Wilmette & Kenilworth Family Guide! | Chicago North Shore Moms

Wilmette & Kenilworth Hot Spots

This guide was updated in 2024.


The history of Wilmette is rich and complicated but can best be experienced at the Wilmette Historical Museum, which has year-round family-friendly programming. Wilmette is the first in a series of beautiful Villages situated along Lake Michigan, when heading north from Chicago, just past the City of Evanston. The Bahia House of Worship is the most recognizable landmark that welcomes you when entering Wilmette on Sheridan Road. This building became Instagram famous over the pandemic for city dwellers searching for outdoor activities and still takes our breath away each time we are near!


Just a short walk from the Bahia House of Worship is Gilson Beach, a personal favorite beach within the North Shore. This long stretch of sand and dunes along Lake Michigan is next to one of the few harbors in the North Shore, hosts a large pirate ship themed playground, a dog beach, tennis courts, and best of all, The Fat Shallot restaurant in the summer months!

Located east of Green Bay Road and centered around the Metra Station, the Village Center is Wilmette’s central business district. This location is bustling with shops, restaurants with a convenient Wilmette Metra train stop along the way. Spring through fall you can visit the Saturday morning French Market filled with farmers market finds along with retail goods from local vendors. A  few of favorite businesses and restaurants to visit are below.  All are family friendly dining, but also each would would be great for a date night!  

Fajita Pete’s is a deliciously easy stop for Mexican food – the tortillas are everything, however, they do have a gluten-free menu!

Valley Lodge is great for bar and grill bites, with a really good chopped salad.  The filet sliders are a favorite to share, and my kids love the pretzel bites. 

Buck Russell’s has really good breakfast sandwiches and the rotating bakery options are always a fun treat.

Napolita is excellent for delicious salads and wood fire pizzas.  The kids also love the mac and cheese here – and we can vouch for it being delish!  

Torino is a must stop for ramen, sushi and bao fans. But make a reservation even for 4:30pm on a Sunday night!

Sofia Steak is great for a date night but also caters to families. It’s a must try for sure!



Biking along the Green Bay Trail Bike Path is a super family outing idea. There are many stops along the way including yummy treats in Wilmette. Make a stop at Cocomero frozen yogurt located at  1163 Wilmette Ave. or Buck Russels baked treats! The trail is a fun way to spend time together, be active and burn off that sugar!  The Wild Child is a frequent stop for unique childrens gifts (and sometimes little trinkets to keep the kids busy while dining in the area!).  Moms, you won’t want to miss Hubba Hubba, women’s clothing boutique has all kinds of Mom-uniform staples to keep you comfy, but school drop ready!

Make a stop at the old skool Wilmette Bowl for a throwback bowling alley. It’s charming and located in proximity to a few parks, plus it’s not too far from the downtown area.

Along Green Bay Rd is Zier’s Prime Meats and Poultry, which is great for your meat & grilling needs, and many weekends on warmer days you can grab a hot dog outside! Homers is local burger joint with homemade ice cream and outdoor tables which you will find packed most warm days!  

Plaza Del Lago is situated right across the lake with shopping and dining with a great Starbucks patio. Subscribe to their newsletter to stay in-the-know with the many plaza events and sales.

Convito Cafe & Market is great for weekday takeout meals, and sides when grilling out, plus they have a large wine selection and gourmet snacks. The cafe is really cute, complete with a kids menu.  

Eva Dean’s Bakery and Cafe is a cute little bakery brand new to Wilmette. From fresh pastries to all your brunch needs, there’s something for everyone.

Cluckers Charcoal Chicken To-Go, Wilmette patio directly looks at the lake for warmer, super casual nights at the few tables here, but mainly offers an easy family meal options for pick up or delivery that we’ve become fans of on busy weeknights!



There’s no lack of Green space and parks in this area and a few favorites are Vattmann Park with a large play structure, a sandbox, tennis courts and a ledge green space, and Shorewood Park right off of the Green Bay Trail- which is especially great for littles who love watching the train zoom by! And if you’ve never indulged in a Gilson Beach outing, now is the time! Open to the public, this beach has one of the nicest sandy stretches in all of the North Shore. Bathrooms, parking, tennis and playgrounds can all be found here…. for a price.



Welcome to Kenilworth! 

We looped Kenilworth in with Wilmette because this tiny neighboring village shares a Chamber of Commerce!  

While this village is very small in size, the community has a great deal of pride for the area and school spirit for Joseph Sears School.  This PreK-8th grade school is one of the few that students can continue in through middle school, which is a big draw for new residents. 



Just behind the adorable Metra stop is Assembly Hall where each week throughout Spring, Summer and Fall you’ll find a rotation of food trucks, live music, and other family fun events. The pretty space also hosts many community events throughout the year of which much of the community attends!  Just across from the Kenilworth Metra stop is a small strip of local businesses. 

Great Coast Commons is the only restaurant in this tiny village and, fun fact, it’s the first and only liquor license in Kenilworth. That said, Great Coast Commons has really fantastic food, the nicest staff, and is kid friendly while still being a great spot for a girls night out or date night! 

Just around the corner from Great Coast is the cutest little flower shop, Cecile‘s Flowers, with unique gifts that have become my go to for teachers and housewarming! 

Kenilworth Beach is on the smaller side, but actually great for families with young kids because of that!  It has its own Sailing Club to one side, and this is where you’ll find most of the kids who live in this community on summer days! However, this, like many North Shore beaches, is cost prohibitive if you are not a Kenilworth resident.


Those are just a few of our favorites, let us know if we missed anything and we’ll continue adding as we explore!

The Neighborhood and Realtor Guide is sponsored by our featured agents.  We appreciate their support of local businesses and park districts!  In the spirit of providing stellar, tried and true content for our viewers, the businesses shared are by personal experience and our own opinions.  We love where we live and will continue to share as we continue to explore Chicago’s North Shore! Thank you for following along and your continued support!

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