WEST RIDGE — This weekend it's all about being outside in West Ridge. No matter your preference, here are a few things you could do around town to make the most out of this weekend:
Check Out The New Nature Preserve: Years in the making, the West Ridge Nature Preserve is already known as "one of the most beautiful places in the city" — and it's celebrating its one-week anniversary. The 20-acre park has a nature trail, benches to gaze out at the lagoon and space to sit down and read a book. Grab the Western-49 bus (it stops right in front of the park entrance), drive, walk or do what you must to check out this green wonderland. Its entrance is at Ardmore and Western.
Eat Hearty At Rub's: Did you know Rub's famous smokehouse at 6954 N. Western Ave. offers a "BBQ 101" class? It's sold out this weekend (you might want to look way ahead on your calendar), but you can still stop by to take in its many delicious smells and tastes. Get the classics like pulled pork, brisket and chicken, or try anything else from Tex-Mex to truffled macaroni and cheese.
Treat Yo'Self With Frozen Custard: Perhaps one of the most important lessons in weekendery: treat yo'self, as they say. And anyone who's ever been to family-owned Lickity Split Frozen Custard knows they're the real deal when it comes to indulging in something mouth-watering. At Lickity Split, you can blend a cookie dough cupcake into creamy custard and add whipped cream and a cherry on top, and no one bats an eye. At 7000 N. Western Ave., all your dessert dreams just may come true.
Eat Healthy At Arya Bhavan: Smoked meat slathered in sauce not your thing? No problem. Check out Arya Bhavan at 2508 W. Devon Ave. for a delicious, healthy meal where no bib is required. Arya Bhavan is completely vegan, has lots of gluten-free options — but doesn't skimp on the yummy stuff like raw coconut maroons and Medu Vada, aka lentil doughnut fritters served with sambar and chutney.
Watch Cricket, Play Baseball Or Stargaze At Warren Park: Want to be outdoors but prefer sports and sprawling fields to lagoon-watching? Warren Park, at 6601 N. Western Ave., has dozens of sports, recreational programs and plenty of places to walk, sit or run throughout the huge park. On any given night, a trip to the park is like a mini-trip around the world. It's the weekend — no one will judge you for having a park-side barbeque picnic and then taking a nap on your blanket.
Take A Citizenship Class: People hail from around the world in West Ridge, which is one of its best traits. For any international residents who wish to learn more about becoming a U.S. citizen, there's a workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Northtown Branch Library, 6345 N. California Ave.. The workshop is open to residents of Chicago only, and neighbors considering taking the class should remember that new citizens must be green card holders in the U.S. for at least five years (or three if married to a citizen). Sponsored by Centro Romero and World Relief Chicago, you can call 773-508-5300, ext. 20 and ask for Susana Salgado to get pre-registered.
Take A Walk With The Birds At Indian Boundary: For park-goers who are looking to spot migratory birds stopping through the neighborhood on their way to warmer weather, check out Indian Boundary Park's bird walk. On Sunday starting at 8 a.m., Dave Willard of the Chicago Audubon Society will lead the annual walk at 2500 W. Lunt (a walk in the spring yielded a sighting of 22 species) before circling back to the park's field house for snacks and refreshments. The walk is free, but feel free to make a donation toward the park.
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