North Shore Kids

Beat Street is the Chicago North Shore’s hot spot for über cool, fun gifts and party goodies. Owner Julie Windsor and her tireless staff have amassed over 33,000 unique items.

These hand selected items are creatively and meticulously organized making your search for any gift or holiday item – and we’re talking Birthdays, Graduations, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and of course… Christmas and Chanukah a snap. Beat Street also covers the coolest novelties for other timely occasions and party events including Super Bowl Sunday, March Madness, Spring Break, Camp, and Back To School.

The Beat Street experience includes keen assistance from Julie’s knowledgeable staff. In fact, the Staff enjoys walking with you through their “emporium of cool” to ensure that you find exactly what you’re looking for – any gift, gift basket, party favor or birthday party goody bags.

Here’s the truth… you’re the one who’ll rack up the pats on the back for cherry picking the most coveted gifts… I know this first hand, after working with Julie when she picked out the 40th birthday glasses for my brother and sister-in-law for them to wear for their big birthday bash. They raved and so did the guests. I naturally got all the credit.

It’s hard to pinpoint which area of the store is my favorite… but I do appreciate that Beat Street goes out of their way to stock awesome and hip boy stuff. The girly gifts are easy, but boy gifts aren’t usually as easy but here there’s a huge selection of mildly irreverent gag and cool gifts. There are plenty of Games, Art Kits, Spy Stuff and unusual Action Figures. For hostess gifts, check out the eco-gifts, things for the home, lots of soaps and personal care items and an outstanding collection of unbelievable irresistible stuffed animals. I held one so long while walking the store, I hated having to give it up.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the candy inventory – filled with more vintagey treats like Black Jack and Fruit Stripe gum, Necco wafers, Candy necklaces, Razzles, Saltwater Taffy and fun gummy varieties too. There are new hits such as Sour Candy Sprays, strawberry flavored Gummy Bacon and trusted stand-bys like Pop Rocks and Gumballs for all tastes.

One final word… I bought an Air Stream Bird House from Beat Street years ago. I have to say… this is the gem of my backyard the birds love it and and can’t wait to add a few more to my collection.

Beat Street
930 Green Bay Road
Store Hours:
Tuesdays- Saturdays
10:58 AM– 5:58 PM


Get Off The Rollercoaster And Enjoy The Fall

It can be a little depressing.
Packing away the whites and breaking out the woolies.

But after the endless stream of bad economic news, the looming elections, gas prices, and who knows what’s next... the thought of summer ending is so much easier to live with especially when the upside involves these classic and novel Fall things to do. Even if you’re a little resistant, charge the camera battery, grab a sweatshirt and join the crowd:

Postpone Any Risk of Cabin Fever
Stay Outdoors As Long as You Can...

There’s no reason to head inside just yet. Here’s a few ways to grab more rays:

Postpone Any Risk of Cabin Fever

The Flying Gaonas have set up shop at Hubbard Woods Park in Winnetka for the fall season, giving kids of all ages a chance to live their circus dreams. No experience necessary – just the willingness to try something new and let go of your inhibitions.

“First Time Flyer” sessions ($50) and Beginner classes ($5) on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and Intermediate classes ($55) on Thursdays and Saturdays, as well as One Time Swing ($10) and Adults only options as well. There is also the opportunity to schedule private group outings on Friday evenings.

Event: Trapeze Lessons with the Flying Gaonas
Date: Starts August 30
Location: Hubbard Woods Park
Time: Varies
Phone: 773.398.9881

Catch Some Pigskin

No need to pile in the car and head to Champaign or South Bend for serious football. You don’t have to shell out serious cash at Soldier Field either.

Head to Evanston and catch the Northwestern University Wildcats in action against some of the best college football has to offer! Here’s the fall home schedule:

August 30 vs. Syracuse
Evanston, Ill.
11 a.m.

September 13
vs. Southern Illinois
Evanston, Ill.
11 a.m.

September 20
vs. Ohio
Evanston, Ill.
11 a.m.

October 11
vs. Michigan State
Evanston, Ill.

October 18
vs. Purdue - Homecoming
Evanston, Ill.
11 a.m.

