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Chicago's North Shore Communities

Living on the North Shore

The North Shore of Chicago begins just over the border in the City of Evanston and extends north along Lake Michigan to the Village of Lake Bluff. Having lived my whole life near the lake, I can attest that it's a very special part of living in the Chicago area. Warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, with beautiful mature trees, gorgeous ravines and established communities, one quickly realizes why people gravitate to the North Shore when choosing a place to live in the Chicago area.  
The North Shore provides: 
  • Easy access to fabulous Chicago 
  • Amazing public beaches along our beautiful lake 
  • Excellent commuter transportation in and out the city 
  • Proximity to a major international airport
  • Superb, nationally renowned public schools 
  • Cultural center, Ravinia Festival (Highland Park) 
  • Magnificent Chicago Botanic Gardens (Glencoe) 
  • Excellent educational institutions such as Northwestern University 

The North Shore provides something for everyone. While all the communities have exceptional housing, schools and amenities, each also has a slightly different personality. 

Communities of the North Shore
Venturing North from Chicago along the lake...

Evanston - The largest of the North Shore communities with its gorgeous beaches, mid-rise condos as well as graceful Victorians, make Evanston a wonderful place to live. Located just 10 miles north of the Loop, Evanston is a diverse North Shore small city/suburb of Chicago. Home to Big 10 university, Northwestern University, this is a vibrant community with excellent public transportation and easy access to Chicago. (Evanston Township High School)

Wilmette - Wilmette is a charming community with a great deal to offer both residents and visitors alike.  Cobblestone streets and antique lampposts give the feeling of a by-gone era. Wilmette has its own harbor and is home to the Bahá'í House of Worship: one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois.  A good sized town with excellent city services, a gorgeous lake front beach and delightful neighborhoods makes Wilmette an ideal place to live.  (New Trier High School) 

Kenilworth - The smallest of the North Shore communities, the village of Kenilworth is a master-planned development on the shores of Lake Michigan, approximately 14 miles north of downtown Chicago. It was planned by architect Daniel Burnham to resemble a grand retreat in Warwickshire, England.  Kenilworth truly is a picturesque and serene village.  Only .6 miles in size, everything is within walking distance!  (New Trier High School) 

Winnetka - Home to the nationally acclaimed New Trier High School, Winnetka is a classic North Shore town located 19 miles north of downtown Chicago. Elegant homes line beautifully landscaped streets.  Winnetka was recently ranked as the Number 1 community in Midwest for quality of life by The Business Journal - On Numbers.  (New Trier High School)

Northfield - While Northfield does not border the lake and is west of Winnetka, it is part of the New Trier district and provides wonderful spacious lots and easier access to O'Hare airport.  Northfield has maintained a country atmosphere. Surrounded by country clubs, golf courses, and forest preserves, this community remains residential with limited commercial development in the downtown area. (New Trier High School)

Glencoe - This North Shore suburb was developed as a model community in 1869. Strict zoning ordinances were set to ensure the preservation of nature. Streets and homes were built along the natural contours of the land for the most distinctive environment possible. One of the prettiest villages on the North Shore.  (New Trier High School)

Highland Park - Highland Park is vibrant community with a wonderful city center and is home to some of the North Shore’s most lovely properties. Situated on tall bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan, the community setting is enhanced by mature trees, picturesque ravines, and, to the west, the gentle sloping hills of the Skokie Valley.  (Highland Park High School)

Highwood/Fort Sheridan - Highwood was founded in 1887 in conjunction with the establishment of Fort Sheridan.  Throughout much of its history, it grew up around the Fort.  Fort Sheridan is a residential neighborhood.  It was originally established as a United States Army Post named after Civil War Cavalry General Philip Sheridan, to honor his services to Chicago. When the main fort was officially closed by the Army in 1993, the majority of the property was sold by the Department of Defense to commercial land developers. Most of the original housing structures were then refurbished and resold as a residential community.  Highwood has some of the best restaurants on the North Shore! .  (Highland Park High School)

Lake Forest- The lakefront community of Lake Forest has a rich history tied to Chicago's founding families. Established in 1857 as a college town serving Lake Forest College, the city's historical heritage, tranquil surroundings, and gracious quality of life have been carefully preserved through thoughtful growth. Spacious homes on large wooded lots, winding tree-lined streets, gas street lamps, bricked beach paths and historic Market Square all contribute to the area's appeal. Lake Forest is able to provide all of today's desirable amenities without losing sight of its small town values.  (Lake Forest High School)

Lake Bluff  - Lake Bluff today is a small, peaceful community reminiscent of an old-time New England village. Situated high above Lake Michigan on steep bluffs interspersed with deep ravines, the town is a haven for those in search of close-knit community spirit.  Just to get a sense of Lake Bluff, watch this wonderful video of its Halloween celebration -- it's known for its festive evening as well as famous for its 4th of July parade. A charming gazebo on the village green serves as a focal point for the small central business district and a setting for many well-organized community activities. So You Want to Live in ... Lake Bluff   (Lake Forest High School)