Available May 31-September 1, excluding July 2-4

Daily boat launch passes are available for purchase at the Recreation Center of Highland Park for power boats, sunfish sailboats, SUPs, and kayaks. Personal watercrafts are not eligible for daily launches this season. The daily pass includes parking and in and out privileges for the day. Daily boaters are asked to return their daily pass card in the Park Ave drop box at the end of their visit. 

Personal Watercrafts are not eligible for daily launches.

Recreation Center of Highland Park
1207 Park Ave West 


Spring is the time of year you may notice dandelions popping up in our parks.  You might wonder why the Park District doesn’t do something about all those yellow flowers.  Letting them bloom is one way we keep our parks at their healthiest. Though not a complete source of nutrition for bee pollinators, dandelions also fill in early spring food source gaps.

As part of our best management practices, we aim to avoid spraying lawn chemicals to eliminate what some might deem an unsightly nuisance.   Instead, the yellow blooms can open to their glory across our parks.  Once the grass is long enough, crews will mow the dandelions giving our parks a more uniform “green grass” appearance.  

The Park District of Highland Park was one of the first Park Districts in Illinois to adopt an Environmental Policy which includes maintaining our parks, facilities and natural areas in a manner that enhances and protects the environment by minimizing the adverse impact on air and water quality. This includes “Integrated Pest Management” practices that minimize chemical use in favor of other management efforts such as careful mowing, aeration and–in the case of dandelions–working with nature to provide healthy places to play.

The Ravinia Farmers Market (RFM) opens for its 44th season from 7am to 1pm on Wednesday, June 1 at Jens Jensen Park in Highland Park. Opening day includes dozens of vendors and live acoustic music, as well as the season’s first Customer Appreciation Day, with organic product giveaways and more. Market attendees can also win community-provided prizes in an 11am free drawing. The Ravinia Market runs through October and is one of several markets in the Chicago area featuring local, organic produce grown by North Shore vendors.

“The Ravinia Neighbors Association and the Park District of Highland Park are the gracious Host Sponsors of the RFM, which allows the weekly event to have non-profit status. This alliance continues the mission to bring together the community in the Ravinia District,” says market manager Ed Kugler, who has managed the market since 2016. Kugler’s company, Taste Marketing, manages both the RFM and the Glencoe Farmers Market, which opens for its second season from 1-5pm, on June 11, next to Village Hall at 675 Village Ct. 

This year’s RFM will be bigger than ever, having more than doubled in vendor participation in the last three years, says Kugler. In addition to retaining most vendors from last year, Kugler has added several new vendors to the weekly line-up. Look for new offerings this season, such as a special Market Membership and a sponsorship program.

Live music continues this year, as “Jazzman” Jeff Justman returns from 8:45 to 10:45am most weeks. Since 2016, the North Shore-based acoustic musician has offered market-goers live entertainment in pass-the-hat style. Regular music performances from additional local artists are scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. each week on the market grounds. Weekly performances are sponsored by the Highland Park Community Foundation and Life Rhythms.

COVID-19 protocols will continue to remain at the forefront for the safety of customers, vendors, and market staff. Kugler adds, “Although conditions have changed since the 2021 market season, we are still following current COVID-19 state and local protocols, which will be followed and adapted to as we are directed by the City of Highland Park. The RFM is a member of the Illinois Farmers Market Association (ILFMA), which collaborates with the governor’s office to determine how all farmers markets in Illinois will follow the current COVID-19 protocols.”

Stunning!  A huge congratulations to Highland Park’s own Jason Brown, who performed flawlessly last night in the men’s figure skating short program at the 2022 Winter Olympics.  It was his personal-best short program performance.  Jason Brown performs the men’s figure skating free skate program this Wed., Feb 9, at 7:30 pm.

Go Jason!!!   

The Board of Park Commissioner’s monthly meetings are moving from Tuesday nights to Wednesday nights. The Park Board’s regular January meeting is now scheduled for Wednesday, January 26. On a forward-going basis, the Park Board will meet on the fourth Wednesday of each month and have a workshop (meeting of the whole) on the second Wednesday of each month. 

To view the Park Board’s meeting schedule, agendas, videos, and minutes, click here

Congratulations to Centennial Ice Arena’s own Jason Brown for being named to the U.S. 2022 Olympic Figure Skating Team. A one-time resident of Highland Park and graduate of Highland Park High School, Jason learned to skate at a young age. When he was just five years old, his mother registered him in the Park District’s Learn-to-Skate tot program at Centennial, and he skated and trained at the ice arena early in his career. As his skill on the ice progressed, he began competing and succeeding in major skating competitions. In 2013, Jason became a World Junior Silver Medalist, and in 2014 he was selected to represent the United States on the men’s figure skating team at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The team brought home a bronze medal. 

Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou join Brown on the U.S. figure skating team for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing from February 4 – 20.
To view the 2022 Winter Olympic Games schedule, click here. Check back to this website for updates regarding Jason Brown during the Games. Best of luck, Jason! 

