Glencoe is a small, historic Village (pop. 8,700) located approximately 20 miles north of Chicago accessible by the Edens Expressway, Metra’s Union Pacific North Line, and Pace Bus Route 213. The Village was developed as a planned community around a central downtown serving as its main focal point. Outside of downtown the Village is primarily residential, its neighborhoods dotted with parks, schools, and houses of worship. The Village is nestled within a greenbelt. Three of its four borders are surrounded by natural and recreational open space – including the Chicago Botanic Garden, Cook County forest preserves, the Skokie Lagoons, one public and two private golf courses, and Lake Michigan with public beach access provided at Lakefront Park.
Character abounds in Glencoe. The tree-lined residential streets include a broad variety of architectural styles dating from the Village’s incorporation in 1869 to present day. Many of the homes were designed by noteworthy architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Howard Van Doren Shaw, Robert Seyfarth, Keck & Keck, and many others. For the architecture enthusiast, a stroll through one of Glencoe’s neighborhoods is a treat.
If the nostalgia of “Main Street” appeals to you, then Downtown Glencoe is the place to be. It continues to function as the central meeting place for residents with the post office, library, theatre, and shopping all within a few blocks. But don’t be fooled by its simplicity. Behind the historic facades of this commercial center are several upscale restaurants, unique specialty stores, and a variety of salons and personal care services. While shopping downtown enjoy uninterrupted views of Lake Michigan from Park Avenue.
The ambiance of Glencoe is not only known to residents and visitors – it has also attracted Hollywood. Glencoe was the setting for the 1983 film Risky Business, starring Tom Cruise. Scenes from the 1986 John Hughes film Ferris Bueller's Day Off were filmed in Glencoe including one scene at the Glencoe Beach, as were scenes from Sixteen Candles and Uncle Buck. The Glencoe train station is featured in scenes from Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers, as well as John Hughes' She's Having a Baby. The 2011 film Contagion featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Matt Damon also has scenes that were filmed in Glencoe.
GLENCOE'S MUST-SEE CHECKLIST:
- Writers Theatre Center: Opened in early 2016, the new Writers Theatre Center features two intimate performance spaces under one roof. A true “Theatre in a Park,” the new center, designed by internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects led by Founder and Design Principal Jeanne Gang, includes patron access to surrounding parks, outdoor rooftop terraces and landscaped and rooftop gardens. A spacious main atrium with seating tribunes functions as a central gathering area, where patrons and students will enjoy supplementary artistic, family and educational programs. And a luminous grand gallery walk is suspended around the atrium, inviting the entire community to experience the iconic spaces inside. The lobby and public spaces are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Downtown Glencoe: Nestled in the center of the Village, you'll find quaint tree-lined streets with upscale dining options including Guildhall, as well as unique specialty stores and boutiques, and a variety of salons and personal care services.
- Chicago Botanic Garden: On the west side of the Village, the world-renowned Chicago Botanic Garden, the fifth most visited public garden in the United States offers many opportunities to enjoy earth’s bounty. Opened more than 40 years ago as a beautiful place to visit, and it has matured into one of the world's great living museums and conservation science centers. Last year, more than one million people visited the Garden's 26 gardens and four natural areas, uniquely situated on 385 acres on and around nine islands, with six miles of lake shoreline.
- The Skokie Lagoons are located in the forest preserve to the immediate west of the Village. It features a bicycle trail that connects to other paths allowing bicyclists to travel as far south as Wilmette and north past Lake Forest.
- Glencoe Golf Club: The Glencoe Golf Club, a public golf course owned and operated by the Village of Glencoe was established in 1921 by a group of Glencoe residents in search of an alternative to private country club membership. In 1922, the Cook County Board approved an agreement with the Glencoe Golf Club granting the use of land for the first nine holes and construction began using funds from those Glencoe residents. The second nine holes were constructed on 31 acres owned by the Village of Glencoe adjacent to the golf course. And in 1927, the Village of Glencoe purchased an additional 29 acres. Expansion of the back nine holes to the present condition was completed in 1930 with the full 18 holes put into play in 1931. Since its inception as one of the first public golf courses, the Glencoe Golf Club has grown to become one of the finest public golf facilities on the North Shore.
- Glencoe Beach: Right in Glencoe’s own backyard is Lake Michigan's most beautiful spot on the North Shore, Glencoe Beach. The beach is ideal for group and family outings, work picnics, summer camp groups, and other events. Lifeguards are on duty daily during beach season Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Beach offers a playground and waterplay area for kids, full-service concessions, and a beach house with bathrooms and showers. There are also sand chair, umbrella, and sun shelter rentals available.
- Glencoe Public Library: The Glencoe Public Library was organized in 1909 by a Glencoe school teacher, Sarah Hammond, daughter of a Glencoe founder, acting as the first librarian. Miss Hammond served as Librarian until 1935, and the second floor assembly room in the present building was named for her. Today the Glencoe Library is one of the most frequently visited places in the Village by residents and visitors, with an almost 100% library card holder rate among Glencoe residents, one of the highest in the state.
- Frank Lloyd Wright: The Village of Glencoe is home to 13 structures designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the third largest collection in the world. The majority are grouped together in the Ravine Bluffs subdivision, a housing development that Frank Lloyd Wright and landscape architect Jens Jensen collaborated on, built in 1915. Ravine Bluffs includes six Wright-designed single-family homes, three Wright-designed entrance sculptures marking the subdivision boundaries, and a bridge over a ravine, the only Wright-designed bridge ever built. Additional information on Frank Lloyd Wright’s work in Glencoe is available through the Glencoe Historical Society’s museum and archives.
- Bike & Walking Trails: Several regional trail systems lead to, connect with, and/or pass through the Village of Glencoe. The North Branch Trail is a 20-mile paved bicycle trail beginning at Devon Avenue in Chicago and ending at Dundee Road (Route 68) in Glencoe. Trailgoers may continue on after this point, passing through the Chicago Botanic Garden north to Lake Cook Road. A new multiuse trail meanders along Lake Cook Road through the McDonald and Turnbull Woods Forest Preserves and connects to the east with the Green Bay Trail at the Braeside Metra station. The 10-mile Green Bay Trail is a combination of paved and crushed limestone trail beginning in Wilmette and connecting with Lake County’s significant trail system to the north. A section of the Green Bay Trail in Glencoe, between Harbor Street and Woodlawn Avenue, has been undergoing restoration thanks to the efforts of the Friends of the Green Bay Trail. In this section a targeted effort is underway to remove invasive species and replant native trees, wildflowers, grasses, sedges and shrubs. Look for informational signage in this area as you pass through.
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