13 Best Chicago Suburbs 2021

by | Oct 25, 2021

Considering a move to the suburbs of Chicago? Here’s the essential list of the best suburbs in Chicago of 2021 to help you find the perfect suburb to live in the greater Chicagoland metropolitan area.

Best Chicago Suburbs 2021

As a precursor, we focused on medium to larger-sized Chicago suburbs that are within driving distance to downtown Chicago, Illinois. Additionally, this suburban Chicago neighborhood list factors in family-friendliness, population growth, safety, household income, affordability, and access to amenities.

Lastly, if your Chicago area city didn’t make the list this year, look out for your neighborhood in future updates. Accordingly, this list will continue to be updated each year as Chicagoland suburbs grow and change. For easy reference, you can use this Chicago Suburbs Map to view all of the cities below.

Without further ado, let’s dive into our best Chicago suburbs list for 2021!

  1. Glenview

Glenview, Illinois is a Cook County suburb of Chicago located approximately 20 miles northwest of the city loop. Likewise, the drive time from Glenview to downtown Chicago is just about 26 minutes.

Naval Air Station Glenview Illinois

Pictured above is the Naval Air Station in Glenview that has since been converted into a popular shopping district called The Glen. Another key point is that the village of Glenview has great schools. Both Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South high schools are top-ranked in addition to Glenview’s public elementary schools.

Neighborhood Stats Glenview, IL:

  • Glenview, IL Population 2020: 48,705
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $8,939
  • Median Household Income: $115,198
  • Average Home Value: $499,900

Next, Glenview is home to the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Glen Club, a popular Chicagoland golf course and hotel. Not to mention, there are a number of shopping and dining options at The Glen Town Center Mall.

A Growing Suburb Of Chicago

Aside from the fantastic school system, Glenview has very low crime rates and plenty of family-friendly amenities that make it a great place to raise kids in Illinois. Lastly, its population has grown 5.8% since 2010. This makes Glenview one of the fastest-growing suburbs of Chicago over the past decade.

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  1. Naperville

Naperville, IL is located 28 miles west of the city and is Chicago’s largest suburb. In fact, it is the third-largest city in the state of Illinois as of 2021 right after nearby Aurora. Likewise, Naperville is about a 38-minute drive from the Loop and has one of the best downtown districts of any Chicago Suburb. Indeed, downtown Naperville has tons of amazing restaurants and nightlife as well as a gorgeous historic district.

City Of Naperville, Illinois Overview:

  • Population: 149,540
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $7,531 in DuPage County
  • Median Household Income: $125,926
  • Average Home Value: $416,700

The sprawling west suburb spans across both DuPage and Will County. In addition to top schools and low crime rates, Naperville has been rated as Niche’s Best City to Raise a Family in America in 2021. Moreover, the Naperville Riverwalk is a focal point of the community and a top attraction for families in the area. Located along the banks of the DuPage River, it’s truly a local gem in the west Chicagoland suburbs.

Naperville Illinois Riverwalk Suburbs of Chicago

While more expensive than average across the US, Naperville’s cost of living is actually 25% lower than the city of Chicago, Illinois. Last but not least, it boasts the best library system in the country in case you needed more reasons to move here.

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  1. Downers Grove

Downers Grove, Illinois is a south-western suburb of Chicago located 22 miles west of the city. Situated in DuPage County, it is a 30-minute drive down I-55 from the Loop to Downers Grove, IL. As one of the best places to live in Illinois, Downers Grove is known for its fantastic public schools and low crime rates. Moreover, Downtown Downers Grove is rapidly growing into a major shopping, restaurant, and retail corridor.

Key Facts About Downers Grove, IL:

  • Population: 50,247
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $5,886
  • Median Household Income: $94,893
  • Average Home Value: $353,100

The Downers Grove Park District adds to the neighborhood’s family-friendly charm in addition to its numerous parks and the tranquil Hidden Lake Forest Preserve. All in all, the village of Downers Grove is a tight-knit community and very welcoming to a diverse mix of people from different backgrounds.

  1. Evanston, Illinois

Evanston, IL is a North Shore suburb located 12 miles north of Chicago. Located on Lake Michigan, it borders Chicago’s city limits and sits just north of Rogers Park. Correspondingly, Evanston is one of Cook County’s largest suburbs. Likewise, the average drive time from Evanston to the loop is approximately 30 minutes.

About Evanston:

  • Population: 78,110
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $7,433
  • Median Household Income: $78,904
  • Average Home Value: $391,400

Year after year, Evanston is rated as the best place to live in Cook County. This is due to a variety of outdoor activities, a diverse and inclusive demographic, and a world-class downtown district. Moreover, the city of Evanston has seven beaches and a bevy of beautiful historic houses and museums.

