Where to Find the Best Sunrise Views (and Breakfast Treats) on Chicago’s North Shore
“Here comes the sun, and I say it's all right.” Taking in the sunrise can fill your day with light and hope. As our spring days grow longer through May, the sun appears on the horizon sometime between 5:20 and 5:45 am. Chicago’s North Shore brims with spaces to observe this daily ritual, even while being mindful of social distancing. You can keep that morning energy boost going with a stop at a local bakery where you can pick up a latte or grab some tasty morning carbs after your stroll, hike, or bike ride.
999 Green Bay Rd., Glencoe
Locals have been coming to beautiful Glencoe Beach—located at the foot of Hazel and Park—for more than a century to watch the sun rise over Lake Michigan as color fills the sky and reflects across the water. After breathing in the view or doing some life-affirming yoga poses, put Hometown Coffee & Juice (700 Vernon Ave., Glencoe) on your route home. Order online or call 847-242-0220 for espresso drinks, bagel and lox, or Greek avocado toast. (They open at 7:00 am.)
Social distancing and other safety precautions are still in effect to fight the spread of COVID-19. Stay up-to-date on the latest public health guidance from the CDC and the State of Illinois, before heading out.
Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park
McCormick Boulevard between Touhy & Dempster St., Skokie
The geometric angles and curving paths along this landscaped parkway add an artistic touch to the skies at dawn. Cycle, jog, or wander among more than 70 large-scale modern sculptures created out of cast iron, welded steel, aluminum, or concrete. Bring the dog along (leashed pleased) or do a self-guided tour once the sun pops up. Kneads and Wants Artisan Bakery & Cafe (8042 Lincoln Ave., Skokie) opens at 8:00 am for curbside pickup (delivery options, too) for scones, croissants, and dozens of other freshly baked goodies with La Colombe coffee.
Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park, Skokie
2611 Sheridan Rd., Evanston
To greet the dawn from another Lake Michigan vantage point, visit the beach adjacent to photogenic Grosse Point Lighthouse where you can wander around the pleasant grounds or sit at waters’ edge. Swing by Hewn’s new location at 1733 Central St. (Evanston) for organic, stone-milled, locally-sourced flour and grains baked into daily selections such as Cheddar Country, Caramelized Onion Rye, or Chocolate Hazelnut Brioche. Plan ahead as they need 48 hours’ notice for all orders and open from 8:00 am to Noon for pick-ups (Tues. through Sun.).
With several entry points and splendid spots to walk and watch, the Skokie Lagoons’ network of pools, channels, and islands are a good bet for keeping your distance. Seven lagoons are prime places for mid-May birdwatching for up to 60 species including warblers, cuckoos, thrushes, and wood duck. Home of some of the best bagels and bakery items you can put in your mouth, Kaufman’s Bagel & Delicatessen (4905 Dempster St., Skokie) will power up your day from there. Curbside pickup behind the building begins at 8:00 am; place your order an hour beforehand.
Glencoe Beach, Glencoe
Forest Preserves of Cook County
With 70,000 acres of forest, prairie, wetland, streams, and lakes to roam, you can hone your nature photography skills as the morning sky comes to life. This interactive web map plots all the trails and woods including the North Branch and Des Plaines trail systems. Follow up at Sweet Ali’s Gluten-Free Bakery (1107 Waukegan Rd., Glenview) where they not only feature certified gluten-free sweet, savory, and special occasion baked goods, but dairy-free, vegan, and other allergen-free options. Call 224-432-5530 ahead and note their Glenview location opens at Noon for curbside.
Historic Wagner Farm
1510 Wagner Rd., Glenview
This small working farm on 18.6-acres (part of the Glenview Park District) charms with its rustic surroundings. While the farm is not currently allowing tours or visits with the animals, views of this rural landscape make for a peaceful morning. Glenview Grind (1837 Glenview Rd., Glenview) with fresh bakery bites and breakfast sandwiches is the perfect stop with their convenient drive-thru (bring your dog for a special treat, too!). The kids will dig a Lil Glen Cocoa while you boost your sunrise experience with a Healing Latte crafted with local honey infused with ginger, coconut, pollen, and turmeric.
Skokie Lagoons, Winnetka
Historic Wagner Farm, Glenview
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