Take the train to Libertyville

You know those days you’re just like, “What am I gonna do with this kid all day?” Try as I might and plan as I do, sometimes the best days are the most spontaneous. As in, get on the Metra and go until … well, until you feel like stopping.

That particular approach recently led us to Libertyville. I’d been there once, a year ago, to spend three hours at the DMV, which didn’t leave me craving more Libertyville. But the joke’s on me, because the heart of the town will keep kids and parents entertained, fed and happy. Here are five places not to miss.

The Improv Playhouse

Got a flair for the dramatic in your household? Sign ‘em up for musical theater, stand-up comedy classes, improv workshops and more, first-graders all the way through teenagers. Or take a Saturday night out for improv comedy, with family-friendly shows at 7:30 p.m. and not-so-family-friendly shows at 9 p.m.

735 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Cook Park

It seems there’s always something fun happening at Cook Park, from the Dog Days of Summer canine festival to the seasonal farmers market. Little ones will take to the playground (duh), complete with a castle-esque play structure. Don’t miss the rose garden for family selfies.

100 W. Church St.

ReNew Family Consignment

Being super into consignment, I love coming across a place that runs the gamut in offerings. Small furniture to sports equipment, children’s clothes to musical instruments, ReNew is an awesome place to find quality stuff for way-less-than-new prices.

1750 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Mickey Finn’s Brewery

As Lake County’s oldest brewpub, you kind of have to go here if you’re in the area. (When we went, a full wedding party had just arrived. So like, if a bride stops somewhere for a drink on her wedding day, you know it’s a special place.) The outdoor patio is relaxed, the beers are award-winning and the ceiling is exposed-plank amazing. Special hint: order the Lemon Drop.

345 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Lovin’ Oven Cakery

As classic small-town bakeries go, Lovin’ Oven is the ultimate. Butter cookies, sugar cookies, European-inspired pastries, fresh-baked bread, you know what I mean? All packed up in the cutest little storefront in downtown Libertyville.

355 N. Milwaukee Ave.

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