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Barb Lanis

Chicago Neighborhood Guide: Western Suburbs

Monday, October 29, 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 Western Suburbs in DuPage County.

Naperville has been recognized by Money magazine as one of the best places to live in America. It has grown to be one of Illinois' largest cities but still has a small town feel. Over 142,075 residents live in Naperville because of the family focused atmosphere and for having one of the top ranked high schools in the U.S. Naperville is a more affluent neighborhood with the average price home in the mid $400,000; however there is more affordable housing available that is under $250,000. The city has numerous major employers including many Fortune 1000 companies. There are several major shopping areas that you can get to within 10-15 minutes and the downtown area has several well-known Chicago restaurants. There is also a four mile Riverwalk in the downtown that runs along the DuPage River.

Downers Grove has recently become a thriving community with many businesses including headquarters for Sara Lee Corp and Hub Group Inc. The downtown area has been revived and is filled with shops and restaurants and also includes the Tivoli Theater which is a refurbished movie theater from 1928. The average home in Downers Grove is around $450,000 but there is more affordable housing in this area with 2-3 bedroom homes around $250,000.

Elmhurst is a smaller suburb where you run into someone you know everywhere you go. It is a place to raise a family. The downtown area is lively and filled with unique shops that reflect the style of the high income residents. The city appreciates the arts and has top ranked schools including Elmhurst College, which is a major employer along with Elmhurst Memorial Hospital. Residents feel safe in Elmhurst and can enjoy walking on the Illinois Prairie Path which runs through the town. The housing market is diverse ranging from $120,000 fixer uppers to new multimillion dollar homes on teardown lots. Years ago the younger residents couldn't afford to live in Elmhurst, but now you can find downtown condos less than $150,000.

Glen Ellyn is another smaller suburb which has a great close knit community atmosphere which is perfect for families. The downtown is filled with local businesses including specialty shops, boutiques, spas, restaurants, bars, and the Glen Art Theater. There is always an event happening downtown that the local merchants sponsor. Glen Ellyn also has great schools including the College of Dupage, the second largest college in enrollment in Illinois. Jazz is a big part of the community as Glen Ellyn has the only jazz radio station in Chicago, and hosts several jazz events throughout the year. Housing in Glen Ellyn is separated into old town and new town. The old town has higher price tags ranging from $300,000 Georgians to multimillion dollar Victorians. The newer section was built from the 1950's through the '80s with homes ranging from $200,000-500,000. Hinsdale is a small welcoming community where you aren't driving everywhere because everything is in walking distance especially the schools which are nestled into the neighborhoods. The public high schools rank high in the Chicago area. It is all about the families in this town with high school football games being the big event on Friday nights and Saturday mornings busy with kids' baseball or basketball games. Hinsdale is an idyllic town that is on the National Register of Historic Places. You will still find many original homes dating back to the 1800s but many of the old homes have been torn down in the past twenty years as populations expanded and the need for larger homes became a necessity. The older homes run around $235,000, where the new homes are selling for over $1 million.

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