Living in Oak Brook - What You Need to Know
Oak Brook is a suburb that wasn’t simply built – but designed. Much thought has gone into providing a refined and modern suburban experience, making this village a haven for anyone who enjoys the finer things in life. Most of the suburb’s residents are here to stay, no doubt thanks to their easy access to all the luxuries of modern life; fine dining, golfing, shopping, hiking, and travel. Unsurprisingly, many young people are outbid to live in this glamorous suburb and almost 40% of the population are retirees.
The suburb literally has food, nature, shopping, and convenience at its center. Right through the middle of Oak Brook, you have route I-88, Oak Brook Centre, Salt Creek, forest preserves, and restaurant-lined streets. It’s the ideal location for jet setters, with O’hare and Midway airport in easy reach within twenty minutes.
Oak Brook is the perfect place to live, work, and play. Friendly taxation makes it a pleasure to own property and do business in this suburb. As such, Oak Brook is known for being the executive suite of Chicagoland and home to some of the biggest houses, flashiest restaurants, and one of the world’s most exclusive golf clubs. This is upscale living right in the heart of the Chicago suburbs - let’s check it out.
Is Oak Brook IL a good place to live?
Oak Brook is a suburb in Chicago that offers a high standard of living, including safety, low property taxes, and lots of things to do. It is a popular suburb among retirees and affluent homeowners, who are well-served by many high-end restaurants, golf courses, and shopping destinations.
This small village is the kind of place where you can feel safe, day or night. While the suburb’s prosperous population naturally attracts some theft, residents say they feel protected by the community’s hardworking police force and, based on FBI data, violent crime in Oak Brook is 84.0% lower than the national average.
For anyone who can afford to buy a home here, Oak Brook offers the best that money can buy. However, note that, although residents benefit extraordinarily from the tax revenue flowing from the commercial district, the entry fee to this outstanding community is high. House prices start at $500,000 and rocket skywards to over $8 million.
Let’s take a closer look and find out what makes Oak Brook such a hot-ticket destination in the Chicago suburbs.
Real estate in Oak Brook
Homes in Oak Brook are guaranteed to make your jaw drop for one of three reasons – the size, the glamor, and admittedly, the price tag. You could say that this village attracts competitive residents, as it’s clear that homebuilders here were determined to make their properties bigger and better than other suburbs. Thanks to that, Oak Brook offers social distancing at its finest, with around 60% of homes for sale being bigger than the national average of 2,600 sq ft. You will find many properties for sale between 3-5,000 sq ft, and the largest ones in Oak Brook go up to a mindblowing 25,000 sq ft.
As you could expect, real estate in Oak Brook is expensive. According to Zillow, the median home value in Oak Brook is $697,333, which is more than twice the average in Chicago. The starting price for a single-family home is $500, 000 and the top-valued homes are $8 million. There are occasionally affordable opportunities to buy 1- and 2-bedroom condos for between $100-189,000 in Oak Brook Towers.
Across the different price points, you will find a stunning selection of properties – from lavish estates and spacious ranches to custom-built single-family homes and gated subdivisions. There are a wide variety of styles and sizes, but what most properties have in common are big trees and large lots. Many homes in Oak Brook are older, making it a perfect opportunity for someone who wants to put their own stamp on a home by gutting or rebuilding.
The only potential drawback to purchasing property in Oak Brook is the flood risk. Salt Creek winds its way through the suburb and has been known to cause waist-deep floods. If you’re buying a property, particularly on the north side near the golf course, then be sure to check for signs of previous flooding and research whether you are in a flood zone.
Oak Brook, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for Sale in Oak Brook
Best retirement places in Oak Brook
Niche.com rates Oak Brook as the 6th best place for retirement in Illinois, but the lucky retirees who live here will tell you it’s number one.
Oak Brook not only provides ample sources of leisure, entertainment, and retail indulgence, but it is home to some of the most highly-rated retirement and independent living communities in Illinois. If you’re looking for that special place to spend your golden years, you’d be wise to join the other 3, 200 retirees who make up nearly half of Oak Brook's community.
