Best Suburbs of Chicago to Live in – Your Long Distance Relocation Guide

Who is moving to the outskirts nowadays? Families, students, singles, or seniors? The truth is, all of them. And the good news is that Chicagoland has just the right suburb for each one of them. Join us today on our mission to explore the suburbs of Chicago.

Relocating further from the center is the new trend apparently and we are loving it.
Looking to move to a more quiet area? Then let's explore the outskirts together.

If you came a bit unprepared and wondering what the surrounding suburbs of Chicago are, don’t worry, we got everything covered. Chicagoland has a plethora of communities in its metro area, and we tried to select the best Chicago suburbs to live in 2020. The competition was fierce, but we think we picked the ones that stand out the most in important categories. So if you want to find out what are the nice suburbs of Chicago, check out our top picks before pulling off a cross country move to Chicago.

Things You Should Know Before Relocating to Suburbs in Chicago

As the capital of Illinois and one of the major US hubs, Chi-Town attracts thousands of newcomers every year, and surprisingly or not, many of them prefer moving to the suburbs. Around 9.5 million people live in this metropolitan area, also known as Chicagoland, which spreads over 10,856 sq mi, making it the third-largest and third most populous place in the country. If your idea of living in Chicago doesn’t revolve around Chicago nightlife and being in the center of the action, there are plenty of great communities a bit further.

The boundaries of Chicagoland are not precisely defined. That is why some consider parts of the nearby states of Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin as its part, so don’t let that confuse you. However, today we are going to focus only on those nice suburbs of Chicago that are in Illinois. Since many of you are probably relocating for a job, it is good to know that Chicagoland is home to headquarters of over 50 Fortune 1000 companies. If you want to get a job before you move and afford the cost of living in Chicago, polish your CV and start sending those emails.

Best Places to Live Near Chicago

Chicagoland is packed with excellent smaller, and bigger towns, so there is something for everyone. Whether you prefer smaller communities or a suburb with more than 50,000 residents, you’ll find it all here. Moving from a small town to a big city doesn’t have to represent such a significant change in lifestyle if you opt for a smaller suburb, depending on your preferences. Here we picked some of the best suburbs near Chicago and decided to share their distance and population with you. If you’re using auto transport services and shipping a car cross country, commute time is something you should consider.

SuburbPopulationDriving timeDistance
Aurora
200,660

46 min

42 mi
Joliet
147,950

50 min

40 mi
Arlington Heights
75,725

31 min

27 mi
Oak Park
52,225

13 min

9 mi
Palatine
68,850

34 min

30 mi

Source: Niche.com and distant-cities.com

How to Pick the Best Suburb? Our Guide to Choosing the Best Suburbs of Chicago

How to pick just one among the many best suburbs in Chicago? If you’re doing a last-minute moving and don’t have a lot of time to research, you can rely on our selection. However, if you have more time to analyze everything thoroughly, we recommend you make a list of your criteria and a list of all the pros and cons.

Major Things You Should Consider When Relocating to Boston Across the Country

Think about how you would like to spend your free time: on things to do in Chicago with kids or on more romantic things to do in Chicago? Are you going to prepare your vehicle for car shipping or don’t mind using public transportation daily? Avoid making common moving mistakes and take a look at our moving tips and a list of things you should consider when choosing your top Chicago suburbs:

Pick the right village in Chicagoland by relying on your list of pros and cons
Have you curated your list of priorities? It will help you narrow down your sellection.

Cheapest Places to Live in Chicago Suburbs, Something for Both Future Homeowners and Renters

We start our guide with some of the most affordable places in Chicagoland for those on a tight budget. Chi-Town is known for being pricey, so whether you’re relocating alone or with a family, it is good to know that there are some areas where the cost of living is not so high, and you don’t have to make too many compromises.

Preston Heights, Budget-Friendly Suburb of Chicago

Located in Will County, Preston Heights is a small community with around 2,500 residents. The median rent corresponds to the national average and goes around $945, and almost half of the residents are renting their place. However, if you’re looking to purchase a property, know that the median home value is about $94,200, a half lower than the national average. Since it is a smaller suburb, the lifestyle is a bit more slow-paced, and there are many families with children. The public school system is good and the cost of living is affordable, which is why many opt to move here, to the outskirts of Chi-Town.

Thornton, Small and Tight Community

Another small suburb with just around 2,500 residents is located in Cook County. Although the median rent here is only $858, the majority of the population are homeowners, two-thirds of them to be more precise. That means that you’ll find many locals who grew up here and decided to stay and raise their own family. This is one of those communities where everyone knows everyone, or at least their parents. It is clean and quiet, with that small-town charm, and a decent number of young families even though most of the locals are older adults and seniors.

