Lincoln Square and Ravenswood carry a certain credibility among the Chicago neighborhoods. They’re busy and bustling, but not in-your-face trendy; they’re understated and laid back, yet brimming with distinctly Chicago attractions. Home to some of Chicago’s best craft beers, fantastic parks and an endless stream of street festivals, Lincoln Square and Ravenswood offer tons of things to do for kids and grown-ups alike.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Lincoln Square and Ravenswood
Things to do in Lincoln Square and Ravenswood
Giddings Plaza is the cultural center of Lincoln Square. Home to restaurants, shops, a summer concert series, countless street fairs and more, the brick-paved pedestrian walkway embodies the heart and soul of the neighborhood. Giddings Plaza (also known as Kempf Plaza, a nod to the neighborhood’s German roots) is buzzing with laid-back events in the warmer months, but is a particularly charming stroll around the holidays.
The traditionally German enclave of Lincoln Square keeps its history alive at the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center. DANK Haus offers everything from German lessons to rotating displays that cover German and German-American history, plus the work of contemporary artists with German or European ties.
Right in the heart of Lincoln Square, Welles Park hosts all kinds of youth sports, concerts and storytelling events. Welles boasts an indoor pool, a fully-lit wrought-iron gazebo and therapeutic recreation programs for disabled children and adults. The park, founded in 1910, was named for Gideon Welles, a member of President Lincoln’s cabinet.
Lillstreet may be family-friendly, but that doesn’t mean it’s family-only. The Ravenswood arts center offers classes in everything from painting to pottery to jewelry to zine making. If you want to learn a new craft, hone your artistic talents, or just blow off some steam, sign up for a class at Lillstreet. You just might surprise yourself.
One of the pioneers in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, the Old Town School has since expanded to several buildings on this stretch of Lincoln Avenue and opened other locations throughout the city. It remains the best place in town to expand your talents by learning how to play guitar, Irish stepdance, draw comics and more. Its early-childhood music class, Wiggleworms, is a rite of passage for growing up in Chicago. Plus, its music stores stock musical instruments, accesories and more.
This massive, Victorian-era cemetery on the north end of Ravenswood hosts resting places for every war in American history, including the Revolutionary War. The cemetery was founded in 1859 and, according to lore, was supposed to be called “Roe’s Hill” and its current name was a clerical error. Even if cemeteries give you the heebie-jeepies, Rosehill offers 350 acres of tranquil green space in the otherwise bustling neighborhood.
For years, the Davis Theater has been one of those gritty, old school Chicago institutions we have a collective soft spot for. But the Davis is getting its groove back. At nearly 100 years old, the Davis was in need of a little facelift (like many 100 year-olds): The theater will soon re-open with the addition of a full-service bar and restaurant.