My Neighborhood - Family Fun in Lakeview East

Written by: Beth Cohen-Dorfman

NPN connects families in neighborhoods across Chicago.  Get inspired to check out a new part of the city or discover something fabulous just around the corner.  This stop: East Lakeview with Beth - All aboard:

Lakeview East is bursting with fun things to do and, as the median age of our residents gets a bit older, everything around here gets more kid- and family-friendly!

My daughter loves riding her bike around the neighborhood and she’s already made some new friends at a few stops—and she’s just 4 years old!  Her favorite place to eat, bar none, is Stella’s Diner (3042 N. Broadway) where the owners (Gus, Maria and Jimmy) let her help out as cashier and always offer her a lollipop if she’s eaten a good meal!  They have ample outdoor seating in the summer and their mac & cheese is to die for!   If she passes on the lollipop, we often head to Bobtail (2951 N. Broadway) for handmade ice cream—her favorite flavor is the “Cubby Crunch” which is vanilla ice cream with mashed up Oreos, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate chips and toffee.  Their kids’ cup is the perfect amount for a “special treat”.

On Saturday mornings, you will probably find us at the Farmers Market at Nettlehorst School (3252 N. Broadway).  It’s small and manageable and as summer goes on is full of amazing locally grown fruits and veggies; some of the vendors even take credit cards!  They also have fantastic bakeries (yes, that’s plural—three last I counted), flowers and artisans.  One of the nicest things about the market is its proximity to the school’s playground.  While we do our shopping, the kids can run around and we almost always run into families we know.

Right across the street from Nettlehorst is Unabridged Bookstore (3251 N. Broadway).  While it may not be as big as some of its national competitors, Unabridged is a neighborhood gem with a wonderful kids’ section.  Keep heading north on Broadway and you’ll find Phoebe’s Cupcakes (3327 N. Broadway) with everything from their own funfetti cupcake to a breakfast cupcake topped with maple butter frosting and bacon!

With the weather warm and sunny, we spend a lot of time at the parks.  We frequent two in particular.  The first is Evergreen Playlot at 631 W. Belmont.  It has the nice matted floor and is across the street from the Merlo Library, so we can get some books, hit the park and have a picnic in the shade.  The second is the newly redone Weisman Playlot at 901 W. Oakdale.  I cannot say enough about how incredible this new park is!  It is small enough to keep a constant eye on your little ones but big enough to explore.  Unlike some of the other updated parks, they kept the big, older trees, so there is tons of shade.  Best of all, they have an amazing new water feature with a mix of big and small sprayers!

If you’re looking for something for yourself, make sure to stop in at Spare Parts (2947 N. Broadway).  Dante and Vanessa stock a great selection of bags (including diaper bags!) and local handmade jewelry in a wide price range. 

So come out and find us playing one day—you’re sure to have fun in Lakeview East!!

*Upcoming Events*

  • Gay Pride Parade (or, “The Rainbow Parade” per my daughter): June 16
  • Northalsted Market Days: August 13-14
  • Lakeview East Festival of the Arts: September 10-11


  Insider Tips to kid-sized Chicago:  Lakeview East is a great neighborhood to explore with your little ones! Weisman Playlot has become one of our favorite places to play since it’s recent renovation.  In addition to all of Beth’s fabulous suggestions, here are a few of our favorite places to eat, play and shop with the wee ones:

  • Cloud 9 (604 W. Belmont) serves delicious snow ice.  What is snow ice you ask…it is a cross between ice cream and shaved ice.  They offer a different flavors each month from exotic to the always-popular chocolate. 
  • Wilde Bar & Restaurant (3130 N. Broadway) has a vast menu of much more than the standard Irish pub fare.  The food is delicious, and the staff is friendly.  Plus, they have a great selection of beers and kids eat for free Monday thru Friday from 4-6pm.
  • Toddlers Playhouse(3338 N. Broadway) offers an inexpensive indoor play during the winter months for kids 6-months to three years. Every Thursday kids can sing-a-long with Music Makers (free with admission). They also host birthday parties and other special events.
  • The Counter (666 Diversey) is the perfect place to grab a burger just the way you like it.  Their build your own menu offers options from the basic to the gourmet.  Plus, there chocolate shakes are delicious, and they offer a full bar.
  • Mista Pizza (2931 N. Broadway) offers fabulous cracker crust pizzas, wraps and salads made from fresh and mostly organic ingredients.  Plus, they offer a number of vegan and gluten free options. 

For more tips on where to go eat, play, and shop in Chicago, visit!

Posted on June 11, 2011 at 1:45 PM