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Aerial View of the Chicago Skyline Looking Out to Lake Michigan at Night

Best Suburbs of Chicago

Thinking about moving to the Chicago metro? Chicagoland has many amazing suburbs that offer affordable housing, lively downtown areas, family-friendly amenities, and more. Consider settling down in one of these five Chicago suburbs!

1. Buffalo Grove

  • Home Price: $299,600 median purchase price; $1,399 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 84% of Illinois cities
  • Perfect For: Families, retirees

Buffalo Grove is a great suburb for those looking for a quieter place to call home in the Chicago area. Not only does it provide affordable living within 40 minutes of the city center, but it’s also home to a well-ranked school district with top schools like Meridian Middle School and Buffalo Grove High School. Residents can find a wide variety of housing options, too, like newly built villas, updated Colonials, and Craftsman-style houses. Plus, this Chicago suburb has incredible parks and recreation nearby with Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve and Potawatomi Woods, as well as some good spots for family-friendly fun!

Things to Do in Buffalo Grove

Get outside at Willow Stream Park, where you can go swimming, play a game of disc golf, take part in a tennis match, or try sand volleyball. Cool off in the summer at Spray ‘N Play, where there are over 20 water toys, sprays, and fountains. Schedule a tee time, practice your skills at the driving range, or buy a new putter in the Pro Shop at Buffalo Grove Golf Course. Take the family out for bowling, arcade games, and laser tag at Bowlero Buffalo Grove. Visit the Raupp Memorial Museum to learn more about Buffalo Grove’s history. Stop for breakfast at Flappy’s Pancake House and get the Irish Skillet, Cinnamon Roll Flapjacks, or a Peach & Walnut Waffle. Try specialty sushi rolls like World Series, 007 Roll, and Godzilla at Sushi Grove. Pick up some sweet treats like Passion Fruit Macarons, Banana Cupcakes, and Apple Fritters from Deerfields Bakery. Or make reservations at Countyline Tavern and order the Peanut Butter Cup Martini, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, and Cajun Mac & Cheese.

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2. Evanston

  • Home Price: $356,600 median purchase price, $1,246 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 28% of Illinois cities
  • Perfect For: Students, singles, young professionals, families, retirees

If you want to live in a Chicago suburb with a college town feel and stunning views of Lake Michigan, check out Evanston! With Northwestern University in the area, as well as top-rated public schools like Lincolnwood Elementary School and Evanston Township High School, Evanston is a hot spot for education in the Chicago metro. In addition, this suburb offers affordable bungalows, renovated Victorians, and newly constructed homes along with good bikeability and convenient public transit options via METRA Rail and CTA Purple Line.

Things to Do in Evanston

Purchase a Beach Token and head to Greenwood Street Beach, where you can swim, rent kayaks, or simply relax and take in views of Lake Michigan. Go to Perkins Woods, a small forest preserve that’s perfect for bird watching. See collections of Global Modern & Contemporary Art, Computer-Generated Art, and other works at The Block Museum of Art. Shop for children’s books in 48 languages or find your new favorite novel at Bookends & Beginnings. Spend a Saturday morning picking up some fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers at Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market. Kickstart the morning with the Cajun Scramble or Fried Green Tomato Eggs Benedict at The Lucky Platter. Pick up some Baby Back Ribs or a Sliced Brisket Sandwich at Heckey’s Barbecue. Or try the Stroop Dreams Pastry Stout, Disco Nap Session IPA, or Untethered Peach Saison at Temperance Beer Co.

3. Naperville

White, Two-Story Single Family Home in Naperville, IL. Photo by Instagram user @monarquegroup

Photo via @monarquegroup

  • Home Price: $388,400 median purchase price; $1,360 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 87% of Illinois cities
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

As one of the largest and safest Chicago suburbs, Naperville is a lively town that truly has something for everyone! For those looking for job opportunities, Naperville is home to major employers like Nokia, Edward Hospital & Health Services, BP, and more. You can also get out on the town in Downtown Naperville, an exciting area along the DuPage River, where you can find trendy bistros, local shops, and attend community events like the Classic Car Show and Chocolate Walk. This Windy City suburb is filled with historic homes that have been renovated to have the perfect combination of old and new as well!

