Indian Communities in the Chicago Suburbs
Chicago is known for being a melting pot of incredible cultures, including South Asian and Indian American communities. The mid-1960s saw a large growth in the number of Asian American residents in Chicago and a further boost took place in the late 90s.
Indian Americans have been the third-largest ethnic group in Chicago since 2006.
But while the city of Chicago is famously diverse, the suburbs are known to vary in demographics. So which suburbs have Indian communities today? Where can you find Hindu temples and South Asian retailers and restaurants? The good news is that there are many Chicago suburbs with Indian communities — they’ve grown by over 52% since the 2000s, according to the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI).
We cover everything you need to know and more in this article on Indian communities in the Chicago Suburbs.
5 Suburbs with Indian Communities in Chicago
1. Devon Avenue
Locally known as Little India, Devon Avenue is a vibrant area in the North of Chicago with many Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi retailers, restaurants, and community resources. Although it’s too central to officially be part of the Chicago suburbs, its history and cultural presence make it worth mentioning even on a blog about the suburbs.
The Indian community on Devon Avenue began with the opening of a sari shop in 1972, which was the first Indian retailer in the area. By 1974, Devon Avenue opened what would go on to be America’s largest Indian chain supermarket: Patel Brothers.
There are still many Indian American and South Asian American locals and businesses in the Devon Avenue area today. Some of the most highly-rated restaurants include Ghareeb Nawaz Restaurant, where you can eat Pakistani food; Punjab Sweets, where you can take away family favorites like Jalebi, Ras Malai and Samosa; and Nepal House, where they serve traditional Nepalese and Indian dishes.
The Indo-American Center on North California Avenue gives out free Indian meals, educational courses and community events. On the east side of Devon street, you can find the Hamdard Health Center, which has a special focus on the health of South Asian and Middle Eastern people.
Devon Avenue, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.
Schaumburg is frequently listed as a suburb with a high percentage of Asian residents, and that includes South Asian and Indian people. This large, diverse town is North West of Chicago and offers affordable housing compared to the Chicagoland average.
As well as having a strong Indian community, Schaumburg is on the map for Indian food. There are numerous restaurants where you can enjoy Thali, Biriyani, Pav Bhaji, Dosas and more. A particular favorite among Schaumburg locals is Eggholic, where they serve classic Indian dishes with an unusual twist – they’re all egg-themed. They also make delicious lassis (thankfully with no egg).
Schaumburg isn’t the ideal commuting town, as the metra station is on the outskirts and takes 1.5 hrs to get to Chicago. But on the positive side, if you have a car then it’s no problem. Plus, the school system is highly-rated and there is heaps to do in this friendly, diverse Chicago suburb. Locals say that International Village is a good place to hunt for an apartment, as it has a strong Indian community.
Schaumburg, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Schaumburg
On the map next to Schaumburg you’ll find Hoffman Estates, a mid-sized suburb that is well known for its large Indian population. Hoffman Estates has similarly affordable housing to Schaumburg, but, being a smaller town, the local data reports lower crime rates.
There are Hindu temples and worship groups close to Hoffman Estates, some of which are in Schaumburg, including Shree Jalaram Mandir and the Devotional Associates of Yogeshwar. You can also find casual Indian eateries in the area, alongside a wide variety of other stores and restaurants. The schools here are also highly-rated and proudly support a diverse body of students.
If you’re looking for affordable suburbs in general, you’ll find it informative to scroll through our article on the most affordable but safe suburbs in Chicago.
Hoffman Estates, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Hoffman Estates
Skokie is popular both as a diverse suburb and for being an up-and-coming place to be. The town sits just beside Evanston and there’s plenty to keep you entertained, including restaurants, shops and big parks.
With one of the most diverse populations of all the Chicago suburbs, Skokie plays host to a large Indian community. Although there are only a couple of Indian restaurants, there are more than a handful of great South Asian supermarkets and stores, where you can pick up exported produce from Pakistan and India, including Halal products. There are also Sikh, Buddhist and Hindu places of worship close by in Evanston and Devon Avenue.
Being close to the popular city of Evanston, Skokie house prices are slightly more expensive than the Chicago average – but they’re still cheaper than in Evanston itself. There are also lots of condos and apartments to rent in Skokie for under $1,000 PCM. The school system is strong in this suburb, with four different A+ rated high schools to choose from, according to niche.com.
Skokie, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for Sale in Skokie
5. Des Plaines
Des Plaines is a town in the Chicago suburbs that is home to a large Indian and South Asian population. Just north of O’Hare airport, it’s a well-connected hub and affords its residents easy journeys to Chicago and Evanston by metra or car. There is lots to do in Des Plaines, including plenty of nice restaurants and large parks, preserves and golfing greens close by.
This suburb is frequently listed as having some of the largest Indian communities in the Chicago suburbs. There are Hindu and Buddhist temples in Des Plaines, as well as several popular South Asian restaurants and grocers. The suburb is also close to Niles, which is well known for its Indian and South Asian communities and is where you’ll find the hidden gem called Indian Bazaar, where you can pick up great North Indian produce.
Des Plaines, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for Sale in Des Plaines
Other Chicago Areas with Large South Asian Populations
Of course, the areas we’ve listed aren’t the only ones in the Chicago suburbs with South Asian and Indian communities. Generally, Indian Americans are spread across the whole of Chicagoland, however, you can also find strong communities in the following suburbs:
We’ve covered living in Oak Brook and the best parts of Naperville in detail, so follow the links if you’re interested in learning more about these suburbs that have significant South Asian populations.
Another notable destination in the Chicago suburbs is Lemont, where you’ll find the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago overlooking the Des Plaines River from the wooded hills of Lemont. The temple includes the Rama temple, Ganesha-Shiva-Durga temple, a community center and the Vivekananda Spiritual Center. The temples draw visitors from all around as they are impressive examples of Chola and Kalinga dynasty architecture and the 10ft bronze sculpture of Swami Vivekananda is a truly unique cultural landmark in Chicago.
The city of Aurora is home to an equally impressive temple, the Sri Venkateswara Swami (Balaji) Temple. Daily acts of worship take place at the temple for occasions such as Purnima (full moon) and include Seva, Abhishekham and Puja.
The suburb of Barlett, close to the tri-city area, has the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a temple run by volunteers. The architecture is stunning and the restaurant serves incredible vegetarian Indian food that is single-handedly worth the visit.