Spend a day at The Glen

For the decade between ages 6 and 16, the mall was my jam. The reasons for that varied from age to age, but between the cheesy indoor fountains and the junk-food-wonderland food courts, I could never quite get enough of “hanging out at the mall.”

If you go

The Glen Town Center

1951 Tower Drive

Glenview, IL


Predictably, time has changed the typical mall experience. Things are fancier now, a little more upscale and many malls are positioning themselves as “lifestyle destinations” than merely places to shop.

So here I am, solidly in my 30s, letting you know that the mall is still very much my jam––especially around the holidays, and especially if said mall offers as much variety as The Glen Town Center in Glenview.

I recently pretended I was 14 again and whittled away a Sunday afternoon grabbing a bite, chipping away at my holiday shopping list, and catching a movie at this north suburban, open-air spot. Here are a few highlights.

Grab food

From burgers and pasta to sushi and Thai, finding eats to fit your mood (and the family’s picky preferences) is easy. I’m unable to refuse Mexican food, so a stop at the lively Uno Mas meant an order of chips and guacamole (their own secret recipe) was gone embarrassingly fast. By the way, the Mexican Mule made with grapefruit-jalapeño vodka, fresh lime juice and ginger? It’s a do.

Other good spots to fuel up for holiday shopping (with or without kids): Mooyah for burgers, Eggsperience Cafe for brunch and Yard House for the sports fan to catch the game.

Have fun

My favorite part of The Glen might just be the ArcLight Cinemas, offering an upscale approach to moviegoing. Here, you’re greeted by ambient lighting in the lobby and a full bar (um, yes please). Don’t order just a hot dog––order a chicken-apple or mango-jalapeño sausage on a baguette. Don’t mindlessly devour just popcorn––mindlessly devour caramel corn made with real caramel.

After the show, grab your fave Ben & Jerry’s flavor at the scoop shop just outside the theater. Or head right across the street to Rocket Fizz, a throwback candy shop that kids will love. (“Just 5 minutes” will be 30 before you know it, and you won’t be complaining.)

Get festive

The Glen offers regular events and activities for kids, such as the Puppet Theater Series featuring local puppet companies. On December 5 from 1-3 p.m., bring your camera for free pictures with Santa, or have breakfast with the jolly guy December 12 at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (RSVP required––he’s popular, after all).

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