Your summer Lake County tour: Gurnee

Since December, I have been featuring cool places to get hot chocolate, eat burgers on a train, get the best donuts/doughnuts. No one has answered the donut/doughnut quandary, by the way.

But really, there are only so many times one can read where to find the best place to get your taco on until you start saying, SERIOUSLY KARI, WE GET IT.


So I approached my editor with an idea. I suggested that I visit towns in Lake County and feature each town this summer!

I am sure this has been done before, but we are not getting to go a vacation this summer, so I am pretending that this is it.

If you see our family with a clam shell on the top of our car in your driveway this summer, just close the blinds.

But seriously, let us in because we need someplace to go. And eat.

First stop on our Lake County Tour is Gurnee — home of Six Flags to those who only come up here once a year — but to those who live in our county, it is also known as the home of Gurnee Mills.

But there is much more to Gurnee than retail, chain restaurants and amusement parks if you take your time and look around.

Tina’s Italian Café and Bake Shop

I got to spend the afternoon with my dear friend Rebecca, and we went to Tina’s Italian Café and Bake Shop for lunch.

First, I should add that we originally went a week before our actual lunch date, but the restaurant was closed because they were in Sicily.

How’s that for authentic??

So then I knew we had to go back, and we did a few days later.

It was worth the return trip.

The lasagna alone. I don’t know what happened. I was talking and all of a sudden it was gone.

Everyone was so friendly. That trip to Sicily must have been a good one.

I need to go there, apparently. But again, I need to go ANYWHERE.

Rebecca ordered this amazing roast beef sandwich and gave me a piece to try, but I was so busy talking and eating that I forgot to eat the piece she gave me.

I know it’s hard for you to visualize me talking and eating so much as to forget to eat. I am really selling myself coming to YOUR town, aren’t I?

It is a great place for a lunch with your friends, a lunch date with your significant other or even with your kids. They offer soups, salads and sandwiches too.

Tina’s is open Mon.-Sat., 10:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m., closed on Sundays. Located at 5101 Washington St. in Saratoga Square.

Warren Township Park

One of our favorite places in Gurnee has always been the Warren Township Park.

It is hands down the best park in Lake County.

The only downside for us when the kids were small is that you will be doing lots and lots of running around because it is spread out, but there is so much for the kids to do.

There are playgrounds for kids big and little, a huge sandpit, a maze and much more.

Now that my youngest is older, it is a great place because she is more independent, so she could spend hours here.

Pack a picnic, and spend the afternoon here. Or get that lasagna and four forks at Tina’s.

Located at 17801 W. Washington St. at the corner of Washington and Almond. You will need to turn onto Almond to get to the entrance.

Tempel Lipizzan Farm

Just outside of Gurnee, literally up the road, is the Tempel Lipizzan Farm.

If your child loves horses or farms, this is a place you need to take them.

Set on a beautiful farm in Wadsworth, these beautiful show horses give performances throughout the summer.

Go to the website to order your tickets in advance, or get tickets day of the show. There is even a café on the premises.

Located at 17000 Wadsworth Rd., Wadsworth.

So if you would like me to come to your town this summer, give me a shout out!

I love tacos, ice cream, donuts … oh, who am I kidding? I love anything. I just want to come visit.

And I will bring that lasagna with me.

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