Living in a smaller village means one thing, sooner or later, they are going to find out everything about you.
Do you prefer living in a tight community or you don't want to socialize too much?

Best Chicago Suburbs for Young Families – Clarendon Hills, Lake Forest, and Long Grove

Starting a new life as a young family is always exciting. Whether you’re still expecting and moving while pregnant or already have children, choosing the right place to settle down is essential. Priorities change, and you’re no longer thinking just how to please yourself, but you have to have someone else’s needs in mind. With kids in the picture, it is not easy to move and change homes or communities just because you don’t like something anymore. For that reason, you have to pick wisely because, most likely, you’re going to stay there for a few years. So, what are the best places to live in the Chicago suburbs for families? Let’s find out.

Long Grove, Family-Friendly Community of Homeowners

Situated in Lake County, Long Grove is one of those picture-perfect wealthier suburbs, but it is worth the cost. It has almost 8,000 residents, and surprisingly, according to the data provided by Niche, 99% of residents are homeowners. If you’re lucky enough to manage to find that one 1% of available properties to rent, keep in mind that the median rent is almost $2,700.

It is pricey, and especially for buying because the median home value stands around $650,000. Of course, these prices are followed by a high median household income that is almost four times as national one. There is a vast number of families with young children, and a decent portion of the population has a good educational background since almost 40% of them hold a master’s degree or higher. Beautiful parks, excellent school districts, and a clean and safe environment are only some of the many advantages of living here. It is safe to say that if you can afford it, you can’t go wrong with it.

Clarendon Hills, Ideal Small Town for Families

Located in DuPage County, Clarendon Hills has almost 9,000 residents, and it is one of our top picks for family life in Chicagoland. The vast majority of locals are homeowners, nearly 85%, and the median property value stands around $561,700. If you manage to find a place to rent, that might be a more affordable option since the median rent is $985. Like in Long Grove, there is a vast number of residents with a BA and an MA degree.

Families with children are the majority in Clarendon Hills. This suburb is walkable, safe, and well connected to Chi-Town with the Metra train. It will take you where you need to be in less than an hour, without dealing with traffic jams. Low crime rates and top-rated schools are only some of the perks of this family-friendly suburb, and it is no wonder families flock to it.

Lake Forest, Beach Town on the Shores of Lake Michigan

This suburb, with almost 20,000 residents, is located in Lake County. This is another community of homeowners since 85% of residents own their homes. The median value of properties is high, around $851,900, but so is the median household income, which goes around $167,400. Again, we have well-educated residents since 41% of them hold a master’s degree or higher. Another significant advantage parents will love is that taxes are somewhat lower here than in neighboring towns.

Here you’ll notice that neighbors are friendly, active and that they all know each other. Public school options are more than good, and there’s plenty of festivals, bike trails, and the most important part, the beach. Try finding a kid who wouldn’t want to grow up close to the beach; it is a huge advantage. It is only 33 mi and a train ride away from Chi-Town, so you can easily take them there for a day.

Many towns have beach access, which is always a pro.
Proximity to the public beach is always an advantage.

Best Chicago Suburbs for Singles – Evanston, Forest Park, and Naperville

Although the suburbia is mainly reserved for families and seniors, there are always single and young professionals willing to move further from the center. The advantages of living as a single person on the outskirts are numerous. First, and most importantly, you’ll save a lot of money on rent and other expenses. Many young adults go through the so-called burn out syndrome.

They just can’t follow that fast-paced lifestyle in major hubs, which is why they decide to slow down and change their place of residence. However, not all towns are about playgrounds and schools for kids. There are numerous places to go out, meet new friends, and just have fun. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the towns with the best Chicago neighborhoods for your professionals.

Evanston, the Right Place for Millennials

Located in Cook County, Evanston has a bit more than 75,000 residents, so clearly not a place for those looking for a proper small-town charm. And even though it is a suburb, it has that urban feel you won’t find so often in the suburbia. The median rent goes around $1,350, and almost 45% of residents are renting their place. Here you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, bars, parks, and a good school district.

The majority of the population are people in their twenties and thirties, but there are also families with children. Some of the advantages are the proximity to Lake Michigan but also to Chi-Town, since Evanston is only 14 miles up north. Northwestern University is located here as well, so if you’re moving to college, you couldn’t have picked a better place because here you’ll find everything you need. If you’re looking to cut costs of moving you’ll easily find flatmates and forget about getting moving stress and anxiety.

