My Neighborhood: Family Fun in Beverly

Written by: Katrina Pavlik

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:  Beverly with Katrina - All aboard!  And then explore our other NPN Neighborhoods

My husband and I moved to Beverly in 2005, a year before our first child was born. We wanted a yard and good schools, and we wanted them for a good price. As a former Northsider, I had always thought that anything south of Hyde Park was the end of the earth. Little did I know that I would fall in love with Chicago’s “Village in the City” quickly and deeply!

What does it mean to live in a city village? I put that question out to our Facebook group, and overwhelmingly, moms talked about a sense of community that they’ve never experienced elsewhere. On a typical day, you can walk down one of our beautiful tree-lined streets (filled with oversized lots and architecturally-acclaimed houses), and see people practicing for Beverly’s Ridge Run, friends from our mother’s network Mothers and Company, young children riding their bikes down the street, neighbors hanging out on their front porches talking or sharing an impromptu barbeque, and older people taking a leisurely walk with their grandkids. The incredible thing is that almost everyone says hello, and when they say it, it’s genuinely friendly.

I remember walking with my kids one day and we passed a 10-year-old from the neighborhood who said, “Isn’t it a glorious day?” Yes, it was a glorious day, and no, I  had never met this kid before. That’s Beverly.

There is no end of activities for families down here. The Beverly Arts Center offers art classes for young and old, as well as theatre and music performances, film festivals and the Irish Family Fest. The Music Station and the Dance Gallery offer quality classes for kids, in addition to the extensive offerings of our three park district field houses: Kennedy Park, Graver Park, and Ridge Park. In Beverly, if you throw a stone, it will likely land in a park. Oak Lawn, a suburb just west of Beverly, has a wonderful children’s museum, perfect for rainy days and cabin fever. Our two neighborhood libraries, Beverly and Walker, have excellent children’s sections and frequent children’s programming. BAPA hosts various events throughout the year, including the Beverly Cycling Classic and the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park Memorial Day Parade. Friends and neighbors also get together for annual neighborhood fundraisers like the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk and Play for Maeve.

In terms of businesses, we have an amazing selection of locally-owned businesses. Fashionistas can find what they need at the Wandering Wardrobe, Miss Priss, and Belle Up Maternity. Foodies drool over Café 103, Koda, Cakewalk Chicago, and Beverly Bakery, just for starters! Kids beg for Snackville Junction for its food-delivering train and large French fry portions. Exercise addicts sweat for Running Excels, Beverly Yoga, Beverly Bodyworks, and Evergreen Racquet and Fitness. Art lovers swoon over the Heritage Gallery.

Our public elementary schools (Sutherland, Kellogg, Clissold and Barnard) offer foreign languages, International Baccalaureate programs, and some of the highest test scores in the city (if you’re into that sort of thing). Morgan Park Academy and Council Oak Montessori are consistently rated as some of the best private schools in the city. Don’t even get me started on our incredibly affordable preschools. Too many to name. 

So, come visit us down here. Take the Rock Island Metra train south, and in 25 minutes, you’ll find yourself in one of the best kept secrets in Chicago. Just don’t tell anyone.

      Insider tips to kid-sized Chicago:  Wow, what an amazingly friendly place to live. We love the Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn too.  If you are a member of the Chicago, DuPage or Glenview Children’s Museums, you get in free too.  Don’t miss their super cool indoor sandbox! Here are a few more family-friendly places to shop and play at with the wee ones in Beverly:

Beverly Farmers Market(9500 S. Longwood Dr.) is open every Sunday until October 23rd from 7am-1pm. You’ll find vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and more.  Farmers markets provide a great opportunity to teach your kids where their food comes from, and get them interested in trying some new veggies!

Lakeshore Learning Store(2255 W. 95th St.) is a great place to find educational games and activities, as well as a great selection of arts and crafts supplies.  Every Saturday they have FREE crafts for kids.  Simply drop in any time between 11am-3pm.

Original Rainbow Cone(9233 S. Western Ave.) has been around for more than 80-years.  Head for the distinctive pink building, and your taste buds will thank you.  Plus, if you have a hard time making up your mind, no worries…just order the original Rainbow Cone (chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House, pistachio, and orange sherbet). This Chicago institution is open March through November.

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

Posted on August 22, 2011 at 10:06 PM