{travel} Labor Day Weekend, Chicago Staycation

What’s great about living in a city full of attractions is that you can never go to the same place twice and see the same things.

Having moved from the city life to suburban life, like many families do, my husband and I often enjoy visiting our old neighborhood of Lincoln Square with our three kids.

On Labor Day weekend, we decided to trade in our United Mileage points for a local hotel stay and just simply hang out! Giving the kids (and ourselves)  a chance to swim all day, eat in bed, and make a mess without the hassle of cleaning up (most of) the aftermath was a great treat.

On Sunday after breakfast, we decided to head over for a short drive from our hotel, Crowne Plaza in Rosemont, to Lincoln Square, about a  20-25 minute drive without traffic.

Lincoln Square is a neighorhood North Side of Chicago, known for it’s German roots, and small town feel with big city access. It’s a small neighborhood compared to it’s neighboring Lakeview, with the area bordered by Montrose Avenue, Damen Avenue to the Chicago River.

It’s only a 10 minute drive, and few Brown Line stops away from Wrigley Field, yet a quiet part of town where many city families have come to settle. With the Brown Line running straight to and from Downtown Chicago, Lincoln Square is a neighborhood that is accessible and keeps visitors and residents in the loop.

Our day started with lunch at a fairly new restaurant, Tratorria Trullo where we indulged in deep fried risotto balls, steak panini, ravioli, and seafood risotto.

After lunch, we strolled through the square and sat by the fountain to watch all the kids play while we sipped iced coffees and fresh fruit tarts from Cafe Selmarie, and listening to a violinist play. It was such a picture perfect moment spent with my the loves of my life and really showed us why time and time again, we come back to visit Lincoln Square. It didn’t want the day to end.

As we were sitting and enjoying the moment, a new gelato shop named Paciugo Gelatocaught my eye which was in a once vacant retail shop, tucked away from the main hussle and bussle of Lincoln Avenue. As if we weren’t full enough, we all went inside to check out all the gelatos and see which flavors we were going to try out.

I was so suprised to  see unique flavors like Strawberry and Black Pepper sorbet, Durian Gelato, Vanilla Lavender Gelato and of course, all the usual suspects. But the new unexpected flavors make this gelato shop a must visit when in Lincoln Square.

Other Lincoln Square must visits:

Day 2 – North Shore Scenic Drive

On Labor Day, we hung out at a church picnic right on Lake Michigan, at Elliott Park in Evanston. It runs on several blocks on Lakeshore Boulevard, between Lee and Dempster Street.

There are picnic areas, trails and sandy beaches along this great park. Not to mention, it’s a only a walk away from Downtown Evanston’s shopping and restaurant scene.

 After hittting up the barbeque (a couple of times) and getting in some outdoor time, we decided to take the rest of the afternoon driving along the tree-lined streets of Sheridan Road from Evanston to Highland Park.

 Evanston is the home of Northwestern University, the Bahai Temple, just to name a few. It’s a great starting point and taste of the other great towns to come. Tree-lined streets adorn Sheridan Road all the way through which makes a day trip like this one, a wonderful way to spend an easy going day.

Another great attraction of driving through the North Shore is simply gazing at the most beautiful, elegant estates that line the narrow road and tucked behind trees and bushes. With backyards overlooking Lake Michigan, it’s amazing to think of how it would be like to live in such beautiful surroundings. Beaches and parks that pop up in unexpected places, watching kids biking around with mom and dad in tow remind you of the perfect Midwest small town, only in a much fancier setting.

From Evanston, you’ll  drive through Wilmette, Glencoe, Kenilworth, Winnetka and Highland Park. Once home to Michael Jordan during his reign with the Chicago Bulls, Highland Park is a great end to a picturesque day of driving through Sheridan Road and Chicago’s North Shore. Stop the car and get out for a quick stretch through Highland Parks’ downtown, and even peruse through Saks Fifth Avenue before getting back in the car for the trip back home.