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Get a Feel for the Chicago Suburbs on the 4th of July

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So you’re considering getting out of the city for the 4th of July and heading to the ‘burbs to celebrate. Here’s how to have fun in the suburbs while simultaneously checking out the area. 

 

Oak Park

4th of July celebration This super walkable, close-to-Chicago suburb hosts its own 4th of July parade reminiscent of a quaint small town. On July 4th, check out their parade, which steps off at 10 a.m. at Longfellow Park (Ridgeland Avenue and Adams St). Be sure to bring empty tote bags for your little ones, as each float tosses candy at the kids. Stay till dusk to see the fireworks display at Oak Park and River Forest High School. 

 

Also do this… The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor is where the action happens. Technically, it’s in Forest Park, but it’s walking distance from Oak Park, and it’s where all the local kids, tweens, teens and families hang out whenever they’ve got a free day. On the 4th of July, it’s gonna be totally happening, and you’ll be able to have the.best.homemade.icecream.ever – plus you can chat with other families who already live here.

 

Hinsdale

4th of July celebration This is a full day, starting with a 10 a.m. parade stepping off at 6th and Garfield Streets. Then, there’s a family festival at Burlington Park, where kids can ride on a Ferris wheel, get their faces painted and play other carnival games. Next is a truly unique Hinsdale tradition: a 6-foot turtle rate. Choose your own small turtle, and cheer it along. Only in Hinsdale, folks. Proceed to the Pleasant Dale Park in Burr Ridge at dusk for fireworks. 

 

Also do this… Wander through downtown Hinsdale, where you’ll spot the village hall, the stunning library, and plenty of quaint stores and boutique shops. On Washington Street, you’ll find local shops, national brands and really beautiful older buildings and streetscapes. 

 

Highland Park 

4th of July celebration They go all out here, with a 9:30 a.m. kids’ bike and pet parade in downtown Oak Park followed by a traditional parade (floats, marching bands and entertainment). Then, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., there’s a bash with carnival rides, a petting zoo, pony rides and more at Sunset Woods Park (1801 Sunset Rd.). If you’re still standing, check out the fireworks and concert from 4-9:30 p.m. at Wolters Field. 

 

Also do this… You’ll have a pretty packed day, but one of the best parts of Highland Park is the Botanic Garden. Take a breather and wander through this oasis. In addition to the lush natural beauty, you’ll be sure to spot tons of kids racing around (obviously, children are totally welcome here). 

 

Naperville 

4th of July celebration Sure, they do a traditional parade. But we heart Naperville’s Independence week Ribfest so much that we typically skip the traditional stuff and head straight to stuff our faces with pork. From July 3-6, indulge in Ribfest here, which also includes fabulous bands like Billy Idol, KC & The Sunshine Band and more.

 

Also do this… A visit to Naperville isn’t complete without logging time at Centennial Beach, which is essentially where every family camps out for the entire summer. It’s a mix between a pool, a lake and a beach. This man-made swimming hole is totally unique and ideal for every hot day this summer. 

 

Skokie 

4th of July celebration This parade is a really big deal. It kicks off at noon, with Roger Badesch from WGN Radio as the parade stand announcer (get a look at him at Oakton Park at the corner of Oakton St. and Skokie Blvd.). The grandstand marshal is Dave Eanet, the WGN sports director and voice of the Northwestern Wildcats. You see, they take this very seriously.

 

Also do this… Wander through the Emily Oaks Nature Center to get a true feel for the beauty of Skokie (alternatively, Skokie residents love to brag about their absolutely amazing mall, but chances are, many shops will be closed on the 4th of July). So take the kids, bring a picnic and have a true outdoorsy day. 

 

There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t, without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all. Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.