Forest Park, Affordable and Close to Chi-Town

Another suburb with more of an urban vibe is Forest Park, located in Cook County, with a bit more than 14,000 residents. Half of the locals are homeowners, while those who are looking to rent should know that the median rent goes around $1,000. There are not many families with children, but like in Evanston, young adults in their twenties and thirties are the majority. This is one of the cheaper towns on the outskirts with everything young adults need, from bars and places to go out to parks and restaurants. Most importantly, it is not too far from Chi-Town.

This suburb even has its slogan “big city access, small-town charm.” And it is true, with just 10 miles to Chi-Town, so you can easily be in the center of the action. Whether you catch a train or a bus, it is just a short ride away. It’s ideal for young professionals who don’t want to drive and deal with traffic jams daily. This is also a pet-friendly suburb, with friendly locals. There is a pool, lots of shops, and plenty of events like the Rib Fest or St. Patrick’s Day parade when locals go out to celebrate and have fun all together.

Naperville, Commercial Center and Big City Vibes

Naperville is one of the most populous Chicago surrounding suburbs since this town has almost 150,000 residents. Located in DuPage County, Naperville offers the best of both worlds and urban-suburban lifestyle. The majority of residents are homeowners, two-thirds of them, which means there are fewer places to rent, and therefore the prices are higher. The median rent in Naperville goes around $1,450. On the other hand, if you’re looking to become a homeowner, keep in mind that the median property value is $410,800.

Since Naperville is 34 miles away from Chi-Town, commuting is always an option. But keep in mind that Naperville is not a small town and there are plenty of job opportunities here as well, in case you don’t want to struggle with the daily commute. Besides the job, you can find everything else you might need, from biking trails, restaurants, shops, parks, swimming pools, river walk, and Centinel beach, to excellent schools in case you decide to stay here and raise a family. It is also very safe, so although the rents and other costs are slightly higher, it is not without a good reason. Here you’ll find some of the best neighborhoods in Chicago, and we are sure you’ll have a hard time picking just one.

Young professionals recognize advantages of living further from the city center.
The capital of Illinois is popular place among young adults, but they are also not afraid to move to the outskirts.

What is the Most Affluent Suburb of Chicago? Glencoe, Winnetka, or Hinsdale?

Whether or not they can afford it, people are always curious to find out more about the wealthiest places, because, in a way, that’s where the majority strives to be. Perhaps you can’t afford to live in one of these towns now, but in a few years or months, you could be seriously considering moving to some more affluent neighborhoods.

Many assume that these are the best suburbs to live in Chicago, just because they are so pricey. We can’t lie, living in some of these places does come with numerous advantages, but that can’t be the only criteria. Some of these affluent areas were already featured in our guide, so we won’t repeat ourselves, but we’ll represent a few more noteworthy towns.

Glencoe, the Wealthiest in Illinois

On Bloomberg’s list of 100 wealthiest towns in the US, there are a few representatives from Illinois, but among them, Glencoe ranks exceptionally well and holds 10th place on the list. Located in Cook County, with almost 9,000 residents and 24 miles from Chi-Town, Glencoe provides a proper suburban environment where nearly 95% of residents are homeowners. The median property value reaches almost 1 million dollars, but the average household income is high above the national average.

Demographics show that most of the residents are families with children and that even 51% of residents hold a master’s degree or higher. This beautiful North Shore village is close to the lake, it’s clean and safe, and its excellent school district attracts young families. Keep in mind that this is one of those communities where homeowners don’t mow their lawns or clean – they hire others to that for them. You can meet a lot of social climbers, but also a lot of down to earth folks, so don’t judge about locals too soon.

Winnetka, Excellent Schools and Beaches

Another gem in Cook County is Winnetka, with around 12,500 residents. This suburb could be described as a sparse suburban area, and although the median property value goes above 1 million dollars, the vast majority of residents are homeowners. The median household income is around $220,000. Some of the highly ranked public and private schools in Illinois are located here, such as New Trier, which is why you’ll find many families with children in Winnetka.

This town on Lake Michigan’s shores has large beaches, beautiful parks, indoor and outdoor skating, golf, and tennis courts. It’s very clean, safe, and well-maintained, and only 22 miles north from Chi-Town, so it is easily accessible by car or Metra train. It is a very walkable suburb where pretty much everything revolves around children and education.

