The Chicago North Shore has been described as a string of pearls lying along the shore of Lake Michigan just north of Chicago. The villages included in this "necklace" are Evanston, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Northfield, Glencoe, Highland Park and Lake Forest. Some people also include Glenview, Northbrook, and Deerfield.
If you are considering a move to this area, let me help you decide with these 12 reasons to live in our beautiful North Shore.
1. Lake Michigan
Stretching from Wilmette to Lake Bluff, North Shore communities revel in their national status as the "Third Coast." Every village has at least one public beach and many offer sailing clubs. Living alongside the lake offers another advantage - the weather is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. And Winnetka, Wilmette, and Evanston have dedicated dog beaches.
2. Nationally Recognized Schools
The abundance of top-rated public and private schools makes the North Shore a magnet for parents. With small class sizes and a solid tax base, the North Shore sets an example for the rest of the country.
3. Lots of Cool Shopping Choices
Photo is of the Plaza del Lago shopping area in Wilmette
4. Generous Dining Options
Foodies flock to the North Shore for our abundance and variety of restaurants. The international spectrum is represented here from local hot spots to haute cuisine. Choose from swanky bars, casual Mexican, delicious Italian, a myriad of sushi options, and much more. Click here for a Winnetka and North Shore Restaurant Guide.
Photo is of Nuevo Depot Mexican Restaurant in Wilmette
5. Biking and Walking Trails
The beautiful North Branch Trail System is a Class 1 bike trail that winds through the North Shore. The trail offers beautiful views and passes through golf courses, picnic areas, and the Chicago Botanic Garden. There are alternate dirt paths for horseback riding and wildlife is plentiful. The trail is used for biking, running, walking, and rollerblading.
The Green Bay Trail runs alongside the railroad tracks from Wilmette to Highland Park.
6. Plentiful Public Parks
Winnetka has 27 parks, Wilmette lists 15, and Glencoe has 19. Plus golf courses, ice skating rinks, swimming pools, tot lots, baseball fields, and picnic areas. Local park districts also offer summer camps, tennis and golf lessons, and so much more.
Photo shows the playground at Gillson Park in Wilmette.
7. Golf Courses
There are both private and public courses along the North Shore. In addition, several world class courses are just an hour or so away.
Commuting is a breeze with the Metra North Line. Stops are conveniently located in Evanston (3 stops), Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka (3 stops), Glencoe and farther north. On Metra, you will arrive at downtown Chicago within 25-40 minutes.
Commuter lots are convenient and plentiful. In the summer, some Metra patrons ride their bikes to the station. See the North Line train schedule.
Photo is of the Glencoe train station
There are 68,000 acres of forest preserve in Cook County making up 11% of the land area. The first forest preserve district was formed in 1913 and since then counties within the state have adopted the model.
Activities in the forest preserve include birding, walking and biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, fishing and picnicking.
Photo shows the forest preserve at Winnetka Avenue in Northfield.
10. Ravinia Festival
North America's oldest musical festival, Ravinia's 36 wooded acres offers an enchanting place to listen to your favorite music. Bring your own picnic or dine at one of the many restaurants at the park.
Musical offerings range from pop rock, blues, jazz, classical, and folk. Steely Dan is a regular as is the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennet have also made appearances here.
Photo of Ravinia Festival, Highland Park
The Chicago Botanic Garden has been called a living plant museum. It encompasses 385 acres, 9 islands, 6 miles of shoreline, and 25 specialty gardens including Sensory, Waterfall, Rose, and English Walled gardens. The Garden has over 50,000 members and offers a wide variety of classes.
The Green Bay Trail goes right through the gardens and many visitors easily bike there in the summers. Take a stroll, a class, and have lunch.
Photo of Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
12. Park Districts with Unbelievable Offerings
Each village of Winnetka, Wilmette, Glencoe, Glenview, Kenilworth, and Northfield have their own park districts. Beyond the usual summer camps and basketball or baseball clinics, our local park districts offer a stunning array of creative and fun activities. From a haunted house on the beach to a messy paint morning, you will never run out of fun things to do with your kids.
Photo is of Centennial Pool in Wilmette
There's also sidewalk sales, community theater, children's fairs, cultural events, art fairs, outdoor concerts, exercise and yoga studios, and pumpkin fests. Charity walks and runs, house walks, parades, polar plunges, sailing, boating, swimming, and weekly farmer's markets.
While you're here, see ALL NORTH SHORE HOMES FOR SALE
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Margaret Goss is a full-time real estate broker since 1998 working in the North Shore communities of Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Northfield, Glenview, and Evanston.
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