Chicago is one of the “big player” cities, hot on the heels of New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and the like. That’s not just because of the population, although it does boast the third largest in the U.S. Still, Chicago owes its success to what it has to offer in the way of business, entertainment, and culture.
Chicago has a lot to offer families, too. Housing in Chicago and its suburbs are more affordable than other big cities, and the city is cleaner, as well. Plus, thanks to the vision of Daniel Burnham, the architect, and designer behind the master strategy to rebuild Chicago after the infamous fire in 1871, there are numerous parks. The original goal was that every citizen should be within walking distance of a park, and the city has come pretty close to nailing that objective.
Whether these facts about the Windy City entice your family into relocating to Chicago, or you were already planning on moving to Chicago, you’ll want to know which neighborhoods are safe, which are close to good schools, and which offer affordable housing and access to amenities such as shopping, dining, and entertainment. Essentially, these are the best neighborhoods in Chicago for families.
Actual residents will tell you that Beverly is one of the best places to live in Chicago because it is one of those big-city neighborhoods that have a small-town feel. One Chicagoan quoted in the Huffington Post said Beverly is a place where a nine-year-old can safely ride their bike or go to the park without being accompanied by an adult. For being located in a city that is often equated with its crime statistics, Beverly is essentially safe, getting an A- grade from niche.com. Beverly has an assortment of public and private schools. With choices such as Ridge Academy, Beverly Montessori, and St. Barnabas School, it’s a terrific, family-friendly Chicago neighborhood.
Housing is more expensive in Beverly than the national average of $181,400. Still, although homes in the neighborhood average around $307,000, Beverly gets an “A” grade for housing because of the quality of the homes. Most tend to offer more square footage, especially the newly constructed houses. However, there are a number of older homes, too, featuring amazing architecture. As you would expect with an older home, although they have character, there is less square footage. Keep in mind that opting for a marvelous older home may require obtaining a Chicago self-storage unit to house seasonal items and other bits and pieces you don’t need daily access to.
Beverly rises to the challenge when it comes to amenities and entertainment. There are several Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the neighborhood. Along with restaurants and shopping, there is an arts center and art galleries, parks, historic districts, and even a 60-acre closed-canopy forest preserve.
Among Chicago neighborhoods, Edgewater has its share of public and private schools, such as Nicholas Senn High School, Sacred Heart School, Northside Catholic Academy, and Montessori Gifted Prep. As one of the 10 safest neighborhoods in Chicago, Edgewater has been described as a “family dream.”
At $181,500, the median sales price for a home in Edgewater is just about the same as the national average. Living in this Chicago neighborhood would put you close to a variety of the ethnic restaurants the city is famous for, including the requisite pizza joints and pastry shops. Edgewater is even home to the city’s only food tour. There are several historical sites, theaters, and parks, as well as an antique market on Broadway.
3. Hyde Park
Hyde Park not only offers educational opportunities for K through 12 students, with an assortment of public and private elementary, middle, and high schools but, with the University of Chicago nearby, high school grads can live at home while pursuing secondary education.
The median home prices in Lincoln Square are above average, at around $300,400, but most are stately homes and mansions, so you won’t be necessarily paying for a three bedroom ranch with a detached garage.
As a college neighborhood, there are plenty of bookstores and a library in Hyde Park. Most of the entertainment in the area centers around the university’s athletics, theater, and other offerings. Also, food tends to be terrific that close to the college, and you’ll be able to take your pick from some of the best restaurants and cafes in the city.
4. Sauganash/Forest Glen
The Sauganash/Forest Glen neighborhood gets high marks for safety compared to other areas of Chicago, possibly because there is a police station right in the neighborhood. It is home to some pretty good schools, too. Sauganash Elementary, for example, rated a 10 from GreatSchools.org.
As one of the more affluent neighborhoods in Chicago, home prices in Sauganash/Forest Glen are a bit spendy compared to other areas in the city, with a median price of around $427,000.
In contrast to the city center, Sauganash/Forest Glen is a quiet area and life is a little slower-paced. You may have to travel closer to the city for fine dining, shopping, and entertainment, but there are a number of golf courses and churches in the area to keep your Sundays occupied.
5. Edison Park
Though overall, the schools in Edison Park rank a little lower on the average, the neighborhood is still home to some excellent schools, such as Edison Park Elementary and the Edison Elementary Regional Gifted Center, according to GreatSchools.org. The crime rate is low, too, compared to both Chicago and national averages.
You will pay more for a home in Edison Park than in some Chicago neighborhoods, as the average home value is around $358,000. You can find less expensive condos and single-family dwellings in the area in a variety of ages, floor plans, and square footage, and that will all factor into how much you end up paying.
Known as one of the quieter neighborhoods in Chicago, the actual Edison Park is a center for activities and entertainment in the area. All members of the family can take art classes at the park’s fieldhouse, and there are indoor and outdoor activities for kids year-round. The neighborhood is accessible to other areas that may have more to offer, such as Wrigleyville, but it does have its share of bars and family restaurants for a casual evening out with the kids or a date night for the adults.