Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Arboretum of South Barrington

I am the first to admit I’m not a shopper and suburban shopping centers can be downright depressing to me. So when there is a place I actually enjoy the shopping experience you know it has to be good. The Arboretum of South Barrington certainly fits the bill. Conveniently located near I-90 at the intersection of Higgins Rd. and Sutton Rd., a.k.a. Routes 72 and 59, so finding it should be no trouble at all.

I’ll give you a hint on how to woo me with you shopping center; make it open-air. I’m not sure if I like to pretend we in Chicagoland aren’t buried under snow with negative wind-chills a chunk of the year or if it is nostalgia from my days living in San Diego. The landscape architects and planners for The Arboretum of South Barrington did a bang-up job. Plenty of greenery with lots of trees, gardens (10,000 grasses, ornamental and otherwise) and flowers (20,000 perennials!) as a nod to the tree farm which used to occupy this same land years ago. For the tree-enthusiasts out there (and really, who isn’t?) “80 species of shade and ornamental trees were selected for their hardiness against snow and the residual salt from de-icing. Over 2,700 trees in all came from local nurseries, varying in size, shape, and age, including maple, oaks, linden and locust. The larger trees include elm, Autumn Blaze maple, Turkish filbert, Kentucky coffee tree, and Golden Raindrop crabapple.” Impressive, eh?

Okay, enough on the nature, let’s talk about the shopping and dining! I love to try unique and independently owned places – and this shopping center has a nice combination of places you don’t see everywhere (they may have more locations, just not plastered all over like Target) and locally owned businesses. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a few of my favorites. For a complete list check out

Seasons Produce & Specialty Market – think farmer’s market on a smaller scale

Sur la Table – a fabulous kitchen store

Acquisitions for the Home – lovely furniture and accessories

Arhaus Furniture – ditto the above

Amazing Gracie’s Childrens Shoppe – now I don’t have children, but if you want yours (or your favorite nieces, nephews, etc.) to look good for a special occasion, this is THE place to go

Kinga European Children’s Shoes – once again, I have no kids, but love to look at these shoes!

L.L. Bean – yes, I know you’ve heard of them but they don’t have many locations and only one other in Illinois. All kinds of great outdoor gear, active wear and clothing. PLUS they are always having free or cheap workshops on a variety of subjects. Just recently while kayaking my husband and I came upon the LL Bean Kayaking Workshop learning how to paddle in the parking lot prior to getting in the water.

Kriser’s – go green for your furry friends with all natural pet food, treats, toys and grooming

L’Eiffel Bistro & Creperie – one of my absolute favorite places to eat with wonderfully delicious crepes (both savory and sweet), fantastic wines, lovely décor with outdoor dining patio, and they have Sunday brunch.

Anna Shea Chocolates & Lounge – Heavenly chocolates which look so beautiful you don’t want to bite in to them, until you do and discover how orgasmic they are! They also have cupcakes, a small gelato bar, frozen hot chocolate and plenty of chocolate-infused adult beverages and wine to go with your chocolate. Plus there are cutesy little items to purchase and they have a nice little room you can have a small private party in. These people know and love their chocolate!

Nozumi Asian & Japanese Cuisine – Mmmm, sushi. Need I say more? Sleek & stylish as well.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant They had me at “winery” but also a tasty menu and a gluten-free menu. Bonus points! Carryout and catering available as well.

Froots – smoothie heaven

Like I said, they have lots of other places to shop, eat, and you can even pamper yourself at a few of their spas and salons for hair, nails, facials, etc. And if it’s entertainment you are looking for they have a Gold Class Cinemas – the ultimate in theater experiences and Pinstripes Bocce & Bowling (which also has it’s own bar and restaurant area).

The center itself is always having different events and even antique markets. I hope I’ve inspired you to give suburban shopping centers another try and you will be taken to an entirely different level.

The Arboretum of South Barrington
100 W. Higgins Rd.
South Barrington, IL 60010

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