Best retirement communities
This beautiful gated community is reserved for residents 55 and upwards to enjoy privacy and peace amongst the scenic lake views. Low-maintenance single-story townhouses make life easy for homeowners here, who enjoy spacious properties tucked away from the hustle and bustle, while still being a stones’ throw from everything Oak Brook has to offer.
This exclusive, tight-knit community contains only 78 lavish homes. As well as fostering a neighborly atmosphere, Forest Gate gives peace and quiet amongst scenic landscaping. All homes have a master bedroom on the first floor and residents don’t have to worry about external upkeep and maintenance. Instead, residents can better spend their active years enjoying the biking and paved hiking trails close by. Anyone who has their eye on an idyllic retirement in Oak Brook would be well-advised to keep tabs on properties coming up in Forest Gate.
Oak Brook Club
This high-end condominium retirement community overlooks 25 acres of parks, ponds and winding pathways. Residents benefit from a comfortable lifestyle, excellent security, and ample opportunities to relax, get active, or socialize – whichever takes their fancy. The condominium offers one and two-bedroom apartments which range from 1,300 - 2,800 sq ft; so you can find your perfect settle-down size. The community is located right next to the Oak Brook Center and Salt Creek.
Best Independent Living
The Sheridan at Oak Brook
Self-described as a senior living community, the Sheridan looks to the many 5-star hotels in Oak Brook to create an inspired community home for seniors seeking carefree living. Every detail has been carefully curated to bestow a sense of luxury and peace for its three-hundred residents, who enjoy all that Oak Brook has to offer from the quiet comfort of The Sheridan. This high-end community is situated an easy 20-minute walk or 10-minute bus ride from the Oak Brook Shopping Center, and is directly opposite the public golf club and the renowned Butler National Golf club.
This large retirement village gets its name from the beautiful Mayslake nature reserve directly opposite the community. Some 600 senior residents call Mayslake their home and are kept entertained by the many on-site facilities and activities, including bowling, bingo, the beautiful chapel services and trips out to the many entertainment venues of Oak Brook.
What is the property tax rate in Oak Brook IL?
Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain – except death and taxes.” Perhaps he hadn’t heard about Oak Brook, IL.
Oak Brook is one of the only municipalities in the Chicago suburbs that does not levy any property tax. Illinois is well known for its high property taxes and residents across the state pay almost twice the national average. The revenue from Oak Brook’s booming businesses means that the Oak Brook municipality can afford its residents this significant tax break. Given that properties in Oak Brook fall on the expensive end of the spectrum, the 0% property tax makes this village a very attractive option to homebuyers – 96% of people in Oak Brook own their homes and it’s clear to see why.
Property taxes in Oak Brook
Table comparing property tax rates for La Grange and similar Chicago suburbs, adapted from various sources.
Sales & Other taxes in Oak Brook
It’s not just property taxes that are appealing in Oak brook. Generally, Oak Brook taxes are low across the board compared to Cook County and DuPage County averages. The combined retail sales tax is only 7.75% in Oak brook and the suburb does not levy any food and beverage tax.
Taxation rates in Oak Brook compared to Cook Country and DuPage County adapted from various sources.
So, if you’re on the fence about whether the upfront cost of a home in Oak Brook is worth it, consider the impact that low taxes could have on your cost of living over the years compared to similar suburbs.
Community amenities in Oak Brook
Residents in Oak Brook can be sure that they’ll be taken care of. This year, the village is planning to spend $59 million on its community, including ongoing services and continuous development. The highlights of Oak Brook’s upcoming plans include the development of the streets and water mains, and renovating the parking lot at the Golf Club. The suburb also places great pride in its pristine streets and offers free leaf pickup four times every year throughout the autumn-winter season, as well as a free yearly electrical waste pickup.
Oak Brook Polo Club Matches
This suburb is known for being the number one Polo destination in the midwest. The club hosts national, international, and open championships; events that are considered by many to be the best-kept secret of the Chicago suburbs. Chicago’s polo team has been playing fiercely for more than 100 years, and you can learn the sport yourself at the scene of all the action right here in Oak Book.
