The Chicago North Shore

Chicago’s North Shore consists of a number of Lake County and Cook County villages that border Lake Michigan. Generally, the following towns are included in the Chicago North Shore: Kenilworth, Winnetka, Wilmette, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Glencoe, and Glenview. A broader inclusion encompasses nearby inland towns, such as Northbrook, Northfield, and Highland Park.

The North Shore of Chicago is steeped in history dating back to the 1800s. All the towns were settled in the 1800s and most were incorporated in that timeframe. The term “North Shore” was first used in the 1880’s and 1890’s by pioneers who were early settlers when they established the North Shore Improvement Association.

Since then, families have moved to the North Shore for the incredible amenities, excellent schools, and proximity to Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago. Notable indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities in the North Shore include the Chicago Botanic Garden, Winnetka Beach, Glencoe Beach, The Grove (a national historic landmark), Kohl Children’s Museum, Wagner Farm, Fall Festivals, Galleries, The Glen Town Center, and many more. For more to do in Chicago’s North Shore, visit

area map

Glencoe, IL

Glencoe is home to the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Writers Theatre, the Glencoe Golf Club, and the Perlman Boating Beach, among the many great amenities in the area. For active outdoor adventures, residents and visitors love the Green Bay Trail that provides fun family activities including the Monarch Hatchery.

Located in New Trier Township, Glencoe is nestled between Highland Park, Northbrook, and Winnetka, and is located on the west side of Lake Michigan.

The origins of the name “Glencoe” are not certain but may be related to the town of Glencoe in Scotland. The village of Glencoe, formerly named “Taylorsport” was founded in 1835 by Anson Taylor and continued its development and expansion around the town’s railroad stop. It was incorporated in 1869.

The city of Glencoe has been the site of filming for some major Hollywood films, including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, and Flags of Our Fathers.

The residents and business owners in Glencoe are proud of their village that is welcoming to visitors and new residents alike. Glencoe is a wonderful town with beautiful streets, parks, and beaches, and a wide array of amenities.


Kenilworth was founded by Joseph Sears in 1889, at which time he formed The Kenilworth Company to create and expand this planned community. The town was incorporated in 1896 after its population grew to 300 residents.

Fun fact: Some of the street names in Kenilworth, such as Essex and Abbotsford were taken from the novel, Kenilworth, written by Sir Walter Scott.

One of the nine Illinois communities on the North Shore, Kenilworth is known for its distinctive looking community whose lots are large, contain mature trees, and have generous setbacks. The streets have the same spacious feel with lots of mature trees.

Kenilworth is located approximately 15 miles north of downtown Chicago. Kenilworth is tucked in between Winnetka to the north and Wilmette to the south and maintains it tiny slice of waterfront on Kenilworth Beach.

Mahoney Park, Kenilworth Train Station, and Townley Field are a few notable spots in Kenilworth that give it a warmth and small-town feel. Kenilworth is home to the renowned Joseph Sears school (JK-8), as well as nearby private schools that provide homeowners with many options for their children’s education. New Trier High School is one of the nearby public schools for children in grades 9-12.


Wilmette was incorporated in 1872 and is the southernmost city along the North Shore corridor of Chicago. It is a family-friendly city with many opportunities for recreation and many things to do by way of the Wilmette Park District.

Activities in the Wilmette Park District include:
  • sailing and swimming on Gillson Beach
  • tennis
  • fitness via planned courses
  • performances, music and other types, at Wallace Bowl
  • ice skating at Centennial Ice Rinks
  • tot play
  • dog walking and play at dog park
  • Visit

If you and your family enjoy shopping and dining, Wilmette checks the boxes. With seven distinctive commercial districts, including Plaza del Lago, Linden Square, and the Green Bay Road District, you’ll find numerous opportunities to shop for days and enjoy great food to enhance your shopping experience.

Wilmette public schools include Wilmette School District #39, Avoca School District #37, and New Trier High School District #203. Nearby private schools include Loyola Academy, St. Joseph’s, and St. Francis Xavier.

Wilmette is a great place to live, raise your family, work, and play.


Winnetka is often cited as one of the best places to live in Illinois and there are so many reasons why. From its tree-lined streets to sprawling parks and excellent recreation areas to its sandy beaches, Winnetka provides citizens and visitors with a beautiful space to live, work, and play.

The name “Winnetka” comes from a Native American word that means “beautiful land”, and that name was given to the village when it was founded in 1869. The village of Winnetka has continued to maintain its beauty with careful planning and growth.

Winnetka has a well-planned infrastructure, some of the best schools in the country, fine dining, excellent shopping and more. Visit The Book Stall on Elm Street, a bookstore that was started in 1940 (as Chestnut Court) or Bunny & Babe on Chestnut to enjoy some of the great shops Winnetka has to offer. A complete listing of stores and businesses in Winnetka is found here.

The Winnetka Park District maintains 27 beautiful park spaces. One of Illinois’s Forest Preserve parks is located within Winnetka, called “Skokie Lagoon,” offers trail hiking, horseback riding, and other recreational opportunities.

Winnetka is steeped in tradition and maintains a busy, active annual calendar of events including the Winnetka Music Fest, the 4th of July Parade, the East Elm Wine Walk, and the Winnetka Tree Lighting.

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