Which Chicago Suburb Is Right for You?

Decide if what these suburbs have to offer is worth the cost.

Anyone living in the Chicago area knows there’s a lot to love about this city besides eating deep-dish pizzas and watching the Cubs at Wrigley Field. As the nation’s third-largest city, the Windy City has about 2.7 million residents. However, while that’s a lot of people, the residents of the city proper represent less than a third of the 9.5 million people who live in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro area.

The Chicago suburbs represent a diverse, complex urban ecosystem with a dazzling array of options for any family looking to relocate — whether that’s from a different state or just another part of the Chicago area.

But which suburb is right for you? Here’s a closer look at some options.

Kenilworth

Located right on Lake Michigan between Evanston and Winnetka, Kenilworth is likely your best option for luxury living if you’re a member of the jet-setting class: Kenilworth is among the 25 wealthiest zip codes in the country with a median household income over $200,000, found a previous GOBankingRates study.

Glencoe Village

Of course, while Kenilworth might be the richest, there are plenty of well-to-do suburbs around Chicago. Glencoe Village has a poverty rate of just 3.7 percent, a median income over $180,000, a mean income over $300,000 and can claim legendary writer and actor Harold Ramis as a former resident.

Norwood Park

If you’re interested in moving to one of the best neighborhoods for retirees, you’ve got options in the Chicago area. The Norwood Park neighborhood, for example, is located between downtown Chicago and O’Hare. In this neighborhood, one in five residents is over 65, and there are numerous restaurants and parks.

Olympia Fields

Chicago’s metro area, though, might have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to options for retirees to move to. Olympia Fields is also among the best suburbs for retirement, with over half its households collecting Social Security benefits and a median home listing under $200,000, according to a previous GOBankingRates study.

Hyde Park

Of course, there’s a lot more to Chicago than sleepy retirement communities. There are also some of the hottest real estate markets in the country. Hyde Park might be stretching the definition of “suburb,” but this home to the prestigious University of Chicago has seen housing prices on the rise as of late.

Evanston

Of course, if you’re looking for college towns in and around Chicago, you should also consider the home of Northwestern University: Evanston. The city can be reached via the purple line on the CTA and has all the trappings of a Big Ten college town.

Harvey

If you want to live around major Chicago-area landmarks featured in movies, Harvey might be just right for you. Although the Dixie Square Mall is now closed, it was the site of the famous car chase through a shopping mall in the 1980 classic “The Blues Brothers.”

Oak Park

Oak Park is notable as the longtime home to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and the birthplace of legendary American author Ernest Hemingway. Today, you can still visit this legacy.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and there are historic walking tours of the area that feature his work. And while the Hemingway Museum in Oak Park closed in October 2017, the current plan is to build a multipurpose Hemingway Center for Writing & Research that will hopefully inspire a new generation of American writers.

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