mayor Chet Rybicki

As we meandered through the area we ran into a variety of people using the Riverwalk for activities as varied as fishing and dog walking.

Meeting of the Dogs

Man fishing at Riverwalk

This bridge allows you to cross to get a closer look at the Dick Tracy statue or visit one of the many business’ located across from the Riverwalk.

Close Up of Riverwalk Bridge

Many restaurants familiar to Chicago residents such as Hugo’s Frog Bar, Jilly’s, Catch 35 and Rosebud have locations in Naperville’s booming downtown.

One of Many Naperville Restaurants

Whether your looking to move into Naperville or just visit, a trip to the Riverwalk is a must!

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