November 8
vs. Ohio State
Evanston, Ill.

November 22
vs. Illinois
Evanston, Ill.

Want tix? Visit their online ticket office by clicking here.

Take in Some Color:

Crank up some pedal power one last time before the snow flies? Check out these hot spots while the leaves are falling.

Fort Sheridan, Highwood (North on Edens Expressway to US 41 (Skokie Boulevard). Proceed north on US 41 to Old Elm Road exit, and then east on Old Elm Road to Sheridan Road intersection and Fort Sheridan entrance.)

Skokie Lagoons, Winnetka (East of Edens Expressway, w. of Winnetka, between Willow and Dundee Rds. Seven inter-connected lagoons with a total area of 190 acres.)

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe (1000 Lake-Cook Rd., just east of I-94.)

The Grove, Glenview (1421 Milwaukee Ave., south of Lake Ave.)

Eat an Apple...or Buy a Bagful:

Take a day trip to a u-pick orchard for fun with food!
Try one of these orchards closer to home for apples, pumpkins, mazes and fun:

Didier Farms:

U-Pick, Peppers, Pumpkins, Tomatoes. Corn maze, Pumpkinfest kids’ activities in September and November.
16678 West Aptakisic Road, Prairie View
Phone: 847.634-3291
Directions: near Lincolnshire, IL.
Northeast corner of Aptakisic Road & Buffalo Grove Road.

Ziegler's Orchard:

Apples (both U-pick and prepicked), snacks and refreshment stand, restrooms, tractor-pulled hay rides.
Bacon Road 1/4 ml. S of l20 & 2ml W of Haninesville 32363 N. Bacon Road, Grayslake
Phone: 847-546-1228. Call for hours and produce availability.
Directions: From Chicago & suburbs go north to Hwy l20(Bellvediere Rd.) West on l20 to Bacon Road which is 2 ml. past Hainesville just before Fairfield Road. All others go north or south to Hwy l20 then to Bacon Road which is 1/4 ml. south of Hwy l20.

Get Crafty!

When the temperature starts to drop, take advantage of some of the North Shore’s most creative and crafty minds at these hotspots:

Knit One, Purl Two: Set yourself up with a new scarf, mittens and maybe even a new sweater – Three Bags Full Knitting Studio in Northbrook has a bevy of fall classes to choose from! Now’s a great time to pick up an old hobby or start a new one - give them a call or visit their web site for updated class schedules.

Event: Knitting classes
Date: Ongoing
Location: Three Bags Full Knitting Studio, 1927-7 Cherry Lane, Northbrook
(Currently located at 1130 Shermer, but soon to move)
Phone: 847.291.9933

Get A Head Start On The Holidays:

Get ready now instead of December, with handmade card and gift-wrapping classes at Paper Source!


Event: Handmade Holiday Cards
Date: Tuesday, October 7
Location: Paper Source,
2100 Central St.,
Time: 6 - 8 p.m.
Cost: $35
Phone: 847.733.8830

Event: Wrap It Up!
Event: Handmade Holiday Cards
Date: Tuesday, October 7
Location: Paper Source,
2100 Central St.,
Time: 6 - 8 p.m.
Cost: $35
Phone: 847.733.8830

Grab a handful of acorns, make a huge pot of soup and pull out the board games and make sure you’ve got your firewood stocked. This year staying in and nesting is likely to take on new meaning – which means being extra creative. Look to to give you the inside scoop on how to make the most of it.

Kelly Konrad & Loren Greiff

Archives in the Kids Section

Save Johnny's Back

Think Spring!

Outdoor Ice Rinks and Sledding Hills

Kid Crazy Holidays 2007

videoCheck out our Flick Pool video - Located in Glenview, Illinois

Read our Travel Toys for Kids article.

Chicago's North Shore is a fantastic place to spend time with your kids during the summer. From nature to noodles, soccer to swimming, pools to ponds, art to architecture, you could do something new every day and run out of time to do it all before the school bell rings in late August.

Back to School on the North Shore - tips for a smooth transition into the school year.

Halloween 2007 on the North Shore - Shopping and activities for the Halloween season.

Recommended Businesses