Don’t want to ditch the walkability when you live in the city? Check out these walkable Chicago suburbs.
BY DANIELLE BRAFF
If you’re afraid to leave Chi-town because you love walking, then have no fear: there are some suburbs where you literally don’t need a car. At all. Here are our favorite walking burbs.
1. Oak Park
The suburb is fairly large, but snag a home near your school, and you’ll most likely be able to walk or bike everywhere (and most people do). This suburb boasts a whopping three libraries, eight elementary schools, and two junior highs – so you’re never far from where you’ll need to be. The public transportation here is also really good. Plus, there are tons of parks, supermarkets, and two large downtown areas. By the time your child is old enough to navigate the city on his own, chances are, they’ll be walking around by themselves like they own the place.
Connected to Chicago by the Purple line, this is an easy commuter city – and a great one for walkers. Walk everywhere: to school, to the beach, downtown, and to the fabulous library. You’re surrounded by Northwestern University students, most of whom don’t have a car either – so the city was essentially created for urbanites. Want a break from the city scene? Evanston also has great lakefront trails.
Yes, it looks suburban, with its massive homes and its tree-lined streets. But Wilmette also has six shopping districts, where you can wander to your heart’s delight, giving it a high walking score. We also love simply meandering through Wilmette because it’s ridiculously beautiful.
4. Des Plaines
About 20 miles northwest of Chicago, you’ll find DesPlaines. It’s connected to Chicago via the Metra train, and it’s close to O’Hare International Airport. Des Plaines has a high walk score thanks to the area between River Road near Miner Street and Rand Road. Here, there are long stretches of businesses, shops, and restaurants. Get into downtown DesPlaines, and you’ll find new apartment buildings and tons of places to wander. DesPlaines is also fortunate to have hundreds of acres of parks along tons of bike trails.
You don’t have to have a car to live in Berwyn, which is a western suburb that’s about 12 miles away from downtown Chicago. WalkScore considers it to be very walkable, and that’s because you can get to most places by foot. Restaurants, shops, supermarkets, and more are all accessible by foot, and the sidewalks are wide – as many people use them. Berwyn is a relatively inexpensive place to live, and you can buy a nice home for significantly less than $400,000. It’s connected to Chicago by the El and the Metra.
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