When you step off the train at the Homewood Station, you are greeted by a charming downtown filled with tree-lined streets and blooming flowers. While visiting the village, you will find an eclectic mix of restaurants, boutique stores and cultural and educational experiences parents and kids are sure to love. In addition to these daily finds, this friendly community hosts a variety of special events and festivals throughout the year that focus on children and families.
The town is pedestrian and bike friendly, with everything a kid could dream of within blocks of the train station, which services both Metra and Amtrak train lines. Should you drive, five public parking lots for visitors are located throughout the downtown area. Spend a day here and you will soon see why so many families call Homewood “home.” As you explore, take some time to check out the beautiful homes along your path and challenge yourself to find two that look the same.
No matter what flavors your family enjoys, Homewood has a dining spot to make everyone happy.
This farm-to-table coffee shop serves breakfast and lunch featuring globally inspired foods with seasonal, locally sourced and often organic ingredients. Vegetarian and vegan options are offered and devoured. Kids will like playing games and checking out the local artwork on the walls.
Visit the original Aurelio’s, a star of the Chicago pizza scene since 1959. It’s the best pizza for miles and miles, plus kids will enjoy the old fashioned 50-cent game machines as they wait. Adventurous eaters can choose from distinctive ingredients such as hot giardiniera, Ortega peppers and Italian beef.
After Aurelio’s, head to Dairy Queen (open seasonally) for a no frills but always satisfying ice cream experience. Whether you go for the Dilly Bar, chocolate dipped cone or famous Blizzard (so thick you can turn your cup upside down), you can’t go wrong. There are no seats except for a few benches and logs but there is a huge back lawn where kids can run and burn off the sugar they just ate.
Located inside the gorgeous La Banque hotel, this bistro offers fine dining, making it a special time out with older kids. They even offer a children’s menu so your kids can feel fancy ordering entrees like the ham and cheese croque monsieur. Tip: Enjoy your meal indoors or on the patio.
Find a moment of calm in this delightful tea shop with outdoor patio. Order lunch, munch on delicious baked goods, sip tea and pretend you are royalty. Tip: There’s a small play area for your princes and princesses.
There are endless worlds to explore through play in Homewood. Whether your kids enjoy splashing, creating or building, they will soak up what the village has to offer.
Run by Homewood-Flossmoor Park District, this park offers a playground, 4/10 mile walking path, roller skate area, picnic shelter and seasonal splash park. Tip: The Splash Pad is open seven days per week from 10 a.m.-noon, 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., weather permitting. A small fee is charged. It is best suited for kids 10 and younger.
At the only science center in the south suburbs, your kids will explore, create and connect to science. They will love the Imagination Station, Maker Space Studio, movie theater, gardens and activities and you will love that they are learning while playing. Tip: The center is not open daily so be sure to look up its open play hours before your visit.
Whether you want to get your own creative juices flowing or shop for the handiwork of others, Art 4 Soul offers a cool experience for families. The ceramic studio is open for painting every day and walk-ins are welcome. Just choose a piece and get to work, or in this case play. Tip: You will have to return another day to pick up your fired piece, but what a great excuse to visit Homewood again.
While Homewood has its strips of retail giants on Halsted Street, its downtown is filled with locally owned stores with friendly, knowledgable shopkeepers and treasures that you won’t see in any chain stores.
This adorable shop features boutique clothes, fun gifts and vintage items. Enjoy browsing the shelves for Homewood and Chicago-centric gifts, then take a moment to stop and smell the fancy soaps. Tip: Just about every kid in town knows the owners pass out Dum Dums.
Offering a variety of new and used books for all ages, you can find the newest bestseller or a hard-to-find treasure here.
Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere in this shop while looking at gift items that delight the senses including fun soaps, stationary and baby items. Tip: The shop is closed Mondays and Sundays.
Lovers of comic books and card gaming unite! Whether your kiddos want to hunt for back issues of their favorite comics or seek out a game of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon or Magic the Gathering, this is the place to be.
Photo Credit: Matushek Photography
Homewood packs plenty of personality year-round with its festivals and special events and entertains 24-7 with its awesome artwork displays.
More than 60 outdoor events each year showcase Homewood’s fun-loving community and are designed with kids in mind. Be sure to check out Rail Fest in May, Homewood Artisan Fest in June, Homewood’s Block Party in August, Fall Fest in September, Holiday Lights in Homewood in December and Chocolate Fest in February.
The Village of Homewood hosts two farmer’s markets each week – from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays with a mini version from 4-9 p.m. Wednesdays (May through October). The markets feature activities for kids, a wide assortment of regional farmers, non-profit organization booths, live music, children’s crafts, yoga and more. Tip: One Saturday a month features the Hunt & Gather market for unique vintage and hand-crafted wares, as well as PopUpSCIENCE by the Homewood Science Center.
The village boasts the largest collection of Richard Haas Trompe-l’oeil murals anywhere in the world. The murals are large and colorful and sure to stir the imagination. Take some time to explore the artwork and find your new favorite Instagram backdrop. Tip: There are maps of the walking tour as you exit the train station.
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This article originally appeared in the July 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.