Picturesque Lemont is known for church spires, limestone buildings, and neighborhoods rising on the bluffs above its downtown. Three waterways – the narrow I&M Canal, the wide Sanitary and Ship Canal, and the marshy DesPlaines River help define the community. Native Americans traveled the river by canoe on their trading trips between the Mississippi and Lake Michigan. The I&M Canal made this natural passageway navigable for commerce in 1848, and in 1900 the Sanitary and Ship Canal created a modern shipping channel. Today you can enjoy a walkable downtown and nearby recreation.
Just 25 miles from Chicago, Lemont is an oasis of small town charm and recreational opportunities to be explored.
Downtown has a Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays 8am to 1pm during the season. Also check out 1 Happy Girl Boutique, Sanctuary Boutique, Jilley’s Boutique, and Smokey Row Antique Shop. Downtown you can pick up the I&M Canal trail and walk or bike to the Heritage Quarries just east of town. Three miles of trail loop around the quarry lakes and allow for fishing, boating, and picnicking.
Lemont’s history is rich. The Lemont Historical Society & Museum offers exhibits in the “Old Stone Church.” Throughout town you will see limestone buildings and interpretive panels. Digging the I&M Canal with pick and shovel became impossible near Lemont – dolomite limestone was too close to the surface. The workers risked their lives when they blasted through with black powder, and quarried with drills and chisels. You can still see this yellow stone in Lemont’s canal walls, its downtown commercial buildings and neighborhood churches. Tons of stone were shipped by canal to Chicago – its famous Water Tower is a surviving example. Thousands of immigrants worked in Lemont’s quarries, and built the Sanitary and Ship canal.
Downtown hosts the Lemont Legends Cruise Nights on Wednesday nights from June to August. Also the community sponsors a Heritage Fest in July, a Halloween Hoedown in October, and Hometown Holidays in December.
Downtown has several good choices for lunch and dinner. La Dolce Vita is an old favorite. Sweetwater Deli has a large selection of what you would except from a deli both for lunch and to take home. Old Town specializes in eastern European fare. A diverse immigrant population of Irish, Poles, Czechs, Austrians, and Italians has brought Lemont many church spires but also large selection of food.
The Vault is nearby and Mexican food can be found at Front Street Cantina along the canal. Several have outdoor seating. A new brew pub Pollyanna Brewing Company and a new wine store Bottles adds to the options downtown.
Right downtown is a B&B called the Inn at Smokey Row. Other choices are chains along the I-55.
Park downtown on the street or adjacent to the I&M Canal to shop, dine, enjoy Lemont’s architecture or walk its 5-mile canal trail segment or through the quarries.