In my last post I talked a
bit about my 'hood, but I think the entire far Northwest side
deserves a shout-out. Sauganash, Edgebrook, Norwood Park, Edison
Park. They're like the wallflowers of the urban parent world:
unassuming and not necessarily dressed to impress, but totally cool
in their own right. Need proof? Here are just a handful of my
favorite places and reasons why I think the Northwest side is worth
a long-term relationship.
1. North Park Nature Village Center.
It's like Chicago's secret garden. The waterfall, wetlands, and
densely wooded trails are the stuff of fairy tales. Come to think
of it, the number of animals you spot at close range is pretty Snow
White-esque. Free programs are offered all the time, like bird
watching, crafts, and beeswax-candle making; plus, the
annual Maple Syrup Festival is right around the
corner. It's a welcome break from confined quarters and
don't-touch, don't-run, don't-get-dirty rules.
2. Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream. I don't
quite understand the Jurassic Park meets haunted house décor, and
I'm a little afraid to ask. But the velvety ice cream makes up for
it (get Zanzibar, no question), and the service is the type that
restores your faith in humanity: The owner once overheard my little
guy pleading for seconds and came out with a full scoop of their
newest flavor, on the house. Comfy, colorful chairs dot the
sidewalk for lazy summer lolling.
3. Affordable, hidden-gem preschools
like Sauganash School for the Young Years, North
Park Cooperative Preschool, Wonder
Montessori, and All Aboard Learning Express. The first two are
half-day options, the latter two full-day. My now-kindergartener
attended one of these and learned to sing the 50 states and point
them out on a map within his first three months there. (Clearly, I
need to sit in on that lesson!) Academics aside, each of these
schools have small teacher-student ratios and get rave reviews on
websites and via word of mouth.
4. Once Upon a Child. It's a resale
store, so go in with eyes wide open--but I've bought books,
puzzles, pull toys, and baby essentials for dirt cheap (think
Bundle Me for $7). Legend has it that Learning Towers and Tripp
Trapps have been sighted here.
5. Superdawg. 'Nuff said.
These barely scratch the surface, so feel free to chime in
with your suggestions. What are your favorite haunts or hotspots in
these parts of Chicago?
Selena Kohng is a mom of two living in Sauganash.
See more of Selena's stories here.
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