Evanston IL Chicagoland Suburbs

Not to mention, it’s home to Northwestern University, of of the best colleges in the United States. Last but not least, crime is reasonably low and Evanston’s schools are excellent which makes it a great place to buy a home and raise a family.

  1. Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights, Illinois is a popular northwest suburb of Chicago that’s one of the best affordable places to live in Illinois. Located about 45-minutes away from the loop on average, it spans across both suburban Cook and Lake counties.

Downtown Arlington Heights has a ton of restaurants, shops and, hotels. Likewise, top attractions in the village include its expansive park district, Arlington Heights historical museum, and Busse Woods.

Key Arlington Heights, IL Stats:

  • Population: 77,676
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $7,606
  • Median Household Income: $96,340
  • Home Value (Average): $358,300

Full of affordable apartments with access to the Metra train, it’s a good place to live for young professionals as well as younger families. Likewise, it’s one of the safest places in Illinois to live and has excellent school districts.

Also worth mentioning, the Chicago Bears are expected to move their stadium from Soldier Field to the village of Arlington Heights in 2026.

Nearby Northwest Chicagoland cities include Long Grove, Palatine, and Mt Prospect, IL.

  1. Buffalo Grove, IL

Buffalo Grove, Illinois is another Northwest suburb of Chicagoland that’s located mostly in Lake County with a portion in Cook County. About a 48-minute drive from the city, Buffalo Grove is known as one of the best places to live in the United States. With highly-rated public schools and very low crime rates, it’s an amazing Chicago suburb for families.

Area Stats For Buffalo Grove:

  • Population: 43,212
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $8,561
  • Median Household Income: $115,951
  • Average Home Value: $332,300

Not to mention, real estate there is quite affordable compared to other popular affluent suburbs nearby. Home to the Raupp Memorial Museum, Buffalo Grove has a mix of reasonably priced homes that attract young families moving from the city to the burbs.

  1. Oak Park, Illinois

The village of Oak Park is a near-west suburb of Chicago just a 16-minute drive from Chicago’s loop. Located in Cook County, Oak Park, IL is one of the coolest suburbs of Chicago for young professionals and families alike. This is due to Oak Park’s urban feel and the thriving downtown district full of breweries, stores, and fantastic dining options. No question there’s always something to do in Oak Park.

Information About Oak Park:

  • Population: 54,583
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $10,000+
  • Median Household Income: $94,646
  • Average Home Value: $387,300

Moreover, crime rates are moderate due to its proximity to the city but Oak Park high schools are very well rated. In particular, both Oak Park-River Forest and Fenwick are top-ranked public and private high schools in Chicago, IL each year.

Oak Park, Illinois is also known as the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway and is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. As a result, the village has a plethora of stunning historic architecture and victorian style homes.

Oak Park Suburbs of Chicago, IL

As a result, the village has a plethora of stunning historic architecture and victorian style homes. I highly recommend taking one of the many Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture Tours in Oak Park when you get a chance. Nearby west side Chicago neighborhoods include Forest Park, River Forest, Cicero, and Riverside, Illinois.

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  1. Wilmette, IL

Wilmette is a beautiful North Suburban village in Cook County located 14 miles north of Chicago, Illinois. Located in the New Trier Township, it is only a 26-minute drive from the loop. Homes in Wilmette, IL are some of the most expensive in the state and the neighborhood has a dense suburban feel to it.

Also, the village of Wilmette is the third safest town in Illinois so it’s perfect for affluent families looking for North Shore real estate with a great school system.

About Wilmette, Illinois:

  • Population: 28,170
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $10,000+
  • Median Household Income: $164,681
  • Value Of Homes (Average): $707,800

There are plenty of restaurants, parks, and coffee shops but what Wilmette is known best for is its beauty. Accordingly, the village borders Lake Michigan and tree-lined brick streets complete with classic green lantern light posts. Wilmette beach and Gillson Park are beautiful lakefront attractions ideal for summer picnics and many other outdoor activities. Other North Shore neighborhoods nearby include Glencoe, Winnetka, and Highland Park.

bahai temple in Wilmette, IL

Shown above is the Baha’i House of Worship which is located in Willmette. It is one of seven Baha’i temples in the world, located on Linden Avenue just outside downtown Wilmette.

  1. Schaumburg

Located in the Northwest Chicago suburbs, Schaumburg, Illinois is one of the larger cities on this list. Schaumburg, Illinois is about a 40-minute drive to downtown Chicago with typical traffic and is known for its massive Woodfield Mall and the Legoland Discovery Center. Mostly located in Cook County with parts in Dupage, overall Schaumburg is very safe. 

