15 Best Western Suburbs of Chicago to Live in
It’s no secret that we here at the Ralphie and Ryan show love the western suburbs of Chicago. We were born and raised here, it’s where we and our families call home, and it’s where the vast majority of our real estate business takes place. We’re not alone in our appreciation for the western suburbs, either – ask any Napervillian, Northlaker or Wheatonite and they’ll tell you the same thing; out west is best.
Since starting our blog and YouTube channel, we’ve covered so many of the western suburbs – so we decided to put together this super list of all our favorites.
What counts as a western suburb? It’s a vaguely defined term, but for this blog, we considered any suburb that is:
- West of North and South Cicero Avenue
- East of the Fox River
- South of O’Hare Airport and I-90
- North of the Des Plaines River (or along it)
So, let’s head out to the wild western suburbs of Chicago to see which ones come out on top.
The 15 Best Western Chicago Suburbs
Good for commuting to Chicago, public schools, and shopping
Brookfield is a small suburb close to Chicago. With just a 37-minute metra journey to Union Station, the suburb is popular with working families and young professionals. It has two good shopping centers on the west side and the public schools are highly rated.
Residents say that Brookfield is a quiet and down-to-earth place to live. It would suit anyone looking to move out of the city and start a family, or who wants to earn a living in Chicago but pay an affordable suburban rent.
Good for families, outdoor spaces and community-feel
Lombard is a medium-sized suburb situated 20 miles directly west of Chicago. The village is bordered by lots of green spaces, including the Hidden Lake Forest Preserve, the Glen Oak Country Club, Churchill Woods and Lilica Park.
Locals say they love living in Lombard for the community atmosphere. There are lots of family-oriented events and the suburb has the comforting charm of a neighborhood where people recognize and look out for you.
Good for affordable housing and an easy-going atmosphere
As a Northlake local, I consider this suburb to be one of the most underrated. The house prices and rent are insanely cheap compared to the Chicago average – meanwhile, you are a stone’s throw from the popular suburb of Elmhurst.
Residents appreciate Northlake because it’s humble, quiet and friendly, and offers a great cost of living. It’s not the ideal location to commute to Chicago by metra but you can be there in less than 30 minutes by car.
12. La Grange
Good for commuting, families and schools
La Grange is a compact suburb within easy commuting distance of Chicago, being only a 25-minute train ride away. Sitting between the popular areas of Brookfield and Western Springs, the town is noted for its local businesses, strong community spirit, and family-friendly atmosphere.
Locals love living in La Grange because it’s a great place to raise a family, with low levels of crime and a small-town feel. The area has several highly-rated public schools including Arlington and Millbrook High.
Good for upscale housing, schools and boutique shopping
Considered to be one of western Chicago’s most desirable areas, Hinsdale was once dubbed by the Chicago Tribune as “the diamond on Dupage County’s ring”. And with its pristine downtown area, leafy residential roads and top-performing schools, it is a historic suburb that continues to shine bright.
Among the many charms which Hinsdale has to offer, locals highlight the elegant period houses, beautiful open spaces like Burlington Park, and excellent schools. Particularly noted is Hinsdale Central, one of the very best high schools in Illinois.
Hinsdale, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in hinsdale
Good for outdoor spaces, schools and affordability
Lemont is a small suburb situated around 25 miles southwest of Chicago. A picturesque and historic town set on a hill close to the Des Plaines River, the area is noted for its beautiful outdoor spaces like Black Partridge Woods and its quality schools. Importantly, it’s also one of the more affordable suburbs for renters, though, with an average rent of $1,000 PCM and only 20% rental properties, you’ll be in for a fight to find a place.
Residents say they love Lemont for its safe atmosphere and close-knit community feel. They also praise its convenience — with easy access to the I-55 Highway, it’s only 30 minutes from downtown Chicago.
9. Oak Park
Good for commuting, culture and diversity
Situated only 9 miles or a 15-minute drive from the heart of Chicago, Oak Park is perfect for commuters and those looking for a diverse community. The mid-sized suburb of 55,000 people is particularly noted as being the home of world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, whose hugely influential designs, including Unity Temple, can be found here.
Residents love the town for its liberal culture, its brilliant nightlife, and its charming mix of suburban and city living. Anyone looking for a taste of suburbia within easy reach of the Windy City should consider Oak Park.
