Formerly known as the Frank Govern Memorial Golf Course, Evanston Wilmette Community Golf Course awakens the competitive spirit of golfers of all abilities with an 18-hole, par 60 executive layout. With a total distance of 4,000 yards, the fairway chain invites players to attack each hole from the tee box, as the bulk of the course's difficulty awaits in the form of challenging greens and scorecards that hypnotize anyone who attempts to read them. Trees also loom on the edges of most holes as the layout winds along the edge of the North Shore Channel. Requiring a considerably shorter playing time than its full-length counterparts, Evanston Wilmette's abridged links cater to workers squeezing in a quick, after-hours round or 9-irons trying to get in 18 before their date with a dashing pool cue.
With sizzling pans of their finest dishes in tow, chefs and cooks from across town congregate at the annual Taste of Skokie Valley to dish out tastings and support their community. At the event, which benefits more than 30 local and international charities, they’ll pile plates high with samples of their plump burgers, international delicacies, and frosting-laden cupcakes. When they’re not grilling, stirring, or slicing, the chefs chatter amicably with guests, raising their voices ever so slightly to be heard over the soft hum of the crowd and lively music from Michael Lerich and his Orchestra.
The silent auction and raffle also keep things local, doling out prizes such as gift cards to local shopping malls or maps to locally buried pirate treasure.
Home to a gymnasium, an indoor track, and a stable of 63 sets of cardio equipment, Niles Family Fitness Center is a 5,000-square-foot sanctum of wellness. The child-friendly facility features a wide range of options for the younger set, from childcare services ($6 per child per visit) to the 100-foot waterslide in the aquatic center, ideal for launching intercontinental cannonballs. Besides access to the health haven's fields of equipment, membership benefits include unlimited group exercise classes such as yoga, core conditioning, and cardio dance, all taught by trainers with either national certifications or a master's degree in exercise physiology. Students in Body Flex use hand weights, bars, and exercise balls to develop a toned, strong body, whereas turbo kickers raise their heart rates with an intense combo of kickboxing and dance fitness. Locking lockers and towel service are also provided to members, as is access to the sauna and the whirlpool, where athletes and their perpetual broccoli companions can enjoy steamy relaxation.
Barn & Company brings a little down-home flair to the center of a major metropolis. With rusted tin ceilings, reclaimed barn-wood walls, and a wood-burning pit and big boy smoker that imbues meats with robust flavor, the restaurant’s always in the midst of a full-on barbeque. This is reflected in the menu, a compilation of smoked ribs, pulled pork, and fried chicken legs cooked in a style described as a little bit of Memphis, a little bit of Kansas City, and a little bit of Texas. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, kids eat tiny-sized entrees for free, and every night of the week, more than 30 plasma TVs project sporting events.
The private rooms at Lincoln Karaoke act as a lyrical playground for parties of crooning compatriots fueled by audience admiration and refreshments from the kitchen and bar. Sofas cushion spectators as soloists belt out the lyrics displayed on flat-screen televisions, and two additional wireless mics aid in a capella renditions of the theme from Ghostbusters. A range of rooms is available to accommodate groups both small and large, with the biggest rooms seating up to 30 people. A menu of Italian and Asian favorites—such as pizza, dumplings, and orange chicken—sate hankerings and specialty concoctions from Dave the bartender wet parched throats between sets.
Since opening its doors in 1998, Language Stars has introduced more than 30,000 children to foreign languages with small-group classes and full-immersion activities. Through a selective process, Language Stars recruits ambitious teachers from more than 20 countries who share a common goal of revolutionizing how and when American children learn foreign languages. Parents and Tots Classes are available for children between 1–3 years old, and Kids Only classes are available for children 3–5, 5–8 and 8–10 years old. Absorbent little minds soak up Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, or Arabic with the help of their FunImmersion approach, learning naturally through games, songs, activities and art projects to help kids finally understand their foreign-exchange imaginary friends.