Best Suburbs of Chicago
People all over the world want to live in Chicago; a city famous for its food, culture, nightlife, sports, and people. But which suburbs capture the very best of what Chicago living is all about?
As life-long locals and real estate agents with years of diversification across Chicagoland, we’ve seen the best of the burbs up close and personal. Out of the hundreds of neighborhoods nestled around The Windy City, here are our nine favorite picks.
- Population- 78,000
- Median Home Price- $235,000
Schaumburg is an attractive town of 78,723 in the Western Suburbs, of Cook County. Though it doesn’t appear on every list of Best Chicago Suburbs, Chicagoland locals know it as a relatively affordable option where you can find well-kept properties, nice restaurants, and career opportunities on your doorstep.
With skyline views of high-rise buildings and the second-largest mall in Illinois, Schaumburg gives a taste of urban life while firmly holding onto all the benefits of a quiet and friendly suburb. While there is no specific downtown area, dining options range from upscale eateries to mom and pops, and chains and shops include the nation’s favorites like Whole Foods, Restoration Hardware, Apple, Sephora, and Macy’s.
Schools, parks, and amenities in Schaumburg are high quality, putting this suburb on the list of settle-down destinations for Illinoisian families. The average home price is below the Chicago average at $257,800 and you can find a mix of properties including condos, townhouses, and single-family homes. As Illinois’ second-largest economic development, there are several big employers in Schaumburg including Zurich, Mitsubishi, and Amita health.
Schaumburg, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Schaumburg
8. Glen Ellyn
- Population- 28,846
- Median Home Price- $450,000
Glen Ellyn offers the best of both worlds; it’s a cute, quiet, and quaint Chicago suburb that comes fully fitted with a vibrant downtown (one of the best suburban downtowns in Chicago), a performing art’s center, a lakeside pavilion, and lots of delicious local dining options.
Lots of families live in Glen Ellyn and niche.com ranks this suburb as the 4th best place to raise a family in Illinois. It has some of the best schools in the state and its population is highly educated, with more than 2 in 3 locals holding a bachelor's degree and above.
Glen Ellyn is surrounded by a ring of greenery; not only are there 29 parks within the suburb but if you drive for ten minutes in any direction you’ll find one of eight large parks, woods, and forest preserves.
Homes in Glen Ellyn are more expensive than average in Chicago, with a median house price of $453,900. You can find many desirable properties here, including both historic and beautiful homes and many new constructions.
Glen Ellyn, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Glen Ellyn
- Population- 74,587
- Median Home Price- $355,000
Evanston is a college town just north of Chicago and overlooks Lake Michigan. It’s the home of Northwestern University, which is a highly prestigious institution and Illinois' oldest university. The city has a young demographic and student life keeps the atmosphere vibrant and exciting. Evanston tops our list of the best diverse places to live in the Chicago suburbs.
As niche.com's number one place to live in Cook County, the city is naturally filled with great people, things to do, and places to see. Residents are spoiled for choice every day of the week with long lists of world-class restaurants, bars, cultural establishments, and parks to choose from.
Both excellent and average schools rub shoulders in Evanston; if education is a priority then you’ll find it here, but you can also benefit from more affordable neighborhoods by opting for one of Evanston’s less competitive schools. Price is a consideration when moving to Evanston, with home prices being around $60,000 more than the average across Chicago.
Evanston, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Evanston
6. Downers Grove
- Population- 49,470
- Median Home Price- $395,000
This suburb might be missing an apostrophe, but that’s about the only thing Downers Grove is short on. This is a village that can charm anyone; good schools, pleasant parks, a historic downtown, over two dozen restaurants, a handful of breweries, and a desirably short commute to Chicago. As such, many young professionals choose this DuPage suburb as a base to live, work and play.
Home prices in Downers Grove are a little higher than the Chicago average, coming in at around $390,000. Although this is a popular suburb, there are a wide variety of homes available on the market, including townhouses, single-family homes, and condos. With a little perseverance, those coveting a home in their new favorite part of town will find something perfect for them here.
Most schools in Downers Grove are A-rated institutions, making this suburb popular with families who want the best and brightest start for their children. Although this area is decidedly cool among youngsters, there is so much for families to do here too, including walks through parks and nature centers and fun days out downtown.
Downers Grove, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Downers Grove
5. Buffalo Grove
- Population- 43,210
- Median Home Price- $325,00
We like Buffalo Grove because it’s very safe and homely and enjoys less competitive real estate than the honeypot suburbs closer to the city, with house prices falling in line with the Chicago average. Meanwhile, the standard of living is far above average. Schools, housing, and family life are all considered excellent in Buffalo Grove, which explains why many of the suburb's 43,000 residents are families.
