Skokie, a suburb north of Chicago, sits directly above Lincolnwood and west of Evanston. Residents enjoy the benefits of being near Chicago without living directly in the city, such as access to the Chicago Transit Authority’s rapid transit train system. Ten out of Skokie’s 18 public schools are highly rated, including two out of three high schools. The community also has award-winning park management and a well-known Holocaust museum, keeping culture and history strong in the area.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Skokie features many dining options, including Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Latin American and Caribbean favorites. Restaurants are located around the Old Orchard mall and scattered throughout the community.
For an authentic Chicago-style hot dog, Poochie’s on Dempster Street serves perfectly charred hot dogs with fresh toppings. Its salami sandwiches and hamburgers are menu favorites.
For something completely out of the ordinary, stop by Herm’s Palace, where you can order a hamburger stuck between two grilled cheese sandwiches that replace the typical bun, broccoli cheese puffs and a specialty called the Cardiac Sandwich. It features pastrami, fried salami and cheese on an onion roll, but be wary of eating this monster by yourself. In between bites of your sandwich, try out the few arcade games that keep this establishment fun.
The Skokie Theater is an intimate venue that features the unique musical and comedic stylings of local entertainers on most weekend evenings and select nights during the week. Grab a seat at the Village Inn on Sundays to catch a Bears game on one of 30 HD TVs. The bar shows all major sporting events and has a full NFL package.
For an extra-late evening, visit the Kush Hookah Lounge, open until 4 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and until 2 a.m. on other evenings. The lounge does not serve alcohol, but it does have a bring-your-own-beer policy for a cheaper drink option.
History & Culture
Founded in 1888 as Niles Center, the town was renamed in 1940 when residents chose the name Skokie over Devonshire. Skokie experienced a housing boom in the 1920s that came to a halt after the stock market crash in 1929. It continued to stall until the 1940s when former Chicago residents moved north, away from the city and into Skokie. At one point, Jews represented 40 percent of the Skokie population, but the community is now more culturally diverse.
On Nov. 28, 1934, the body of Baby Face Nelson, the infamous bank robber, was dumped in the area after he was killed during a shootout with FBI agents. A few notable residents include George Kotsiopoulos, co-host of Fashion Police; Bart Conner, Olympic gymnast; Nancy Lee Grahn, soap opera actress; Amanda Jones, former Miss USA; and Emily Naphtal, American figure skater.
The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center presents exhibitions and learning programs that teach visitors universal lessons regarding human rights. The center also hosts an annual event called the International Holiday Bazaar, which features gifts, houseware and jewelry from around the world. North Shore Center for Performing Arts in Skokie features a two-theater venue that highlights performances across various genres and styles. It also presents a performing arts program and hosts an annual showcase of performances for young audiences.
The Chicago Transit Authority’s Yellow Line runs from Chicago to Skokie and back, with one stop in downtown Skokie and another on Dempster Street. Service is regular, daily every 10 minutes, and travelers can transfer to the Purple or Red Lines once in Chicago.
There are two parking lots at the Dempster-Skokie CTA station, with fees ranging from $3 a day in the south lot to $2 a day or $40 a month in the north lot, as of 2014. Only bicycle parking is available at the downtown station. Three other parking lots throughout Skokie, Lincoln/Lotus, Mulford/Terminal and Niles Center/Skokie Boulevard, provide limited parking spaces that require registration and charge a fee of $60 a month, as of 2014.
Uber is available as part of the general Chicago metropolitan area. Those needing a ride can also call a taxi from Friendly Limo and Taxi Service. I-94 lies along the western edge of Skokie and is accessible via Dempster Street or by getting on I-41, which runs north to south through the middle of Skokie.
Since Skokie’s restaurants and shops are scattered throughout the town, some errands cannot be accomplished on foot. The walkability of Skokie depends on where you live. Skokie features 45 miles of bike routes throughout the town, including a bike lane from Niles Center to East Prairie Roads.
The typical costs of living in Skokie are higher than the surrounding area and the nation, including food and entertainment prices, which are higher due to the cost of living. Typical rent for a one-bedroom apartment runs between $900 and $1,000 per month. Costs of living in Skokie are about 12 percent higher than Chicago, with housing being nearly 40 percent higher than Chicago. Food, utilities and transportation costs average about the same in both Skokie and Chicago.
Several of Skokie’s shops are located around the Old Orchard mall, along I-41 between Golf Road and Old Orchard Road, but many others are scattered throughout the community. Shops in the Old Orchard mall include high-end stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Coach and Tiffany & Co. Other stores throughout the community offer high-value, such as Second Time Around Thrift and Gift Shop, and specialties, such as Aw Yeah Comics and U-Spy Store, which sells home surveillance equipment.
Grocery stores in Skokie include Village Market Place, Market Place on Oakton and Produce World International Market. The community also holds a farmers market on Oakton Street every Sunday from mid-June to the end of October.
Skokie has over 35 parks, ranging from small parks like Menominee Park, which has only a zoo-themed playground, and Weissburg Park, which has only a walking path, to large parks that feature several amenities. Most of the parks have a least one playground for the little ones to run off their energy, and all of them are free to enjoy.
Channelside Park houses the community’s dog park, as well as a boat launch, indoor rowing center and a skateboarding area. Laramie Park features the most athletic areas, with baseball fields, basketball courts, soccer fields, volleyball courts, tennis courts and field lights that allow participants to continue playing after sunset. Devonshire Park houses a swimming pool and a colorful walking trail that presents learning opportunities intended to boost language and literacy skills in young children.
Oakton Park hosts the annual Skokie Festival of Cultures, an award-winning celebration of ethnic music, dance, food, crafts and games. This park also features an electronic playground, petanque court, a swimming pool and athletic facilities.