BMW Championship Week in Lake Forest: A Guide to Happenings Nearby

BMW Championship Week in Lake Forest: A Guide to Happenings Nearby
Lake Forest Beach on the east side of town offers fun on the sand. Photo credit: Show Me Chicago

Celebrity sightings are a given this week in and around the usually quiet enclave of Lake Forest.  With all the top players including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Luke Donald here for the BMW Championship, from Monday, September 9 through Sunday, September 15, along with the big name media from literally around the world, famous spectators and celebrity sports figures more than 125,000 guests are in town–expanding Lake Forest’s population 7-fold.  Show Me Chicago has put together a guide to events and happenings in and around Lake Forest for BMW Week for visitors, spectators and the players:

Dining Around Town…

Hungry? Here are some of Show Me Chicago’s favorite bites and brews.

  • Authentico in downtown Lake Forest for traditional Mexican food with contemporary flair and margaritas.
  • Market House on Market Square in downtown Lake Forest for lunch or dinner. Their whitefish sandwich was voted in the top 100 sandwiches by Chicago Magazine.
  • Inovasi Restaurant at 28 E. Center in Lake Bluff offers a seasonal farm to table menu for lunch Monday through Friday and dinner Monday through Saturday.
  • Lake Bluff Brewery is a quaint craft brewery that features a bit of the old coupled with a lot of the new with an emphasis on local. The atmosphere is casual and friendly. Pretzels, hummus, pizza and sandwiches are available along with the craft brews.
  • And yes, Lake Forest even is home to a number of Sushi restaurants. One of the favorites with locals is Sushi Kushi Toyo at 825 S. Waukegan which features traditional Japanese cuisine.

The Other Sandtrap…Lake Forest Beach

Hot? Head to the beach.

It is cooler by the lake. On Monday, when the thermometer sizzled at 93 degrees at Conway Farms on the west end of Lake Forest it was a comfortable 83 degrees on the east side of Lake Forest. In addition to getting your feet wet, you can enjoy breakfast or lunch on Friday, Saturday or Sunday from Raging Kitchen on the beach. Opens 8 a.m. Parking at the beach is only for those with a Lake Forest vehicle sticker. Non-resident drop-off and access to the beach facility will be at the northern most entrance of the wooden walk ramp which is located just south of the upper circle drive at Lake Ave. and Spring Lane. (Take Deerpath Rd. to Lake and turn South to Spring).

More Golf

Two public golf courses in the area are “Taylor Made” for sporty play at reasonable rates:

Keeping in Shape

  • Lake Forest Health and Fitness Center offers classes, a spa, fitness services, excellent equipment and a spacious aquatic area with day rates available.
  • Biking and hiking is available along the Green Bay Trail that parallels the Union Pacific Metra tracks (east side).  You can catch the trail just west of Sheridan Rd. at Old Elm Rd. in Lake Forest and head north or catch it at St. Johns Ave. and Sheridan Rd. in Highland Park and head south.


Chicago’s Theater scene is second to none and the North Shore is home to three of Chicago’s most respected theaters:

  • Writers’s Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe is currently running “The Old Man and the Moon.”
  • Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie opens their 2013-2014 season with the Chicago Premiere of “4000 Miles” on September 14.
  • Marriott Theatre a popular well-established theater-in-the-round that is currently running the musical “9 to 5.”

Live Music

Chicago’s North Shore is not known as a hotbed of music but if you look around a bit, you’re sure to find some gems. One such gem is the Ravinia Festival. The final outdoor concert of the 2013 season, “Pilobolus” takes place Sunday September 15 at 7 p.m. Other music venues and live entertainment are best found in downtown Highland Park and Libertyville. Good bets include: Vibe at 1935 in Highland Park, Firkin, and Island Tap (112 E. Cook, 847 367 4445) in Libertyville…but check first to see if they are offering live music on the night you plan to go.

A Really Big Book Sale

Named one of the best book sales in the nation, the Friends of the Lake Forest Library’s 38th Annual Book Sale, kicks off Thursday (for members and Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the general public). This premiere sale is a must for bibliophiles and bargain hunters alike.  The offerings include over 100,000 books, plus videos, CDs, DVDs and more in a comfortable indoor atmosphere with well marked and easy to find categories. The sale is at the Lake Forest Recreation Center Gymnasium, 400 Hastings Road, Lake Forest. Hours: Friday Sept. 13, 9 am to 8 pm, Saturday Sept. 14, 9 am to 5 pm. Sunday Sept. 15, 9 am to 5 pm (Bargain Day: all books half off).

Chicago Botanic Garden

This 385-acre garden situated on nine islands is a gardener’s paradise. Featured are 26 display gardens surrounded by four natural habitats: McDonald Woods, Dixon Prairie, Skokie River Corridor, and Lakes and Shores. Dining, a gift shop and an educational center are also on the grounds.  The Garden is open every day of the year. Admission is free but parking is $25 per car, free for Garden members. 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe.


You may want to stop by downtown Lake Forest’s Market Square as much for the architecture as the shopping. Market Square is notable as one of the earliest planned shopping centers in America. The Square was designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw in 1916.  The U-shaped space blends Italian Renaissance, Tyrolean, Bavarian, Flemish and English architecture in the three sides which enclose a grassy square with a fountain in the middle. Western Ave. between Deerpath and Westminster across from the Metra station in downtown Lake Forest.


Chicago is the Capital of Festival, now that we are into the “fall” season their are a keg full of Oktoberfests. Locally the Wilmette Oktoberfest  on Friday, September 13 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. offers a very full day of activities kicking off with an antiques market at 9 a.m. plus family activities, an outdoor beer garden, a German diner and live music. St. Joseph School, 1740 Lake Ave., Wilmette.

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