Harry Maisel Blog

Welcome home to Wilmette

Only 14 miles from downtown Chicago, Wilmette was established in 1872. What’s unique about Wilmette is the variety of smaller neighborhoods within Wilmette. An area close to downtown Wilmette is the CAGE. The Cage is made up of four streets which include: Chestnut, Ashland, Greenwood, and Elmwood. Old real red brick streets and tall turn of the century green lanterns dot the street curbs in this neighborhood along with the massive trunked trees.

Along Sheridan Road towards the south end of Wilmette you will find Gilson Park/beach and marina. This is great place to graze, hang out and enjoy some good boating at a busy summer marina. Just across the street and impossible to miss is the Bahai Temple. The Bahai house of worship in Wilmette, is one of only eight Bahai houses of Worship in the world, and the oldest still standing in North America. This place of worship is open to the public and used as a devotional space for people of any faith.

For transportation, The Metra Train runs cuts through town along with the Green Bay Bike and Walk Trail. The Edens expressway is a few miles just to the west. The New Trier High Schools, East and West are minutes away by car, bus, or train, and so is Loyola Academy, a highly regarded Jesuit High School located just across the Edens expressway on the west side of Wilmette.


Fun Facts

1.  Only locals know that there is a hidden bowling alley in Wilmette and that’s Wilmette Bowl. It’s located on Schiller Avenue, a small side street off of Ridge. Wilmette bowl has been in operation since 1927 which is one of the oldest in Chicagoland. They have amazing thin crust pizza and craft brews. They offer parties for groups-definitely a throwback.

2. Wilmette is named after Antoine Ouilmette. He was a French-Canadian fur trader who settled in Chicago in 1790 on the north bank of the Chicago River. Ouilmette and his part Potawatomi wife, Archange Chevallier, moved to the Lake Michigan shore of present-day Wilmette around 1826. And there is a Ouilmette Lane in Wilmette.

3. Interested in Murder, Magic, and Madness? Devil in the White City by Erik Larson is a fantastic book about Chicago’s coming of age as a city, a famous architects vision to bring the world the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and about a serial killer H.H Holmes who caused mayhem by luring his victims to their death before and during the fair. Holmes lived in downtown Wilmette at 726 11th Street during this time. Steps from downtown Wilmette, you can drive or walk by where all of this took place.


Fitness and Outdoor Recreation

 1. Yogaview Wilmette is considered to be one of the best places to practice in all of Chicagoland. The Wilmette location at 1231 Green Bay Road has been in operation for 20 years. They offer beginner classes all the way to the advanced practitioner. They take their yoga seriously here. https://yogaview.com/

2. Lifetime Fitness Old Orchard is the big boy full amenity fitness club located in Skokie but on the border of the southwest end of Wilmette. Located at the Edens Expressway on Old Orchard Road, this national upscale fitness facility offers everything from cardio floor, free weight area, to a plethora of daily scheduled cross fit, yoga, spinning, Pilates, swimming pools and gyms for basketball/pickle ball and more. The men’s and women’s locker rooms offer spa type showers, steam and hot tubs. The club also offers spa services such as hair, skin, nails and massage.


3. Yoga Six and Stretch Lab -Located in Plaza Del Lago along Sheridan Road and Lake Michigan at 1515 Sheridan Road, Yoga six offers; wouldn’t you know it, six type of Yoga practices for beginners and advanced practice. Stretch Lab is directly next door to Yoga Six and provides short and long versions of individualized and group stretching. Go get flexible!



Best Spots to Take Your Instagram Selfies

 1. Hands down the Bahai Temple is the coolest place to do a selfie in Wilmette. Think of the Taj Mahal of the North Shore.

2. The Marina at Gilson Beach is pretty awesome, especially in the summer months. You will spot some gorgeous sailboats and power boats heading out on Lake Michigan.



 1. Valley Lodge Tavern is your go to cozy and comfortable place. Picture a Cheers Bar in the center of downtown Wilmette where everyone knows your name; that’s Valley Lodge. A friendly atmosphere located right on the corner of Central and Wilmette, offers a great variety of food and fantastic cocktail creations at their spacious bar. This place is great for families.  The food and drinks are always consistently solid.

