12 must-dos in Chicago’s Lakeview

There’s a reason families flock to the Lakeview neighborhood and why more than one street in the ‘hood claims the nickname of “Stroller Alley.” The family fun options in this North side gem stretch far beyond catching a game at Wrigley or walking the Lakefront Trail. Here are a few of our favorite ways to Lakeview and chill.


Building Blocks Toy Store

Building Blocks is a little toy store with a lot of charm where you can find unique toys that will enchant and empower kids. You can even personalize select toys at Building Blocks with kids’ names and initials. Insider tip: Ask for the complimentary gift wrapping!

Unabridged Bookstore

Exploring this little shop is just like getting lost in a good book. It’s no wonder the indie bookstore has thrived for more than 35 years. It has incredibly friendly sales people, a brilliant collection for readers of all shapes and sizes, and shelves upon shelves of recommendations in every genre.


If you happen to have a tween who thinks toys aren’t “cool” anymore, Rotofugi will prove them wrong. The hippest pop culture collectables, figures and plush toys are all sold in this chic art gallery-style store.


Nookie’s Tree

Every day out in Lakeview should start with brunch at this neighborhood favorite, where you can have your favorite breakfast food exactly as you like it—perfect for picky eaters. Everything from the kitchen is the ultimate comfort food, but the buttermilk pancakes with real maple syrup should be illegal to pass up.

Bobtail Ice Cream Company

Make sure to treat yo’ self on your day of family fun to some homemade ice cream. This old-school ice cream parlor is just the right touch on a relaxing afternoon, especially when you order the hot brownie sundae.

Cheesie’s Pub & Grub

Cheesie’s is practically heaven on earth, and not just because it has the best OG grilled cheese in Chi-town (which it does). The plethora of mouth-watering additions you can add to your grilled cheese, such as meats and dipping sauces, as well as an honest-to-goodness mac-and-cheese grilled cheese sandwich, make this an ooey-gooey must-stop for lunch.


The Kids’ Table

Teach kids the art and life skill of cooking and expand their love of food with a culinary class at The Kids’ Table. By the end of the class, mini chefs will have mastered yummy and healthy dishes they’ll want to gobble up, and you just might have a built-in helper for your next dinner party.

Blue Man Group

This ever-popular energetic and innovative performance art experience is Briar Street Theatre’s main ongoing attraction. The one-of-a-kind show will have kids’ imaginations running wild and is definitely worth the splurge, especially to sit in the highly coveted “poncho seats.”

The ComedySportz Theatre

For an improv show that is sure to delight all ages, head to this hot spot to indulge in hilarious, clean comedy just about any night of the week. Check the website for showtimes—you might even be inspired to schedule a date night!


Explore & Much More

Indoor play places are a parent’s savior any given afternoon, and Explore& Much More takes its play seriously. This two-story wonderland includes a bouncy house, climbing walls and reading alcoves with hammock swings. Check the website for activities designed to spark creativity and inspire young minds.

Take A Break Playcare

Sometimes, mom and dad need to do boring adult things—you know, like take a real nap—during kiddie playtime. With Take A Break Playcare’s drop-in play center, that’s easier than ever. Kids can take fun and educational classes or just play for an hour or two under adult supervision while you have a little playtime for yourself.

Margaret Donahue Park

This recently opened park is a homerun with even the littlest of Cubs fans (Sox fans are welcome, too). Margaret Donahue Park is drenched in Chicago pride, from the play structures built to resemble Willis Tower, Hancock Building and Water Tower to the Cubbie-themed turf. In warm weather, take advantage of the colorful splash pad. In cooler weather, run, jump, climb and spin on all of the other playground features that make this park special.

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