Looking for some fun this summer? Like to explore new towns, visit cool shops, maybe see a movie or have some dinner? Here's a list of seven great towns to visit this summer that you may not have been to:
1. Geneva: This far western suburb has top-notch restaurants and shopping, not to mention several great festivals, including Swedish Days, which starts Monday the 22nd. It's right on the Union Pacific West line, and the historic downtown stretches along Third and State for about 4 square blocks north. Noteworthy: Riverside Park, Bien Trucha restaurant, Kernel Fabyan's popcorn, The Little Traveler, Graham's 318.
2. Mount Prospect: Tucked into a corner of Cook County, Mount Prospect is a quintessential suburb, with coffee shops, restaurants and stores galore. On the Union Pacific Northwest line. Noteworthy: Farmer's market held on Sundays from May - October.
3. Arlington Heights: The next stop up the UP-NW line, Arlington Heights has big box shopping, a horse-racing track, and a fairly fancy downtown with great nightlife. Noteworthy: Fuego, Peggy Kinnane's.
4. Glen Ellyn: Halfway between Chicago and Geneva lies affluent Glen Ellyn and its adorable downtown. With a fantastic mix of stores (from bike shops to bookstores to wine bars), and an eye toward revitalization, there's something for everyone in these tree-lined streets. Noteworthy: Glen Art movie theater, Cabernet & Co. Wine Shoppe, Shannon's Irish Pub, Bells & Whistle's Snackery.
5. Elmhurst: Another favorite of mine -- on the same train line as Geneva and Glen Ellyn -- Elmhurst has great restaurants, a large and modern movie theater, museums, and some stellar shopping, all in a pedestrian-friendly City Centre. Noteworthy: Lizzadro Museum, Flight 112 Wine Bar, Sushi Nest, SereneTeaz.
6. Itasca: Small but nice, Itasca is compact and easy to love. In a few square blocks, there's wine, ice cream, parks, pizza and more. Noteworthy: Wine With Me, Delia's Deli & Ice Cream, Tree Guys Pizza Pub.
7. West Dundee: Not a lot to West Dundee -- it shares a downtown with East Dundee -- but in a few blocks there's a candy store, a lovely park, and several great restaurants. Noteworthy: Emmett's Brewpub, Francesca's.