Destination: Downtown Grayslake

Experience the unique character of our region.


Located in the heart of Lake County, Grayslake is a sanctuary for local shoppers. Historical structures and vintage lighting along red brick streets lend a quaint hometown vibe. The village is proud of its local history, renovated downtown and thriving community. Situated along U.S. Route 120, about 40 miles from downtown Chicago, this village of 20,957 invites visitors to experience its rich heritage. Here are some of the area stops they may enjoy.

➲ Grayslake Heritage Center and Museum
Meaningful preservation of local history is a key priority across the village. Executive Director David M. Oberg is excited for the museum’s newest exhibit, “Farms: Seeds of our Community.” 164 Hawley St., (847) 543-1745.

➲ Cacao Sweets & Treats
Candice Hunsinger is the woman behind this relatively new, delightfully cute bakery in the Village Center. Enjoy the shop’s tea-party atmosphere for a delicious cake truffle, cupcake or signature brownie – all made from scratch. 122 Center St., (847) 223-2253.

➲ Neil Estrick Gallery
Neil Estrick gladly greets visitors at the door of his eclectic gallery, often emerging from the backroom studio after firing a batch of clay pots. Estrick offers eight-week classes ranging from kids ceramics to adult wheel throwing. 888 E. Belvidere Road, (847) 223-1807.

➲ Emil’s Tavern on Center
Called the “beer mecca of Lake County,” this sports bar offers a colossal menu of domestic, imported and handcrafted brews, and 20-plus flat-screen TVs. 161 Center St., (847) 543-8879.

➲ The Vine Martini & Wine Bar
Laced with grapevines and twinkling lights, the dining area and patio provide a laid-back atmosphere with an uptown vibe. Full lunch and dinner menu, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients and dishes/drinks made to order. 101 Center St., (847) 543-0900.

➲ Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve
Enjoy 1,220 acres of wildflowers, native grasses, wetlands and large oaks. Golf cart tours, like one planned Aug. 10, from 9:30-11:30 a.m., enable those with mobility difficulties to explore the preserve, too. Located at 1899 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville. (847) 968-3321.

➲ Glunz Family Winery & Cellars
With more than 120 years of wine business experience in the family, the Glunz clan turned know-how into practice when it opened this business in 1992. These fourth-generation winemakers produce and sell small-batch wines on-site. Ask about late-night wine tasting events. 888 E. Belvidere Rd. Ste. 107, (847) 548-8038.

➲ Summer Events
Summer Days. Family-friendly weekend features music festival, carnival games, food vendors and parade Aug. 16-17, at the Municipal Parking Lot.
Color Aloft Balloon Festival. First annual hot air balloon send-off on Aug. 24, from 5:30-9 p.m. at Central Park.
Farmer’s Market. Fresh, local products at this weekly farmer’s market, held every Wednesday, from 3-7 p.m., during the summer.

➲ This Old Book
Akin to downtown’s antique feel, this gently used bookstore finds beauty in vintage items. Includes more than 35,000 gently used books, and a collection of photography and creative images including prints, postcards and photo cards. 138 Center St., (847) 548-6951.

➲ Stonewall Orchard Golf Club
The rolling acres of this 18-hole course were designed by award-winning designer Arthur Hills. 25675 W. IL Route 60, (847) 740-4890.

➲ Willow Lake Veterans Memorial Monument
Army veteran Wayne Maczko is working hard to preserve local history in Grayslake by developing the Willow Lake Veterans Memorial Monument near the College of Lake County. The memorial space will soon be home to a new bronze sculpture of a life-size soldier.