Your summer Lake County tour: Grayslake

My family and I have had so much fun visiting different towns as a part of my Lake County tour I am doing with Chicago Parent this summer!

So far I have visited Gurnee, Waukegan and Wauconda, but this week I am visiting a place close to my heart, Grayslake.

Why is it close to my heart, you ask?

Well, I lived in Grayslake for eight years and my oldest daughter was born here.

Well, not BORN here but this was the town we lived in when she was born and the tree lined streets of Grayslake was where we did A LOT of stroller walking.

In fact, on one of the days that I brought my two daughters to Grayslake for lunch, she was driving the car. I KNOW, EEK!!!

I mentioned to her that we used to walk that same street together to go to the Dollar General (still there, by the way) where we’d buy a book and a Glade plug in once a week.

It was a little ritual that she and I had.


Anyway, when we were at a stop sign I said to her, “I used to push you in a stroller down this street and now look, you are driving me down this same street. Pretty cool, don’t you think?”

She looked at me and said, “Yeah, it is!”

Those kinds of moments take your breath away.

That is what Grayslake is for me.

Sappy maybe, but that is what it will always be.

My oldest daughter’s starting place.

So join us as we hit some favorite spots in one of our favorite little towns.

Emil’s Tavern on Center

I have mentioned Emil’s before for the perfect date night with kids but I am mentioning it again for two reasons.

1- We love their pizza, yes.

2- We love the service.

The day we went for lunch, this sweet grandmother-type was the hostess and she was absolutely adorable.

The girls miss their “mamie” so much it is palpable, so on this day they wanted to take her home with us.

No lie, she said to them, “It’s so good to see you girls.”

Blink, blink.


She put her arms around them, patted them on the head and was just so loving.

You don’t see that too often in customer service and that was just what we really needed on that day.

Emil’s has more than just pizza and they are open for lunch and dinner as well.

Head here to check out their daily specials.

They are located at 161 Center Street.

Grayslake Farmers Market

We have been going to this farmers market on and off for years and it is one of our favorites for many reasons, the main one being that we can make a date night out of it.

It runs on Wednesday afternoon and evenings, which is hard to find at times.

We have been known to go to Emil’s, have a beer, and then spill out onto the market after.


They offer lots of great vendors with fresh fruit and vegetables from all over the Midwest as well as cheese and meats, and jewelry and flowers etc.

You can go to the website here to check out the map.

The market runs all year round but the hours and days change.

During the summer it is on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. through September 23.

Do check it out, it is one of the nicest markets in the county with a really cool vibe.

Tastee Freez

If you go to Grayslake for the first time ever, you need to make sure you stop at Tastee Freez.

An institution, the Tastee Freez has been in Grayslake forever, and if you know the suburbs you will know nothing stays around long.

Because it will be knocked down for a CVS.

Just ask Journey’s End in Mundelein.

Oh wait, you can’t because it’s gone.

Sorry. I am bitter.

My friend Jenny worked here in high school and on the day we went, sure enough, Anna knew the girl working behind the counter.

If you go in the evening, even on a weekday, be prepared to wait.

It will be busy, but it is totally worth it.

Everything is good but I get the dipped cone and my husband prefers a shake.

My youngest recommends the cone with the sprinkles and my oldest always gets a slushy.

Tastee Freez is located at 131 Hawley Street.

So plan a visit to head to the Dollar General to get a plug in, give grandma a hug, and get a slice of pizza, some Michigan apples and a sprinkle cone.

Grayslake is my happy place and it will be yours too.

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