A weekend getaway from the big city may not be as far away as you think. Located an hour outside of Chicago is St. Charles, Illinois, a picturesque river town with a plethora of restaurants, eclectic shops, and a lively nightlife scene. The city is also home to the historic and charming Pheasant Run Resort. This Midwestern gem with a history of over 50 years is still standing strong and better than ever. In fact, our very own Colleen Kelly grew up going to Pheasant Run with her family over the years, and now enjoys bringing her own daughters back to the family-centered resort. From suites and a spa, to a theater and a comedy club, to their unforgettable indoor/outdoor pool, Pheasant Run has plenty to offer its guests. We recently returned from a visit to St. Charles and a stay at Pheasant Run, and we’re here to share with you the highlights of our trip.
Just minutes from Pheasant Run is downtown St. Charles. Here, you’ll find a scenic riverwalk, plenty of restaurants, shops, activities, and an exciting nightlife scene. With so much to do in St. Charles, it’s easy to spend the day and evening exploring this bustling, walkable city.
For your accommodations, look no further than, of course, Pheasant Run Resort. With 293 guest rooms and 33 suites in their 16-story tower, there’s no shortage of room options. We had the privilege of staying in the penthouse suite; a double-room suite complete with a living area, sofa, TV, and bathroom in one room, and a second bathroom, TV, king-sized bed and incredible view of downtown St. Charles in the other.
We had plenty of room to spread out and have our own space, which is great for families. Parents are able to have some time for themselves, while kids can stretch out in the living area. When you want a little family time, the four-person game table makes for a great evening in. If you didn’t bring any games with you, don’t stress! The resort offers free puzzle and game rentals, including classics like Candy Land, Pictionary, Cranium, cards, and many others. On weekends, you’ll also find additional activities provided by Pheasant Run, such as crafts (a small additional cost) and free scavenger hunts. There’s even a game room with arcade games, located just off of Bourbon Street.
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As nice as the rooms are, there’s also plenty to do outside of your room without even leaving the resort. So much so that we couldn’t decide what to do first! With its vintage, indoor cobblestone streets connecting the various historic and modern buildings, this 250 acre resort feels more like its own countryside town than a hotel. Although there’s no doubt Pheasant Run is bustling in the summer, with plenty of golf and outdoor activities, the resort is also great for a mid-winter family getaway, with more than enough activities to keep kids and parents busy.
Our first night, we started with dinner at Jambalaya, where we ordered the roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and zesty jalapeno cornbread. With a little kick and a lot of flavor, this was our favorite dish of the night. The s’mores cookie sandwiches were also a hit among our group! Looking for another kind of sweet treat? Head over to Pheasant Run’s ice cream shop, located between Jambalaya and the resort’s gift shop.
After dinner, we took a stroll down Bourbon Street to test our puzzle-solving skills at iPANiC, Pheasant Run’s escape rooms. Choose from three unique rooms: Shipwrecked, The Illusionist, or our personal choice, Bourbon Street VooDoo. After filling out your release form, you and your group will be given one hour to work with your team to figure out the clues and escape your room. With just over two minutes left to spare, we escaped! It was a proud moment for our group and great way to kick off our weekend. Tickets are $29.99 per person, but be sure to book on www.pheasantrun.com and use the code PHEASANTRUN for $5 off!
Following our great escape, we headed over to Pheasant Run’s iconic indoor/outdoor pool for a swim. This heated pool allows guests to swim in comfortable 80 degree water from the enclosed indoor section to the outdoor pool without setting foot outside. This remarkable icon is the first of its kind in the United States. Even during the twenty-degree weather we had that night, we can honestly say we thoroughly enjoyed swimming outside in the heated water surrounded by the crisp, Midwest air.
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We began our Saturday morning with a workout in Pheasant Run’s spacious fitness center, located in the bottom level of the resort, followed by a relaxing massage at Spa Vargas Wellness. Located through the indoor Garden Atrium is this serene spa and wellness center. Utilizing soothing music and essential oils, the masseuses know exactly how to wash away any of the stresses of your work week. From individual to couples’ massages, Spa Vargas offers a variety of massages and spa treatments, including add-ons like their relaxing hot stones. Don’t worry about the kids! They’ll have fun at one of Pheasant Run’s two indoor pools while you sink into your tranquil massage and spa. You deserve it!
After the massage, be sure to check out their Aroma Blending Bar, where you can create your own unique body mist or essential oil. While the easy-to-use blending station offers recipe cards for suggestions, you’re also welcome to tweak one of the recipes or simply create your own from scratch. If you have any questions, one of their friendly staff members will be more than happy to assist you. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that allows you to take the most soothing piece of your vacation home with you.
For a quick bite or pick-me-up, stop by the Terrace Cafe. You can grab breakfast, enjoy lunch with a view of the scenic grounds, or take in a fresh cup of coffee with free refills during your stay. Just keep your cup! After we were all refueled, we walked around a craft show that was being held at the resort the weekend we were staying. With dozens of jewelry and food vendors, it was a great way to spend part of our Saturday afternoon.
We finished our day with dinner at Harvest Restaurant. Offering delicious, farm-to-fork cuisine, served in their refurbished historic dairy barn, Harvest Restaurant feels like upscale, big city taste with quaint, country hospitality. Our favorite dishes that evening included the fresh crab cakes and the burger with a jam spread, both of which were served with fresh cut sweet potato fries. Be sure to check out Pheasant Run’s Dinner & A Show packages for a delicious meal at Harvest, followed by a show at Mainstage Theater or Zanies comedy club, both located right on the property.
While the Mainstage Theater hosts various theatrical shows throughout the year, from children’s plays like Shrek the Musical or classic musicals like White Christmas, to rock concerts and cover bands, Zanies comedy club guarantees laughs for its adult audience all night long, putting on two shows a night on most weekends. The stand-up comedians are well-versed in their craft, many of them alumni from shows like Saturday Night Live or networks like Comedy Central. Once you purchase your tickets for Zanies, there is a two-item minimum, but rest assured you won’t have trouble finding a drink (alcoholic or not) or snack of your choice. After the show begins, kick back, relax, and get ready for a night of fun and laughs.
Before you check out of the resort, be sure to take another dip in the pool or go on a final stroll around the grounds. We made sure to stop by the gift shop to pick up a few souvenirs and some of their freshly ground specialty coffee before heading out. On your way home, take a detour through downtown St. Charles, where you can grab some lunch, do a little antiquing and see the river. Of course, it probably won’t be too long before you’re back at Pheasant Run for another visit. We certainly will be!
Related: Looking for another Illinois getaway? Take a look at our experience at Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena, Illinois!