Embrace the pitter-pat of raindrops and the cold and snowy season, because you can still find cheer on a dreary-seeming day. Chase the grey away with an overdue visit to world-class museums and theatrical gems. You can dig into some nifty (and covered) sections of Chicago Botanic Gardens, pick up a best-seller or try your hand at a new art project. The kids have oodles to do, too, from rocks and turtles to movies and games. Encounter more ways to play indoors with events across the North Shore.
Illinois Holocaust Museum, Skokie
Discover Museum Treasures
Beautifully-curated exhibits are a North Shore specialty where you can experience the lives of others through history, art, and culture. A visit to the world-class Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center (9603 Woods Dr., Skokie) is a must. “Meet” a Survivor in the interactive holographic theater and ask them questions about what life was like before, during, and after the Holocaust. With 6,000+ artworks in its holdings at Northwestern University, Block Museum of Art (40 Arts Circle Dr., Evanston) stages terrific special exhibitions along with its in-house cinema. Mitchell Museum of the American Indian (3001 Central St., Evanston) shines a light on the histories, cultures, and arts of Indigenous people from the U. S. and Canada.
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Skokie
Enjoy Live Theater
One splendid distraction from soggy weather is letting storytellers whisk you away. Step into Oil Lamp Theater’s (1723 Glenview Rd., Glenview) homey lobby — which sports a full bar with complimentary cookies — and catch events such as their Speak Easy Nights. Home to Northlight Theatre, Music Theater Works, Music of the Baroque, and more, the double theater complex at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie) showcases entertainment spanning numerous genres and styles. Northlight Theater (9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie) stages tales from timely world premieres to refreshed classics as one of the largest nonprofit theatres around. Writers Theatre (325 Tudor Ct., Glencoe) boasts a national reputation for excellence in their state-of-the-art architectural gem. The intimate surrounds of Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre (721 Howard St., Evanston) wow with cabaret revues and critically-acclaimed musicals from Jacques Brel to The Bridges of Madison County.
Get Lost in a Book
Stormy days are also meant for curling up with a good book. Score a stack from Booked (506 Main St., Evanston) where youthful readers of all ages find a curated selection of new titles and classics. Weekly story times and meetup groups snuggle between author and illustrator events, release parties, and movie or D&D nights. Nestled into their two-floor location, Bookends & Beginnings (1620 Orrington Ave., Evanston) stocks new, used, and bargain books and unique gift items along with book launches, cookbook events, and informal book talks (enjoy the minibar Wed.–Sat., 5:00 to 8:00 pm). At The Book Stall (811 Elm St., Winnetka), acclaimed independent shopkeepers draw in book lovers for a unique range of titles and subjects. Readings, signings, and discussions fill the calendar along with regular Saturday morning story time for the kids.
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
Nurture Your Creativity
Get your creative juices flowing with a stroll through The Greenhouses at Chicago Botanic Garden (1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe; double-check open dates/hours on the website first). Their Learning Center has classes in art, crafts, and garden-related endeavors from Autumn Photography and Beeswax Crafting to weekly cooking events. Evanston Art Center (1717 Central St., Evanston) offers innovative instruction in broad areas of arts through classes, exhibitions, and interactive activities that are comfy for any skill level. Learn watercolors, pastels, etching, and more at North Shore Art League (620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka) where you can evolve your process in many different media whether you are a new or seasoned student.
Superdawg Drive-In, Wheeling
Keep the Kids Busy
More than just an awesome store, Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop (711 Main St., Evanston) has a Pre-historic Life Museum with fossils from every geological time period going all the way back some three-billion years ago! Watch turtles at The Grove (1421 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview) in the engaging Interpretive Center filled with exhibits of native animals. Educational opportunities like Habitats and Life Cycles, Ecosystems, and Animal Adaptations compliment the 145 acres of nature preserve with trails. Make your stop for eats way more fun at Superdawg Drive-In (333 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling), the classic drive-in where car hops bring Chicago-style dogs, fries, and milkshakes right to your window.
Bring Your A Game
Ignite Gaming Skokie (8125 Skokie Blvd., Skokie) is the premier modern gaming lounge with PC and console favorites to spar with family and friends. Book your lane at Pinstripes (1150 Willow Rd., Northbrook) in the bowling alley or bocce courts. Two-Fer Tuesday gets you a free hour of play for every hour purchased while kids love their Mac & Cheese, Buttered Noodles, Pizza, and Root Beer Floats. Read Aloud (Story Time), Science Sleuths, Art Adventures, and Tinkering captivate at the Kohl Children’s Museum (2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview) along with hands-on exhibits for children up to eight-years-old. Check out the movie schedule at Wilmette Theatre (1122 Central Ave., Wilmette) for the latest new releases and old favorites, such as Frozen and Back to the Future.