Taste of Oak Brook
This yearly event is all about the three F’s of fun – festivities, family, and food. Some of the best Oak Brook restaurants club together to titillate the taste buds of local residents, reminding them that they have some of the most delicious food in Chicago right on their doorstep. The event provides entertainment for all the family, including face painting and petting zoos (adored by the little ones), a dance-fueled disco frequented by the village’s young teens, and the Sangria tent, where you’ll find most of the parents for the evening.
Oak Brook Half Marathon
Ambitious locals can test what they are made of at the annual Oak Brook half marathon. The challenging and varied course brings visitors from all over, with the route winding through limestone paths, corporate campuses, forest preserves, and pretty neighborhoods. If you’re new to the area, it’s one of the best ways to get acquainted with the local landscape – and of course, you can run the route yourself any time.
Folio Plays at Mayslake
The First Folio Theater holds regular shows at the Mayslake Estate; a Tudor-revival style manor house nestled into the luscious grounds of the Mayslake Forest Preserve. Plays take place throughout the year in the Great Hall and include the titles from the likes of Jane Austen and Agatha Christie.
Churches and community worship
More than half of Oak Brooks residents are religious and predominantly Christian, so it should come as no surprise that there are several places of worship and events throughout the year. Oak Brook Community Church is celebrated for its diverse, youthful, and welcoming community, Christ Church of Oak Brook is known for its inspiring sermons, and Faith Fellowship Church is one of the smallest but most beautiful churches in the Chicago suburbs.
Opportunities to serve
What truly makes a home is the people you share it with. Oak Brook is filled with community initiatives, where local residents group together to make sure life is better for all. The opportunities to serve within Oak Brook include the board of fire and police commissioners, the commercial revitalization committee, the library commission, the streetscape committee, and the residential enhancement committee. Residents can get involved to shape the community they live in for generations to come.
The Oak Brook Public Library
The population of Oak Brook is impressively educated, with more than 2 in 3 people holding a bachelor’s degree and above. It only makes sense, then, that the Oak Brook Public Library would strive to offer its bookish community plenty of opportunity to engage in the joys of reading and continued learning.
The Oak Public Library is surrounded by beauty, with gardens and stunning views outside of every window. The spacious building has more than 100, 000 books, films, and magazines, as well as plenty of digital resources. The librarians give due care to their role in the community and are always on hand to answer questions and help locals find what they need. Throughout the year, there are many educational and recreational programs patronized by Oak Brook citizens both old and young.
Oak Brook Bath & Tennis Club
Also known as the Oak Brook Sports Core, this facility houses three pools in an idyllic setting. Passionate swimmers, families, and toe-dippers alike can get in their element and choose between the main pool, a diving pool, and a wading pool. If you work up an appetite doing lengths, you can tuck into a treat at the Poolside Cafe, which serves all the usual favorites like guacamole nachos and chicken caesar salad. As well as swimming, locals spend their summers making the most of the tennis courts, beaches, and clubhouse.
Public Golf Course
While the village is also home to highly esteemed and exclusive golf clubs, Oak Brook makes sure this popular sport can be enjoyed by all at its public golf course. It offers an 18-hole seasonal golf course with bent grass fairways and greens. It is located side by side with the Oak Brook Polo Club, the Bath, and Tennis Club, and the Oak Brook Polo fields, so you can make an active day of it with all of Oak Brook’s favorite sports.
Best schools in Oak Brook
Although Oak Brook has a few schools within the boundaries of the small village, its budding young scholars can still benefit from spectacular educational opportunities in the surrounding suburbs. Oak Brook has a school district, which is District 53, and serves children in Oak Brook until they reach high school. Then, students in Oak Brook can choose between several highly rated school districts across Hinsdale, Elmhurst, Downers Grove, or Villa Park.
- Brook Forest Elementary – District 53 – rated A+
- Hinsdale Community Consolidated Schools (includes Monroe Elementary and Clarendon Middle school) in District 181 – both rated A+
- Elmhurst Community Unit (includes J. T. Manning, C.E Miller and Westmont) – District 205 – All rated A and A+
- Downers Grove Elementary School in District 58
- Salt Creek School in District 48
- Butler Jr. High School – District 53 – rated A+
Children on the north side of 22nd street will attend York Highschool in Elmhurst, whereas those south of 22nd street will join Hinsdale Central. Of the two, Hinsdale Central is considered the best school – but either one would provide an excellent education. Some students in Oak Brook may attend high school in one of the neighboring suburbs; Downers Grove, Villa Park, or Westmont, depending on where they live.
