10 Things to do in Highland Park IL – 2024 Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

Welcome

Welcome to Highland Park, IL, a charming destination nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan. This vibrant city offers a plethora of things to do in Highland Park IL, making it a must-visit for travelers seeking a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and outdoor adventures. From exploring the stunning landscapes of the Ravinia Festival to indulging in the local culinary scene and boutique shopping, Highland Park promises a memorable getaway for all. Join us as we uncover the hidden gems and top attractions that make Highland Park a true gem on the North Shore.

Popular Experiences and Attractions

Ravinia Festival:

Essential Information

– Address: 418 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035
– Opening Hours: Varies depending on events, typically evenings
– Fee: Ticket prices vary, check website for details
– Visit Duration: Depends on event, usually a few hours
– Ideal for: Music lovers, outdoor enthusiasts

Overview

Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL, is a premier destination for music enthusiasts seeking unforgettable live performances in a picturesque outdoor setting. With a rich history dating back to 1904, this renowned festival offers a diverse lineup of concerts ranging from classical and jazz to pop and rock. The open-air pavilion provides a unique experience, allowing visitors to enjoy world-class music under the stars. Whether you’re a seasoned concert-goer or looking for a memorable night out, Ravinia Festival promises an exceptional cultural experience that will leave you wanting more. Be sure to check the schedule and secure your tickets in advance for a truly unforgettable evening of music and entertainment.

Chicago Botanic Garden:

Essential Information

– Address: 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022
– Opening Hours: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm daily
– Fee: Free admission, parking fees apply
– Visit Duration: 2-4 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, families, photographers

Overview

Chicago Botanic Garden is a captivating oasis of natural beauty located in Highland Park, Illinois. With its diverse collection of plants and flowers spread across 385 acres, this botanical garden offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Visitors can explore over 27 display gardens, including the stunning Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, and English Walled Garden.

One of the highlights of Chicago Botanic Garden is the Regenstein Center, where guests can learn about sustainable gardening practices and attend educational programs. The garden also hosts seasonal events and workshops, making it a dynamic destination throughout the year. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a family looking for a peaceful outing, or a photographer seeking inspiration, Chicago Botanic Garden is a must-see attraction that showcases the beauty of the natural world.

Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve:

Essential Information

– Address: 1200 Old Elm Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035
– Opening Hours: Daily from 6:30 am to sunset
– Fee: Free admission
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, hikers, bird watchers

Overview

Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve in Highland Park, IL, offers a serene escape for nature enthusiasts seeking a peaceful retreat. The preserve’s lush greenery and diverse wildlife make it a must-see destination for those looking to reconnect with the great outdoors. With over 250 acres of pristine natural beauty, visitors can explore winding trails that lead through dense forests, open meadows, and along the picturesque shores of Lake Michigan.

One of the main draws of Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve is its rich biodiversity, providing a habitat for a wide variety of plant and animal species. Bird watchers will delight in the opportunity to spot migratory birds and local species in their natural habitat. The preserve’s tranquil atmosphere and scenic vistas make it an ideal spot for a leisurely hike or a relaxing picnic amidst the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or a chance to immerse yourself in nature, Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve offers a rejuvenating experience for all who visit.

Rosewood Beach:

Essential Information

– Address: 883 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035
– Opening Hours: 6:30 am – 8:00 pm
– Fee: Free admission
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Families, nature lovers, beachgoers

Overview

Rosewood Beach in Highland Park, IL, is a must-see destination for those seeking a tranquil escape by the shores of Lake Michigan. With its pristine sandy beach, clear waters, and picturesque surroundings, Rosewood Beach offers a perfect setting for a relaxing day out in nature. Whether you’re looking to unwind with a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, soak up the sun on the beach, or enjoy a refreshing swim in the lake, this hidden gem provides a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Visitors to Rosewood Beach can also take advantage of the various amenities available, including picnic areas, a playground for kids, and walking trails that offer stunning views of the lake. The beach’s eco-friendly design, featuring native plants and sustainable infrastructure, adds to its charm and showcases a commitment to preserving the natural beauty of the area. Whether you’re a local resident looking for a quick getaway or a traveler exploring the Midwest, Rosewood Beach is a delightful spot to connect with nature and enjoy a day of serenity by the water’s edge.

