North Shore Sidewalk Sales (and 5 Tips to Navigate Them)

We’re not sure who invented the sidewalk sale.

We’re guessing it was an ingenious salesperson looking to catch the attention of shoppers enjoying warm weather. Whoever it was, we thank you. The sidewalk sale is a seasonal treat, where we can combine a love to window shop with the thrill of a perfect summer day.

Navigating these summer-fun sales is an art. Keep in mind these 5 tips for guaranteed shopping success:

1. Get there early. You don’t want to get the slim pickings of all the great deals offered, so arrive early to scope out everything first. Plus you’ll beat the heat and be done in time for lunch!

2. Visit your favorite booths every day of the sale. This one takes dedication, but some vendors put out new merchandise each day (at great reduced prices!) that you won’t want to miss. On days two and three, do a quick lap to scan for any new deals.

3. Bring both cash and credit cards. Be prepared for stores to not accept credit cards to keep things moving. Don’t miss out on a great purchase just because you forgot to hit an ATM beforehand.

4. Dress for all types of weather. Don’t let rain spoil your shopping day. Stash a rain coat or small umbrella in your tote in case of a sudden change in weather.

5. Bring water. Nothing can tire you out more than shopping (especially when you’re dehydrated). Bring a water bottle to quench your thirst throughout the day.

Now that you’re armed and ready to take on the circuit of local sidewalk sales, here are the ones you don’t want to miss this month:

Central Street, Evanston: July 11-14

Evanston’s Central Street district offers up their outdoor sale, promising steep discounts beginning at 10 a.m. daily. Don’t miss the strolling performers!

When you go: Grab a cookie from Great Harvest Bread Company for yourself, and make sure you stop by the Happy Husky Bakery for Fido.

Wilmette: July 12-13

If you’re more of an outdoor festival kind of shopper, Wilmette Summerfest does it up right with children’s activities, art, a beer garden and more.

When you go: Sit on the deck at Depot Nuevo for an early dinner.

Northbrook: July 12-13

Part of the village’s Downtown Hometown event, the sidewalk sales are sure to offer top quality finds at fantastic prices.

When you go: Go hungry! Don’t miss Sunset Foods’ famous BBQ rib smoker and the Weber Grill tent!

Glenview/Glen Town Center: July 18 – 20

Stores take to the sidewalks for three days in the Glen Town Center—participating retailers include The Book Market, Carter’s, Dino’s Sports Fan Shop, Ella Louvi, Hot Mama, Oh Olive, Tru Rehab, Verizon, Vibrato, Vintage Nest and Stella315.

When you go: After braving the sales with you, take the kids by Make-A-Messterpiece or Kohl Children’s Museum for a well-deserved break.

Winnetka-Northfield: July 19-20

Winnetka and Northfield have combined their sales effort this year, with several shopping districts that all participate in this 2-day event. Don’t miss the “Go Green” and Kid-entrepreneur sections.

When you go: Don’t miss Lemongrass—it’s a MIB favorite for Thai cuisine.

Kids with you? Try the Children’s Gift Shop or Book Stall at Chestnut Court for a few favorites.

Highland Park: July 25-27

A perennial North Shore favorite, Highland Park’s sidewalk sales (hello, New Balance on sale!) coincide with several other entertaining options.

Kids with you? Take a peek inside Beanstalk for some fabulous baby accessories.

Barrington: July 25-27

Look for great bargains downtown at The Foundry, the Ice House Mall, Village Shops and more.

Kids with you? There’s also a free sidewalk chalk art contest!

Downtown Evanston: July 26-28

Almost 200 merchants are participating in this year’s event, which also includes the Chicago/Dempster shopping district.

When you go: If you don’t want to mess with parking, you can always park by the Davis Street “El” stop and take the Purple Line to make your way back and forth from the Chicago/Dempster district. Or, walk it and stop to eat al fresco along the way.

Another bonus about sidewalk sales? You can get to know the nonprofits in your neighborhood!

Do you know of a great sidewalk sale? Share it with us in the comments below.