A Birdwatcher’s Paradise

Highland Park/Lake Forest —More than 140 species of migratory birds flock to Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve and neighboring Openlands Lakeshore Preserve each spring. Birder and writer Sheryl DeVore explains how to spot six key types. Baltimore Oriole Illustrations: Jens Magnusson Eponymous feature:Orange-and-black coloring that resembles Lord Baltimore’s coat of arms (so only intuitive if you’re … Read more

All Hail the “Fancy McDonald’s”

Hinsdale —When it opened in late 2002, it was heralded as the McDonald’s of the future, with tall booths, mezzanine-level seating, and a chandelier. My great-aunt and -uncle, both in their mid-90s, loved to go to what they called the “fancy McDonald’s” for an afternoon that was just a little bit extra. I’ve still never … Read more

What's the Best Minor League Ballpark?

Above, from left: Joliet Slammers; Chicago Dogs; and Windy City Thunderbolts Photos: (Slammers) AHJ Photo; (Dogs) Daniel Boczarski; (Thunderbolts) Gary Middendorf/ Daily Southtown Sure, Chicago is blessed with two major league franchises. But if you’re looking to catch some baseball on a budget — or just want to see the game up close — there … Read more

Rub Elbows With Literary Greats

Downers Grove/La Grange/Naperville —Anderson’s Bookshop hosts more than 400 events a year at its three locations. Known for boosting local luminaries in the making, as it did with Veronica Roth (Divergent) and former Chicagoan John Green (The Fault in Our Stars), the minichain is also a must-stop for international megastars: J.K. Rowling made one of … Read more

Five Great Taprooms

1 Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery Flossmoor One of the most accessible suburban breweries for city folk — just hop on the Metra Electric District line at Millennium Station, and a 45-minute ride later, you’re literally at this brewery’s front door. They’ve been making beers, mostly light-bodied and food-friendly ales, in this onetime train station since 1996. … Read more

So You're Starved for Nature

Photo: Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune Darien —Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is the kind of place where, on a snowy Saturday morning, you could find yourself face to face with a coyote. The one I met looked, in its bushy winter coat, as big as a timber wolf. He had found a perfect home in these 2,500 … Read more