Located just north of Chicago, the Village of Skokie is one of the crown jewels of our area, thanks to its strong arts and culture scene, its robust small business community, and its thriving park district.
In fact, Skokie has long been called “The World’s Largest Village,” and in the 1940s through the 1960s, it was recognized as one of the busiest retail centers throughout Chicagoland.
Today, this North Shore community continues to draw in new residents and visitors from all over, who want to experience everything that this bustling village has to offer.
What should be on your bucket list of things to see, eat, and do in this vibrant community? Here are ten of the “bucket list” experiences that make Skokie stand out:
1.) Explore the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park
Part green space, part path for walking or biking, and part open-air museum, the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park is home to some of the most incredible art installations you’ll find anywhere in Illinois. With stunning sculptures hanging, sitting, and even floating across four distinct gardens, there’s a new sight to savor around every bend.
To learn more about Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park or plan your visit, you check out this destination’s official site, here.
2.) Connect With Wildlife at the Emily Oaks Nature Center
Part of the Skokie Park District, the Emily Oaks Nature Center is an oasis in the heart of the community. Featuring a two-acre pond surrounded by vibrant wildflowers, tall grasses, groves of oak trees, and numerous trails, the Emily Oaks center is a great place to get up close and personal with the natural world. The park also hosts an indoor education center, and, throughout the year, it plays home to many different types of animals including herons, foxes, and hawks.
3.) Experience Live Entertainment at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts
From national touring headliners, to spectacular dance events, to the best of Chicagoland theater, you’ll find all sorts of unbeatable live acts at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. Located on Skokie Blvd., this state-of-the-art facility is home to two unique performance venues, including an 867-seat main stage theater and a versatile 318-seat space.
To learn more or see what’s on the schedule, you can visit the Center’s official site, here.
4.) Shop Small at the Skokie Farmers Market
Whether you’re in the mood to snack, learn more about the community, or simply soak up some sunshine, the Skokie Farmers Market is a great place to wile away the weekend hours. Since it opened in 1975 with just a dozen vendors, the Skokie Farmers Market has grown into a cornerstone community event, which now draws 2,500 visitors every Sunday, and hosts vendors from three different states. In 2019, the market will be open every Sunday from early June to late October.
Ready to explore all that the Skokie Farmers Market has to offer? You can learn more on the Village of Skokie’s web page, available here.
5.) Discover Your New Favorites at Westfield Old Orchard
This open air shopping mall has been a destination for Chicagoland shoppers since it opened in the 1950s. Today, people from all over flock to the Old Orchard for its unique array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Whether you want to taste test a new tea, see the next big blockbuster on a big screen, or try on a new outfit, Old Orchard is always worth a visit.
To learn more about this longtime hub for shopping and dining, you can visit the Westfield Old Orchard’s official site, here.
6.) See a Show at the Skokie Theatre
The Skokie Theatre is an architectural gem on Lincoln Ave. An appealing Art Deco-style exterior — complete with a glowing, eye-catching marquee — welcomes visitors into the spacious and modern interior. Home to plays, musicals, live performances, talent competitions, and more, there’s always something new and exciting to see at this Skokie institution.
To check out a performance calendar and learn more about the Skokie Theatre, you can visit its official site, available here.
7.) Learn About History at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center encourages visitors to “take history to heart” and “take a stand for humanity.” The museum features an extensive permanent exhibition, as well as special exhibitions and rotating collections, spotlighting social justice efforts from all around the globe. Throughout the museum space, guests will also find areas dedicated to reflection and contemplation. Activists and community members host events and special programs in this unique venue throughout the year.
To learn more about the museum or plan your visit, read on at the organization’s official site, here.
8.) Enjoy Music, Movies, and History at Backlot Bash
During the early days of cinema, Skokie was a common destination for movie studios and film crews, who used the area’s downtown streets and wooden buildings as stand-ins for Westerns. Every summer, the Backlot Bash festival celebrates this unique history, while shining a spotlight on all that Skokie has to offer today. Featuring live music on two stages, a large carnival, classic movie screenings, and entertainment, Backlot Bash is a summer staple that draws locals and visitors alike.
Want to see what’s in store for the next Backlot Bash festival? You can visit the event’s official page, right here.
9.) Taste the History at Kaufman’s Bakery, Delicatessen & Catering
Zagat’s review calls this old fashioned New York-style deli “a Skokie classic,” that serves up some of “the best bagels in the Midwest.” In fact, numerous sites have even called Kaufman’s bagels the “best this side of New York City.” Since the 1960s, Kaufman’s has been known as a go-to spot in Skokie for breakfast, lunch, and takeout.
Want to take a look at a menu or plan your visit? You can learn more at Kaufman’s official site, here.
10.) Celebrate Local Businesses in Downtown Skokie
With ample parking, lots of green spaces, and plenty of local shopping, entertainment, and dining options, downtown Skokie is the diverse, progressive heart of this community. Throughout the year, the downtown corridor is home to many unique events, like its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. At any time, you can stop by one of this area’s exciting businesses. Whether you want to feast on pancakes or browse through stacks of comic books, you’ll find something to excite in this charming downtown area.
Want to Explore Skokie Even Further?
To discover even more about what makes Skokie so special, please visit our official guide to the area’s real estate market, available here.