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A Field Guide to

La Grange

Why it’s high time you hopped on the Metra and zoomed out to this southwest burb

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Above: Burlington Avenue  Photo: Kristan Lieb

If there’s anything La Grange values, it’s tradition, from the annual Pet Parade—celebrating its 70th anniversary in June—to historical society archives chronicling every house ever built in the village. But it’s not all about nostalgia: The main drag, La Grange Road, is lined with niche shops and trendy restaurants. Dreaming of detoxing in a salt cave before procuring artisanal olive oil and guzzling green juice? You can do it all in the span of two blocks. (The juice bar Owl & Lark is slated to open next month.) Between the vibrant downtown and speedy access to the Loop (Metra will get you to the city in under 25 minutes), it’s easy to see why this leafy hamlet regularly ranks as one of Chicago’s top burbs. And don’t forget: It’s “La” and “Grange.” Two words.


1. Emmanuel Episcopal Church

If the dramatic stone façade of this 1926 church looks familiar, it might be because it appeared in the Sandra Bullock rom-com While You Were Sleeping. emmanuel-lagrange.org

2. Gordon Park

Let the kids wear themselves out on the skateboard ramp while you—come warmer temps—unwind in the butterfly garden. pdlg.org

3. La Grange Village Hall

Admit it: You wish such a stately building housed your city’s government. The feds agree: It’s on the National Register of Historic Places. 53 S. La Grange Rd.

Robert G. Emmond House
Robert G. Emmond House Photo: Kristan Lieb

4. Robert G. Emmond House

It may not look like it—hello, octagonal turret—but, yes, this is a Frank Lloyd Wright house. The 1892 mansion is a “bootleg” that Wright designed on the side while working for Louis Sullivan. 109 Eighth Ave.

Anderson’s Bookshop
Anderson’s Bookshop Photo: Rob Hart/Chicago Tribune

5. Anderson’s Bookshop

Browse shelves that brim with local authors’ work, buy a stuffed animal, or just soak in the vibe of a real, live independent bookstore. Remember those? andersonsbookshop.com

6. Bloom 3

Stop in for flowers, of course, but also peruse locally made housewares and jewelry. The elegant party room is in an old bank vault. bloom3.com

7. DeVries Grocery & Market

This 42-year-old institution carries everything from homemade sausages to craft beers—and you get free pretzels on the way out. devriesgrocery.com

8. Jackson Square Mall

We dare you to leave empty-handed after wandering through more than 10,000 square feet of smartly curated antiques and collectibles. jacksonsquaremall.com

9. The Urban Mutt

If you need a bag of dog food made with duck and Bartlett pears, well, this is your place. The spacious shop also offers dozens of doggie outfits and literally hundreds of toys. theurbanmuttstore.com

Eat & Drink

10. Bella Bacino’s

This isn’t just another wood-fired-pizza resto. The late Charlie Trotter endorsed these pies as “the best,” period. bacinos.com

11. Isn’t That Sweet

You could go with macarons or a chocolate-almond dulce de leche tart. But it’s a no-brainer if the bakers have whipped up their Ron Swanson cupcakes. (Maple cake with candied bacon bits, anyone?) isntthatsweet.com

12. Kama Bistro

Indian food gets a progressive twist at this spot, which made Michelin’s Bib Gourmand list in 2014. Example: tamarind-glazed baby back ribs. Yum! kamabistro.com

Asian chopped salad at Prasino
Asian chopped salad at Prasino Photo: Courtesy of Prasino’s

13. Prasino

Former White Sox slugger Jim Thome noshes on the local organic fare here, as did A-listers Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher when they passed through town. prasino.com

14. Tates Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shop

Golly! Take a trip back to Mayberry and enjoy a few handcrafted scoops in this old-timey joint, which reopens this month after its annual winter break. facebook.com/tatesicecream


March 1 Don your fedora for historian Clarence Goodman’s lecture on the Rat Pack at the La Grange Public Library (registration required; see lagrangelibrary.org).

March 19 Get Junior’s basket ready for a classic Easter egg hunt at Sedgwick Park.

March 19 Celebrate Earth Hour with a candlelight dinner at Prasino.

March 22 Oprah’s Book Club author Jacquelyn Mitchard reads at Anderson’s Bookshop.

Coming soon: April 4 Oxford’s renowned Christ Church Cathedral Choir performs at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.

Did You Know?

Lyons Township High School had to replace a plaque honoring alum David Hasselhoff because so many students rubbed his nose for luck.

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Tour La Grange with Joel Reese

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If You Want to Live Here

Population Median houshold income Median sale price (house)
(86% white, 6% Hispanic, 5% black)
$99,000 $490,000

Listing of the month

317 S. Brainard Ave.

317 S. Brainard Ave.
Photo: Courtesy of Baird & Warner

Asking price $549,900

Specs 1,640 square feet, four bedrooms, two baths

If there were a dictionary entry for “picturesque suburban house,” this place could be the illustration. It has hardwood floors, a recently redone kitchen—and a huge trampoline in the backyard.

NOTE Real estate data are for 2015. SOURCES Census Bureau, MRED
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