Hinsdale, Another Great Affluent Suburb

We now move back to DuPage County, where lies Hinsdale, with 17,650 residents. This is another suburb where you’ll find mainly homeowners, but the median property value is slightly lower than in the other two affluent towns, so this could be an excellent place to invest. Crime rates are as low as they can be, and the majority of residents are, again, families with children.

Although you won’t find a lively nightlife, there’s pretty much everything else. There’s plenty of friendly neighborhoods to choose from, and it’s just a short train ride away from Chi-Town. The historical charm of downtown, beautiful parks, clean streets, and a growing culinary scene are only some of the reasons you should seriously consider Hinsdale.

Wealthy communities are not hard to find around the capital of Illinois.
Looking for an upscale town? Chicagoland has them too.

Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, Buffalo Grove and More

Let’s move on to the northwest towns in Chicagoland. If you narrowed down your selection geographically, here are the places you should consider if you’re heading northwest:

  • Buffalo Grove – This is one of the popular towns among families. It has just a bit over 40,000 residents, high-ranked schools, excellent parks, and numerous festivals throughout the year.
  • Elk Grove Village – Low property taxes attract numerous newcomers, and the fact that the business and residential area blend in so well is another plus. It has around 33,000 residents and plenty of young people in their twenties and thirties.
  • Palatine – With almost 70,000 residents, this is one of the most populous and largest towns in Chicagoland. If you’re not looking for small-town charm, but you also don’t want to be in the center of the action, Palatine is the place to be. Prices and rents are reasonable, and there’s plenty of job opportunities and a good public school system.
Northwest is a part of Chicagoland that has a lot to offer, so feel free to explore it thoroughly.
Heading northwest? Good choice, some of our top picks are located in that area.

Take a Look at This Video to Learn More About Western Suburbs of Chicago

We are now heading to the west, and for those of you wondering what are the west suburbs of Chicago, we decided to play a brief video guide on the west suburbs of Chicago, so pay close attention.

Southwest Suburbs of Chicago

Southwest suburbs are known for their thriving culinary scene, so here you’ll easily find some of the best restaurants in Chicago. However, besides deep-dish pizza, there’s plenty of great things around, so let’s take a look at some of the southwest burbs:

  • Joliet – With almost 148,000 residents, Joliet is one of the most populous burbs of Chicagoland. It is not crazy expensive, either. The median rent is a bit higher than the national average, and there’s plenty of job opportunities. It is not one of those cities where families are the majority. Here you can find people of all ages, and the diversity is high. There is something for everyone in Joliet.
  • Homewood – Cook County is the home to many great towns, and with almost 20,000 residents, Homewood is one of them. This town has a dense suburban vibe, and it is preferred among families and older adults. It is quiet and calm, with many green parks.
  • Minooka – It’s time for Grundy County and the 11,000 strong town of Minooka. Almost 90% of the population are homeowners, and the median rent is about $1,500, but that is a small price for what you can get here. Excellent schools and education opportunities are the main reason families flock to Minooka, even though the property taxes are slightly higher than in the surrounding towns.
Are you going southwest? Make sure to check some of these towns.
Do you base your search on geographic areas? In Chicagoland the divide is not so strict, but it can help you orientate.

Moving to Chicago Suburbs, a Life-Changing Decision

Chicagoland is a metro area like no other, so you need to do your research thoroughly. Don’t worry too much about its infamous mob past. It will give you anxiety without reason. Prepare yourself for a tranquil suburban lifestyle on the outskirts of one of the most exciting cities in the world, and when it gets too quiet or calm, you’re always just a ride away from Chi-Town.

Our last advice to you as a future resident of Chicagoland has to be on the weather and timing. When it comes to relocations, many have concerns about moving during the winter because they know how harsh weather can be in Chi-town. However, moving during the holidays is often slightly cheaper simply because not many people are willing to do it then. If there are no fixed dates, this could be a great way to save some bucks and turn it into an advantage.

Moving during the winter is not so popular, which is why you should turn it into your advantage and get a good deal.
Winters can be harsh but that doesn't mean you should postpone your relocation.

Many Suburbs Chicago has to Offer are Waiting for You

Have you found reliable Chicago long distance movers to take you to Chicagoland? Consider investing in packing services and storage units as well, just in case. Finding the right cross country moving company is just as important as picking the right town to settle down. Do your research carefully before hiring movers and learn how to recognize fake reviews; they are everywhere nowadays. Check their social media profile and current webpage to get a better picture before entrusting them with the move of your life.

Written By: Jane Davis