The Best Chicago Suburbs For Retirement

Baby boomers today are credited with raising the bar for the standards for retirement and senior living. It’s not hard to see why many of them choose the Chicago suburbs for their empty nesting years – some villages have up to 40% seniors –  thanks to the great quality of life they provide. 

But retirement comes in as many shapes and sizes as the lives lived before it. Do you want cultural enrichment or rural tranquillity? Perhaps it’s time for you to splurge on the finer things in life – but if you’re looking to extract the best from a modest retirement, then there’s surely a place for you too. 

You can indeed find all that and more in the Chicago suburbs and by the end of this article, you’ll have a good idea of which neighborhood is perfect for your retirement dreams. 

The Best Chicago Suburbs For Retirement 

6. Oak Brook, IL 

Best for: Luxury experiences and low taxes

Oak Brook is ranked as the number 6th best suburb in Chicago for retirement and Chicagoland’s seniors agree – an impressive 39% of the population here are aged 65+. It’s one of the only 

If you dream of glamorous golden years filled with high-end shopping, and dining, then this is the village for you. Oak Brook is the shopping capital of Illinois and the Oak Brook Centre is home to luxury brands including Coach, Kate Spade, L'Occitane, and Ralph Lauren. It’s also the home of Butler National Golf Club, one of the most prestigious and exclusive clubs in the world. 

The suburb itself houses many modern developments, including the Rush Oak Brook hospital, which opened in 2019. Some of the best assisted senior living facilities are located in Oak Brook, many of which are located close to the central hub of golf courses, fitness centers, and the public library. There are also several private senior communities. There are lots of businesses headquartered and operating in Oak Brook, which allows excellent public facilities to be funded despite incredibly friendly taxation. 

If you’re intrigued by what retirement living in Oak Brook could have in store for you, read all about it in our in-depth feature. 

Market Research

Oak Brook, Illinois Market Report

Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.

Homes for Sale in Oak Brook

5. Glen Ellyn

Best for: Community involvement  

If you dread the idea of becoming a ‘spare part’ after retirement, Glen Ellyn would welcome you with open arms. The suburb nicknamed itself The Volunteer Village because so much of the community has been built from the ground up by local volunteers and visionaries. You could get involved with the Animal Rescue Foundation, the public library, Willowbrook Wildlife Center, or one of several food banks, to name a few volunteer-led initiatives in Glen Ellyn. 

As a community-focused suburb, Glen Ellyn has many amenities to enjoy in retirement, including 29 parks, a well-maintained downtown, and a central metro station for easy access to the city. Popular events include the Taste of Glen Ellyn, the once-yearly food festival that brings the downtown to life. 

Market Research

Glen Ellyn, Illinois Market Report

Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.

Homes for sale in Glen Ellyn

4. Wheaton, IL

Best for: Community & Culture  

A college town might not seem like the obvious place to base your twilight years, but they’re surprisingly suitable places to retire. Wheaton is home to a private evangelical liberal arts college and the constant influx of engaged young adults is arguably what makes this suburb such a well-rounded place to live. 

Wheaton is perfect for seniors who are seeking an active lifestyle. There’s lots of natural beauty and greenery, a dynamic downtown, and many programs for seniors to get involved in. There are also many opportunities for community worship in the Christian faith. 

We’ve covered the suburb of Wheaton in lots of detail in our community spotlight post, where you can read all about life in one of the most highly-rated suburbs in Illinois. 

Market Research

Wheaton, Illinois Market Report

Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.

Homes for sale in Wheaton

3. Elmhurst, IL 

Best for: Arts & Culture 

If you consider yourself a learner for life, then Elmhurst would be a fantastic way to continue expanding your horizons well into your golden years. It’s considered to be the cultural capital of DuPage County, being home to several prestigious and historical institutions, including the Elmhurst Art Museum, the Elmhurst History Museum, the Elmhurst Public Library, and the York Theatre. There are many well-funded community events too –  through every season – so you don’t have to worry about staying entertained. 

If you always pictured yourself retiring to a pretty suburb, then you’ll be happy here. It’s one of the leafier western suburbs and that’s where it takes its name (‘Elm’-hurst). Elmhurst is also one of the western suburbs that are closer to Chicago, promising an easier journey to take advantage of the best entertainment, shopping, and dining in the state, as well as the many state-of-the-art hospitals in the city. 

These pointers barely scratch the surface of why this suburb is a great place to live, so if you want to know more then head to our Elmhurst Community Spotlight. 

Market Research

Elmhurst, Illinois Market Report

Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.

Homes for sale in Elmhurst

2. Evanston 

Best for: Urban-feel and Healthcare 

The city of Evanston is approximately 17 miles north of Chicago and home to 74,587 residents. It offers a different type of retirement – in a central, urban location – where you can live actively and be part of the soul of the city. Evanston is well known for being a dynamic, diverse, and forward-thinking town and so it’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to slow down too much in their golden years. 

There are many benefits to being an empty nester in a more urbanized location like Evanston. You’ll have an endless supply of things to do right on your doorstep, rather than being isolated in a suburban location.

You’ll also be supported by public transport – including the UP-N metra line and three public transit agencies – should you ever decide to stop driving. Evanston is also one of the handful of suburban villages with its own large hospital, Evanston Hospital, which makes accessing healthcare far easier. 

Evanston is one of the Chicago suburbs with the best downtowns, so if it’s entertainment and excitement, you’re after, head over to that article to find out which other places made our list. 

Market Research

Evanston, Illinois Market Report

Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.

Homes for sale in Evanston

1. Barrington Hills

Best for: Rural living 

Barrington Hills is a spacious village with a small population just 53 minutes Northwest of Chicago. The Average Effective Property Tax Rate here is 1.3%, which is lower than Lake County’s average of 2.83%. Admittedly you’ll find lower tax rates in Chicago’s comparably wealthy retirement suburbs (such as Glencoe, Winnetka, and Kenilworth). What you find instead is rolling green expanses, sprawling estates, and the agricultural and equestrian lifestyle that Barrington Hills is known for. 

A quick google image search of life in Barrington Hills speaks for itself – if you dream of a secluded and outdoorsy retirement in Chicago’s upper crust, this is it. There is the Barrington Hills Country Club, the Spring Lake Forest Preserve, Lake Zurich, and the Fox River all close by. Chicago’s north shore boating clubs are also less than 50 minutes away by car and you can join the Barrington Boating Club for boating in three local locations. 

If you’re wondering whether a far-out, quiet location is convenient for an empty nester, just know that 30% of Barrington Hills’ community is made up of retirees. The median home value here is $773,000 so it may only be the perfect retirement destination for a select few. But, if you can afford it, the autumn of your life is better spent in very few places than Barrington Hills. 

Market Research

Barrington Hills, Illinois Market Report

Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.

Homes for sale in Barrington Hills

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