2. Sophia Steak is wonderful gastronomy. The steaks and seafood are as good as any Chicago steakhouse without having to schlep downtown. Sophia Steak is bit pricey but for a special birthday, graduation, celebration, this is one of the best places to eat on the North Shore.

3. Pescadero is located on the opposite corner of Valley Lodge in downtown Wilmette.  Interior white brick walls and wood slat panel walls showcase the interior of this cool space that could easily transport you to a New England seafood spot. Pan seared scallops, giant seafood towers, fish and chips, and lobster rolls are just some of the great options here.

4. Convito Cafe and Market located near the entrance of Plaza Del Lago on Sheridan Road began in 1982 and has gone through a series of stylistic changes through the years. Patrons can now take advantage of combined Italian and French bistro fare offering brunches, lunches and dinner. Fresh gourmet prepared food choices include salads, soups, and fresh baked goods are offered daily. This is a must for any last-minute picnic preparations.


Fun with Kids

1. Homer’s Ice Cream is at 1237 Green Bay Road and has been in business since 1935. Gus Poulos created his first batch of ice cream back then which was richer and more satisfying than the competition and word caught on fast that this was the place to come. In fact, legend has it Al Capone, having a lakefront house in nearby Glencoe, was a frequent visitor and a most appreciative customer. Al Capone spent many hours in the Wilmette location and always had an unusual entourage.

2. Big Blue Swim School located in Edens Plaza in Wilmette offers a fun and safe environment for swimmers and a comfortable space for parents. 6 months to 12 years old professional swimming instruction. Easy to get to and abundant parking.

3. The Wild Child is a boutique kids store located in downtown Wilmette. It’s a North Shore Choice awards winner. It offers a great selection of toys, apparel, activities, crafts, and baby items. The goal of The Wild Child is to get kids unplugged and engaged in pretend play and interactive activities.


Massage/Coffee and Carwash

1. Melody Spa at 1109 Central Avenue in downtown Wilmette will remove your stress and get you re-centered. Melody Spa offers some of the best full body massages, hand and foot treatments with sea scrubs, and other types of massages in the North Shore for the lowest prices out there.  You will not be disappointed. https://melodyspa.business.site/

2. FUEL at 1222 Washington Court might have some of the best coffee around. Featuring Metropolis coffee, this fantastic establishment will get you going in the morning. Farm to table food options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Everything here is locally sourced. You will love it.


3. Norm’s Car Wash is located directly next door to Fuel right above here.  Although Norm’s is in the heart of Wilmette’s business district surrounded by a range of shopping, dining and business opportunities, it has been an “in-the-know” type of business for the past 27 years. By many this is the “best kept secret” within Chicago’s North Shore for a car wash. Let it be known that this is a superb, affordable and convenient car washing experience and they do offer custom detailing.



 1. Al’s Meat Market located at 1165 Wilmette Avenue is not your typical meat market. This is an old school quality meat market where you get to pick out the freshest cut of meat/poultry/pork available and the butcher prepares your order right then and there. If you have questions, or want advice on the best cuts of fresh meat,  this is the place you want to visit. Pick up Grade A, USDA cuts of beef, chicken, and Al’s famous store-made bratwurst.

2. de Giulio Kitchen Design-  For 45+ years, Mick De Giulio has been innovating kitchen design worldwide by designing hi-end residential and commercial kitchens. Featured in almost every home related and corporate luxury magazines, you can count on a 5 star experience when you walk into their showcase store at 1121 Central Avenue in downtown Wilmette.


3. Chantilly Lace Lingerie located in downtown in Plaza Del Lago provides women great sleepwear and bras that they claim will not only change a woman’s look but their outlook.  This boutique store was founded by a French woman 25+ years ago, and her aim was to provide the best service in a safe and respectful environment. European and other luxury brands are offered at this store and they do provide custom fittings.

4. Chalet Nursery at 3132 Lake Avenue is a household name for all things green for both inside and outside of the home. We are talking high-level landscaping services. For over 100 years, Chalet has provided Chicagoland with quality gardening, home accent decor, plants, flowers and a variety of trees.

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