The North Shore of Illinois was once regarded as one of the premier playgrounds of Chicago’s elite. In time, the suburbs around the shore developed into well-planned communities that incorporated the natural beauty of Northern Illinois, out of which came Northbrook. With its close proximity to one of the nation’s most well-regarded botanical gardens as well as one of the top concert venues for music lovers, Northbrook has every visitor’s wish within reach. Northbrook is also close to one of the best Ivy League Universities in the country, Northwestern University. A rare Baha'i Temple is also a short, picturesque drive away and its grandiose architecture will leave visitors speechless. For families with young children, an entire day could be spent at the Kohl Children’s Museum in nearby Glenview. All of the best stores plus a cinema can be found in the Northbrook Court shopping mall, and if you’re looking for a great outdoor experience, many North Shore beaches and lagoons are in close proximity. With all this and more, Northbrook is a great destination for everyone.
1. Sit outside and enjoy the sounds at the Ravinia Festival
This venue in nearby Highland Park is a favorite amongst Chicagoland locals and is a hot spot for some of the biggest names in entertainment. When the weather is nice, Chicagoans like to be outside as much as possible and this venue gives just the right atmosphere. Grab a picnic spot and relax while listening to some of the best performers in the world during the oldest outdoor music festival in America, the Ravinia Festival.
Address: 200 Ravinia Park Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035
Website: Ravinia Festival
2. Walk through a world of flora at the famous Chicago Botanic Gardens
The Chicago Botanic Gardens have been a must see for people of all ages for generations. Just a short drive down from Northbrook, these amazingly varied gardens are a favorite of locals as well as visitors from around the world.
Chicago Botanic Gardens
Address: 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022
Website: Chicago Botanic Gardens
3. Spend the day eating, shopping and watching a movie at Northbrook Court
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
This local mall has a flair for the extravagant. In addition to housing a variety of stores and restaurants, the mall also offers a fantastic children’s play area as well as a multiplex cinema.
Address: 2171 Lake Cook Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062
Website: Northbrook Court
4. Let the kids play at the Kohl Children's Museum
Just a short drive from Northbrook in the nearby suburb of Glenview, you will find the Kohl Children’s Museum. This museum boasts several indoor and outdoor interactive exhibits as well as a restaurant for a snack in between playing.
Kohl Children's Museum
Address: 2100 Patriot Blvd, Glenview, IL 60026
Website: Kohl Children’s Museum
5. Be inspired by the tranquility of the Baha'i Temple
This one of a kind architectural gem is located in Wilmette and is well worth a stop during your trip to Northbrook. From both inside and out, the temple has inspired thousands with its unique beauty and grace.
Address: 100 Linden Ave, Wilmette, IL 60091
Website: Baha'i Temple
6. Wander the famous Ivy League, Northwestern University
Slightly south of Northbrook and just along the lake shore, is the famous Northwestern University in Evanston. This premier university is known internationally for its alumni, but locals love it for its beautiful lake setting as well as its vibrant neighborhoods filled with restaurants, shops, and a lovely farmers market during the summer months.
Address: 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208
Website: Northwestern University
7. Find some quiet time boating and fishing in the Skokie Lagoons
If you need a break from all of the excitement around the area, then consider heading east from Northbrook to the Skokie Lagoons. This nature preserve has the perfect surroundings for a peaceful day - whether you choose to spend it hiking, boating or fishing.
Address: Winnetka, IL
Website: Skokie Lagoons
8. Take a boat ride with Wilmette Boat Rentals
Taking a boat ride along the North Shore gives you a glimpse of the incredible lakeside homes as well as the vast expanse of Lake Michigan. You can grab the wheel yourself or hire a driver and spend the day on the water, enjoying the sunshine and taking in the views.
Wilmette Boat Rental
Address: 1001 Green Bay Rd #224, Winnetka, IL 60093
Website: Wilmette Boat Rental
9. Enjoy a slow ride with Chicago River Canoe & Kayak
Grab your oars and ease your way down the river with Chicago River Canoe & Kayak. In and around Northbrook there are lots of ways to experience nature, but one of the best is by slowly making your way up the Chicago River. It will amaze you at how quiet and peaceful your surroundings can be despite still being so close to all the action.
Chicago River Canoe & Kayak
Address: 3400 N Rockwell St, Chicago, IL 60618
Website: Chicago River Canoe & Kayak
10. Relax and play at Tower Road Beach Park
A short drive from Northbrook can deliver you to Tower Road Beach Park in Winnetka. This well-kept beach is a great way to spend a warm day in the Chicagoland area, away from the crowds. With amenities such as a concession, picnic sheds, and boardwalks, it’s easy to spend the day enjoying the sunshine and lake.
Tower Road Beach Park
Address: 899 Sheridan Rd, Winnetka, IL 60093
Website: Tower Road Beach Park
11. Make your day at the beach a quiet one at Glencoe Beach
Glencoe Beach is just minutes away from Northbrook at the end of a gorgeous winding path that will make you think this is a well-kept secret. This beach is a quiet retreat for many locals and is a great spot for an escape.
Address: 55 Hazel Avenue, Glencoe, IL 60022
Website: Glencoe Beach
12. View the North Shore from Gross Point Lighthouse
Once the lighthouse that led ships into Chicago, Gross Point Lighthouse now provides an excellent opportunity for observing the area from a different perspective. This national landmark is a highly recommend stop during your stay in Northbrook.
Gross Point Lighthouse
Address: 2601 Sheridan Rd, Evanston, IL 60201
Website: Gross Point Lighthouse
Take in the sights around Northbrook or relax in the peaceful natural surroundings
Northbrook really gives its visitors the opportunity to explore and take in the beauty of the North Shore. This is another side of the Chicagoland area - one that visitors may not have expected, but are certain to love.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.