Skokie is a village in Cook County, Illinois, that was founded in the mid-19th century as a small farming community on the outskirts of Chicago, approximately 15 miles north of downtown Chicago. It rapidly grew into a thriving suburb in the 20th century, due to its proximity to the city and its family-friendly atmosphere with a population of nearly 65,000 residents.
Skokie is home to many parks and recreation facilities, as well as top-rated schools. It is also known for its diverse population and vibrant cultural scene. Skokie is an excellent place to raise a family or enjoy a suburban lifestyle without sacrificing the amenities of a big city.
The city is bursting with activity, from the Skokie Festival of Cultures, an annual event that celebrates the village’s diverse population with food, music, dance, and other cultural activities to the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts a variety of plays, concerts, and other events throughout the year.
Let us be your local travel guide as we share the best things to do in Skokie, Illinois!
1. Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is one of the most important museums in the United States dedicated to Holocaust education. The museum’s mission is to remember the Holocaust and its victims, to educate about the dangers of hatred and bigotry, and to inspire visitors to take action against prejudice and indifference.
The museum has several exhibitions as well as artifacts, photos, documents, and survivor testimonies. The museum’s ongoing exhibitions on the Holocaust and related social justice themes are complemented by special exhibit spaces that allow it to delve further into specific moments in time and broader issues linked to genocide and human rights.
2. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts
The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie is a state-of-the-art performing arts center that serves the greater Chicago area. It’s one of the most important cultural institutions in the region, and its programming has a lasting impact on the cultural life of the city – the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, and many other world-renowned ensembles and performers.
3. Westfield Old Orchard
The Westfield Old Orchard, previously known as Old Orchard Shopping Center, is one of the oldest shopping malls in the United States. Don’t let its age fool you. The Old Orchard has over 140 upscale stores and restaurants, including the Apple Store, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Crate & Barrel,. and CMX Market Cinemas.
MassVR is the first virtual reality (VR) arcade in Illinois. This impressive game arena offers a unique and immersive experience for gamers of all ages. With two different VR games and experiences, MassVR is perfect for birthday parties, corporate events, team-building exercises, and more.
5. Emily Oaks Nature Center
The Emily Oaks Nature Center is a nature preserve and environmental education center. The Ccenter is home to a variety of plant and animal species, and its mission is to connect people with nature and inspire stewardship of the environment. The Emily Oaks Nature Center offers a variety of programs and events for children and adults, including nature walks, education classes, and more.
6. Skokie Theatre
Skokie Theatre is a historic movie palace for live music, comedy, and other performing arts. Built in 1912, it was initially part of Skokie’s Chamber of Commerce, but has been owned and remodeled numerous times over the years. In April 2015, it was taken over by Madkap Productions and renamed Skokie Theatre. In Skokie, the program features sketch, improv comedy, burlesque and other forms of live entertainment.
7. Skokie Water Playground
Need a great family-friendly place to cool off during the summer months? Look no further than the Skokie Water Playground. With a variety of slides, pools, and a big 300-gallon red bucket, this water park is perfect for a day of fun in the sun. In addition to its massive 14,000 square foot main pool, the waterpark offers group and private swim lessons for swimmers of all ages.
8. Devonshire Aquatic Center
Another fantastic aquatic facility is the Devonshire Aquatic Center, which features a competition pool, and several lap swimming lanes. Much like the Skokie Water Playground, Devonshire offers both group and private lessons. Their male-only and female-only swim sessions are a hit in the community, making it a must-go for all passionate swimmers.
9. Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park
The Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park is a hidden gem that features a variety of contemporary art sculptures by local, national, and international artists. The park is free and open to the public. There are also guided and private tours available.
10. North Branch Trail
The North Branch Trail is a 20-mile-long trail that runs through the Cook County Forest Preserves. The trail loops through ecological restoration sites that are home to various native animals, as well as a route to the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. The trail is popular with hikers, bikers, and birdwatchers, and its scenic views make it a perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors.
11. Skokie Valley Trail
The Skokie Valley Trail is just under 20 miles and links the southern end of Highland Park to the northern trail in Lake Bluff. With parallel double tracks and well-maintained asphalt, the smooth surface offers a consistent and enjoyable track for hiking and bike riding. While not the first choice for scenic views, as it sits between train tracks and Route 41, the flat surface is perfect for speed training and endurance building.
12. Skokie Heritage Museum
The Skokie Heritage Museum is a local history museum that tells the story of the village of Skokie, from its beginnings as a small farming community to its transformation into a thriving suburb. The museum also features a Historic Engine House and a log cabin built in 1847.
The Exploritorium is a hands-on museum for kids of all ages. It features a variety of interactive exhibits that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The Exploritorium is a great place to learn about the world around us and have fun at the same time.
CJ Plumbing & Heating is Skokie’s Go-to Plumbing Company
Skokie is a great place to live, work, and play. With its rich history, diverse culture, and abundance of parks and recreational facilities, there is something for everyone in this vibrant community. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous outdoor experience or a relaxing day at the museum, Skokie has something to offer.
If you’re exploring more of Chicago, be sure to read our blog for more neighborhood travel guides.
Here at CJ Plumbing & Heating, we’re Skokie’s premier plumbing experts. We pride ourselves for being a family-owned and operated plumbing company with over 30 years of experience throughout Chicagoland – Deerfield, Evanston, Lake Forest, Mundelein, Riverwoods, Schaumburg, Skokie, Wilmette, and much more.