If you’re on the hunt for the best neighborhoods in Chicago, put down your bow and arrow and make camp right here. Studio apartments in Chicago just don’t cut it. Your family deserves great education, low crime rates, nearby entertainment, and awesome food, especially if you’re moving from far away.
Let us help you scout out the Chicago neighborhoods that are right for you, your family, and your future.
When it comes to safe, family-friendly locales with great schools, it’s going to be hard to top Buffalo Grove. Consistently voted as one of the best up-and-coming neighborhoods, Buffalo Grove is located in the northwest area of the suburbs.
Something like 40,000 people live in ten square miles of Buffalo Grove, and yet it still manages to maintain some of the lowest crime rates in the area. Plus, it has great schools like Adlai E. Stevenson High School, which has won so many awards that it’s just easier to link to them than to list them all.
They’ve also just begun a massive community improvement program, beginning with a Thompson/Brandywyn engineering study on how to best improve infrastructure. That means an easier drive to work, less traffic, and safer streets could be in your future.
Aurora, a suburb just outside of the metropolitan area of Chicago, is often called the “City of Lights,” and makes a wonderful spot to move your family. The public schools in the area have low class sizes, and many of them are focused on tech and science – consider the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, a three-year high school that Newsweek consistently ranks as one of the top 10 in the nation.
If you do choose to go with a private school, the many Montessori schools, tech-focused academies, and Catholic schools offer a wide array of choices suited for any family education goal and any student need.
It’s also a great place to admire incredible architecture and surround yourself with beauty. Buildings created by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, George Grant Elmslie, and even Frank Lloyd Wright are scattered all throughout Aurora.
If you’re working in tech or manufacturing, Aurora is situated perfectly. Aurora is located conveniently near dozens of manufacturing companies like Lyon Workspace Products, Caterpillar, and Barber-Green – the whole area is referred to as the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor.
If you or your family have a history in tech, or you want a future in tech, Aurora is a great launch pad.
Naperville is also located in the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor and is filled with successful folks in the business of tech and engineering.
According to Niche.com, Naperville is ranked #1 in “Best Cities to Raise a Family in America,” as well as #1 in “Safest Cities in America” and #1 in “Cities with the Best Public schools in America.” It’s hard to give a stronger recommendation than that, isn’t there?
Safety and education are two of the biggest factors when considering a move to the suburbs, and Naperville isn’t just at the top of the list in Illinois, it’s at the top of the list of the whole country.
Plus, the city has two events you can’t miss: they host an annual “Ribfest” and a “Chocolate Walk.” I think I know where I’m moving.
Glenview is located in the northern area of Cook County, just 3 miles outside of Chicago. With only 40,000 residents, it’s technically classified as a village, which is a charming little factoid to share after you’ve moved in.
With great rankings for public schools, health, families, and diversity, Glenview is a perfect landing spot for anyone looking for a safe, inclusive environment that’s top-notch on education.
It’s also got a solid entertainment scene, with awesome places to eat like the Café El Tapatio, and great options for date night like the Ten Ninety Brewing Company.
Obviously, it’s important that the kids are taken care of, but the adults need attention too.
Are you fan of John Hughes movies, by any chance? Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Pretty Pink? All of those movies take place in the fictional “Shermer, Illinois,” which was basically a thin cover for Northbrook’s old nickname “Shermerville.”
So, if you ever wanted your kids to go to the same school as Ferris Bueller, now is your chance. (Bueller? Bueller?)
Movies aside, of course, Northbrook is a wonderful little neighborhood on the north side of Cook County, just a short drive from downtown Chicago. Ranked #7 in the country for “Best Public Schools” by Niche, Northbrook is a lock when it comes to education opportunities.
Northbrook also prides itself on its parks – they have over 500 acres of land devoted to parks. This includes golf courses, children’s playgrounds, fishing spots, gyms, and dozens of hiking and biking spots for any outdoor lover.
