Park Ridge is one of the more picturesque northwest suburbs of Chicago—from the tree-lined streets to the huge variety of home styles, and of course, the downtown area (though of course, no one calls it downtown… locals call it Uptown).
The sidewalks are lined with elderly, teenagers, and young families; enjoying a meal, visiting with friends, or just walking through to get somewhere. Look around and you’ll find beautiful, old architecture, as seen in the art-deco style Pickwick Theatre, right alongside modern residential and commercial developments that broke ground in 2005.
There’s a lot packed into this bustling area, so I’ve outlined some of the local favorites below—including top-notch dining, shopping, and events to keep you engaged right here in Uptown Park Ridge.
Uptown Park Ridge—Dining
Here’s one thing I know for sure: you won’t go hungry in Uptown Park Ridge. While there have always been some tasty eats, I have to say, the foodie game has grown exponentially over the past several years. This list is a good place to start as you eat your way through Park Ridge!
Blue Ridge Korean Barbeque – A newer eatery in town, Blue Ridge offers a little spice to the area. Beef Bulgogi and Korean Pancakes are two favorites that you’ll find here.
Cream of the Crepe – The first of two crepe places in Park Ridge, Cream of the Crepe will have your mouth watering from the minute you look at the menu. Enjoy authentic French crepes, with savory or sweet fillings. Like my 3-year-old would say, how about both?
Dolcetti Patisserie and Cafe – Just a touch of the beaten path, this little gem packs a punch. Visit Dolcetti for a coffee, decadent sweet treat, or a quick bite for breakfast or lunch.
Harp and Fiddle – You guessed it; this is your best Park Ridge spot for Irish fare and festivities. You might come for the corned beef, but you’ll stay for the live music and fun, family-friendly, atmosphere.
Hay Caramba – This local favorite has been around longer than most places on this list, though it did have a location change and major makeover several years ago. Any night can be a fiesta when you stop by Hay Caramba for dinner. Be sure to order the tableside guacamole!
Holt’s – A long bar, tall open windows, and an outdoor seating area give Holt’s a really great vibe for a meal with the family, or for a night out with friends. They are known for their yummy pizza, but I recommend the sandwiches and salads too!
It Crepes – Yep, this is crepe place number 2. You’ll find that the second of the crepe restaurants offer later hours, so you can enjoy their food into the evening. Once again, the savory and sweet crepes are the perfect combo.
Make Room for Truman – Delicious food. Delicious drinks. Delicious desserts. Locals and those who work in Park Ridge were happy to learn that they recently opened for lunch in addition to dinner. Yes!
Pazzi Di Pizza – The newest restaurant on this list has been quite the hit so far. Reservations are recommended! Walk-in, and you’ll instantly smell the homemade pizzas, pasta, and bread. Does it get any better than that?
Pennyville Station – You have to love that this Uptown restaurant adds a little history by using the name once given to the town many years ago. I also personally love that they use fresh, sustainable ingredients—AND they do amazing things with those ingredients!
Reye’s Steakhouse – Park Ridge was happy to welcome a steakhouse to the Uptown area. Reye’s delivers not only a great steak, but also quality service, and a comfortable atmosphere.
Shakou – This popular sushi restaurant brings a piece of the city into the suburbs. Large open windows, modern decor, an expansive sushi menu, and specialty cocktails… you get the idea. It’s a hit!
Sonny’s Express – Sonny’s Express is the newest in a chain of restaurants owned by Frank Ernesto, in Park Ridge. Each spot has offered delicious pizza, sandwiches, and salads, and Sonny’s Express continues the tradition.
Thaleiva’s Indian Kitchen – I’m a sucker for a piece of fresh naan dipped in a rich, aromatic, Indian curry… so you would be right to guess that this is one of my favorites! Thaleiva’s serves up delicious, authentic, Indian food, at a good price.
The Original Pancake House – Need a tried and true breakfast in town? You can’t go wrong here! This is the kind of place where you are family, and you always see some “regulars”. For a simple and delicious breakfast, brunch, and even lunch, they’ve got you covered.
Uptown Park Ridge—Shopping
Ok, we can’t eat ALL day, so what’s next in Uptown Park Ridge? How about some shopping? As you walk around the beautiful streets of Uptown, pop into a few boutiques to find unique items from clothing to furniture, and everything in between.
2 Sisters Boutique – At this chic boutique, women will find the latest, fabulous fashions at a fabulous price (each piece is under $100!). Love what you see? Come by weekly to see what’s new.
Camp Willow – Not only will you find great clothes and accessories for women, but this is your spot for baby styles as well. Bring something unique from Camp Willow for a baby shower and it’s sure to be a crowd favorite.
Chico’s – This popular chain offers a boutique experience and styles for women. Enjoy perusing the many clothing and accessory options, and be sure to use the complimentary personal stylist in-store to narrow down your options.
Dick Pond – In the active community of Park Ridge, this athletic store is quite popular. Come here to outfit yourself for your athletic needs, but also to participate in group events, such as a 5k run, or a walking group.
Edie Boutique – This store is full of fun! You can be sure to stay hip with Edie’s exciting selection of attire, jewelry, handbags, and more. Edie has vibrant options for both young and mature women.
Hill’s Hallmark – Not all Hallmark stores are created equal; and while I might be biased, I think this Park Ridge staple is one of the best. For many years, Hill’s Hallmark has been a go-to place for greeting cards, graduation gifts, and a wide assortment of tchotchkes.
Kriser’s Natural Pet – Your furry friends will be sure to thank you for a visit to Kriser’s. They follow the idea that “If it’s not good for us, it’s not good for our pets”. And for those of us with pets, we know they’re part of the family, so we want the best for them!
