12 Reasons to Buy a Home in the North Shore
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, Wimette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Northfield, Glencoe, Highland Park, and Lake Forest. Some people also include Glenview, Northbrook, and Deerfield which are slightly more west.
If you are considering a move to this area, let me help you decide with these 12 great reasons to live in our beautiful Chicago North Shore.
1. Lake Michigan
The North Shore revels in its 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. Shown below is Gillson Lake in Wilmette.
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. New Trier High School in Winnetka is shown in this photo.
3. Lots of Cool Shopping Choices
Sprinkled throughout the North Shore are many fine shopping areas offering stores that sell unique goods not found at the malls. From downtown Winnetka to Plaza del Lago in Wilmette to Market Square in Lake Forest, one doesn’t ever need to leave the area. Whether you are searching for gifts, linens, books, antiques, or home decor, it’s here. Plaza del Lago in Wilmette is shown here.
4. Plentiful 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, traditional Italian, a myriad of sushi options, and much more. Click here for a Winnetka and North Shore Restaurant Guide. Guildhall Restaurant, below, is located in Glencoe.
5. Biking and Walking Trails
The beautiful North Branch Trail system is a Class 1 bike trail that winds through the west end of the North Shore. The trail offers lovely views and passes through golf courses, picnic areas, and the Chicago Botanic Garden. There are alternate dirt paths for horseback riding and wildlife is abundant. 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. The Skokie Lagoons
The 7 interconnected lagoons are part of the Cook County Forest Preserves. They are located at the very western end of Winnetka and Glencoe. There is boat access and recreational activities include canoe and kayak rentals, fishing, biking, hiking, and picnic areas.
7. Golf Courses
If you love golfing, you’ll love the North Shore. There are both private and public courses in the area and several world class courses are just an hour or so away. Below is a photo of the public 18-hole course in Winnetka.
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 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 Train Line Schedule. A Metra commuter train approaches the station in Kenilworth.
9. Forest Preserves
There are 68,000 acres of protected forest preserves in Cook County making up 11% of the land area. The first forest preserve district was formed in 1913 and many other counties in the state have adopted the model. These open areas are an integral part of the landscape and offer a respite from the cacophony of daily life. Deer, coyotes, foxes, river otters, herons, hawks, and supposedly a bald eagle have been spotted often.
Activities in the forest preserves include birding, walking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. The winter view taken below is on Tower Road looking northeast.
10. Ravinia Festival
North America’s oldest musical festival is located here in Highland Park. Ravinia’s 36 wooded acres offers a soothing place to either sit in the pavillion seats or have a picnic on the inviting outdoor grounds. Most people bring their own food along with tables, chairs, candles, and friends! One can also dine at one of the many restaurants at the park.
Musical offerings range from pop rock, blues, jazz, classical, country, and folk. Some notables include Steeley Dan,the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, Lady Gaga, Tony Bennet, the Beach Boys, Santana, Jennifer Hudson, Lionel Ritchie, Sarah McLachlan, Sugarland, Lady Antebellum, and Sting.
11. Chicago Botanic Garden (located in Glencoe)
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. It’s a stunning place to visit and even wintertime has its charms there. And admission is free but car parking is $25.
12. Park Districts Offer Incredible Activities
Each village - Winnetka, Wilmette, Glencoe, Glenview, Kenilworth, and Northfield - have their own park districts. Beyond the summer camps and basketball and baseball clinics, our local park districts afford a stunning array of creative activities. From a haunted house on the beach to a messy paint morning, you will never run out of things to do with your children. Winnetka has 27 parks, Wilmette lists 15, tiny Kenilworth has 7,and Glencoe has 19. Plus golf courses, ice skating rinks, swimming pools, tot lots, baseball fields, and picnic areas.
Fox Meadow Park in Northfield is shown here.
13. The Homes!
Housing inventory on the North Shore is incredibly diverse. There are 150-year old Victorians alongside new construction. Prices range from approximately the $400,000 range upwards to $12,000,000. There are small lots and acre properties. You can find styles like Tudor, Modernist, Dutch Colonial, English Manor, French Provincial, Contemporary, Ranch, Spanish, Colonial, and Split Level. Many older homes are routinely gutted and updated inside while maintaining their beautiful original exterior.
Beyond everything I’ve said above, we have sidewalk sales, community theater, children’s fairs, cultural events, art fairs, outdoor concerts, exercise and yoga studios, and pumpkin fests. There are charity walks and runs, house walks, parades, polar plunges, sailing, boating, swimming and farmer’s markets. Plus, a class for just about anything you want to learn about! And here
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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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