The Kankakee metropolitan area has a population of about 120,000. The elevation of Kankakee is a little below 700 feet aMSL.
The major industries of the Kankakee area are health care, higher education, manufacturing, and retail trade. The area is the regional retail market center for the Far Southern Chicago suburbs, with a strong reputation as a City of Restaurants serving Interstate Highway 57 travelers, from Interstate Highway 57 Exit 308, Interstate Highway 57 Exit 312, Interstate Highway 57 Exit 315, and Interstate Highway 57 Exit 322. Suburban Bradley is the retail hub serving Interstate Highway 57 Exit 315.
Kankakee is served by the Illinois Central Railroad, a Canadian National Railway subsidiary, which provides Amtrak passenger service to Kankakee Depot and freight service. The Amtrak Station ID is KKI. In addition, one can use the University Park Metra Station, approximately 18 miles north, on Governor's Highway (Route 50). This station is operated by the Regional Transportation Authority, and facilitates travel to the city of Chicago, terminating at the Randolph Street Subway.
Kankakee is served by Greyhound Bus Lines.
Kankakee is on Interstate Highway 57, from South to North served by Exits 308, 312, and 315; United States Highway 45; United States Highway 52; Illinois State Highway 17; Illinois State Highway 50; Illinois State Highway 113; and Illinois State Highway 115.
Kankakee is served by the River Valley Metro Transit District. However, the arrival times are terrible, often showing up hours behind schedule. Avoid taking the bus if you can.
- 1 B. Harley Bradley House, 701 S Harrison Ave (in the Riverview district), ☏ . Built by Frank Lloyd Wright, designed in the Prairie Style.
The Kankakee County Museum complex contains the home of former governor Len Small, a racist Democrat who was sympathetic to the KKK.
With its reputation as a City of Restaurants, this area has a greater share of restaurants, and of fine restaurants, per capita than its population would suggest. The restaurants are throughout the city and the adjacent suburban villages. A trip to the nearby city of Momence can also reward the traveler looking for fine dining.
Interstate Highway 57 Exit 308
- Great American Grill, 455 Riverstone Parkway (at the Hilton Garden Inn, just north of the Interstate 57 Exit 308), ☏ . Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served.
Illinois Route 17
- Poor Boy Restaurant, 1514 East Court (drive west from I-57 Exit 312), ☏ . Street, offers fast food: American, Greek, and Mexican.
Central Business District
- Johnny's Pizza, 265 South Schuyler Avenue (drive north from I-57 Exit 308, South Schuyler Avenue; or drive west from I-57 Exit 312 Court Street, then left into South Schuyler Avenue), ☏ . Offers pasta, soups, sandwiches, salads, and pizza, a rich and varied Italian cuisine. Open for lunch and again for dinner, but sometimes closed in mid-afternoon.
- Lori's Diner, 364 East Court (drive west from I-57 Exit 312 on Illinois 17, Court Street), ☏ . Street, offers home style cooking. Open for breakfast and lunch.
- Soul Da Soul Barbeque Restaurant, 559 East Court (drive west from I-57 Exit 312, Court Street), ☏ . Street, barbeque.
- 5 Wings Buffalo Style, 545 South Washington, ☏ . Chicken wings, and only chicken wings. On routes 45/52, just north of the river. Very small, white trailer. Walk-up/Carry-out only, no tables. Known for the multiple flavors available: Mild, Medium, Hot, X-treme, lemon peppered, italian, honey BBQ, hickory smoked, sweet & sour, teriyaki, "Mama's Fried", and more. Slogan: "More Flavors Than Life Savers"
- Blue's Cafe, 1190 West Station Street, ☏ . Offers a fine selection of home cooking and the best pie in the area.
- 1 Out on a Limb Bar, 139 S Schuyler Ave, ☏ . Attractive and unique.
Many bars are in less-than-ideal neighborhoods, so keep that in mind when looking for a drink.
- Hilton Garden Inn, 455 Riverstone Parkway (just north of the Interstate 57 Exit 308), 815-932-4444, . The city's finest inn, this is a modern new house with all sorts of conveniences. The guest rooms have refrigerators, irons and ironing boards, king size beds or two double beds, and work desks with speakerphones and high speed wireless Internet connections with remote printing available from the rooms to a 24-hour Business Center. The Riverstone Conference Center is available for banquets and various events.
The area is served by Provena St. Mary's Hospital, 500 West Court Street, and the Riverside Medical Center, 350 North Wall Street.
The nearest town is Manteno, population about 6,000, also in Kankakee County. Kankakee's suburbs include the Villages of Aroma Park, Bradley, Bourbonnais, Momence, Limestone and Sun River Terrace. Other nearby Villages include Herscher, Grant Park, Hopkins Park, Bonfield, Union Hill, and St. Anne, all in Kankakee County. Chebanse is in Kankakee County and neighboring Iroquois County, Clifton is in Iroquois County, as is Gilman; and Reddick is in Kankakee County and neighboring Livingston County.
|Routes through Kankakee|
|END ← Chicago ←||N S||→ Champaign → Memphis|
|END ← Chicago ←||N S||→ Gilman → Champaign|
|Chicago ← Bradley ←||N S||→ Ashkum → Champaign|
|Tinley Park ← Bradley ←||N S||→ Ashkum → Urbana|
|Joliet ← Bradley ←||W E||→ Kentland → Lafayette|
|New Boston ← Dwight ←||W E||→ Momence → Valparaiso|