The Run Down

This is a guide when the weather is warm you're in the mood to grill food by the lake, throw the old pig skin around, and picnic in the grass.  To start, we'll be going as far North as you can go on the red/purple line train to get to the North suburb of Wilmette. What makes this particular park worth going to? Well, overlooking the park is a massive and uniquely designed temple which makes the backdrop while you're picnicking different than any other experience you'll get in Chicago. We'll also have a chance to visit the temple and learn more about it. Here are the details.

1. Grilling @ Gillson Park

2. Visit @ Bahai Temple

1. Gillson Park

Our first stop is Gillson Park where we’ll set up home base and get ready for our day on the lakefront. If you’re looking to to grill, they have an area with three grills at the Southern end of the park.  Here’s a link to a handy map of the park for reference.  This is where you’ll want to set up shop.  Here are a few logistical things to keep in mind.

– Grilling permits are available at Lakeview Center from January 1 to May 27 during regular office hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.). Beginning May 28 they are also available at the Beach House Office everyday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Both of these places are in the park.

– For non-residents, permits are $15.

– A permit gets you one of these three hour time slots.  11 a.m.-2 p.m.; 2-5 p.m.; 5-8 p.m

– If you’re driving, parking inside the park is another $10.

This is a shot of the harbor on the Southern end of the park grounds. If you want to get into sailing, this is the place to go for classes. 

One thing that makes this park stand out is having the Bahai temple overlook the entire park. It makes for beautiful scenic backdrop while you’re utilizing all the green space in the park.

Beach access is just a few yards away. One of the most well maintained beaches in the city.

2. Bahai Temple

So that temple that caught our eye while picnicking at the park — we’re headed there next.  This is the Bahai Temple, which is only one of eight Bahai temples in the world (and the only one in the US). The others are located in Uganda, Australia, Germany, Panama, Samoa, India, and Chile

The state of Illinois actually named this temple one of the 7 wonders of Illinois, so you can check at least one of them off your bucket list when you visit. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking about the place, but here are some tips to help you plan your visit.

– The temple is open to the public from 6am -10pm

– Welcome center is open from 10am – 5pm (Sept 16 – May 14); 10am – 5pm (May 15 – Sept 15).

– The welcome center is located near the front steps of the temple and is where you can learn more about the history of the Bahai faith, the temple and its architecture.