Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park Unfolded

At Optima®, our appreciation for public sculpture runs deep. For those who are always on the lookout for memorable leisurely activities, we have a truly special recommendation. The Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park, situated just south of Optima Verdana®, presents a captivating mix of artistic wonder and natural splendor to explore. 

The history of the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park began when the land along McCormick Boulevard and the north channel of the Chicago River had deteriorated into a “neglected eyesore” and was in desperate need of revitalization. This land was owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. In the mid-1980s, the Village of Skokie envisioned transforming it into a recreational haven, complete with jogging paths, biking trails, and picnic areas for visitors to enjoy. Concurrently, a group of citizens saw this as a canvas for displaying large-scale contemporary sculptures.

Jim Agard – Gapingstock. Photo: Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park

By 1988, Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park was realized. Through the combined efforts of the Village and its citizens, the park was transformed into an amenity rich, open-air art exhibit. Today, the park stretches two miles, from Dempster Street to Touhy Avenue, and proudly houses over 60 sculptures. These art pieces come from local, national, and international artists, making it a repository of diverse artistic expressions.

Visitors are encouraged to delve deeper through expert-guided tours which offer rich insights into the stories behind each sculpture and the artists who created them. Additionally, the park has fostered an educational environment, hosting tailored workshops and sessions. These sessions are designed to cater to schools, groups, and individuals, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of sculpture and art.

Ted Gall – Charger I and II. Photo: Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park

Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park is open year-round with free admission, underscoring the park’s dedication to making art accessible to all. It’s a haven for joggers, cyclists, and families who enjoy picnics. Additionally, the park is fully accessible, accommodating individuals with disabilities. 

While the park is open seven days a week, access is limited between 11 PM and 4:30 AM. For art lovers and nature enthusiasts alike, Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park provides an unforgettable experience!

Neighborhood Spotlight: Skokie

Home to Optima Old Orchard Woods, Skokie, IL was once referred to as “The World’s Largest Village.” With easy access to nearby Chicago and ample transportation options, Skokie is connected to the urban while grounded in local community spirit. Here are a few of our favorite spots:

Collaboration, a sculpture by Luke Achterberg, at Skokie Northshore Sculpture Garden.
Collaboration, a sculpture by Luke Achterberg, at Skokie Northshore Sculpture Garden.

Explore Public Art in Skokie

At Optima, our appreciation for public sculpture runs deep and Skokie is the perfect place to experience the medium. Running alongside the Chicago River is Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park, a two-mile long expanse of lushly landscaped walkways and bike trails home to over 60 sculptures. The sculptures come in all shapes, sizes and styles, and the garden even hosts a “New Turf” and “Young Artists” gallery to truly expand its offerings.

Go Shopping… Outdoors

Skokie is home to Westfield Old Orchard Mall, an upscale shopping center that features a courtyard schema where shoppers can amble away the day, window shopping at department stores and brand-name fashion retailers, catching a bite at a well-known eatery or enjoying people-watching fountain-side. 

A sweeping view of Harms Woods Forest Preserve from Optima Old Orchard Woods.
A sweeping view of Harms Woods Forest Preserve from Optima Old Orchard Woods.

Reconvene with Nature

Nature is calling at Optima Old Orchard Woods, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls in every residence overlooking the lush trees of Harms Woods Forest Preserve. This popular forest preserve, conveniently located nextdoor, provides a gorgeous setting for casual hikers, horseback riders and cyclists alike to breathe the fresh air and convene with nature. Thanks to years of dedicated restoration efforts, visitors can also enjoy a thriving ecosystem of flora and fauna. 

Discover Your Favorite Dining

Beautiful and centrally-located Downtown Skokie is host to an abundance of dining and drinking options. The diverse culture of the neighborhood brings tastes from every part of the world: Zhivago creates continental plates with a Russian twist, while Kabul cooks up stylish and classic Afghan cuisine and Libertad promises a culinary adventure into the Latin American landscape. 

In Skokie, there’s always something new to discover. Stay tuned for more neighborhood spotlights on our other Optima communities. 

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