Buffalo Grove's creekside path is perfect for cycling, as is most of the quiet downtown area. This village is a little further out and so you avoid all the heavy traffic that clogs up the inner Chicago suburbs. Because of the village’s location, they’ve had to provide their own entertainment – you’ll find a lot more tasty restaurants and shops here than you might expect for a primarily residential area.
There are significant developments underway in this suburb and we expect to see Buffalo Creek cropping up more and more as one of the choicest destinations to live in the Chicago suburbs. While it may not be the ideal commuting town (1 hour + to Chicago by metra), you can be in Evanston in 30 minutes or Chicago in 40 minutes by car.
Buffalo Grove, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Buffalo Grove
- Population- 16,617
- Median Home Price- $925,500
Once dubbed the diamond on the DuPage county ring, Hinsdale is a sight to behold. Tree-lined streets cast shade over historic period buildings and many visitors take a day trip just to visit this jewel on the National Register of Historic Places.
Although Hinsdale is home to many affluent residents, the downtown restaurants are surprisingly cozy and intimate. Hinsdale generally favors elegance over flashy displays, making this suburb perfect for a peaceful wander through various boutiques and parks, perhaps finished by a delicate meal at one of Hinsdales's many incredible sushi spots.
Compared to many Cook County suburbs, the Hinsdale property tax rate is slightly lower – but prospective buyers should factor the higher home values into the equation. Homes here cost 2.5x more than the rest of Chicagoland and there are well over 100 lavish properties valued at $1M+. Naturally, you can expect the standard of living to be incredibly high in Hinsdale, with competitive schools, fantastic amenities, and enviable crime and safety protections.
Hinsdale, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in hinsdale
- Population- 149,500
- Median Home Price- $449,500
This suburb consistently tops lists of ‘best place to live for…’, so we thought we’d give some other suburbs a break and place Naperville third on our list. The truth is that any one of the next three suburbs, including Naperville, offers unparalleled standards of modern life in the Chicago suburbs.
Naperville is number one for public schools in America and rubs shoulders with even the best private institutions too. The suburb’s world-class reputation for education makes competition high – but children who school in this suburb say they feel very grateful for such an incredible opportunity in life.
The suburbs brings visitors from all over Chicagoland into DuPage, many of whom are there to enjoy the scenic riverwalk through the downtown, the centennial beach, and to shop, eat and drink till they drop. Luckily, Naperville is a sprawling suburb, so most of its residents find themselves nicely tucked away from the hustle and bustle of one of Illinois' most popular downtowns.
Naperville, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Naperville
- Population- 20,315
- Median Home Price- $465,000
This mid-sized suburb north of Chicago is as cute as a button; historic brick shops with painted fronts line up on Main Street and inside you’ll find boutiques, art dealerships, high-end antiques, jewelers, and chocolatiers. It’s also home to one of the best pizza places in the north Chicago suburbs.
Libertyville is a family-focused suburb with good schools, clean streets, lots of parks, and high safety ratings. Almost a third of the community is under 21 years old. They say they appreciate growing up in a calm, sheltered community that is close enough to the excitement of Chicago to get a taste of the wider world.
As you’d expect from such a pretty suburb, some parts of Libertyville are known for being expensive. On paper, average homes here are $100,000 more than the median Chicago house price – but in reality, you’ll find those that come onto the market are at the steep end of the price range. But with all the suburb has to offer, most residents say that they consider themselves lucky to be able to live here.
Libertyville, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Libertyville
1. Clarendon Hills
- Population- 8,427
- Median Home Price- $550,000
We’re not unique in voting Clarendon Hills as the best suburb to live in Chicago. It recently topped the rankings as not only the best suburb around here, but also the best place to live in the entire state of Illinois, and the 7th best place to live in America. Clarendon Hills has a jaw-dropping number of accolades to its name and it only takes one visit to see why.
The village has a small but sparky downtown, many stunning parks and preserves (including one with a waterfall), and plenty of things to keep the community hustling and bustling. It’s peaceful but far from boring, offering the perfect balance that suburban homeowners yearn for. Clarendon Hills is in the Western Suburbs and the entire village has easy access to the West Hinsdale Metra, though you may not find yourself wanting to leave all that often.
Clarendon Hills, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for Sale in Clarendon Hills
While Clarendon Hills is sometimes overshadowed by its neighbor and big sister Hinsdale, we see this as a positive. Clarendon Hills' families enjoy the same opportunities but with a more reasonable cost of living. Homes in Clarendon Hills come in at $300,000 less than Hinsdale on average. Yet, students can still attend Westmont or Hinsdale high school, and the quality of life, surrounding beauty, and community in Clarendon Hills are priceless.
Posted by Rafael Velasco
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