Although it might not feel like spring yet, warmer temps and sunny days are right around the corner. Start planning the ways you’ll make the most of spring afternoons and evenings with this guide to the best ways to celebrate the season around Chicago’s North Shore. We’ve paired a local destination with a nearby restaurant, so the planning is already done. All you have to do is enjoy!
The Grove is the Glenview Park District’s outdoor history and nature museum. Situated on 145 acres of prairie grove land, The Grove is a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Grove regularly hosts events, including the annual Vintage Market.. Stop by to shop vintage and handmade goods from more than 50 vendors, watch product demonstrations, and enjoy live music and food trucks.
Whenever you decide to visit, make plans to eat at Jölane’s before or after. This restaurant serving “contemporary cuisine with a European flair” is just down the street from The Grove and is a perfect companion due to its beautiful glass atrium that will keep you connected to the outdoors as you dine.
The Grove, Glenview
River Trail Nature Center: 3120 Milwaukee Ave., Northbrook;
Allgauer’s on the Riverfront: 2855 N. Milwaukee Ave., Northbrook
One of the best things about spring is you can finally get outside! Make the most of spring weather with a day (or many) at Forest Preserves of Cook County’s River Trail Nature Center. Here, guests can explore self-guiding trails, visit the exhibit building, learn about native animals and plants, and more.
When you’re done there, spend a relaxing evening along the river at Allgauer’s on the Riverfront. This “premier dining destination” serves a seafood and prime rib buffet on Friday nights, or you can stop by throughout the week to order dishes like Black Pepper Bucatini, Shrimp Fra Diavolo, or Chicken Genovese. Plus, make plans to enjoy their award-winning Sunday Champagne Brunch.
River Trail Nature Center, Northbrook
Chicago Botanic Garden: 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe;
Guildhall: 694 Vernon Ave., Glencoe
Chicago Botanic Garden is the place to be come spring. Not only can you walk around the garden and explore what’s in bloom on your own (Chicago Botanic Garden and NorthShore University HealthSystem have created free walking maps like Heart-Healthy Hike, Zen Walk, and Path to Petals), but you can also take part in events and classes. After all of that exploring, take a load off at Guildhall, a chic restaurant and bar serving delicious food and drinks (the menu changes seasonally).
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
Bahá'í House of Worship: 100 Linden Ave., Wilmette;
Cafe Aroma: 749 Elm St., Winnetka
Cafe Aroma is situated in the heart of downtown Winnetka and is a short walk from the Winnetka Metra station. Grab an outdoor table or find a cozy spot inside to enjoy breakfast or lunch (we recommend the Thai Chicken Salad, Roasted Vegetable Sandwich, or Grilled Chicken Sandwich). Once you’ve had your fill, make your way to the Bahá'í House of Worship, a sacred space open to everyone for prayer and meditation. Visitors can explore the gorgeous surrounding gardens, learn about the history of the Temple, and more.
Bahá'í House of Worship, Wilmette
Grosse Point Lighthouse: Central Street and Sheridan Road, Evanston;
Smylie Brothers Brewing Co: 1615 Oak Ave., Evanston
You can explore the grounds of Grosse Point Lighthouse National Landmark even during the off-season. But, make plans to return in the summer (when tours resume) for a chance to climb the lighthouse’s 141 steps to the top.
After exploring, visit Smylie Brothers Brewing Co for some barbecue and beer. This craft brewery and smokehouse brews beers like the year-round Lager, Pale Ale, Cali Common, and Farmhouse, plus seasonal options like Blood Orange Dunkleweiss, Kuh KOW!, and Imperial Galaxy IPA. Whichever drink you order, be sure to pair it with Pork Belly Poutine, Prosciutto pizza, the Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich, or Baby Back Ribs.
Grosse Point Light House, Evanston