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Barb Lanis

Chicago Neighborhood Guide: Northwest Suburbs

Friday, October 19, 2012 - Article by: Barb Lanis - The Federal Savings Bank is a member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender - Message

If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and want to enjoy a more suburban life without moving too far out of the city, here is a guide to Chicago's Northwest Suburbs in both Cook and Lake County.

Arlington Heights is a friendly village that is great for raising a family with its excellent schools, an outstanding park district, and easy access to the necessities. It is a pedestrian friendly suburb which is unusual in this area. Even though over 70,000 people occupy the area you will always be running into your friends and neighbors. The village has a revived downtown area that includes the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre and the Arlington Towne Square which features shops and restaurants. The town is also home to the Arlington Park Racetrack and an award winning library. The housing scene is very diverse you can find homes both at all price points and in an array of styles. Lower end homes start in the $200,000 range and you can find new constructions worth multi millions.

Schaumburg is a commercial hub with several large office buildings including Fortune 500 Companies like Motorola. Over 70,000 commuters flood the village each day for work. It's a great location with easy access to the city and other suburbs. There is always something to do in Schaumburg with over 200 restaurants, plenty of nightlife, live music venues, comedy clubs, and unique dining experiences like Medieval Times. If you want good shopping look no further than the Woodfield Mall. This areas real estate is comprised of mainly rental units. There are many subdivisions with single family homes that have been built within the past 10 years. The school district is high quality and there are recreational offerings such as the Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary, the Busse Woods 11 mile paved trail, and a minor league baseball league, the Schaumburg Boomers.

Barrington is a small community that is surrounded by Barrington Hills, South Barrington, and Lake Barrington. It is an affluent village that is a nice mix of the working class and the well off. The village prides itself on being a family neighborhood where you are likely to know everyone. Real estate is desirable in every neighborhood and prices can range from $150,000 fixer upper/ tear down candidates, to $500,000 restored grand Victorians, to new homes reaching up to $1 million. The school district is very competitive with high standard academics and high school sports are community events. The downtown area is being revitalized and hosts a busy calendar of events each season. There are many commuters that live in Barrington but the village does employ many of their own residents.

Palatine is a growing town of 70,000 that still has a small town feel. It is a safe and quiet oasis with a 91 acre Riemer Reservoir Park, a 15 mile hiking trail, golf courses, swimming pools, a water park, horse stables and a fishing pond. Most of the residents commute via the Metra or make the quick drive to Schaumburg for work. The public schools have top scoring ACT rankings in the Chicago area. Palatine has newer condo developments which start at $229,900 and the developments also include rowhouses which start at $476,900. If you are looking for older homes you have a range of options including farmhouse fixer uppers, split levels, and bungalows. Average prices range from $270,000 to $400,000.

Des Plaines is like a small town that is very down to earth. Families have settled here for the atmosphere and proximity to downtown Chicago amenities. Des Plaines has the tenth casino in Illinois which brings some revenue into the community. It's a good location that is not too far from anything and is an easy commute via Metra rail. Real estate prices are still low with average single family homes around $303,683. The village has an impressive park district with Lake Park being most popular as Lake Opeka offers fishing, paddle boating and sailing.

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