York Highschool - rated A+
York High School is a top-rated public school in Elmhurst. It serves 2,881 students in grades 9-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 16:1. The school is ranked by ESPN as the 17th best school in the nation for athletics programs. York High School is also renowned for its performing arts programs, including music, theater, and dance.
Hinsdale Central - rated A+
This establishment was voted the third-best high school in Illinois, according to Newsweek. Out of the top three best schools in Illinois, it is the only one without selective admission; so, many consider Central to be the best public school in the state. In agreement, The Chicago Sun-Times ranked Hinsdale Central as the top suburban high school in Illinois. The school has over 100 clubs and offers some of the best academic competition teams and athletic teams in the state.
Best things to do in Oak Brook
Visitors come to Oak Brook for three standout attractions: The world-class shopping at Oakbrook Center, the prestigious golf greens, and the high-class dining. As the business lounge of Illinois, Oak Brook plays host to numerous 4-star hotels and sleek restaurants that you won’t find in any other suburb.
Illinois unanimously agrees that the Oakbrook Center is the number one hotspot for retail therapy in the state. It’s chic, modern and complete with the best brands and restaurants to make a day of it. Whether you’re looking for steals at Zara and Sephora, iconic pieces from Gucci or Swarovski, staples from Land’s End and Nordstrom or interior design from Arhaus and Restoration Hardware; you’ll find it all and more in the heart of Oak Brook.
You’ll never get bored, either, because new storefronts and activities are always opening up in the center. Recent additions include Molly’s Cupcakes, an interactive walk-through documentary about Princess Diana and Putt Shack – the brand new high-tech, high-energy mini golf experience where you can get a little silly (and are much more likely to get away with missing your shot than over at Butler or Butterfield). The only drawback to the Oakbrook Center is that it could be dangerous having all your favorite outlets on your doorstep.
Best bars and restaurants in Oak Brook
Oak Brook is a food lover's haven, with more than 50 upmarket restaurants and bars to choose from. The elegant dining selections draw both business and pleasure to Oak Brook’s commercial district, so whether you are entertaining a client, wooing a date, or hosting family, you’ll find the perfect place to toast to the occasion.
Any good citizen of Oak Brook prides themselves on hosting a great barbecue – it’s a classic American tradition and everyone knows that this nation is excellent on the grill. Yet, Roka Akor shows that we’ve got some serious competition. Robatayaki is an ancient Japanese hot-coal cooking technique, which receives a contemporary reimagining at Roba Akor. The twelve-foot-long grills go up to 1,900 degrees – it takes some serious skill from the chefs to use those ferocious temperatures to prepare surprisingly delicate dishes. Part of the Roka Akor experience is watching the impressive feat take place in the center of the restaurant; the name ‘Roka’ translates to describe a central fire where people gather to socialize. You can enjoy the very best of Japanese cuisine here, with classic dishes based around Sashimi on ice, and Wagyu beef.
Inside tip: This is the kind of place where you know you’re in safe hands – we recommend going with the ‘Omakase’ tasting menu option – the phrase means ‘I’ll leave it up to you’.
RH Rooftop Restaurant
Technically, this is just a restaurant above a furniture shop. But if that’s what you’re expecting when you go to the Restoration Hardware Rooftop Restaurant, prepare to be wrong. When you arrive at the RH Gallery at Oak Brook, you instantly know you’re about to enter a whole new level of combined retail and dining experience. The restaurant itself sits inside a dramatic glass and steel atrium at the top of the gallery. Filled with water fountains and indoor trees, you almost feel like an ancient Greek banquet has been transported to the 21st century and combined with the best of modern American design. When they open their patio doors in the summer, we suspect the rest of Oak Brook will struggle to compete to be the number one spot for food, wine and vibes combined.
Inside tip: Whether you have the steak or the fries, your meal has to be finished with the warm chocolate chip cookies. You won’t regret it.
