6 hidden gems for Chicago families to discover in Libertyville

We are nearing the last few weeks of summer and if you are like us, you might be counting down the days on the calendar until school is back in session. If you need a family adventure to round out the summer, head north to Libertyville.

Libertyville, originally named “Independence Grove,” was founded in 1836 during a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. A year later the town was renamed Libertyville. Located only 45 minutes from the loop and easy accessed from both I-94 and the Metra, it’s a great place to spend a day. We’ve planned a day the entire family will enjoy while celebrating the last few weeks of freedom.

LEE Famous Donuts

Start your day with donuts at LEE Donuts, 124 Peterson Road. A Libertyville staple, LEE Donuts is a family-owned business that has been a family favorite since it opened in 1988. Make sure to get an Apple Fritter and you’ll fit right in with the locals.

Independence Grove

After breakfast, head to Independence Grove, 16400 W. Buckley Road, to run off the sugar. A truly gorgeous nature preserve centered around a 115-acre lake, Independence Grove is the perfect place to get some fresh air. Children’s Grove features a sensory-rich play environment with handicap-adaptable equipment featuring two playgrounds, rock walls, an underground tunnel and a giant slide. For older kids, there are kayaks, canoes, fishing equipment and more available to rent.

The Picnic Basket

Now that you’ve worked up an appetite again, hit up The Picnic Basket, 501 N. Milwaukee Ave., for a delicious, casual lunch option. The restaurant boasts a menu filled with gourmet sandwiches and wraps, grilled specials, soups, healthy salads and homemade desserts made fresh daily. You’ll notice the signs clearly announcing they do not have Wi-Fi when you enter, as they gently encourage you to focus the people you are with. Not a bad idea with the busyness of the school year that’s in our near future!

Hansa Coffee

Grab a quick pick-me-up for Mom and Dad at Hansa Coffee, 755 N. Milwaukee Ave., before your next adventure. Hansa Coffee describes itself as a “quality-driven roaster and retailer” that specializes in small-batch coffees sourced around the world. We’re partial to the Honey Latte or the Cold Brew, but you can’t go wrong with anything here.

Lambs Farm

For another family-friendly adventure that’s unique to Libertyville, visit Lambs Farm’s Farmyard, 14245 W. Rockland Road. The community’s mission of “helping people with developmental disabilities lead productive, happy lives and connecting with the human spirit in us all” provides a great experience for the entire family. The Farmyard is their children’s attraction, which allows children to interact with an abundance of animals, play miniature golf, take a ride on the miniature train and enjoy the old-world carousel with brightly colored horses!

Milwalky Taco

Finish your day with a celebration fit for any day of the week at Milwalky Taco, 605 N. Milwaukee. Featuring locally sourced, fresh ingredients and an impressive selection of tacos, you’ll find something that everyone in the family will love.

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