In response to the recent steep rise in COVID-19 cases and to keep our residents and staff as safe and healthy as possible at our facilities, the Park District of Highland Park wants to remind our patrons that the State of Illinois mandates that all individuals aged two and older are required to wear a face-covering when indoors, regardless of vaccination status. 

 Please follow these important guidelines: 

In Lake County, the CDC Data Tracker reports a positivity rate of 16.24% over the past seven days.  We appreciate our community’s understanding and cooperation as we work together to navigate these challenging times.  Always, your health and safety are our top priority, and we will keep you updated as the situation evolves.  

The Park District encourages all eligible patrons to get vaccinated against COVID-19. For more important information about the COVID-19 vaccines, best practices to protect yourself and others, and the proper way to wear face masks from the CDC, click here

For updates on the Park District of Highland Park COVID-19 response, click here. 

Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS) will collect, transport, and dispose of holiday trees left curbside and free of decorations by all customers on their primary collection day, now through January 25. A sticker is not required. Contact LRS at 773.685.8811 with questions.

Residents may also drop off trees free of decorations, wires, or other recycling materials by the Park District through January 23. Drop-off locations are in posted areas of parking lots at Larry Fink Park, 1377 Deer Creek Parkway, and Danny Cunniff Park, 2700 Trailway. Park District crews chip the trees for use as mulch. Residents are welcome to use the mulch for their own gardens and landscapes. Contact Dan Voss, Director of Parks, at 847.579.3130 or dvoss@pdhp.org with questions.

Holiday lights may be recycled at the Highland Park Recycling Center, open every Tuesday and the first Saturday of the month from 7 AM – 1 PM, at 1180 Half-Day Road.

With the cold weather comes snow and winter fun! Take a look at everything you need to know about our outdoor winter activities:

Outdoor Ice Skating

Sunset Woods Park: 1801 Sunset RoadHours:  9am-9pm daily (rink is lit by existing park lights)

When weather conditions allow (an average temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder for 5 consecutive days, 5-6 inches of ground frost), Park District staff will begin flooding the ice rink at Sunset Woods Park. It takes four 24-hour days to spray and freeze the water to create a base and finish ice.

Throughout the season, the rink may be closed for snow removal or unsafe ice conditions. Sign up for the Rainout Line and get up-to-date information on the outdoor rink status.

Skating is free and the rink is sectioned off to allow for separate hockey and recreational skating. Groups should be considerate of one another.For the safety of our patrons, helmets are required in the hockey rink.  

There is no supervision or skate rental at the outdoor rink. Anyone using the ice rink should be aware that the risk of injury is present. The Park District encourages everyone to participate in this activity in a safe manner and suggests that children be supervised by a responsible adult.

Outdoor Sled Hill

Danny Cunniff Park: 2700 Trail Way Street (located toward the back of the park, just south of Centennial Ice Arena)
Hours: No set hours

The sled hill is free and open to the public. Please be aware that there is no supervision or warming facility at the sled hill. The Park District of Highland Park encourages everyone to participate in this activity in a safe manner and to follow these safety guidelines:

Throughout the season, the sled hill may be closed from time to time. Sign up for the Rainout Line and get up-to-date information on the sled hill and outdoor ice rink status.

Cross-Country Skiing

Heller Nature Center: 2821 Ridge Road 
Hours : 7:30am – Dusk 

Hit the snow on three miles of ungroomed trails at Heller Nature Center. Skis are available for rental whenever snow conditions permit (4″ base or greater). Call 847.433.6901 to check snow conditions.

$10/person: Reservations must be made online, no walk-ins.

If you have your own skis, please feel free to use our trails at your leisure from 7:30am to dusk.

Rental Time Slots:

Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri: 9-10am, 10:15-11:15am, 11:30am-12:30pm, 12:45-1:45pm, 2-3pm, 3:15-4:15pm

Thu, Sat, Sun: 9-10am, 10:15-11:15am, 11:30am-12:30pm, 12:45-1:45pm, 2-3pm, 3:15-4:15pm, 4:30-5:30pm

At the December 16th Park Board Meeting, the Park Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance for the levy of property taxes for the calendar year 2022. The ordinance provides a 5.76% increase from the actual property taxes collected for the Park District in 2020. The request with Lake County is for $12,381,667 in property taxes. The Park District’s portion of residents’ property tax bill is approximately 6.9%.

The 2022 Park District tax levy includes a combination of a 1.4% Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase in its “tax capped funds,” new growth estimated to be approximately $22 million, and an increase in the Special Recreation Fund levy from .0245% to .04%. The Special Recreation Fund is used for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) capital improvements, member fees for the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA), and to provide complimentary program inclusion aides for participants with special needs.

In 2021, the Park District did not increase its tax levy to provide relief for residents during the height of the pandemic. Operations were adjusted while providing safe and healthy recreational outlets. The Park Board felt it was the Park District’s responsibility to do more for our residents struggling with the financial ramifications of the pandemic. As the country and our community have slowly recovered, the Park District is now in full operation, and in many cases, seeing a record number of residents seeking recreational programs and services.