Considered the "crown jewel" of Naperville, the Riverwalk is a place of beauty and tranquility along the West Branch of the DuPage River. It features 1.75 miles of brick paths, fountains, bridges, meeting and event places, outdoor sculpture and artwork, recreational facilities, and celebratory memorials. The Riverwalk is a preferred destination and an ideal place to stroll, unwind and reflect. Come relax and enjoy the scene. The Riverwalk has something for everyone. Best of all, it’s a place to be enjoyed for generations to come.
The Naperville Riverwalk was created in 1981 as a permanent commemorative to honor Naperville’s 150th anniversary. Embraced as a gathering place for all ages, the linear park is a focal point of the community. Its covered bridges, fountains, landscaping and distinctive shepherd’s crook light poles are symbolic of Naperville’s ties to its historic past as the oldest settlement in DuPage County. In the early 1980s, residents donated their time, money and materials to transform a once-forgotten riverfront into a beautiful park that is enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
The Riverwalk is highlighted with exceptional amenities along its path. To the east, visitors enjoy the stunning beauty of Fredenhagen Park with its landmark clock tower and Exchange Club Memories Fountain. Near City Hall, Naperville Jaycees Park provides flexible outdoor workspace with seating, shade, and power sources for electronics.
Midway, the Dandelion Fountain, Paddleboat Quarry and unique bell tower can be found, along with Rotary Harmony Park, a unique amenity consisting of four percussion instruments for residents and visitors of all ages to enjoy. Further west is historic Centennial Beach – a popular family destination – Centennial Park with its inline skating/skateboarding facility and the Jaycee Playground – an ADA-accessible recreational area.
Photos courtesy of Jo Lundeen.
Volunteer to Help Keep the Riverwalk Beautiful!
As Naperville’s “Crown Jewel” and most frequently visited park, the Riverwalk is maintained with care by Naperville Park District staff, with support from volunteers. Anyone who is out walking on the Riverwalk on a Wednesday or Friday morning might see a group of volunteers pulling weeds in a flower bed or digging up invasive shrubs in a wooded area. The volunteers work alongside Park Specialist II Tiffani Picco, who manages maintenance at the Riverwalk and Centennial Beach. She is proud of what the volunteers have accomplished over the years. Learn more about becoming a Riverwalk volunteer by clicking here.
Moser Tower Structural Assessment - Updated March 2020
In 2015, a structural assessment of Moser Tower was conducted to evaluate this asset's current condition and develop an asset management plan moving forward. Click here to view the full report, which was released in 2017.
In fall 2017, the Riverwalk Commission sought additional testing and evaluation on the structure to gain more in-depth information. Engineering Resource Associates (ERA) submitted a proposal to the Riverwalk Commission at the end of 2017 to further assess the structural condition of Moser Tower.
In-depth testing on Moser Tower began in April 2018. During that time, ERA and its subcontractors further assessed the tower to determine the root cause of the structure’s deterioration. Additional modeling included a dynamic analysis of the tower to explore how the structure functions under different circumstances at specific stress points. This work was completed in August 2019, and a draft addendum that includes results of this testing was submitted to the City in November 2019. The draft addendum and supporting documentation are available to view below.
Riverwalk Commission and City Council Decisions
The Riverwalk Commission used all the information gathered to help form a recommendation to the City Council regarding Moser Tower. Three alternatives were discussed for the future of the tower: 1) Repair the tower, 2) Repair the tower and enclose the lower portion of it in glass as originally designed, or 3) Inspect the tower regularly and eventually take it down when it is no longer structurally safe.
At its Feb. 12, 2020 meeting, the Riverwalk Commission unanimously approved the first alternative, repairing Moser Tower in one phase, as the recommended alternative to the City Council. The Council discussed Moser Tower at its March 3, 2020 meeting and voted unanimously to concur with the Riverwalk Commission’s recommendation.
The Council vote on March 3 gives staff direction to prepare construction plans and documents in 2020 with actual repair work taking place in 2021. The alternative Council voted on will address the structural issues found over the past several years of testing and provide a clear path for future maintenance needs and costs; it does not enclose the tower or make any additions to the structure.
The total cost over 30 years to both repair and maintain Moser Tower is estimated at around $2.3 million dollars. Dollars for construction plans and documents were earmarked as part of the 2020 budget process. A decision on how to fund 2021’s repair work and ongoing maintenance would be made later this year as part of the City’s annual budget process.
Bids and contracts for the Moser Tower repair work would come back before the City Council for a final vote prior to any work taking place.
- Visiting the Riverwalk
The Naperville Riverwalk features 1.75 miles of brick paths, fountains, bridges, meeting and event places, outdoor sculpture and artwork, recreational facilities and celebratory memorials. If you are planning a trip to the Riverwalk and are using a GPS device for directions, please use the address at the bottom of this page which will take you to the middle of the Riverwalk.
Also available to visitors is the Riverwalk Brochure (PDF), which includes a description of many of the Riverwalk amenities, a listing of some of the annual events, a brief history of the Riverwalk, contact information, a map and more.
- Commemorative Brick and Legacy Gift Program
The Commemorative Brick and Legacy Gift Program is administered by the Naperville Riverwalk Foundation. The program continues to offer the opportunity to purchase a variety of gifts in the form of bricks, pavers and memorial benches to:
- Honor a friend
- Remember a loved one
- Commemorate a milestone
More information is available on the program page.
- Annual Events
There are many events held on the Riverwalk throughout the year including fundraising walks/runs/triathlons as well as weekly concerts and children's story times. The Park District is responsible for scheduling many of the events, while the Naperville Public Library hosts the children's story times. A tentative schedule is below.
- May - Annual Tulip Bulb Sale
- June-August - Rollin' on the River
- June-August - Children's Lunch Hour Entertainment
- October - Ghost Stories in the Park... in the Dark
- November-December - Santa House
To inquire about scheduling an event on the Riverwalk, contact the Naperville Park District by emailing email@example.com or calling (630) 848-5000.
- Weddings and Other Events
Yes, it is possible to hold your wedding or event on the Riverwalk. There are three locations that can be reserved for a fee. They include the Grand Pavilion on the west extension, the Millennium Carillon in the Moser Tower and the Riverwalk Amphitheater located on the Southeast corner of Eagle Street and Jackson Avenue.
Photos are allowed on the Riverwalk. No permit is necessary. However, we ask that you keep in mind that the Riverwalk is a public park and to please be courteous of other people who are trying to enjoy its amenities.
Bobby Clinkert proposed to Sarah Kutz at the Jaycee Gazebo in Fredenhagen Park on August 16, 2014. Clearly, she said, "yes!"
[photo courtesy of Bobby Clinkert; used with permission]
For more information about availability and fees, please e-mail the Naperville Park District at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (630) 848-5000.