Summer is a great time to visit Chicago’s North Shore, so you should be prepared for frequent guests. Fortunately, that’s easy thanks to these must-visit destinations. Want to enjoy the great outdoors? You can! Want to get out of the heat and into a world-class museum? You can! Want to listen to amazing music under the stars? You can! Read on to start creating your perfect summer itinerary.
No summer is complete without a trip (or many!) to the beach. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel far to feel the sand in your toes — just head out to one of Evanston’s five public swimming beaches. You can rent a sailing boat, kayak, or stand up paddleboard, take sailing and kayaking lessons, and swim the day away.
Evanston History Center
225 Greenwood St., Evanston
The Dawes House, a National Historic Landmark in Evanston, was the home of U.S. Vice President, ambassador, and author Charles Gates Dawes. Built between 1894 and 1895, this house is now home to the Evanston History Center, which, in addition to hosting exhibits and events at the Dawes House, offers tours of the home, as well as a variety of walking tours throughout Evanston, perfect for anyone interested in history and/or architecture. Docent led tours of the home take place at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm Thursday through Sunday. One of the walking tours topics is Burnham in Evanston, which highlights the work of architect Daniel Burnham, who was once lived and worked in Evanston.
Evanston History Center/Charles Gates Dawes House, Evanston
Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Take a Stand Center
9603 Woods Drive, Skokie
The Illinois Holocaust Museum recently opened its groundbreaking Take a Stand Center, which was quickly named one of the top 12 fall exhibitions in the world by Smithsonian magazine. The exhibit features four interactive galleries that inspire visitors to take a stand for social justice. In what might be the most powerful gallery — the Survivor Stories Experience — guests can interact with holograms of Holocaust survivors (reservations are recommended).
Take a Stand Center, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Skokie
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe
See what’s in bloom this summer at the Chicago Botanic Garden! Explore myriad gardens within the grounds that will take you inside an English walled garden, a Japanese garden and a waterfall garden, to name a few. Be sure to check out the calendar of events, which includes the Garden Chef Series cooking demonstrations, the Butterflies & Blooms exhibition, art classes and more!
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
Historic Wagner Farm
1510 Wagner Road, Glenview
Glenview is also home to one of Cook County’s last working dairy farms. Here families can learn about livestock and crops, explore interactive exhibits like the Silo Exhibit, shop at the 1930s Grocery Store, and more. Wagner Farm is also home to the Glenview Farmers Market, taking place on Saturdays throughout the summer.
Historic Wagner Farm, Glenview
418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park
A summer must on Chicago’s North Shore, Ravinia Festival (the oldest music festival in North America) welcomes some of the biggest names in the music industry for a night under the stars. With a variety of seating and dining options, deals, and more, it’s easy to create the perfect concert experience for you and your group.
Ravinia Festival, Highland Park
1421 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview
Get outside and explore Glenview’s National Historic Landmark, The Grove, with a nature walk. The Grove offers free, guided trail walks that teach visitors about the area’s wildflowers, pond life, and insects. But, you can also explore The Grove’s nature trails on your own year-round.
The Grove Historic Landmark, Glenview
Impress your summer visitors with a visit to one of our local farmers market and cook them a homemade farm-to-table meal! Or stop by to stock up for your Ravinia Festival picnic or for food to bring to the beach! You can find everything from fruits and veggies, flowers, cheese to fresh baked breads and desserts at these markets! Click here for a list of all the summer famers markets on Chicago’s North Shore.
Chicago's North Shore Farmers Markets
Bonus: Discover the Bike Trails on Chicago’s North Shore
The name of the game come summer is to get outside and soak up as much sunshine as possible before winter returns, and what better way to do that than by exploring everything the area has to offer on your very own bike tour? Use our interactive trail map to plan your route, or use TrailLink to find the closest trail to you. (Great options include Green Bay Trail, North Shore Bike Path, North Branch Trail, and North Shore Channel Trail.)