The Skokie Festival of Cultures takes you around the world in one day

If you go

11 a.m.-7 p.m. May 16-17

Free admission

Oakton Park, 4701 Oakton St., Skokie

If you go

11 a.m.-7 p.m. May 16-17

Free admission

Oakton Park, 4701 Oakton St., Skokie

Take the family on a trip to Japan, Norway, Bangladesh, Tibet, Israel and other destinations around the world—without leaving the comforts of Illinois. The Skokie Park District’s Festival of Cultures attracts more than 350,000 visitors hoping to experience the vast melting pot in Skokie.

This is one of very few events all year that I can spend a full day out with nary a complaint from any of my children, who range in age from 6-18. There really is something for everyone.

Its two jam-packed days are filled with music, dance, food, crafts, tastings and shopping from more than 60 diverse cultures represented from around the globe.

The journey begins with a Passport to the World, a guide filled with the lineup of performances, a map of activities and educational information. The passport becomes a souvenir my kids keep from year to year.

Families can listen to folk songs from Africa or Tibet and watch dance troupes from Japan or Bollywood, plus buy items at an international bazaar from cultures that you may have never experienced before. My children are always surprised by how many different cultures are represented in our diverse little village.

Little ones will love the climbing wall, craft areas and bouncy house. Older kids will enjoy the dance shows, musicians and international games. For adults, an international beer tasting each afternoon will keep things interesting.

Seating is plentiful, the train stops nearby and admission is free—a whole lot cheaper than buying an international plane ticket.

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