Oak Park, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for Sale in Oak Park
Good for community worship, schools and things to do
Situated 25 miles west of Chicago, Wheaton is a medium-sized suburb noted for its large Christian population, with thriving church communities and institutions such as the renowned evangelical Wheaton College. It’s also a haven for lovers of the great outdoors, containing 47 parks in total.
Residents love the close-knit community feel and say the area is a great place to raise a family. They also appreciate the proximity to downtown Chicago and the large student population makes for a lively atmosphere. Those looking for close-knit community and natural beauty, whilst staying connected to the city, won’t be disappointed in Wheaton.
Wheaton, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Wheaton
7. Franklin Park
Good for affordability, commuting and community spirit
Franklin Park is a small town of 18,000 people which is located just 18 miles from the center of Chicago. This peaceful community is one of the more affordable suburbs with a median rent of only $880.
Residents love Franklin Park for its inclusive community and safety. They also praise the outdoor pursuits available on its doorstep, with the lake at local Schiller Woods offering fishing and walking trails. If you are looking for an affordable, homely town full of friendly faces, then you may well find it in Franklin Park.
6. Oak Brook
Good for shopping, high-end dining and luxury housing
Only 20 miles from downtown Chicago, Oak Brook is a small suburb that is big on luxury. With a great selection of upmarket restaurants, high-end shopping outlets, and some of the most impressive upscale housing in Illinois, the village is perfect for those looking for the finer things in life.
Unsurprisingly, Oak Brook is popular with those enjoying their golden years, with 40% of its population over the age of 65. As such, the area is well supplied with all the amenities and luxury properties that retirees could wish for.
Oak Brook, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for Sale in Oak Brook
5. Western Springs
Good for families, upscale housing and outdoor spaces
Western Springs is a small suburb of 13,000 people located 20 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, which is accessible by train in only half an hour. The village is blessed with plenty of outdoor space on its doorstep, including the Bemis Woods forest preserve with its cycling and walking trails.
With its top-rated schools and comfortable upscale housing, the picturesque suburb attracts many young families, who love the friendly community feel and the sense of safety.
Western Springs, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.
4. Glen Ellyn
Good for community spirit, schools and things to do
Glen Ellyn is a small suburb 25 miles due west of Chicago, which is just a 30-minute drive away. The area, nicknamed ‘The Village of Volunteers’, is famous for its inclusive, community-minded ethos, and new faces are always given a warm welcome.
With fantastic cultural institutions like the McAninch Arts Center, wonderful open spaces like Lake Glen Ellyn, and a great range of community groups and events, the suburb is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle and raise a family.
Glen Ellyn, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Glen Ellyn
Good for cultural and historical landmarks, schools, and families
20 minutes from downtown Chicago by car, but with a thriving community and business district of its own, Elmhurst has it all. There is much to do and see throughout the year, with cultural events like Art in Wilder Park, renowned institutions like Elmhurst Art Museum, and many shops and eateries.
Anyone looking for a suburb with a little more energy will not be disappointed here. And with great schools and a good mix of housing, it is also a wonderful place to raise a family.
Elmhurst, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Elmhurst
2. Downers Grove
Good for things to do, schools, and Millenials
Downers Grove is a large suburb conveniently located close to Chicago, being just a 30-minute train ride from Union Station. The area has a great reputation for nightlife, with a huge range of eateries and entertainment including the historic Tivoli Theater.
Residents love Downers Grove for its thriving social life and scenic outdoor spaces with walking trails. With its dynamic mix of urban and rural experience, this suburb would be perfect for younger Chicagoans looking to put down roots.
Downers Grove, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Downers Grove
Good for things to do, families, and schools
Naperville, a large suburb of around 150,000 people just a 40-minute train ride from Chicago, is a city with something for everyone. With a huge array of things to do, great schools, beautiful outdoor spaces, and a wide range of housing, it’s no surprise that Naperville is frequently recognized as one of the best places to live and raise a family in America.
Among the many things that locals love about this charming suburb are the brilliant schools, such as Naperville North High, which is acclaimed for its athletics teams. They also love the scenic beauty of the suburb, with the famous river walk a favorite destination for many. If you’re looking for a bustling city that’s got everything, you’ll love Naperville.
Naperville, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Naperville
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