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A Field Guide to

Highland Park

From the Ferris Bueller house to Billy Corgan’s teashop, it’s got pop culture covered.

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Above: Ravinia Festival Photo: Courtesy of Ravinia Festival

Railroad magnate and former Chicago mayor Walter S. Gurnee kept it literal when he named Highland Park in the 1850s: The land was in a park that sat on a 100-foot-high bluff overlooking the lake. Now the North Shore burg is better known for Ravinia, the über-classy outdoor music venue, and its lively downtown, which boasts both well-curated boutiques and bourgie chains such as Anthropologie and Eileen Fisher. Then there’s the 385-acre Chicago Botanic Garden, which is technically in Glencoe but just across the street from Highland Park. This month gives you two reasons to visit: abundant spring blooms and the return of the wildly popular Antiques, Garden and Design Show (April 15 to 17), featuring dealers from San Francisco to Surrey, England.

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Ben Rose House
Ben Rose House Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s

1. Ben Rose House

AKA the Ferris Bueller house, where best bud Cameron lived in the John Hughes classic. You can peek at the glass-walled hideaway, designed by Mies acolyte A. James Speyer, from the end of the driveway. 370 Beech St.

2. Heller Nature Center

Hike the three miles of trails in this 97-acre preserve and pick up some honey produced onsite. pdhp.org/heller-nature-center

3. Jens Jensen Summer House and Studio

The famed architect’s surprisingly modest bungalow is on the National Register of Historic Places. (No tours, though.) 950–954 Dean Ave.

Rosewood Beach
Rosewood Beach Photo: Park District of Highland Park

4. Rosewood Beach

After a $14.5 million revamp, this gorgeous stretch of sand features winding walking paths and an elegant science center. (Cover the kids’ eyes: Lake fish will hit the adjacent Ravinia Stream this month to spawn.) pdhp.org/rosewood-beach-project

5. Stupey Log Cabin

And you thought microapartments were bad: A family of 10 originally crammed into this 1847 one-room log cabin, the oldest standing building in town. highlandparkhistory.com


6. Beanstalk

How’s this for cute: The tot shop has a mini ball pit, an electric train set suspended from the ceiling, and “toyologists” to help find the right playthings. beanstalktoys.com

7. Rock N’ Rags

Business in the front (women’s clothing and jewelry). Party in the back (albums and CDs). shoprocknrags.com

8. Shaevitz Market

Chicago dining editor Penny Pollack gets her holiday brisket here. Order at least two weeks ahead! shaevitzkosher.com

9. Windward Boardshop

If it’s a board—skate, paddle, or snow—this airy new store has it. windwardboardshop.com

Eat & Drink

10. ArrivaDolce

Gelato, scratch-made sweets, and single-source coffee? Don’t mind if I do. arrivadolce.com

11. Beelow’s

The city doesn’t have a monopoly on classic white-linen steakhouses. This one features dry-aged meat from the family farm in Mundelein. beelowsnorthshore.com

Madame ZuZu’s Teahouse
Madame ZuZu’s Teahouse Photo: Courtesy of Madame Zuzu’s

12. Madame ZuZu’s Teahouse

Organic tea. Vegan snacks. Ironic kiddie turntables. Goth-rococo atmosphere. Yep, this is Billy Corgan’s famed tea spot. madamezuzus.com

13. Real Urban Barbecue

Most come for the famous burnt ends. But for the brave: the Hungry Home ’Recker Challenge—three and a half pounds of meat, two pounds of bun, 40 minutes to stuff it down. Good luck. realurbanbbq.com


April 2 Enjoy the classical strains of the New York Times–endorsed 10-piece Fifth House Ensemble at Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall.

April 4 Get in on a virtual chat with author Kate Atkinson (A God in Ruins) at the Highland Park Public Library.

April 9 The Ravinia Jazz Mentors play at Bennett Gordon Hall.

April 30 Check out a showcase of local poets and the mostly vegan fare at Madame ZuZu’s.

Did You Know?

After four years and a $14 million price drop (to $14.9 million), Michael Jordan still can’t sell his 56,000-square-foot mansion.

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Tour Highland Park with Joel Reese

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If You Want to Live Here

Population Median houshold income Median sale price (house)
(87% white, 7% Hispanic, 3% Asian, 2% black)
$115,000 $540,000

Listing of the month

1293 Ridgewood Dr.

1293 Ridgewood Dr.
Photo: Courtesy of VHT

Asking price $499,000

Specs 1,836 square feet, four bedrooms, two baths

Turns out you don’t need a fortune to live well in Highland Park. This sweet farmhouse is within walking distance of Rosewood Beach, downtown, and several parks.

NOTE Real estate data are for 2015. SOURCES Census Bureau, Midwest Real Estate Data, Zillow
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