April weather is certainly a “crapshoot” but we can take comfort at knowing that it’s time to head back to the parks even if it is with a winter coat! Finally, a little respite while our littles get out that pent-up winter energy! My kiddos and I enjoy a good “park crawl” now and then, even if it means a longer drive. So, we scoured the internet and pulled from our own park experiences to bring to you eight stellar parks on the North Shore!



West Park in Lake Forest

850 North Summit Avenue (located at Green Bay Rd. & Woodland Rd.)

Amenities: Pavilion, Grills, Playground, Picnic Tables, Restrooms, Ball Field, Basketball Standard.

What we love: This park is located within walking distance to Lake Forest’s Gorton Community Center, the Lake Forest Public Library and the historic downtown Market Square


Jewett Park/Jewett Park Pavilion in Deerfield

836 Jewett Park Drive (best parking location: The parking lots at Hazel Ave. & Springfield Ave.)

Amenities: Ball Diamond, Pavilion, Picnic tables, Playground Equipment suitable for all ages, Rentals, Skate Park, Soccer Field, Restrooms.

What we love: This park is located within a short walking/strollering distance to shops, restaurants (Cherry Pit Cafe, Deerfield’s Bakery, Dear Franks and Upper Crust Bagels) and the Deerfield Public Library!


Spray ‘N Play in Buffalo Grove

951 McHenry Road

Amenities: Unique park structure with varying levels of slides, picnic tables and restrooms, 2 Ball Diamonds, affordable entry into the Spray ‘N Play (check hours and weather)

What we love: Buffalo Grove’s Spray ‘N Play has a great playground feature and located walking distance to the Buffalo Skate Park (1000 N Buffalo Grove Rd) and the Buffalo Grove Farmer’s Market.


Little Bear Garden Park in Glenview (The Glen)

Located at NE corner of Patriot Blvd. and Chestnut
Glenview, IL 60025, US

Amenities: Gated park with sand box, playground, water spray feature, picnic tables, clean restrooms, large parking lot with ample parking, hide n’ seek “hills” and hedge maze.

What we love: We love that this park is access and parking! It has all of the shopping and dining you could ask for located almost across the street in the hear of The Glen Town Center. It’s best for children ages birth to age 6 and there is no tall equipment. It would be great if this park had a few swings but we’ll take their porch swings instead. Also, it’s a short drive to Kohl Children’s Museum!


Hubbard Woods Park in Winnetaka

9 Green Bay Road (on the SE corner of Gage St. across the street from Graeter’s Ice Cream)

Amenities: Ample benches and picnic tables, Bike Racks, Bocce Ball Courts (balls are available for rent at Green Bay Cycles), Playground and Splash Pad, Clean Restrooms, Shelter

What we love: Hubbard Woods has ample street parking on Green Bay Rd., Gage St. (by the Once Upon a Bagel) and at the Hubbard Woods train station. Some parents will like that there is no sand at this park ;). My kids like the unique playground features like spin pole, balance table and other sensory-rich features. Of course, they love to get wet! This park is in the heart of downtown Winnetka with amazing shopping and restaurants within walking distance. Strict time regulations with the parking on Gage St. and you will get ticketed so heads up about that!


Sunset Woods Park in Highland Park

1801 Sunset Rd.

Amenities: Large parking lot with ample parking, Restrooms, Multiple playgrounds, Tot lot, Tennis courts, Baseball Diamonds, Skate Park, Picnic Tables, Neighborhood Book Exchange, Sand box located inside tot lot, Swings, Pavilions available for rental, Grills, Walking/biking trails

What we love: This park literally has something for every age from tot to teen! We appreciate the ample parking and picnic tables. This park is a short walking trail away from downtown highland park’s Renaissance Place that has great shopping, restaurants like Chipotle, Panera, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Beelow’s and the Renaissance Movie Theatre!


Brown Park (a.k.a. Train Park) in Highland Park

655 Burton Ave. (located just south of the Ravinia Metra station)

Amenities: Ample street parking (depending on time of day) with adjacent parking lot that serves the Ravinia Metra station, Gated tot lot, Sand Box, swings for bigs and littles, Two jungle gym structures for different age and abilities, Picnic tables. This facility has no on-site restroom. Patrons must use the Ravinia Train station restroom which is pretty clean. There are no changing table facilities.

What we love: We love that this park is gated. The ample parking is easy and it’s walking distance to downtown Ravinia with access to great shops and restaurants like Baker Boys for treats and gelato, Piero’s Pizza (take out only), Ravinia Brewing, Happy Sushi and many more! This park is also located steps from the Green Bay Trail if you’d like to make a bike trip out of your day! On Wednesdays check out the Ravinia Farmer’s Market (7am-1pm) and on Thursdays visit Ravinia’s Food Truck Thursdays open at 4-8pm! And finally, Brown Park is known as the Train Park because the kids love being able to hear and see all of the trains that pull in and out of Ravinia!


Danny Cunniff Park (a.k.a. the “green park”) in Highland Park

2700 Trail Way, located along the long road to Centennial Ice Arena, just off of route 22.

Amenities: Two gated playgrounds, one tot the other for older children; Picnic tables, basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields, disc golf, walking trails, restrooms

What we love: We love that this park has not one but two gated playgrounds which, makes it easier to keep track of your little buddies of different ages; from tot to teen! We also love that this becomes a stop before or after an ice skating or gymnastics class at Centennial Ice Arena. There are ample picnic tables so pack a lunch to stay n’ play. Word to the wise: keep your speeds as posted; it’s a residential neighborhood so there are a lot of kids running around and it’s also a speed trap!

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