Top 10 Things To Do In North Chicago, Illinois

things to do in north chicago illinois
Franchesca Judine
Franchesca Judine

Let’s face it, the hustle and bustle of the city can get tiring. It’s loud, crowded, and compact - which is why you should head down to North Chicago. This peaceful, cozy, and charming suburban city serves as a wonderful getaway for everyone. Littered with forests, lakes, and prairies, you’re bound to be in awe of this little city’s simplicity and beauty. Visitors can expect everything from outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and skiing, to chill food trips in quaint restaurants, bars, and cafes. While this city may be small, don’t expect anything less than big fun. Check out our list of things to do in North Chicago, Illinois.

1. Revel in nature at Greenbelt Forest Preserve

Posted by Carla Guzagui on Monday, 1 July 2019

Right in the middle of North Chicago’s most urban area, Greenbelt Forest Preserves serves as a short and quiet nature outing for anyone and everyone. Abundant with lakes, wildflowers and oak groves, you can expect nothing but peace and picturesque views. Spanning almost 600 acres (243 hectares), the preserve offers a number of hiking and biking trails for varied skillsets. Whether it’s for a hike, a bike ride, or a little cross-country skiing, Greenbelt Forest Preserve is the perfect place to head to.

Greenbelt Forest Preserve

Address: 1110 Green Bay Rd, North Chicago, IL 60064, United States

Website: Greenbelt Forest Preserve

Opening hours: 6:30am - 8pm (daily)

2. Grab a hearty meal at Jessie's Diner

Posted by Jessies Diner on Thursday, 17 March 2016

A certified local favourite, Jessie’s Diner is a quaint family-owned breakfast and lunch restaurant that serves traditional American food with a Mexican twist. Bound to make you feel right at home, Jessie’s Diner not only provides filling homemade meals but a loving atmosphere that’ll make any stranger feel like family. With reasonable prices and sizeable portions, you don’t have to look far for a good meal in North Chicago.

Jessie's Diner

Address: 1101 10th St, North Chicago, IL 60064, United States

Opening hours: Sun: 7am - 2pm; Mon - Sat: 6am - 3pm

3. Learn about naval history at National Museum of American Sailor

Posted by National Museum of the American Sailor on Wednesday, 28 August 2019

North Chicago is home to the United States’ sole navy boot camp so it is without a doubt a must to visit this museum. The National Museum of the American Sailor is one of 10 Navy museums in the US and holds valuable artifacts and records vital to naval history. The museum also hosts a permanent exhibit that showcases an insight into the Navy’s boot camp, as well as highlights women and minorities in the Navy. With the goal to connect visitors and increase public awareness of the importance of an American sailor, the Museum also offers guided tours and programmes that are open to the public.

National Museum of the American Sailor

Address: Building 42, 610 Farragut Ave, Great Lakes, IL 60888, United States

Website: National Museum of the American Sailor

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sun and public holidays)

Price: Free

4. Take a stroll along Foss Park District

Foss State Park
Source: Photo by user Ivan Troncoso used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Without a doubt, this is the best-kept secret of North Chicago. Foss Park is a park district that offers a baseball field, several playgrounds, a golf course, and so much more. The park also oversees the southern tip of Lake Michigan, providing a serene and beautiful walk along the lakefront. Either for a family picnic, a breezy run, or a relaxing stroll along the pier, Foss Park is the place to be.

Foss Park District

Address: 1901 Foss Park Ave, North Chicago, IL 60088, United States

Website: Foss Park District

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 6pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

5. Drink a pint and socialize at BeerAbility

Posted by BeerAbility - North Chicago on Wednesday, 7 August 2019

What better way to end the day than with a pint of beer and a good conversation. BeerAbility is a gastro-bar that not only has an outstanding selection of affordable food and drinks but also a fun gaming environment with video games and slot machines. This classic bar, with its cozy atmosphere and laidback vibes, is the perfect place to just hang out and have a good laugh with friends and strangers alike.


Address: 1821 Sheridan Rd, North Chicago, IL 60064, United States

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: Sat: 9am - 11pm; Fri: 7am - 11pm; Sun: 10am - 11pm

6. Score a hole-in-one at Veteran's Memorial Golf Course

Posted by Veterans Memorial Golf Course on Tuesday, 30 April 2019

There’s nothing better than spending a beautiful afternoon playing golf at a picturesque course. Formerly known as Willow Glen Golf Club, Veteran’s Memorial Golf Course is an 18-hole course that’s perfect for players of all skill levels. Dedicated to the Navy, this incredible golf course is open to the public and offers a driving range and putting green. The course also has a clubhouse with gift shops and a delicious restaurant, perfect for those post-game meals. So, whether you’re an expert or simply just wanting to learn golf, this place is definitely worth stopping by.