Highland Park Historical Society:

Essential Information

– Address: 326 Central Ave, Highland Park, IL
– Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 1pm-4pm
– Fee: Free admission (donations appreciated)
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, families, and local culture explorers

Overview

Highland Park Historical Society stands as a beacon of local heritage in the heart of Highland Park, IL. This hidden gem offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich history of the area, showcasing exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the community’s evolution over the years. From the early settlers to the industrial boom, visitors can trace the footsteps of the past and gain a deeper understanding of the roots that have shaped the present-day Highland Park.

Stepping inside the Historical Society is like taking a journey back in time, where each display and photograph serves as a window into the past. Whether you’re a history buff eager to uncover lesser-known facts or a family looking to connect with the heritage of the region, this museum provides a captivating experience for all. With knowledgeable staff on hand to offer insights and anecdotes, a visit here promises to be both educational and engaging. Don’t miss the chance to explore this local treasure and discover the stories that have woven the fabric of Highland Park’s identity.

Moraine Park:

Essential Information

– Address: 2501 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035
– Opening Hours: 6:00 am – 10:00 pm
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, families

Overview

Moraine Park in Highland Park, IL, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored by nature enthusiasts and families alike. This picturesque park offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, with its lush greenery and serene atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks along the well-maintained trails, taking in the beauty of the native flora and fauna that call the park home.

One of the highlights of Moraine Park is its stunning views of Lake Michigan, providing a perfect backdrop for a relaxing picnic or a quiet moment of reflection. The park’s convenient location and free admission make it an ideal destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway. Whether you’re looking to unwind in nature or simply enjoy a peaceful stroll, Moraine Park offers a refreshing retreat for all who visit.

Heller Nature Center:

Essential Information

– Address: 2821 Ridge Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035
– Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-3pm
– Fee: Free admission
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Nature enthusiasts, families, hikers

Overview

Nestled in the heart of Highland Park, Illinois, Heller Nature Center is a hidden gem for nature lovers seeking a peaceful retreat. With its lush greenery and tranquil surroundings, this nature center offers a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or simply looking to unwind in nature, Heller Nature Center provides the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging trek through its scenic trails.

The center’s well-maintained paths wind through diverse ecosystems, showcasing the beauty of the local flora and fauna. Visitors can expect to encounter a variety of wildlife, from chirping birds to scampering squirrels, adding an element of excitement to their outdoor adventure. With its educational programs and interactive exhibits, Heller Nature Center is also a great destination for families looking to learn more about the environment and conservation efforts.

Overall, Heller Nature Center is a must-see destination for anyone craving a breath of fresh air and a chance to reconnect with the natural world. So, pack your walking shoes, grab your camera, and embark on a memorable journey through this picturesque nature sanctuary.

Highland Park Public Library:

Essential Information

– Address: 494 Laurel Ave, Highland Park, IL 60035
– Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 9am-9pm, Friday and Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 1pm-5pm
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Book lovers, families, students

Overview

Highland Park Public Library stands as a beacon of knowledge and community in the heart of Highland Park, IL. With its welcoming atmosphere and extensive collection, this library is a must-see destination for book enthusiasts and families alike. The library’s modern architecture and cozy reading nooks provide the perfect setting for visitors to delve into a world of literature and learning.

Whether you’re seeking a quiet place to study, looking for the latest bestseller, or simply wanting to explore a new genre, Highland Park Public Library has something for everyone. From educational programs for children to book clubs for adults, this library fosters a sense of curiosity and discovery. With its convenient location and diverse offerings, a visit to Highland Park Public Library is sure to inspire and enrich your mind.

Sunset Woods Park:

Essential Information

– Address: Sunset Woods Park, 1801 Sunset Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035
– Opening Hours: Daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm
– Fee: Free admission
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, families, picnickers

Overview

Sunset Woods Park in Highland Park, IL is a serene oasis that offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. With its lush greenery, winding trails, and tranquil ponds, this park is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll, a family picnic, or a quiet spot to relax and unwind, Sunset Woods Park has something for everyone.

