Suburban delights, Chicago
Willowbrook Park, a unit of the Forest Preserves of DuPage County is a wonderful oasis in this urban area. The rehabilitation center houses numerous animals
For more pictures see my marsh, and rehab center.
This is a hidden treasure! Located in Wilmette right off Sheridan Rd. This is one of 7 Bahai Temples in the world. One of seven!!!! Beautiful architecture and gardens, it is quite the sight to see...and no entrance fee!
It is the "Yuppie" typified city with many of the median income level types that are commuters to downtown Chicago, in the nice homes in the burbs. They have a good city, and it continues to grow; now at around 150,000. When I came through here, it was 20,000 in 1990.
The main old town has had a lot of old buildings torn down and what is left were converted into shops and eateries and bars. It doers attract a lot of people.
The Morton Arboretum is a large park located in Lisle, off Interstate 88 on Illinois Route 53. The park has many types of trees and plants from all over the world. There are several flower gardens as well. The park is so large that it requires driving or biking. However, if you are a hiker, this park is perfect as it offers miles and miles of trails. Great place for an experience of nature and the outdoors, yet it is close to Chicago and its suburbs. An admission is charged.
2009 dates July 24-26
Located a mere 1/2 hour away from Chicago is the small town of Whiting Indiana. Held the last full weekend of July every year, Pierogi Fest is full of fun things to see and do-the Pierogi Parade, Eastern Bloc jeopardy, ethnic dancers, not to mention tons of pierogis! Pierogi Fest has received national attention appearing on cable on both the Food Network and the Travel Channel.
In 2003, fellow Vter Dave (dlandt) and his wife Miyuki came down for the festivities and in 2004 Julie (travelmad478), Sam (sambarnett) and Katja (pedersdottir) came to Whiting for the fun filled weekend! In 2005, Sam (sambarnett) dressed up as a babushka lady and marched in the parade with me and was quite a hit with the ladies ;-) 2006 brought the dynamic duo from Windsor, Hansi (Waalewiener) and Lori (LoriPori), plus Jen (Coair13) and her son Ethan (Coair19), Hansi and Ethan were a delight as babushka ladies!
Go have a look at my Whiting page for more info and some pics.
This suburban park in Chicago is impressive. Despite its small size it is still a decent place to have family picnics, and enjoy water views plus meandering along its simple gardens. There are walking and jogging paths so it is a very pleasant place to enjoy nature without the cost and long distance travel from Chicago!
It is at : 320 Jackson Ave
Naperville, IL 60540, United States
The Arboretum is a wonderful place, and I've only been there in early spring. Only a few of the spring wildflowers were making a show, trees were still bear. But a walk in the woods, a stroll around the lake, all were wonderful. The variety of life (plant life) is great. See my Lisle page, and my Morton Arboretum, Woods - east side and Labrynth - west side
Train watching to Swedish historic community, Porter offers a variety of interest after a day of swimming and dune climbing. If you're not the picniking type, Porter has a variety of restaurants to meet you taste buds delight.
Porter Junction is the cross roads of six track lines. Here, you can watch trains passing through on an average of 1 every 6 minutes. At times, you'll find them waiting on each side of the junction, pending another train that has the right of way. Amtrak, Canadian National, Norfolk Southern, Burlington Northern & Santa Fe, and a dozen other names will pass by in a matter of an hour.
Augsburg Lutheren Church continues a tradition of Swedish memories and families in northern Indiana. The Hundren year old 'Skola', school and early cemetery area still here, as are the burial markers for the earliest families in the community.
Visit my Porter page for details and other things to do.
Need a day away from the maddening crowds? Beverly Shores is a bedroom community for Chicago, well beyond the rush and furry of the city. Busy during the day, evening brings a quiet, solitude to the lake front. Here, you'll find small groups sitting in the sand, or splashing in the water, taking in the last hours of daylight. There will be lots of people along the beach, but plenty of space away from each other to relax and watch the sunset. This is a great sunset beach. On the right nights, you'll watch the sun set through the towers of downtown Chicago, over 20 miles (32 k) away, across the water.
Visit my Beverly Shores page for details and more things to do. Historic homes, floated across the lake from the 1933 Chicago Worlds Fair, restored wetlands, historic Lustron homes, and much more.
Described as the 'Center of the Dunes' or the Gateway to the Dunes; Chesterton, Indiana is the commecial center for the dune region. Unlike the sprawling suburbs west and north of Chicago, Chesterton is actually a small town. You'll find quaint shops and restaurants towards the historic downtown, and a modern shopping area just of the Interstate. It's a great place for picking up beach supplies or for finding something different for the kids after a busy day at the beach or climbing dunes.
For details, check out my VT page on Chesterton, Indiana.
A nice little charming village in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Long Grove is located near Illinois Route 83 and Route 53. Nice place to go if you want to get away from the wide roads, ubiquitous strip malls, and the heavy traffic of the other suburban cities and villages. Very peaceful and relaxing environment in Long Grove. Long Grove has a collection of interesting specialty shops as well as a few restaurants. Very easy to get to and parking is free.
I'm putting this in Off the Beaten path merely because it is not inside the city limits and it takes a little work to get to. But it is a much nicer and larger zoo than the Lincoln Park Zoo however there is an admission charge which Lincoln Park doesn't have.
Plan to spend a good portion of the day here, we spent 4 hours here today and that did not include the dolphin show, butterfly garden or any other add ons. Try to get there early in the morning when the animals are most active.
The highlight for me was the bears-there are 3 polar bears, one of which is a cub named Payton (after Walter Payton, one of the Chicago Bears football players) and two enormous brown bears and the new Wolf Habitat which has at least 5 wolves. But the rest of the zoo is also great, well laid out and as natural of a setting as they could possibly construct with lots of interactive things for the kids.
Please see my Brookfield page for more pics and information on how to get there.
Six Flags Great America is a theme park located in Gurnee, IL, about one hour north of downtown Chicago, off Interstate 94. The park is famous for its roller coasters, although it also offers many entertainment and family rides. This park also has a water park area, which is included in the admission. There are also plenty of dining and shopping opportunities in the park. The Looney Tunes characters, including Bugs Bunny, are there to meet kids and take photos with them. This is a pretty fun place for the whole family, although waiting in line for the rides can be long sometimes. For those who are scared of roller coasters, don't worry, there are stuff like arcades and games all over the park, as well as the scenic railway that circles the park.
From Interstate 94, exit to Grand Ave. (Illinois Route 132). General admission is $54.99, but if you order online, the price is $42.99.
The first McDonald's restaurant in the world (Store #1) is located in Des Plaines, about 30-40 minutes northwest of downtown Chicago (the suburb just north of O'Hare airport). It was first opened on April 15, 1955. There is a complete replica of the first store here with golden arches and signs. It is located across the street from the original site, which is now replaced by a modern McDonald's. The replica is part of the McDonald's #1 Store Museum, which has limited opening hours (a few hours daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day).
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Bartlett, IL is a traditional Hindu Mandir. I just went there for the first time last weekend, and I'm in awe that there is something like this close to Chicago! Its a beautifully crafted and designed structure that is an extraordinary sight to see, a taste of India in Chicago. Once inside, take your shoes off and procede to the information desk where the guides will be eager to give you a complimentary tour and answer any questions you might have. Go upstairs into the temple, walk on the heated marble and observe people praying, notice the intricate carvings on the ceilings and columns. Finally, participate in the abhishek ceremony.
Visit the website for info, photos and directions!