Kari Lloyd

With its great neighborhoods, excellent foods and culture galore, Chicago remains one of the top spots for people looking to rent. However, this means some of the best Chicago suburbs get overlooked. Suburban life in Chicago can offer just as much excitement and amenities as the city itself, and is well worth a look for young families, professionals or empty nesters ready to escape the Windy City's hustle and bustle.

Apartment Guide’s Top Picks: Chicago Suburbs

rent comparisons in best chicago suburbs

Arlington Heights, IL

Distance from Chicago: 25 miles northwest of Chicago’s downtown

Public Transportation: Metra’s Union Pacific / Northwest Line (Stops: Arlington Heights, Arlington Park)

School Districts: School District 25 (Elementary / Middle), School District 214 (High school)

Why You’ll Like It:

  • Easy access to the city
  • Booming downtown area with great restaurants and shopping
  • Family friendly with highly-ranked school districts and plenty of parks


Evanston, IL

Distance from Chicago: 12 miles north of Chicago’s downtown

Public Transportation: The CTA’s Purple line (the “L”) and Metra’s Union Pacific/North Line (Stops: Main Street, Davis Street, Central Street)

School Districts: Evanston-Skokie Consolidated Community School District 65 (Elementary / Middle), Evanston Township High School District 202

Why You’ll Like It:

  • Perfect for young professionals looking to transition to the suburbs
  • Excellent for those who like to walk or bike, with miles of dedicated sidewalks and bike lanes.
  • Hip, urban environment with a community feel.

Crystal Lake, IL

Distance from Chicago: 45 miles northwest of Chicago’s downtown

Public Transportation: Metra’s Rail Union Pacific Northwest Line (Stop: Crystal Lake)

School Districts: Crystal Lake Community Consolidated School District 47 (Elementary / Middle), Community High School District 155 (High school)

Why You’ll Like It:

  • Access to over 40 parks in the area, including a nature center in Veteran Acres Park.
  • Easy access to Wisconsin – perfect for family vacations or day trips.
  • Historic downtown district is home to many shops and restaurants.

Naperville, IL

Distance from Chicago: 31 miles west of downtown Chicago

Public Transportation: BNSF Railway Line (Station: Route 59, Naperville)

School Districts: Naperville Community Unit School District 203 (Elementary, Middle and High school)

Why You’ll Like It:

  • Naperville was ranked amongst the nation’s safest cities by Business Insider in 2017 and the 2nd best place to live by Money Magazine in 2006.
  • The downtown area is teeming with bars and restaurants, and also features the Riverwalk.
  • Close proximity to forest preserves and Centennial Beach, a public aquatic park.

Oak Park, IL

Distance from Chicago: 7 miles west of downtown Chicago

Public Transportation: CTA’s Green Line and Blue Line at four stations. Metra’s Union Pacific / West Line is also available. Multiple bus locations can also get you into the city.

School Districts: School District 97 (Elementary), Educational District 200 (High school)

Why You’ll Like It:

  • Close enough to the city to still feel urban – transportation is plentiful.
  • Great restaurants, bars and shops in the vicinity for walking around and shopping.
  • Home to Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, making the area beautiful.

Thinking about leaving the city but aren’t quite ready to let go of all the things that make Chicago fun? Check out the suburbs! Did we miss your favorite? Let us know below!



About The Author

Kari Lloyd has been a freelance writer for over 15 years. A Chicago native and recent transplant to Atlanta, Kari spent 10 years living in London, UK where she worked as a music journalist and restaurant reviewer.