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Stock Photo (pjwarneka / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

There’s a reason Lincoln Park is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Chicago — and the unique shops, gorgeous parks and seemingly infinite outdoor activities are just the beginning. Here’s a list of the best ways to spend an afternoon.

Armitage and Halsted

Armitage Avenue, Halsted Street and Webster Avenue

www.armitageshopping.com

If you’re a retail junkie, there isn’t a more ideal shopping experience than the Armitage and Halsted district, where unique shops like Art Effect (934 W. Armitage Ave.) boast an array of distinctive clothing, jewelry and home decor items. It’s also a haven for beauty addicts, with Benefit, MAC, L’Occitane and Kiehl’s stores all a stone’s throw from one another. But perhaps the most unique shopping experience you’ll discover is the Aroma Workshop (2050 N. Halsted St.) where shoppers can create their own custom perfume or attend a class where $30 gets you an essential oil blend and a consultation with a certified aromatherapist.

Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 N. Clark St.

(312) 742-2000

www.lpzoo.org

Who doesn’t love baby animals? The Lincoln Park Zoo (2001 N. Clark St.) welcomed a menagerie of newborns in the past year, including a baby rhino aptly named King, a red kangaroo joey named Jack and Francois the Langur monkey. The zoo is open seven days a week and is one of the last remaining free admission zoos in the U.S.

You can continue the park experience at the Lincoln Park Conservatory and Gardens, where the lily pool is open for the 2014 season and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum for the daily butterfly release. The North Pond Nature Sanctuary is the perfect place for a picnic.

Diversey Driving Range

141 W. Diversey Parkway

(312) 245-0909

http://diversey.cpdgolf.com

If you’ve been itching to hit the golf course, look no further than the Diversey Driving Range to perfect your swing. The facility features a two-tiered range with target greens, club rental and, as an added bonus, the city’s friendliest staff. Golfers of all abilities are welcome. If mini golf is more your speed, the facility also offers a putt-putt course (adults, $10; juniors 17 and younger and seniors 62 and older, $8).

The Chicago History Museum

1601 N. Clark St.

(312) 642-4600

http://www.chicagohs.org

The Chicago History Museum is one of those places that pop up on “things to do in Chicago” lists a lot (ahem), but that’s only because it deserves to be there. The museum is home to more than 22 million Chicago-centric documents and artifacts. Summertime bonus: Hit up Chicago Hot Dog Fest on Aug. 9 and 10 for all-you-can-eat Ballpark hot dogs and entertainment all weekend long. Proceeds benefit the Chicago History Museum.


— By Lisa Schryver, Brand Publishing Writer