My Neighborhood - Family Fun in the Southport Corridor

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: Southport Corridor with Megan - All aboard!  And then explore our other NPN Neighborhoods.

My eight years of Chicago living have mostly been spent around the Southport Corridor. The first time around, I had just graduated college and loved the energy and bustle of all of the restaurants, boutiques and yes, many bars. Now back from a stint in the Gold Coast, I am a wife and mother and I still love the area for all those qualities and more…just swap late nights at the bars for early mornings at the great parks.


My one year old and I love to start our mornings at Julius Meinl (3601 N. Southport). They have a “happy hour” before 8 am on weekday mornings and most of their specialty drinks are $2.50. The house “Melange” (a Viennese cappuccino) is my favorite coffee drink topped only by the “Iced Melange” for the summer months. The sweetened, cold milk froth coupled with a caffeine boost is a great way to start a summer day.  If I still wasn’t trying to lose baby weight, I would also indulge in their almond croissants every day. They are simply divine.

Speaking of baby weight, Southport is home to one of the only Dairy Queens in the city. Lucky for me it’s three blocks from my house so our trips are frequent! You can tell how hot it’s been by the length of the line around 7 pm. It seems every family in the neighborhood is thinking the same thing. There are fancier ice cream options out there but few beat a medium, butterscotch dipped vanilla cone from Dairy Queen (3811 N. Southport).

Once we get our cones, we stop at Juniper Park (Waveland and Greenview) on the way home. It’s tucked away in a residential neighborhood and has everything you need for a nice Chicago day. Juniper Park is rarely crowded and the green space is plentiful. The water sprinkler area is a hit with little ones during the hot summers.

One part of Southport I’ve discovered after becoming a mom are the many unique baby stores. Pish Posh (3950 N. Southport) is a children’s consignment store that also sells new, hard to find brands. Bring in some of your own gently used children’s clothes and leave with some darling new wardrobe additions. BabyDolls Boutique (3727 N. Southport) specializes in baby clothing/accessories but also has a jewelry selection pleasing to any fashionista. The owner of BabyDolls is the designer of the store’s original children’s line “Pink and Blue Are the New Black.”  The clothes are whimsical and colorful and a must for special occasions and gifts.

I can’t forget to mention my favorite neighborhood dinner spot, El Tapatio Café (3400 N. Ashland). The outdoor patio is always packed (and often times has a long wait so go early) with people who have been coming for the famous margaritas for years and years. My daughter can’t get enough of the rice and beans which allows us to have many leisurely al fresco dinners.

My single girl self loved the Southport Corridor for its action and scene but I’ve discovered so much more to love as a mom. The breakfast spots, boutiques, parks and family friendly dining make this my favorite Chicago neighborhood.

Upcoming Events and Additional Resources:

Summer on Southport  (3700 N.  Southport) – July 30-31

Halloween on Southport – usually the Sunday before Halloween; a great way to trick or treat with little ones!

Check out the NPN Lakeview Neighborhood Group!  Megan is one of the three volunteer leads who plan monthly events in the nieghborhood and around the city!  Like us on Facebook to hear about upcoming events first, see pictures and more!  You can meet Megan and other Lakeview parents at Bubbles Academy for open (and indoor, air conditioned!) play time on July 6th - RSVP today!


  Insider tips to kid-sized Chicago:  Great suggestions! We loveJuniper Park too.  It never seems to get too crowded and is always shady. If you have an ice cream fan in your house, check out the DQ’s build-your-own ice cream sundaes birthday party package.  Train enthusiast can take the CTA Brown or Purple line to the Belmont stop, and you’ll find yourself in the heart of the Southport Corridor.  In addition to the great suggestions above, here are a few of our favorite places to eat, play and shop with the wee ones on Southport:

Potbelly’s Sandwich Shop (3424 N. Southport) is a Chicago original, and a great place to grab lunch with the kids.  They have a giant back room with a piano, kid-sized table and chairs and coloring supplies.

Snippet’s (3724 N. Southport) offers kids haircuts and adorable accessories.  Their Barbie and Buzz Lightyear chairs are sure to be a hit.  Plus, each station has their own DVD player, so your little one will be well entertained while they get a new ‘do. 

Explore & Much More (3827 N. Southport) serves up two stories of fun and adventure for children 0-8.  From a bouncy house and climbing wall on the bottom floor to the cool wind/tube activity and slide on the first floor, there is plenty to keep your wee ones busy on a rainy day or steamy summer afternoon. 

Growing Smiles (3701 N. Southport) is home to two of the city’s best pediatric dentist.  From the cheerful waiting room (complete with play kitchen and plenty of toys) to the amazing bedside manner of the dentists, your child’s first experience with a dentist will be one they want to remember.

Krista K Maternity + Baby (3530 N. Southport) has a fabulous selection of maternity clothes, diaper bags and chic duds for your little fashionista.  If you are looking for designer maternity jeans, look no further than Krista K. Plus, great deals can be found on their sale rack, and don’t forget to sign up for their birthday club for more great deals and discounts.

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

Posted on June 28, 2011 at 6:39 AM