Things to Do in Naperville

Stroll along Naperville Riverwalk, where you can visit the Dandelion Fountain, go paddle boating, or look at the artwork throughout the Century Walk. Cool off in the summer heat and swim in the former quarry-turned-swimming pool at Centennial Beach. Explore hands-on exhibits like Awesome Energy, Make It Move, and The Studio at DuPage Children’s Museum. Watch the Naperville Municipal Band and other local performing arts groups at Naperville Community Concert Center. Get your morning caffeine in from Sparrow Coffee and choose from a rotating selection of single-origin coffees. Try creative grilled cheese creations like the Tuna Turner, Sloppy Mack, and The Socra-Cheez from Everdine’s Grilled Cheese Co. Have a taste of Spain with traditional tapas like Queso con Pacanas, Crepe Rellena, and Valenciana Paella at Meson Sabika. Order Cajun White Fish Tacos, Pan Seared Szechwan Scallops, or a Hawaiian Poke Bowl at Catch 35. Or sip on some craft brews like the Friday Junior IPA, Cake Wafter Sour Ale, or Section 37 Pilsner at Solemn Oath Brewery.

4. Oak Park

  • Home Price: $359,100 median purchase price; $1,050 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 19% of Illinois cities
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

Oak Park is an ideal suburb for those who want to be close to Chicago without living directly in the city. Sitting just 15 minutes west of Downtown Chicago, this historic suburb gives residents the perfect mix of big city feel and small town life. Many of the homes are heavily inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie-style design, but you can also find homes with Queen Anne and Colonial influences. On top of that, Oak Park has great walkability and access to the CTA Green Line, so it’s easy to get around and commute into the city!

Things to Do in Oak Park

Attend events like What’s Blooming on Harrison Street at the Oak Park Arts District. Play tennis, practice your frisbee skills, or attend a summer concert at Scoville Park. See various flora and fauna in the tropical and Mediterranean gardens at Oak Park Conservatory. Learn more about the life of author Ernest Hemingway and take a guided tour at Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum. Watch a local production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and other classics at Oak Park Festival Theatre. Get the Coffee of the Day and Tofu Veggie Scramble for a morning pick-me-up at The Buzz Cafe. Grab a Bento Box lunch like the Grilled Chicken Teriyaki or Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass from SEN Sushi Bar. Eat old-fashioned ice cream in a vintage parlor at Petersen’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream. Visit Citrine Cafe for Mediterranean bites like Wild Mushroom Ravioli, Steak Frites, and Seared Faroe Islands Salmon. Or try beers like the Prohibition Pilsner, Chicago Common, and Baltic Porter at Kinslahger Brewing Company.

5. Wheaton

  • Home Price: $342,000 median purchase price; $1,260 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 58% of Illinois cities
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

If you’re looking for a calmer suburb in the Chicago metro with great small-town charm, take a look at Wheaton! Here, you can be part of a tight-knit community that loves hosting events throughout the year, including Wheaton French Market, Summer Wine Walk, and Wheaton Art Walk. This Chicago suburb also boasts incredible education choices at all levels with schools like Longfellow Elementary School, Wheaton Warrenville South, and Wheaton College all nearby. Plus, Wheaton is surrounded by amazing outdoor recreation at Timber Ridge Forest Preserve and Herrick Lake Forest Preserve.

Things to Do in Wheaton

Go on a tram tour to see the various trees and plants of Illinois at The Morton Arboretum. Embark on a scavenger hunt, go hiking, or try out snowshoeing at Lincoln Marsh. Visit Cosley Zoo to see over 200 domestic farm animals and native Illinois animal species like Nubian goats, bobcats, and sandhill cranes. Learn more about the history of DuPage County in exhibits like Trinkets & Treasures and All Aboard at DuPage County Historical Museum. Play the 18-hole golf course at the historic Chicago Golf Club. Enjoy hearty breakfast dishes like Chipotle Chicken Sausage Frittata, Frosted Flake Crusted French Toast, or Italian Goat Cheese Omelette at Egg’lectic Cafe. Try unique burger creations like the Naan Burger, Korean BBQ Burger, or Beyond Social Stack Burger at The Burger Social. Treat yourself to delicious Thai food like Red Curry, Lemongrass Chicken, or Choun’s Signature Pad Thai at Choun’s. Head to Hale Street Cantina for Mexican-American fusion like the Bacon Elote Cheese Dip, Coconut Shrimp Tacos, and Frito Burrito. Or grab some friends and head to Dry City Brew Works for drafts like the Sol De Noche Stout and Patchwork Extra Pale Ale.


Moving to a Chicago suburb? Extra Space Storage has convenient facilities located in and around the Chicago metro to make your transition easier. Find cheap Chicago storage near you!

Suburb statistics from AreaVibes

Pinterest graphic: Chicago, IL: 5 Best Suburbs

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.