My Neighborhood: Family fun in North Center

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:  North Center with Jay - All aboard!  And then explore our other NPN Neighborhoods

With baby #1 on the way, my husband and I knew we had outgrown our Lincoln Park condo. When friends suggested we head a bit north, I was torn. Did life really exist north of Addison? Well, I’m happy to report- it certainly does! We’ve been in North Center for 2 years now and love the family-friendly vibe, kids-welcome restaurant choices, proximity to our old haunts and ability to walk to tons of fun activities.

This summer, the kids and I are making the most of the great parks in our ‘hood. Try out Revere Park and the play lot at  Coonley Elementary School with its new equipment, track, and huge lawn for a picnic. Welles Park with its two play grounds, water feature, indoor swimming pool and wide green spaces is just a few blocks away too.

One of our favorite’s is Drew’s Eatery - the perfect stop for an organic ice cream cone or hot dog.  For a great, slightly more upscale brunch that’s still kid-friendly, Sola is our regular spot. For kid-free nights out, my husband and I love The Tiny Lounge for its amazing food and drink menu (you need to try one of their signature summer drinks!) On our list to check out is Blue Sky Bakery & Café which not only has a great menu of freshly baked goodies, but also supports Chicago’s homeless youth.

Fall registration is now open for some great kids classes/actitivites. Check out soccer at Lil’ Kickers Bradley Place, parent/child music classes at Music Together of Lincoln Square and dance classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

North Center has a small Town Square and hosts summer concerts each Wednesday night.  There’s also a Farmer’s Market each Saturday morning through October for fresh produce and baked goodies.

North Center is just a few blocks from the downtown of Lincoln Square where you’ll find many more restaurants, stores and Giddings Plaza. Next time you’re looking for something to do, hop over to North Center- see you soon!

    Insider tips to kid-sized Chicago:  Great list of suggestions. We too love Drew’s Eatery.  They have a fun little kids corner with toys including a toy hot dog your little one can take a spin on!   Here are a few more family-friendly places to shop, eat, play and learn with the wee ones in North Center:

Bellybum Boutique(4347 Lincoln Ave.) carries eco-friendly merchandise including a large selection of cloth diapers and accessories. In addition, Bellybum offers classes and support for new moms.  

Family Grounds Café(3652 N. Lincoln Ave.) is a fabulous place to meet a friend for coffee and let your kids play in a safe, clean and fun environment. Aside from great coffee, they also serve tea, pastries, sandwiches and kid-friendly snacks.

Margie’s Candies (1813 W. Montrose Ave.) has been serving Chicagoans homemade ice cream and hand-dipped candies since 1921. The portions are HUGE, and the ice cream is DELICIOUS! Plus, if your child brings in their report card with an A on it, they get a free scoop!

Waveland Bowl  (3700 Western Ave.) offers bowling for only a buck Monday through Friday before noon! Plus, they offer bumper bowling, so your little one can knock pins down with each roll.  In addition, they host birthday parties and fun theme days throughout the year. 

JRH Kids Cuts (2123 W. Irving Park Rd.) offers hair cuts for wee ones with themed barber chairs and all your kids favorite videos to keep them entertained.  They operate on a walk-in basis, but rarely have a line.

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

Posted on July 28, 2011 at 12:57 PM