Family Neighborhood Guide: Glencoe

Known for its architecture dating back to the 1869 – even the Metra station was considered for a listing on the National Register of Historic Places – a trip to Glencoe isn’t all beautiful buildings and history.

The Writers Theatre shares new works in a state-of-the-art facility (including a few kid-approved shows) and the Chicago Botanic Garden can’t be missed. The village hosts events year round, from holiday lights in the winter to a French market all summer and an art festival in July, all of which attract visitors from across Chicagoland. The beach and shoreline are available to walk (with a dog until May 15) to take in views of Lake Michigan.

Getting there: Glencoe can be found north of Chicago, bordered by Winnetka to the south, Highland Park to the north and its western edge holds the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Eat

Meg’s Cafe

Whether you’re spending the day at Ravinia in nearby Highland Park or walking around Glencoe, stop by for a boxed lunch or dine in. The fare is All American, with sandwiches, soups and salads that have been elevated to gourmet, even on the kid’s menu.

Hometown Coffee & Juice

Fresh from the Espresso bar, your kids will love the creamy hot chocolate that comes iced or piping hot and served to your liking. For the littlest in your family, the hot cocoa is available in four sizes, including as small as eight ounces. With Hometown Houses that can be reserved for families as big as six, you can also enjoy a lunchtime S’mores bar with your hot cocoa.

Guildhall

The upscale food has a casual feel as Guildhall turned its outdoor space into Greenhouses during the pandemic. Your whole family will love the wood-fired pizzas and even little kids can gobble up homemade applesauce as a side dish. For family members with a more refined palate, mains range from a half chicken to beef tenderloin to a prime beef Guildhall burger.

Frank & Betsie’s

A French-California fusion restaurant, Frank and Betsie’s has been a North Shore staple since 1984. During the pandemic, in addition to adjusting to maintain its business, the restaurant also worked to raise money for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. In addition to amazing food, your family will love the lengthy dessert menu, which includes cakes, tarts, tortes and cookies of which you can’t just eat one.

Shop

The Wild Child

The quaint village shopping district can be found with a walk down Vernon Avenue. You won’t get far before your kids drag you into The Wild Child, a toy store with something for kids of all ages (even the kids at heart).

Black Sheep General Store

The “General Store” is filled with items for kids, good-for-your-body soaps, housewares, clothes and even books and candies. Owner Stephanie Macakanja tries to incorporate Chicago-made or Chicago-centric items in her store to support local artists.

The Sweet Buddha

From custom-made jewelry to candy to art stations that allow you to design your own mask, this sweet store is made for fun. Your family can even plan a birthday soiree at the store or pick out a cake for your next big party.

Play

Chicago Botanic Garden

From Lightscape at the holidays to Night of 1,000 Jack-o-lanterns at Halloween, there’s always something special at the garden. In the spring, the flowers and trees show off their color and beauty. All visitors must preregister for timed entry. Check out online and in-person classes (as state and local guidelines allow) that can teach your whole family about nature.

Glencoe Beach

The beach features a beautiful beach house as well as boat rentals, a sprayground, a pier, sun shelters and events and classes all summer long. The beach opens Memorial Day weekend and dogs are allowed through May 15.

Writers Theatre

The Writers Theatre has built a national reputation as an award-winning theater with productions that range from adults-only to great for all ages. During the pandemic, the theater adjusted to a virtual format with ease and maintained its high quality of creation.

Explore

Glencoe Architecture

Known for its landmark architecture, spring is the perfect time to check out the village’s historic homes built and created by some of America’s notable architects: Frank Lloyd Wright, Howard Van Doren Shaw, Robert Seyfarth and Keck & Keck. The village has created its handy story map to help guests find their way to the top spots to see.

Metra Station

Address: 724 Green Bay Road, Glencoe

If you travel into the village via Metra, take a few minutes to explore the station. It was considered for historical status, but the story is that the railway company that owned the station objected. Still, built in 1891 by architect Charles Sumner Frost (known as the architect of Navy Pier), the station is in the top 75 of the busiest non-downtown stations on the Metra lines.

Green Bay Trail

The Green Bay Trail is an asphalt trail that runs parallel to the Metra Line for a little more than two miles. Great for hiking and biking, along the way visitors can enjoy wildflower gardens, picnic tables and benches to rest. Runs from Old Green Bay Road to Chicago Botanic Garden.


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This article was featured in Chicago Parent’s March/April 2021 magazine

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