Guide to the City of Zion

The City of Zion is rich with an influential historic past and their motto is to always look forward for the city’s dynamic future.

Lake Michigan you have won our hearts

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Zion was founded in 1901 by John Alexander Dowie – a Scottish Evangelist who led ministries in Australia and of course the Lake County city. This minister/performer established the Zion Tabernacle in the downtown area and launched Zion Publishing to disperse his weekly newsletters entitled Leaves of Healing.

Dowie lived in a 25-room mansion built the year the city was founded called the Shiloh House – which still exists today and is the headquarters for Zion Historical Society and is also the city’s museum.

Dowie passed away in 1907, but not without preserving a legacy in Zion.

Besides Dowie, there are quite a bit of actors and athletes that grew up in Zion: the late-Gary Coleman, who played Arnold Jackson in Diff’rent Strokes, former Chicago Cubs player Paul Erickson, Milwaukee Bucks General Manager and 2010 NBA Executive of the Year Award-winner John Hammond.

Other notable figures from Zion include actor Richard Bull, who played  Nels Oleson on Little House on the Prairie, head scout for the Milwaukee Bucks Billy McKinney, Broadway star Russell Nype, who was the lead in Call Me Madam and Hello Dolly and two-time Olympic silver medalist (1988 and 1992) Juan Moreno.

Enjoy the vintage streetscapes of downtown Zion and see fabulous holiday displays at Shiloh Park. Stroll beautiful Lake Michigan beaches or tee off at one of our four great public golf courses, including Thunderhawk and Shepherd’s Crook. Explore the grand boulevards of Shiloh Park and tour the elegant 25-room Shiloh House.

So, Next Weekend: Plan for Fun as we mosey on North to the City of Zion.


Dungeon of Doom

The legendary Dungeon of Doom Haunted House in Zion will be sure to scare the daylights out of you in their last weekend of the year. Dungeon of Doom has earned its legendary reputation as the most bone-chilling, best-haunted house in Chicago.


Illinois Beach State Park

Illinois Beach State Park is located along the shores of Lake Michigan from Waukegan to the Wisconsin state line. The park offers a campground, full-service resort, camp store, picnic areas, hiking and biking trails and a visitors center open intermittently throughout the year. There is swimming along the six miles of beaches.


Something a little different for #TudorTuesday – Shiloh House is a 25-room mansion designed in 1901 by architect Paul Burkhardt, born & educated in Switzerland. The Swiss Chalet design, evident in the house’s upper stories, was built of red brick and Indiana limestone. It was the residence of Dr. John Alexander Dowie, a Scottish Evangelist who established the Christian Catholic Church and the City of Zion, named after Mount Zion in Israel. He gained fame by renting property adjacent to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 where he staged elaborate “divine healings”. As Dowie’s following grew to around 6,000 people he set up a religious utopia in Zion, located 40 miles from Chicago. #theamericanhome #balconies #swisschalet #archi_ologie #oldhouselove #1901 #utopia #zionillinois

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Shiloh House

Open all year
Once Dowie’s house, the 25-room mansion is always dressed to kill. Shiloh House is all decorated for the holidays and is open for self-guided tours. This is the last weekend of the season to view the beautiful mansion all dressed up with holiday decor. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. 1300 Shiloh Blvd., Zion


Thunderhawk Golf Course

This public golf facility, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., is one of the most challenging courses in the Chicago area. This 18-hole, par 72 golf course is nestled on 241 acres of beautiful forest, marsh and prairie. This is the first public course in the United States to achieve Audubon Signature Sanctuary certification. Banquet facilities to accommodate a wide range of group sizes from small private outings to a full-course tournament. Also, rent the banquet hall for weddings and other special occasions. Cathedral ceiling and a beautiful terrace overlooking the course.


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North Point Marina

Enjoy the beautiful blue of Lake Michigan aboard one of over one hundred charter fishing boats on the Lake County harbors of Waukegan and North Point. Find the Coho running in the beginning in April, Lake Trout biting in mid-summer, and the Chinook come home to spawn in late summer and early fall. Whatever time of the year you need to find an expert, North Point has charter fishing captains ready to make the time on the water a great one. For information on charter fishing opportunities and hotel information, please contact the Lake County, Illinois Convention & Visitors Bureau at 847-662-2700.


Zion’s Farmers Market

Come for the great selections, enjoy the entertainment and make new friends. Fresh fruits and vegetables, arts and crafts, demonstrations, games and food-themed Market Day events in Zion. Visit the website for weekly themes.



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Lakeside Restaurant

1 Lake Front Dr
The Lakeside Restaurant is a great place where to enjoy fine dining with a stunning view of Lake Michigan. Open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Weekly specials include Filet Mignon on Wednesdays, Friday Night Fish Fry and Prime Rib Saturdays. Please visit the website for a complete menu.



Easter Brunch and Egg Hunt

Easter time
What is better than a day with the family and good food? Enjoy Easter Brunch and an Egg Hunt at the Illinois Beach Resort in Zion. The resort will feature made-to-order omelets, carving stations, traditional and unique side dishes, salads, and dessert including chocolate dipped strawberries. Old Peter Cottontail, or the Easter Bunny is the guest of honor as he conducts egg hunts at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. on his busiest day of the year. Guests must have reservations for brunch and egg hunts.

Annual Nostalgia Days

Craving some memories? Watch your past come back to life as Zion hosts their 30th Annual Nostalgia Days at Shiloh Park. Enjoy live music, an antique custom car show and cruise, outdoor movies, a carnival, a climbing wall, laser tag, delicious dining from vendors, games and fun for the entire family.


Annual Potawatomi Trails Pow Wow

Late August
Receive a taste of the Native American heritage to heighten awareness of their history at the 23rd Annual Potawatomi Trails Pow Wow. Join the celebration as you listen and witness the history, traditions and customs of the Native Americans. Other festivities occurring at this Zion jubilee include live demonstrations, music & dance presentations, educational sessions and a trader area.

Annual Jubilee Days Festival

Labor Day Weekend
All Labor Day weekend, Zion throws their Annual Jubilee Days Festival. The festivities kick off with the annual 5K run Saturday morning and the fun continues until Monday night. This event includes a Miss Zion pageant, ice cream social, arts & crafts festival, live music, delectable eats, the Mayors Breakfast, the largest Labor Day parade in Lake County – the Jubilee Parade and fireworks.


Country Inn and Suites

1100 33rd St., Zion
This hotel features cozy accommodations, an award-winning breakfast buffet and great rates. This smoke-free hotel is an ideal destination for business and leisure travelers alike. When it’s time to relax, guests at the hotel enjoy a heated indoor pool, spa, on-site fitness center (7am-10pm) and game room. Additional amenities include laundry facilities and free Internet access. Children under 18 stay free with an adult. Located along the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan, this Six Flags Great American hotel is a great option for a vacation or business trip. The hotel is less than one mile from the last stretch of pristine shoreline in Illinois, and is likewise convenient to great shopping, dining and golf in the area.

Illinois Beach Resort & Conference Center


1 Lake Front Dr., Zion
Resort located on the shores of Lake Michigan. 92 guestrooms and suites, many with Lakeviews. 12,000 square feet of Meeting and Event space. Full-service Restaurant and Lounge serving Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Full-service Health Club with heated pool and Jacuzzi.

For everything else for the City of Zion related, continue here.

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