Village of Schaumburg, IL Data:

  • Population: 78,723
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $5,787
  • Median Household Income: $83,096
  • Average Home Value: $251,100

As a highlight, the village of Schaumburg has countless restaurants, shopping, and things to do. The Town Square is Schaumburg’s “official” downtown, located right off of Roselle Road. As a final note, its 10-year population growth rate is 6.1% which is higher than a majority of cities in Chicago’s suburbs.

  1. Elmhurst, IL

Elmhurst, Illinois is a west suburb of Chicago that’s a short 26-minute drive from the city. The majority of Elmhurst is in DuPage County with some parts in Cook county. Elmhurst is known as one of the best U.S. towns for families with highly-rated public schools and relatively low crime rates.

City Of Elmhurst, IL Stats:

  • Population: 45,786
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $7,975
  • Median Household Income: $118,609
  • Average Home Value: $432,600

In addition, the city of Elmhurst’s downtown district is awesome. Downtown Elmhurst includes a Metra station as well as over 275 shops, restaurants, and businesses. Also located in the nearly 150-year-old city are Elmhurst Hospital and Elmhurst University.

  1. Hinsdale

Hinsdale, Illinois is located 20 miles west of the city and is one of the wealthiest suburbs of Chicago. Situated on the county lines of Cook and DuPage counties, the drive time from Hinsdale to Chicago, IL is about 31 minutes. Hinsdale is known for its great schools and a lovely downtown district full of designer boutiques, shops, and restaurants.

Local Hinsdale Area Stats:

  • Population: 17,637
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $10,000+
  • Median Household Income: $203,368
  • Hinsdale’s Average Home Price: $884,700

In addition, the village of Hinsdale has very low crime rates and historically high housing prices. Notable attractions include Graue Mill and Museum as well as Ty Warner Park, making it a top western suburb for affluent families and out-of-town visitors.

Hinsdale IL Chicago Suburb

Recently trending neighborhoods located near Hinsdale include Western Springs, La Grange Park, and Brookfield, Illinois.

  1. Park Ridge, IL

Park Ridge, Illinois is another nearby affluent Chicago suburb located in Cook County. Just 15 miles northwest of Chicago, it’s about a 30-minute drive into the city with normal traffic. Its proximity to O’Hare International Airport and the I-90 expressway may it ideal for young professionals or families that travel a lot or work in the city.

More Park Ridge, IL Information:

  • Park Ridge Population: 39,656
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $9,508
  • Median Household Income: $111,642
  • Average Home Value: $437,000

The neighborhood has a vibrant downtown district that is lined with fantastic restaurants, boutiques, and shops. Likewise, the city of Park Ridge is safe and has very good public and private schools. As a result, it attracts a younger family demographic looking for a Chicago suburb that’s still close to the city. Nearby towns include Des Plaines, Morton Grove, and Skokie, Illinois.

  1. Glen Ellyn

Glen Ellyn, Illinois is a charming West suburban town located in DuPage County just east of Wheaton. The village is approximately a 37-minute drive from Chicago and has a beautiful historic downtown district. Crime in Glen Ellyn is relatively low and offers a small-town feel perfect for families. Glen Ellyn, IL is known for its top-ranked school district and its quaint downtown area full of antique stores and restaurants.

Stats For Glen Ellyn, IL:

  • Population: 28,846
  • Annual Property Tax (Median): $8,604
  • Median Household Income: $110,678
  • Average Home Value: $453,900

The village of Glen Ellyn is home to many incredible restaurants as well as the Cleve Carney Museum of Art and The Morton Arboretum. Also worth mentioning, the town is known as the “Village of Volunteers” and has multiple notable golf courses. Accordingly, the Glen Ellyn Park District has over 700 programs for residents of all ages to enjoy the many parks and neighborhood amenities.

Most Popular Suburbs Of Chicago FAQs

  • Which Chicago suburb has the lowest property taxes?

    Chicago suburbs with the lowest property taxes include Indian Head Park, Burr Ridge, Glenco, and Long Grove, Illinois. When it comes to property taxes in Cook County suburbs only, Winnetka and Kenilworth are the lowest with 0.93% and 0.88% respectively.

  • What are the best suburbs of Chicago for families?

    Clarendon Hills, Western Springs, Deerfield, and La Grange are all rated as the best suburbs of Chicago for families in addition to the cities on our list.

  • Which Chicago suburbs have the best downtown?

    The Chicago suburbs with the best downtown districts are Naperville, Evanston, Arlington Heights, and Oak Park, Illinois.

  • What are the richest suburbs of Chicago?

    The richest suburbs of Chicago are Hinsdale, Glencoe, Lake Forest, Winnetka, and Oak Brook, Illinois.