A Local's Guide to Geneva, Illinois

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Hey friends! I'm really excited for this post and not going to lie...I'm kind of kicking myself for not doing it sooner. In case you didn't know, I'm from a small town outside of Chicago called Geneva, Illinois. No, it's not to be confused with the popular summer destination known as Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. While both are great, Geneva obviously holds a special place in my heart. When friends come to visit I try to give my best description which is usually a "picturesque town straight out of a movie". *Fun fact* Geneva was featured on The Ellen Show as one of the best small towns to visit during the Christmas season (had to throw in the subtle humble brag). It was also the backdrop for the film Road to Perdition featuring Tom Hanks...no, I will not be offended if you've never heard of it.*

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What I love most about this quaint, picturesque town is that it's has so much to offer. Countless delicious restaurants, places to shop, and parks to explore. Since I've lived here majority of my life, I figured I would give you the breakdown from a local's perspective. The best part of it all: if you live in the city, Geneva is only an hour train ride away. Trust me it's well worth the trip. 

The List

  1. The Paper Merchant

  2. Cocoon

  3. The Little Traveler

  4. The High-Hat Resale

  5. Anew Resale

  6. The Burger Local

  7. Green Gypsy Juice

  8. El Molcajete

  9. All Chocolate Kitchen

  10. Graham's 318

  11. French Market

  12. Exploring the Fox River

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Shopping

The Paper Merchant

This is one of my favorite shops on Third Street, mostly because I'm a big fan of prints, planners, and all things stationery. Unfortunately, the shop is currently closed due to a fire but it's definitely a must visit when it reopens. 

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Cocoon

This is another one of my favorites, they do such a good job curating unique items. Whether it's furniture, jewelry or prints -- it's a great place to find gifts for any occasion. I personally love looking through and finding little accents for my bedroom.

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The Little Traveler

The Little Traveler has been a landmark of the Geneva since 1922. It's got rooms on rooms (56 departments to be exact) filled with anything and everything you can imagine. Each room has a unique theme such as a candy room, purse room, even a room designated specifically for Christmas decorations all year round. Granted when I was little I used to always get lost because, I kid you not, this old house is a maze -- there's even a little cafe in the center of it all.

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High-Hat Resale

I like to think of High-Hat as my little secret gem. If you're not into resale shops, no worries, but I'm a big fan of finding unique pieces. Majority of the time the styles are geared towards a...eh...older generation but every so often I find a really great deal on a comfy sweater or work shirt.

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Anew 

If you're looking for a little more upscale resale shopping, Anew is the perfect place. I love coming in here and scoping out their new merchandise. Usually I'm able to score some pretty great deals on items that would have probably costs me 3x as much at Nordstrom. 

Food/Drink/Dessert

Green Gypsy Juice

This juice bar is tucked away inside of Moveable Feast. It has the most delicious assortment of juices that will jump start your day. Or if you're wanting to get real intense and looking to start a cleanse, they offer a 3-day juice cleanse that is sure to make your body happy

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El Molcajete 

I recently tried El Molcajete for the first time. It has always been on my list since it has such a cute rooftop patio overlooking downtown but I've never heard much about the food. Turns out the food is SO GOOD. Their tacos are absolutely delicious! Plus, if you go on Thursday they have $5.50 margaritas that are super tasty too! 

Cabos tacos: beer battered fried fish on soft corn tortillas with red cabbage slaw and chipotle aioli.

Cabos tacos: beer battered fried fish on soft corn tortillas with red cabbage slaw and chipotle aioli.

Camaron tacos with sauteed shrimp with grilled onions in chipotle sauce topped with cilantro and sliced avocado.

Camaron tacos with sauteed shrimp with grilled onions in chipotle sauce topped with cilantro and sliced avocado.

Mango margarita: fresh muddle lime, mango, orange liquor, organic agave nector. El Mayor reposado, and tajin.

Mango margarita: fresh muddle lime, mango, orange liquor, organic agave nector. El Mayor reposado, and tajin.

Burger Local

Hands down the best burger place in town. I LOVE their shrimp burger...omg. It's heaven in a bun. It's a little embarrassing how much of a fan I am of this burger, it's the only thing I order off the menu. Yes, I have ventured out and tried their mac and cheese which I will say it delicious too.  

  Shrimp burger with pepper slaw, avocado, sriracha aioli, unagi sauce.

 

Shrimp burger with pepper slaw, avocado, sriracha aioli, unagi sauce.

All Chocolate Kitchen

One of my favorite places to grab gelato. It was started by the Chef Alain Roby, a three-time Guinness World Record holder, is the expert in all things chocolate. He's got giant chocolate sculptures placed all over the cafe and serves up the best Toasted Coconut gelato this girl has ever tasted. They also have great coffee, pastries & savory bites

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Grahams 318

I love spending time at Graham's 318. It's one of the many places I go to get work done. They've got great coffee and it feels like a coffee shop straight out of Gilmore Girls. *Fun fact it was actually turned into Luke's Diner for a day last summer.*

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Downtown French Market

Sunday mornings in the summer are the best. Mostly because the Geneva French Market is open. Why is it called a French Market? It's basically just a fancy farmer's market filled with a wide range of vendors. Each week there are a few different vendors to check out. I love picking up fresh flowers and pretzel rolls from Hahn's Bakery.

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Exploring the Fox River 

The Fox River is my go-to during the summer since there are awesome paths that connect the three towns along the river. Whether walking, biking or running they've got some great views.. My friend and I decided to venture into the water when we found the local bike store offered kayak rentals. It was a great way to take in the town in a completely new way! 

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If you're wanting to take a less adventurous route your best bet is to venture over to Island Park. There's a cute little space to sit and have a picnic or just take in the quaint views.

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Have you ever visited Geneva? I would love to hear if you are a fan of this city just like me! Or if you have any other suggestions.