Arlington Heights is an historic community, dating back over 200 years. One of the real features of Arlington Heights is the sense of community spirit, and the constant two-way flow of communication in the village. The village uses its website to successfully coordinate programs and to share news and field concerns from the public. There’s a real sense of neighborhood pride everywhere you go in Arlington Heights.
The village organizes snow-shoveling to help disabled or elderly citizens, they do annual drives to safely dispose of old electronics, and they help make sure every member of the community is prepared in case of severe weather.
It doesn’t hurt that they’re also ranked high in both public schools, safety, and “good for families” metrics. Or that they’ve created a fine little food scene in the village – check out Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant if you don’t believe me. Modern, perfectly-cooked entrees like mustard & pretzel-crusted pork chops alongside a selection of wines made right there.
Arlington Heights is the kind of place you can live happily for a long time and never feel like you’re missing anything at all.
Another small, friendly village, Long Grove is about 30 miles outside of Chicago. Still, with a low population (around 8,000) and a country vibe, you’d be surprised how attractive Long Grove is to families seeking a little open air not far from the city.
Long Grove is well known for its many festivals, meaning you’ll never get bored. Spring brings the Egg Hunt, Craft Beer Days, and the Chocolate Fest, which, you can gather, is an entire festival devoted to dark, sweet goodness.
Summer brings the carnival games of the Strawberry Fest, tons of Sidewalk Sales, and the Vintage Days fashion and furniture festival. Autumn loads in with the Irish Days cultural extravaganza, the Prairie State Marathon, the Scarecrow Day parade, the Halloween Town spookfest, and the Long Grove Turkey Trot!
Whether you’re aiming for a modern house with clean lines and an open floorplan or you’d love to nestle into a classic Victorian home that’s full of history, Evanston almost certainly has the right home for you.
Evanston is butted right up against Northwestern University, and is a surprisingly well-stocked town for its size. The downtown area has plenty of shopping, restaurants, and entertainment venues – more than you might expect from its 7 square miles. It also has “Central Street,” a run of shops and restaurants full of historic architecture and a small-town charm.
Evanston has been voted #2 as the “Best Suburbs for Millennials,” no doubt because of its youthful vivacity and the host of surprisingly metropolitan venues in this charming little village.
Clarendon Hills is a tiny little 8,000-person village just to the west of Chicago and takes up barely a square mile. However, if you can get into this small community, there are a lot of perks to enjoy.
The Community Consolidated School District, which serves most of the students in Clarendon, has a 96% pass rate on standardized tests, meaning 96% of students meet or exceed national standards. That’s an incredible achievement for any school. And their small classes are without a doubt a huge help to student/teacher interaction and instruction time.
The community is also extremely tight knit, owing to its cozy size. A sense of spirit and belonging almost always translates to safety, and that’s true in Clarendon just as it is everywhere else. The crime rates are bottom-barrel, and received an A+ from Area Vibes.
Home to more than 53,000 people, Wheaton is a lovely small town located in the middle of DuPage County that provides a great balance of small-town charm and big-city convenience.
The streets of Downtown Wheaton are dotted with delicious local restaurants, unique shops, and boutiques. There is also a strong sense of community in Wheaton, with the city hosting multiple fun events throughout the year including the Taste of Wheaton, Wheaton Art Walk, Winter Wine Walk, and more.
Wheaton was also recently ranked #6 of the Top 100 Safest Cities in America and is in the top 12 of Chicago Magazine’s Best Places to Live. With is picturesque downtown, delicious local restaurants, and tight-knit sense of community, Wheaton is definitely one of the best places to settle down in the Chicago area.
Stress About Boxes and Moving Trucks, Not Schools and Safety
There’s a plethora of suburbs around Chicago perfect for a small family, a big family, or just a couple people who someday hope to have a family.
Whatever your reason, all of the suburbs on this list have been vetted for safety, schools, night life, diversity, and proximity to jobs and transportation.