Above:Parade of Lights Photo: Gary Middendorf/Daily Southtown
No judgment if you don’t know a lot about Tinley Park. After all, it’s some 30 miles southwest of the Loop, and the town—excuse us, village—usually comes up only in the context of the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre (its fifth name since 1990, by the way), a huge outdoor concert venue that hosts the likes of Blink-182, Toby Keith, and 5 Seconds of Summer (read: basic hit makers).But there's plenty more to do: The sprawling former farming community boasts a charming downtown, thriving craft beer scene, and noteworthy restaurants.
1. Forest View Farms
Ride a horse on the lovely nearby forest trails or cuddle up on a sleigh ride. Awww. fvfarms.com
2. Tinley Park Historical Society
Learn about old-timey Tinley (and check out plenty of vintage WWII uniforms) in a former church built in 1884. facebook.com/tphistory
3. Tinley Park Metra Stop
Yes, it’s an impressive Arts and Crafts–style building. But it gets even better when you scale the spiral staircase to the open-air clock tower.
4. Tinley Park Roller Rink
Lace up your skates and relive 1973: This dance-palace-turned-rink still boasts its original lacquered wood floor. (And disco ball!) tinleyrink.com
5. Vogt Visual Arts Center
Check out local artists’ work in this rambling 1882 Victorian mansion, where you can also take a class, host a party, or celebrate a wedding. facebook.com/vogtvisualartscenter
6. The Attic Door
The everyday goods are so nice at this upscale consignment shop that it’s just a bonus when they pull out gobs of Christmas decor. theatticdoor.com
7. Creative Cakes
Browse the innovative cakes—a Coast Guard cutter strike your fancy?—then wash down the cupcake on special with a craft beer. creativecakesbakeryandcafe.com
8. The Open Bottle
It’s not really a bar, but you can buy pours or six-packs of craft beer from all over the world. And have a seat and drink. So yeah, kind of a bar. theopenbottle.com
9. The Tobacco Leaf
Settle into an oversize leather chair and enjoy the Bears game with a hand-rolled stogie.
Eat & Drink
10. 350 Brewing Company
Outside: anonymous strip mall storefront. Inside: great food and suds (especially the stouts) made onsite. 350brewing.com
11. Isabella Italian Cafe
This local fave, serving northern Italian fare in an adorable miniature cottage, draws fans for its roast duck with Marsala and dried cherry sauce. isabellacafe.com
12. Siam Marina
Turns out you can get Vietnamese-French-Thai fusion cooking (and inventive cocktails) even outside the city limits. siammarina.com
13. Teehan’s Tavern
Grab a pint at this cozy Irish classic that dates back to 1917. (It moonlighted as an “ice cream parlor” during Prohibition.) facebook.com/teehanstavern
December 31:The Noon Year’s Eve event lets the kids boogie in the new year during daylight hours at the Tony Bettenhausen Recreation Center.
Did You Know?
In 2009, Businessweek named Tinley Park the best place in the United States to raise a family.