Best Chicago Suburbs to Commute to the City
Chicago can be an ideal place to work—but an expensive, noisy, and overwhelming city to live in. Many Illinoisans flock to the suburbs for its many benefits yet choose to work in the city. Commuters have a wide selection of Chicago suburbs they can call home.
A large metropolitan city like Chicago offers endless dining and entertainment options. But parking is a hassle and residential homes and apartments are pricey. Chicago’s suburbs, however, allow residents to live within their financial means while having access to all the excitement the city has to offer.
It’s important to choose a Chicago suburb that makes it easy to commute to the city. Proximity is a key factor to a daily stress-free commute. Following are vibrant suburbs that make traveling to the city a breeze, whether in a car or via public transportation.
1. Skokie, Illinois
Vehicle owners can travel to and from Skokie to Chicago’s premier downtown area in 23 minutes. The 15-mile distance from this suburb to the city makes it a quick commute. Traveling by the Metra rail allows commuters to reach downtown within 45 minutes.
Skokie is also an ideal place to call home. Artistic and cultural opportunities abound here, with venues like the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Northlight Theatre, and Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra drawing regular crowds. Skokie even has a historic corridor for glimpses into the past.
2. Evanston, Illinois
Another short commute to the city can be made from Evanston, a sophisticated suburb located along Lake Michigan’s shoreline. Commuters can make the 12-mile trip to Chicago in 23 minutes. The Metra allows commuters to reach the city after a comfortable 40-minute train ride.
Known as “Chicago Lite,” Evanston is highly walkable. Dotted along its tree-lined streets are numerous cafés, restaurants, and shops. Northwestern University is located in this suburb. Attend a concert at one of its music venues, like SPACE. Excitement and entertainment options are plentiful here.
3. Oak Park, Illinois
Commuters reach downtown Chicago in 20 minutes from the historical treasure, Oak Park. When opting for the CTA, the commute time is 37 minutes. Oak Park is located a mere nine miles from the loop. The village even has its own Metra station as well as buses and bike paths.
Frank Lloyd Wright architecture can be enjoyed by residents of Oak Park. Walking tours take visitors throughout the suburb to see Wright’s architectural footprint left on private homes and public structures. Oak Park was the birthplace of author Ernest Hemingway, whose home can also be toured.
4. Naperville, Illinois
Ranked as the nation’s best suburb to live in, Naperville is located 30 miles west of Chicago. By car, commuters can reach the city in 36 minutes, while Metra riders on the express line can arrive in Chicago in 45 minutes. The suburb offers multiple train stations and major highways.
Naperville boasts of an excellent school system, an acclaimed library, and a vibrant downtown. This highly desirable suburb is known for offering all the amenities of a modern city along with charming small-town living. The suburb’s 145,000 residents attest to its appeal.
5. Hinsdale, Illinois
Hinsdale is located 20 miles from Chicago, making the commute by car a quick, 32-minute ride. By the express line on Metra, commuters reach Chicago in 22 minutes. Hinsdale’s historic downtown allows commuters to park and spend time browsing its 100 local shops.
Katherine Legge Memorial Park is located on 52 acres of Hinsdale’s picturesque woodlands, offering residents plenty of opportunities to play frisbee, golf, or go sledding in the winter. Hinsdale entices walkers and joggers alike with its rolling hills and woodlands.
6. Wheaton, Illinois
Farther from Chicago is an active suburb known as Wheaton. By car, commuters can drive to Chicago in 41 minutes. By Metra, the trip to the city is one hour. Wheaton residents enjoy numerous events, shops, and farmers’ markets in the suburb’s historic downtown.
Nature lovers visit Wheaton’s robust forest preserve district. Walkers, hikers, and joggers can take advantage of its 145 miles of trails. Families can enjoy leisurely weekends at its 31 lakes and 1,450 picnic tables. Horseback riding lessons are available at the Danada Equestrian Center.
A few more suburbs make the list for the best commute to the city. Flossmoor requires only a 33-minute commute by car and a 40-minute ride on the Metra express line. Reach Chicago from Buffalo Grove in 45 minutes by car and 40 minutes on the Metra express line.
Highland Park is another opportunity for suburban living and easy access to Chicago. From Highland Park to Chicago, the commute by car is 36 minutes and 45 minutes on Metra’s express line. This list wouldn’t be complete without Park Ridge, which is just 15 minutes northwest of downtown Chicago.
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