4 ways to beat the heat on the North Shore

When I tell people I moved to Chicagoland from San Francisco two years ago, invariably one of their first comments involves the weather. Usually it’s that I’m crazy because the winters here are, well, real, as opposed to the Bay Area’s 50-something degrees with rain. Sometimes, though, people say things like, “Well, at least you’re used to hot summers!”

However, this is an untruth. San Francisco rarely reaches even the 80s in the summer—in fact, the majority of those months are dressed in fog and hover somewhere around 65 degrees.

So, yeah. You guys! This past weekend getting up near 100 degrees here?! I am decidedly UN-used to this, and let me tell you, I was a sweltering, sweaty mess. What’s a girl to do but lock herself in the cool of her basement and research ways to beat the heat on the North Shore. Have a look (and keep your chill).

Northbrook Sports Center Pool

Opening June 17, this new-and-improved cool-off spot replaces the old one, which was 50 years old. Enjoy play features for little ones, a climbing wall, vortex pool, drop slide and zero-depth pool. The adjacent Northbrook Sports Center features party rooms in case a pool party is in your future.

1730 Pfingsten Rd., Northbrook

Vernon Hills Family Aquatic Center

Two words: lazy river. I can (and do) spend hours going ‘round and ‘round on this 700-foot circle. Take a one- or two-person tube and either dodge the water features or give your kids a friendly push beneath them (heh). Also on the list: a zero-depth pool with waterfalls and jets, a sand play area, and both body and inner tube slides.

635 N. Aspen Dr., Vernon Hills

Graeter’s Ice Cream

The line is typically out the door, but there’s a reason for that—so hold tight! Graeter’s makes crazy good ice cream of the French pot variety, which basically means it’s deliciously rich, thick and decadent. Their classic flavors are studded with chocolate chips chunks that pair well with each kind. Here’s a fun fact: according to Graeter’s website, they hand pack nearly 20,000 pints on a typical day, and their fastest packers average up to 15 pints a minute.

1347 Shermer Rd., Northbrook


Let’s face it: there are days that are flat-out too hot to be outside. Though my threshold might be lower than most people’s, it’s still nice for everyone to have an air-conditioned go-to for fun. Enter Bowlero (formerly Brunswick) in Buffalo Grove, complete with video walls facing the spiffy bowling alley, an arcade with both new-tech and classic games (such as a larger-than-life digital Connect Four), laser tag and an expansive menu that includes some pretty awesome cocktails.

350 McHenry Rd., Buffalo Grove

Mom to one, Katie is a marketing copywriter by day, worker-outer whenever possible and valiant lover of top 40 hits.

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