One of the highlights of the park is its well-maintained walking paths that meander through the wooded areas, providing a perfect setting for a leisurely hike or a refreshing morning jog. The park also features a playground for children, making it an ideal destination for families looking to spend quality time together outdoors.

With its convenient location and peaceful ambiance, Sunset Woods Park is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Highland Park, IL. Whether you’re looking to reconnect with nature, enjoy a leisurely afternoon picnic, or simply unwind in a tranquil setting, this park offers the perfect escape from the daily grind.

Highland Park Country Club:

Essential Information

– Address: 1201 Park Ave W, Highland Park, IL 60035
– Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
– Fee: Varies depending on activities
– Visit Duration: 2-4 hours
– Ideal for: Golf enthusiasts, nature lovers, families

Overview

Highland Park Country Club in Highland Park, IL, is a premier destination for golf enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. With its lush green landscapes and challenging courses, this country club offers a unique experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re looking to improve your swing or simply enjoy a leisurely day outdoors, Highland Park Country Club has something for everyone.

The well-maintained grounds and picturesque surroundings make it a popular choice for both locals and tourists seeking a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The club’s professional staff and top-notch facilities ensure a memorable visit, whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner looking to learn the ropes.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Highland Park Country Club and discover why it’s a must-see destination in the heart of Highland Park, IL.

Food and Cuisine

Chicago-style Hot Dog

Why is it so special:

The Chicago-style hot dog is a beloved local specialty that stands out for its unique combination of toppings. This all-beef hot dog is traditionally topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt, all served in a poppy seed bun. The explosion of flavors and textures in each bite makes it a must-try for any food enthusiast looking to experience the true taste of Chicago.

Where to Try It:

For an authentic Chicago-style hot dog experience, head to Portillo’s, a popular chain known for its delicious hot dogs. For a more upscale setting, visit Gene & Jude’s, a local institution that has been serving up classic Chicago dogs since 1946.

Deep Dish Pizza

Why is it so special:

Deep dish pizza is a Chicago staple that has gained worldwide fame for its thick, buttery crust, layers of gooey cheese, hearty tomato sauce, and various toppings. This indulgent pizza is a filling and satisfying meal that showcases the city’s rich culinary heritage. The unique baking method results in a pie-like structure that is unlike any other pizza style.

Where to Try It:

To savor an authentic deep dish pizza, visit Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, a renowned chain that has been perfecting this dish since 1971. Another excellent option is Giordano’s, a popular spot known for its delicious stuffed deep dish pizzas.

Events and Festivals

Ravinia Festival

Ravinia Festival is the oldest outdoor music festival in North America, attracting music lovers from all over the country. Held annually from June to September, the festival features a diverse lineup of performances ranging from classical music to pop and rock concerts. Visitors can bring their own food and drinks to enjoy a picnic on the lawn while listening to world-class musicians.

Highland Park Art Center Festival of Fine Arts

The Highland Park Art Center Festival of Fine Arts showcases the work of over 100 juried artists in various mediums such as painting, sculpture, jewelry, and photography. This two-day event in downtown Highland Park offers visitors the opportunity to purchase unique artworks directly from the artists, as well as enjoy live music, food vendors, and interactive art activities for all ages.

Highland Park Sidewalk Sale

The Highland Park Sidewalk Sale is a popular annual event where local businesses and vendors set up booths along the streets of downtown Highland Park to offer discounts on a wide range of products. Visitors can shop for clothing, accessories, home goods, and more while enjoying live music, food trucks, and special promotions from participating stores. This event is a great opportunity to support small businesses and find unique items at bargain prices.

Interesting Facts

– Highland Park, IL is home to the stunning Ravinia Festival, the oldest outdoor music festival in the United States, attracting renowned artists and performers from around the world.
– The city boasts a rich architectural heritage, with several Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes and buildings, showcasing his iconic Prairie School style.
– Highland Park is known for its beautiful natural landscapes, including the scenic Lake Michigan shoreline and the expansive Heller Nature Center, offering a peaceful retreat for outdoor enthusiasts.

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