The Best Chicago Suburbs

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An ancient proverb states: “Wherever you are from, and however many planting seasons you’ve seen pass, sooner or later you’re going to wind up in Chicago; preferably in the outskirts where it’s nice.” If that describes you, and your family is planning a move to the Chicago area, you could probably use a little help picking the best place to put down new roots in the strange, unknown land you’re moving to.

Chicago is one of America’s great cities. And like most of the other great cities in America, the central urban area is ringed with smaller cities and towns of varying quality of life. Some of the best parks, schools and entertainment can be found in the semicircle of communities here, but it can take a little legwork to find the best for you and your family. Fortunately, we’ve already done that, so here’s your primer:

New Families Are Drawn to Hinsdale

Hinsdale is a small bedroom community almost exactly due west from downtown Chicago, and it’s just about perfectly positioned for new arrivals to rent or buy homes in. The town sits at the juncture between two major freeways, and so it’s easy to get almost anywhere else in the area. The skyscrapers and job opportunities Chicago has in abundance are only a few minutes away on the 290, while the airport is about the same distance north on the 294. In Hinsdale, you’re far enough from O’Hare to be spared constant jet traffic, but close enough to make your flight if you oversleep.

The community appeals to middle-income residents who are either just starting or in the middle of raising kids, and it shows in the excellent pre-K through 12th grade schools. What passes for “downtown” in this small community is clean and safe, and teenagers on their first dates can find a few places to go without borrowing the car, such as the town’s premier sushi joint, Nabuki.

Upscale Professionals Invest in Winnetka

If Hinsdale is where to go for a young family, Winnetka is the place to be when that family hits the lottery. Plenty of middle-class families live in this beautiful community on the shore of Lake Michigan, but the town has a lot of stockbrokers and other professionals who work half an hour south in the city. Some of their homes are breathtaking to behold, and the public landscaping can make casual tourists wonder whether they’ve accidentally driven onto a private country club — which they may well have, given the area’s demographics. Winnetka’s local government is serious about keeping their community safe and prosperous, and so the streets are well lit and patrolled to protect the residents. Though it’s certainly an upscale choice, a little digging may uncover a fixer-upper or promising mid-range home that is easily within your budget.

Glencoe Is Paradise For Kids

If you have kids, it’s hard to do better in the Chicago area than Glencoe. This snug little village of under 9,000 residents manages to create an authentic small-town vibe within one 38-minute train ride of downtown Chicago. Sandwiched between Lake Michigan and the Skokie Lagoon, Glencoe has easy access to the Botanic Gardens, Writers’ Theater and dozens of fun events aimed at children. Class size is surprisingly low at the area’s schools, and test scores reflect that. All in all, Glencoe has the makings of a rewarding childhood full of great memories for your kids.

 Considering a Move in Chicago?

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