Lucca Osteria & Bar
Us Chicagoans have a soft spot for Italian cuisine and it’s inspired some of our best dishes. Yet, Lucca Osteria & Bar gives the fine people of Chicago an education on the finer tastes of Italy – think charcuterie boards decorated with meltingly thin prosciutto, handmade gnocchi and Fagioli Alla Toscana (the humble Tuscan bean dish that completes every dinner table in Florence). But a word of warning; Italians and Americans have one thing in common – when they eat, they love to talk. Lucca’s Osteria had a loud and lively atmosphere, so go along expecting the hustle, bustle and excitement that comes with dining at one of the most popular restaurants in Oak Brook.
Inside tip: The Tiramisu has been known to make a strong man cry, so don’t miss out!
Perry's Steakhouse & Grille
A favorite spot for fine dining in Oak Brook, Perry’s Steakhouse prides itself on offering a ‘Rare and well-done experience’. This restaurant is a chain, but only through popular demand. It began as a butcher’s shop in Texas in 1979 – when you eat here today, you know you’re being taken care of by people who know their prime cuts perfectly. Perry’s has a white tablecloth, low-light atmosphere; be sure to come dressed in your best (though you’d be wise to feature an outfit with an adjustable waist band).
Inside tip: We’re not sure how they do it, but Perry’s transforms the humble Pork Chop into a mouth-watering champion of flavor. You have to try it.
Brook’s Kitchen and Tap
This laid-back yet chic eatery at Oak Brook terrace is perfect for easy going evenings with friends and family. Technically, it’s outside the suburb, but we promise you won’t notice – it’s just a two minute drive into Oak Brooks’ sister suburb, Oakbrook Terrace. Brook’s Kitchen and Tap is worth crossing the boundary line; the menu features dishes from around the world – visit Poland for the Pierogi, France for the onion soup, The Faroe Islands for the salmon, and the deep south for Shrimp and Grits. Brook’s also features a select list of handmade cocktails unique to their menu; each one is delicious and summery.
Inside tip: Order the grapefruit cocktail, if only for the chance to say the word ‘Pamplemousse’ (this adorable word means grapefruit in French).
Best parks and outdoor activities
Take a look at a map of Oak Brook and you will see plenty of green. The suburb’s best outdoor spots include hiking trails through Forest Preserves and the rolling golf greens.
Golfers will love living in this suburb, as Oak Brook is home to two of the nicest golf courses in the midwest, Butler’s and Butterfield. Butler National was recently described by Phil Mickelson as “a truly spectacular venue”, with a course that can stand up to the best modern players. However, it’s also known for being one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the world, with memberships costing $125,000 and being one of the only all-male clubs left in the area. While not everyone will get the chance to play on these golf greens, you can get pretty close – Oak Brook’s public golf course is its neighbor.
This 220-acre forest preserve is a favorite among families, hikers, horse riders and dog walkers alike. Oak Brook’s biggest woodland has unique features not found in every forest preserve, with Salt Lake Creek providing waterfalls, fishing, boating and the historic Graue Mill and Museum. Keep your eyes peeled for the furry four-legged friends of Oak Brook, including beavers, red foxes and deer. You’ll likely stumble across a bird watcher too, as the forest is known for warblers, egrets, herons and migratory birds.
The estate and forest preserve at Mayslake give Oak Brook residents an easy way to dip into the great outdoors. Well-maintained paths wind through the nature reserve and park, with picnic tables dotted throughout so you can stop and enjoy the scenery. The Mayslake Estate is popular among the canine population of Oak Brook thanks to the off-leash doggy park next to the arboretum.
How far is Oak Brook from Lake Michigan?
If you’re looking to retire or move to Oak Brook, one question you might be asking is how far it takes to get to Lake Michigan. Boating is a popular pastime among Oak Brook residents, so rest assured that the suburb provides easy access to Chicago’s best harbors.
It takes between 25-40 minutes to travel from Oak Brook to Lake Michigan by car, depending on which harbor you are traveling to. You can reach the popular downtown harbors in 25 minutes, including the Colombia Yacht Club and DuSable. Further out destinations like Jackson Park can be reached within 40 minutes.
Posted by Rafael Velasco