The Run Down

It's Wednesday, and you realize you're out of fresh produce. Instead of waiting for the weekend, this guide has you and the family visiting Ravenswood for their mid-week farmers market, jumping on bouncy houses, and having a picnic in the park.

1. Shop @ Ravenswood Farmers Market

2 Picnic @ Winnemac Park

1. Ravenswood Farmers Market

In a small parking lot along Damen Ave., vendors set up for a late afternoon/evening market between 4 and 8 pm. The market is buzzing as soon as the gates open. A different food truck arrives each week to welcome everyone in.

Over 15 vendors are lined up inside the gates, selling a mix of prepared foods, produce, cheese, and artisanal items. It’s got all the farmer’s market essentials. Two regulars to visit are Original Empanoli, a half ravioli/half empanada creation, and Tamales Express, which you might recognize making the rounds at markets across the city. 

The mood is festive. Folk singers jam on a makeshift stage built from a trailer, and crowds of families are seated on blankets and vinyl chairs, enjoying the show under the shade of towering trees. 

A bouncy house is set up in the corner of the lot for kids looking to expend some of that afternoon energy. Chaos reigns supreme in there, but the kids can get enough of it. 


2. Winnemac Park

If you’re looking for a place that’s a little more scenic, Winnemac Park is down the street from the farmers market. This is a prime spot for a picnic with all your goodies from your recent shopping spree. Turn the corner, and you’ll find yourself on a tree-lined street bordering a 23-acre park.

The crowds from the farmers market have made their way to the expansive lawn. A father and son are playing catch on one of the multiple baseball diamonds in the park. Another family is taking advantage of the open space and trying to get a kite in the air. Most others are looking for some of the prime spots to lay out under the giant willow trees.

When you’re ready to wrap up the picnic portion of your visit, scan the park, and you’ll find pockets of natural areas filled with native grass and flowers. A small network of trails passes through them for a mini-hike.


For those of us coming with toddlers, a trip to the park isn’t complete without a visit to the playground. You can find the playground on the park’s west side, just past one of the natural areas. Or, if you’re ready to leave, try to avoid your little one seeing this side of the park at all costs.