North Shore should be on your list for the next time you visit Illinois.
There are many truly great places near Chicago, and the North Shore area, just north of the city along the shore of Lake Michigan, is chock full of fascinating cultural landmarks, great shopping, varied dining and beautiful parks and gardens.
Exploring the Chicago Botanic Garden
In addition to offering educational and fun cultural experiences, Chicago’s North Shore is a naturally beautiful area. At the vast and stunning Chicago Botanic Garden, find nearly 161 hectares with nine islands, 26 gardens, four natural areas and more than 2.7 million plants. Wander the garden on foot or take a guided tram tour. The Japanese Garden is a peaceful place to soak up the pure beauty of nature. Walk over the arched bridge for even better views.
The English walled garden is another favorite, and don’t miss the Bonsai collection with its nearly 200 Bonsai masterpieces situated in two neighboring courtyards as well as the waterfall garden, where the soothing sounds of a 14-meter-tall waterfall will transport you.
The Impressive Baha‘i House of Worship
Drive along Lake Michigan’s scenic shore to the Baha‘i House of Worship in Wilmette, a fascinating cultural site on Chicago’s North Shore. From afar, you can see the temple with its 42-meter-high dome covered in lace-like ornamentation. This house of prayer for the Baha‘i faith is the only one in the U.S. (there are just eight in the world) and the oldest in the world. It’s a place that symbolizes unity – accepting all people from all places regardless of their beliefs. Stroll through the surrounding gardens and fountains, stop at the visitors’ center inside the temple and peek into the big auditorium, which is also beautifully covered in delicate designs and can accommodate more than 1,000 people.
Illinois Holocaust Museum
If you arrive at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in the evening, you’ll discover that the outside of the building reflects one of the museum’s themes: a journey from darkness to light. The side of the building where you enter is painted in dark colors and is barely lit, whereas on the other side where you exit, the building is painted brightly and well illuminated. Among the many touching exhibits of pictures, paintings and videos that acknowledge the dark times of the Holocaust, you’ll also find places where you can stop and reflect upon what you have seen. The museum was founded by Holocaust survivors who dedicated themselves to both honoring those who were lost and educating the public about combating hatred and prejudice.
A beach near Chicago? It’s true! Evanston has lakefront beaches that are very popular during the warmer months, from about May to September. Boating, kayaking and fishing are all enjoyed here, not to mention relaxing on the sand and soaking up a gorgeous, sunny day.
Chicago’s North Shore is easily accessible via the city’s trains, allowing visitors to take a break from the city with a variety of activities and amusements, including great shopping and dining. A variety of spots on Chicago’s North Shore will more than fulfill your shopping desires, including Westfield Old Orchard, which has some of the biggest and best brands such as Michael Kors, Lululemon, Rolex and Tiffany. Browse the latest fashions at Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Anthropologie, J.Crew, Zara and Vans.
Dining on the North Shore
Chicago’s North Shore offers many dining options including casual fare, world-inspired ethnic restaurants and fabulous fine dining. Downtown Evanston, home of Northwestern University and bordering the City of Chicago, has become a dining mecca with famed chefs taking claim and serving up some of the Chicago area’s most dynamic and fresh menus. There is plenty of outstanding food throughout the North Shore – from bustling pizzerias to vegetarian eateries to incredible sushi, the menus here are flavorful and varied.