Veteran's Memorial Golf Course

Address: 2821 Great Lakes Dr, Great Lakes, IL 60088, United States

Website: Veterans Memorial Golf Course

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 6am - 8pm; Mon - Fri: 6:30am - 8pm

7. Taste all-American treats at Flanagan's Bar & Grill

Chicken Fried Steak
Source: Photo by user LeeMNichols used under CC BY-SA 4.0

From baked potatoes to burgers to steaks, Flanagan’s Bar & Grill is the perfect spot for some good ol’ all-American treats. A quaint restaurant that’s open all night, this is the perfect spot for those late-night munchies and conversations. Flanagan’s has been open for 15 years serving up exactly what you need after a long day - hot food and cold drinks. With great cocktails, dartboards, and a homey atmosphere, you’re guaranteed to have a great time.

Flanagan's Bar & Grill

Address: 3201 Buckley Rd, North Chicago, IL 60064, United States

Website: Flanagan’s Bar & Grill

Opening hours: Sat: 7am - 2am; Sun: 7am - 1am; Mon - Thu: 10am - 1am; Fri: 10am - 2am

8. Cycle down Robert McClory Bike Path

Hubbard Woods Station - October 2015
Source: Photo by user Adam Moss used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Stretching 40 kilometres (25 miles), the Robert McClory Bike Path is a gorgeously scenic trail that’s definitely worth experiencing. Bypassing North Chicago, the bike path runs from Lake County, Illinois all the way up to Wisconsin. Abundant with wildflowers and trees, you’re bound to get a picturesque ride that’ll go by in a breeze. For the most part, the trail follows an abandoned railroad and connects with three other major trails, Green Bay Trail, Kenosha County Bike Trail, and the East-West North Shore trail. Appropriate for anyone of any skill, you’ll expect to see quaint parks and forests, as well as rural neighbourhoods. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your bike and cycle down Robert McClory Bike Path!

9. Dine like never before at C.Y.O.C.

Traditional gone untraditional - this is one of the most unique dining experiences you’ll ever have in the whole of Illinois. C.Y.O.C, which stands for Create Your Own Cheesecake and Cheesteak, is a restaurant that allows their customers to customise and choose from a combination of toppings for their cheesecakes and cheesesteaks. What’s more unique is that their cheesecake is actually not served in its traditional slice form but rather in scoops resembling ice cream. Their cheesecakes come in an array of flavours, from white chocolate to mint chocolate chip, while customers can choose from up to 20 variations of cheesesteaks. This is a must-try for everyone visiting the area! For good and fun food, C.Y.O.C is the place to be.

C.Y.O.C Create Your Own Cheesecake and Cheesteak

Address: 2314 Green Bay Rd, North Chicago, IL 60064, United States

Website: C.Y.O.C Create Your Own Cheesecake and Cheesteak

Opening hours: 8am - 8pm (daily)

10. Watch sunsets at Lake County Forest Preserve

We agree with Chicago Parent: Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods is an awesome place to see fall colors. Where's...

Posted by Lake County Forest Preserves on Friday, 18 October 2019

Lake County Forest Preserve boasts the most beautiful 31,000 acres (12,545.2 hectares) of greenery you’ll ever see. Riddled with lakes, ponds, trees, and wildflowers, you’ll think this park comes right out of a painting. Visitors can enjoy several activities, like fishing, hiking, and even golfing, or can simply just stroll through the natural terrain. The park also provides visitors access to Lake Michigan and the Fox River. Known as a favourite spot for many locals, Lake County Forest Preserve is a must-stop for everyone.

Lake County Forest Preserve

Address: 1215 S Green Bay Rd, North Chicago, IL 60064, United States

Opening hours: 6am - 8pm (daily)

Just waiting to be explored

With its stunning views, exciting outdoor activities and friendly atmosphere, it’s definitely worth stopping by North Chicago. Engulfed with laidback vibes and easy-going atmosphere, you’ll leave this little suburb city not only with new friends but family. Be its compelling history or relaxing ambience, you’ll be experiencing Illinois like never before. Make sure to check out the things on the list and have a wonderful holiday in North Chicago.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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A budding digital creative, a writer and an advocate for sustainability. A certified third-culture kid, Franchesca Judine was born in the island country of the Philippines and was raised in the...Read more

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