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Top 10 Outdoor Activities around Skokie this Summer

Here at Statewide Insurance, we are excited about summer! There’s nothing quite like a Chicago summer. Every weekend, there are dozens of street festivals with the aroma of smoky eats and speakers blasting upbeat tunes. The summer offers a reprieve from the normally windy and miserably cold days. Just as we enjoy being part of the Skokie business community, we also partake in Skokie’s natural beauty.

On a pleasant summer day, there’s nothing better than simply going outside, breathing the fresh air and the symphony of landscaping equipment perfectly trimming the dewy grass. As such, I was inspired to create a top ten list of outdoor activities to do in Skokie this summer.

1. Take a Stroll Through Westfield Old Orchard

With over 140 stores and 24 dining options, it's easy to lose track of time while strolling around or a dose of retail therapy. Old Orchard has over 1.7 million sq. ft. of retail space. If you tire or bore easily, you can go dine and watch a movie at CMX CineBistro theater. Address: 4905 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, IL 60077

2. Explore historic downtown Skokie

There's plenty to see while walking down the streets of downtown Skokie. Along Oakton St, you can read a book at the Skokie Public Library which is just steps from the Holocaust & Veterans Memorial. Across the street, you can visit the Skokie Heritage Museum. If you enjoy parks, walk a few steps on Niles St to the Illinois Science & Technology Park.

3. Have a picnic at Harms Woods

Harms Woods is a 250 acre part of the Cook County Forest Preserve. In the section west of Harms Rd, there are large fields for tossing a Frisbee or firing up the grill. East of Harms Rd, there are wet woodlands and many animals in this wildlife refuge surrounded by concrete. The bike trails running through this area lead north to the Skokie Lagoons or south to Devon Ave.

4. Go on a nature-walk through Emily Oaks Nature Center

Emily Oaks is a 13 acre savanna and nature center nestled in a quiet neighborhood along the Skokie Trails-to-Rails bike trail. You can gaze out towards the 2 acre pond or walk through its short and scenic paths. Along the way, you may spot urban wildlife including red foxes, Cooper's hawks, coyotes and more. Address: 4650 Brummel St, Skokie, IL 60076

5. Run the Skokie Rails-to-Trails path

If you enjoy a nice jog, you'll love this 4.3 mile dedicated path running through Skokie from Dempster St at the Skokie Swift towards the LaBagh Woods in Chicago's Sauganash neighborhood. You can stop in downtown Skokie or Lincolnwood along the way.

6. Bike the North Shore Channel Trail

This 6.5 mile bike path runs from Green Bay Ave in Evanston to Argyle Ave in Chicago along the North Shore Channel of the Chicago River. Throughout the path, there are several scenic points. On the Skokie portion of the path, there is a Sculpture Park from Dempster St to Oakton St. Other notable spots include Lincolnwood Centennial Park and Ladd Arboretum in Evanston.

7. Practice your swing at Skokie Sports Park

With batting cages, two mini-golf courses and a 2-tier, 40 station driving range, you won't be bored. There's something for everyone at Skokie Sports Park. Address: 3459 Oakton St, Skokie, IL 60076

8. Play a quick round of golf at Weber Park Golf Course

Learn to golf at an outstanding public golf course. This 9-hole, par-3 course is great for beginners. Throughout the summer, you can visit from 7am - 1 hour prior to sunset everyday. Address: 9300 Weber Park Pl, Skokie, IL 60077

9. Swim at Skokie Water Playground or Devonshire Aquatic Center

As the temperatures heat up, we need to cool down. At the Skokie Water Playground, you can jump in the 14,000 sq. ft. main pool, ride down one of the 3 slides or splash around the water playground. Address: 4715 Oakton St, Skokie, IL 60076

The Devonshire Aquatic Center offers a large main pool with 25-yard lap swimming lanes, a splash pad and a separate dive tank with a 1-meter diving board and a 3-meter drop slide. Address: 4422 Greenwood St, Skokie, IL 60076

10. Kayak down the Chicago River from the North Shore Channel launch

Launch your kayak at the North Shore Channel from Oakton Street. Row along the 7.5 mile channel up to Baha'i Temple or down to the convergence with the North Branch of the Chicago River. The Channel traverses Wilmette, Evanston, Skokie, Lincolnwood and Chicago.

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