Natalie Boutique – At Natalie’s you’ll find upscale, affordable accessories that can bring any outfit together and keep us looking stylish at any age.
Raffia Gifts – I can remember visiting this store as a kid, and I loved it, because there was always something new that I hadn’t seen before. This remains true today, as you can find a fun, unique gift for anyone in your life at Raffia. Home decor, bath and body products, jewelry… these are just a few of the items offered here.
Reddington Bridal – Well, the name of this store gives it away… but seriously, it’s very special to have our own bridal boutique in town. Not only will you find upscale and classic bridal styles, but you’ll find extraordinary customer service as well.
Sole Mio – This may be the most unique option on our list. Sole Mio Studio boasts a wide array of art pieces, and no two are the same. Find paintings, sculptures, woodwork, and more.
Uptown Girlz – Their website says it best… “Fabulously Fashionable in Park Ridge”. Uptown Girlz offers a great variety of styles for women’s apparel and a ton of exciting gifts for girls of all ages.
Uptown Park Ridge—Events
You’ll find a ton of entertainment year-round in Park Ridge—but here, I highlight a few of the big events that are located right in Uptown. Come for one and you just might come back for the rest!
Arts and Crafts Adventure – This year marks the 29th Arts and Crafts Adventure in Park Ridge! Each year, this event occurs in both the Spring and the Fall, so everyone can participate. Settled in the conveniently-located, Hodges Park, this festival showcases artists with a great variety of items offered.
Concert in the Park – For 59 years, the Park Ridge Fine Arts Symphony has presented this wonderful opportunity. During the peak of the Summer season, a free concert is offered each Friday night. Concert-goers enjoy classical music while visiting with friends and munching on snacks. Come early to grab your favorite spot!
Cruisin’ Park Ridge – This fun event takes place the first Friday of each month, June-September. Proud, specialty car owners show off their babies for attendees to check out, but that’s not all; local businesses have joined in the excitement, offering refreshments and kids’ entertainment.
Farmers Market – This is my favorite event in Park Ridge, and lucky for me, and everyone, it happens every Saturday from Memorial Day to the end of October! Find tasty treats, the freshest produce, gourmet items, and more.
Main Street Craft Beer Festival – For a town that was dry until the not-so-distant past, it’s pretty amazing that for 3 years now, the Craft Beer Festival has been a highlight of Memorial Day weekend. Presented by Beer on the Wall and Harp and Fiddle, this popular event serves up dozens of beers, plenty of great, local food, and fun for the kiddos too.
Taste of Park Ridge – Instead of commuting to downtown Chicago to sample many styles of food, we can find it here, in our own backyard. Residents love this event that boasts sample-size and full-size meals, adult beverages, live entertainment, and of course, more fun stuff for kids.
Vine Street BBQ Competition – After competing in another BBQ competition, four friends (who all happened to be BBQ enthusiasts) decided to start a family-friendly festival and competition right here in Uptown Park Ridge. Those who came by got to enjoy tons of great BBQ, as well as music from local artists, and kid attractions.
Wine Walk – This is another event that makes us chuckle a little that Park Ridge used to be dry. This newer event is quickly becoming a Park Ridge favorite! Wine walkers enjoy sampling wine around town while learning about local businesses and perusing the many fun shops.
Winterfest – This is a beloved tradition in Park Ridge, occurring the day after Thanksgiving each year. This wintery event ushers in the holiday season with Christmas carols, trolley rides, and treats from local businesses.
Food, shopping, and events cover most of the great attributes of Uptown Park Ridge; however, there are a few more locations I’d like to highlight that don’t quite fit into the other categories but are vital parts of the town.
Beer on the Wall – Ok, this isn’t just on my list because two of my best friends work here… but they did help me fall in love with this place! Not only can you taste beers in-store, but you can also take them home with you. AND better yet, there’s coffee, tea (from TeaLula), games, and the best company.
City Hall – City Hall is home to most governmental offices in Park Ridge. Chances are, as a resident, you will visit at some point; perhaps to get a vehicle sticker or to vote. This beautiful building, with sweeping steps in front, acts as a stage for the Summer concert series. You can’t miss it!
Hodges Park – As the first park established by the park district, Hodges park is a staple to this town. It’s located just north of City Hall and is the perfect place for a picnic lunch or game of tag with the kids. It’s also home to many events throughout the year, like the Summer concert series.
Park Ridge Community Church – Park Ridge is home to many wonderful churches, but this is one that you just can’t miss. The blue steeple stands tall, right in Uptown Park Ridge. While the congregation began in 1843, the construction of the church building began in 1874. The community church welcomes all to join in church worship and activities.
Park Ridge Metra – A big draw of living in Park Ridge is the ease of commuting to downtown Chicago. One of two Metra stations in Park Ridge, the Park Ridge station sits in the middle of Uptown. The accessible station also offers easy transfers to buses.
Park Ridge Public Library – In the heart of town, you’ll find the library—an excellent resource for residents of all ages. The newly renovated space offers modern design, practical workspace, and a lot of fun for the kiddos in your life.
TeaLula – Walk into this quaint shop and be greeted by a wonderful aroma of tea, fruit, and spices as well as a smile from one of the lovely employees and/or owners. TeaLula offers a great environment for learning about tea and catching up with friends. Enjoy a cup right in-store, or buy loose-leaf tea to take home with you. We have a cabinet committed to TeaLula at our house!
So, Uptown Park Ridge is really great, right?!
No matter the time of year, there is always something to do. And this is only what’s going on Uptown—imagine the opportunities when you look at the whole of Park Ridge!
This multi-generational community is full of charm, good food, and excitement. If you come to check out a restaurant or event, you just might stick around a while.
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