One car? That’s no problem in these Chicago suburbs.
When you live in Chicago you have access to everything, often in walking distance. Head to the Chicago suburbs, though, and that changes.
That said, some families don’t want to drive everywhere. Whether one parent doesn’t drive (hello, lifelong city kids!) or, simply, you’d prefer to stroll to school, public transportation and restaurants, there are tons of options for walkable communities. Granted, you’re going to need a car at least sometimes once you’re in the suburbs, these towns are more walkable than most and could be great go-tos for “one-car” families.
Designed to be a walkable community, this college town is ideal for families who don’t want to give up big-city amenities or access. Located 12 miles north of downtown Chicago, Evanston is made for walking, biking, and busing, with an extensive mass transit network that connects not only neighborhoods within the city, but also two airports and neighboring communities. If one parent commutes and the other works locally, having just one car won’t be a problem.
There’s also access to Metra, the commuter rail system, that runs into the heart of the city, perfect for commuting downtown workers that would rather scroll a newsfeed than sit in gridlock. As kids get older, this is a convenient option for the stay-at-home or local parent to keep the family car for school carpooling and shuttling kids to after-school activities like sports and music lessons.
This charming community located off the West Side of Chicago is widely considered one of the best suburbs catering to professionals and young families—and it earns the #1 spot from Walk Score. Here, more residents can walk to at least some key amenities—shops, restaurants, schools, grocery stores and public transportation.
With a population of just over 50,000, this area maintains a hometown feel, and there are several A-rated schools for the K-8 set. Two park districts offer access to dozens of parks, recreational centers, and activities perfect for growing kids. CTA Blue and Green lines go to and from the city and reliable Pace buses transport residents around town.
This North Shore village is rated as one of the most successful cities in the U.S., and with a population under 9,000, you’ll find that it offers plenty of room to grow. Glencoe high points include a beach, a botanical garden, a public library, and a golf club, so there’s plenty for families who want to get out and stay out.
From a walkability perspective, the Metra UP-N takes commuters into the city and Pace buses provide weekday and Saturday service. You’ll also catch tons of people biking to and from transport hubs and other hotspots. Another perk? Downtown Glencoe, which continues to be a model of walkability. Many residents can walk, and the community and local government continue to look for new ways to encourage families to walk here—and keep walking.
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