12 Best Things To Do In Northbrook, Illinois - Updated 2022

things to do in northbrook illinois

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

the lawn @ ravinia
Source: Photo by user Jordan Fischer used under CC BY 2.0

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.

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

Japanese Garden, Chicago Botanic Garden
Source: Photo by Flickr user Luiz Gadelha Jr. used under CC BY 2.0

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

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Big news! Get ready for a breath of fresh air. Our new large central lawn will provide an exciting space to enjoy...

Posted by Northbrook Court on Thursday, January 2, 2020

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.

Northbrook Court

Address: 2171 Lake Cook Rd, Northbrook, IL 60062

Website: Northbrook Court

4. Let the kids play at the Kohl Children's Museum

Kohl Children's Museum of Greater Chicago
Source: Photo by Flickr user Smart Destinations used under CC BY-SA 2.0

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

Bahá'í House of Worship located in Wilmette, Illinois
Source: Photo by Flickr user Joseph Gage used under CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

Baha'i Temple

Address: 100 Linden Ave, Wilmette, IL 60091

Website: Baha'i Temple

6. Wander the famous Ivy League, Northwestern University

Northwestern University Campus
Source: Photo by Flickr user Eric Fredericks used under CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

Northwestern University

Address: 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208

Website: Northwestern University

7. Find some quiet time boating and fishing in the Skokie Lagoons

Three ships
Source: Photo by user bradhoc used under CC BY 2.0

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.

Skokie Lagoons

Address: Winnetka, IL

Website: Skokie Lagoons

8. Take a boat ride with Wilmette Boat Rentals

Editor’s note: Establishment is permanently closed

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

Chicago River Kayak
Source: Photo by user Chad Kainz used under CC BY 2.0

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

Wait...I'm not in Florida anymore!
Source: Photo by user Amanda used under CC BY 2.0

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.

Glencoe Beach

Address: 55 Hazel Avenue, Glencoe, IL 60022

Website: Glencoe Beach

12. View the North Shore from Gross Point Lighthouse

Grosse Point Light Station
Source: Photo by user Teemu008 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

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

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