From Elmwood Park to River Forest, Get to Know These 3 Illinois Communities

Andy Gagliardo  |  May 26, 2022


The city of Chicago is the third-most populous city in the nation, behind New York City and Los Angeles. Its residents top 2,746,388 people that fit into about 235 square miles. It was incorporated in 1837 and sits along the banks of Lake Michigan.

The city is a global hub for culture, commerce, finance, industry, telecommunications, and transportation. O'Hare International Airport is often ranked amongst the world's busiest airports, and the city is the country’s railroad hub. Additionally, at nearly $699 billion, Chicago has one of the world's highest GDPs (gross domestic product). Many Fortune 500 companies call Chicago home, including Allstate, Boeing, Kraft Heinz, McDonald’s, and Walgreens, to name a few.

Chicago attracts nearly 60 million tourists to its shores each year, and for a good reason. There’s so very much to see and do! Art, music, dance, and history lovers can visit the Joffrey Ballet, the Chicago Symphony, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Obama Presidential Center.

Parents with college-age kids can send them to Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, all classified as doctoral universities operating at “highest research.” Sports buffs can root for the MLB teams, the Chicago Cubs, and the Chicago White Sox. Several Chicago area neighborhoods are worth looking into if you’re searching for a new home. Check out these three thriving neighborhoods to help you get started!

Oak Park



Oak Park lies about nine miles west of Chicago, and it’s notable for being the home of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife, who settled there in 1889. His design work served as a significant influence on local architecture. His home and studio are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Wright also designed and built the Walter Gale House and Unity Temple. The city has a population of about 53,000 residents that occupy an area of nearly five square miles.

Oak Park’s neighborhood is quaint and inviting, with picturesque properties spread throughout the community. As one of the most historic spots outside of Chicago, Oak Park is home to Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace, Al Capone’s grave, and dozens of museum’s celebrating the area’s rich history in architecture. Book a cemetery tour at the Historical Society of Forest Park, where over 800,000 souls are buried. Bring your bike to Pedal Oak Park, where “wheels and architecture become one.” Tours start at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, where Prairie-School architecture began, and winds through tree-lined streets of beautiful Oak Park neighborhoods. If you’re looking for a unique way to see all the neighborhood offers, a bike tour is the best way to go!

Oak Park is a legendary community that bursts with history around every corner (literally). Residents enjoy the stunning properties, endless community events for all ages, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the surrounding natural wonders. Dance, art, and theater enthusiasts will relish all the options to enjoy live music, performances, and concerts at venues that include the Circle Theatre, Momenta Dance Company, Oak Park Festival Theatre, and the Academy of Movement and Music.

Elmwood Park



Elmwood Park is a village located about 12 miles northwest of Chicago. Its population was nearly 25,000 as of 2019, and these residents occupy an area of just under two square miles.

It started as farmland where indigenous peoples crafted tools before farmers appeared in the 1840s. From then until the 1910s and 1920s, the area was mostly farming and residential, and it wasn't until the mid-to-late 1920s that it experienced its most significant population boom.

The village is family-friendly, with many targeted activities year-round. The Taste of Elmwood Park is a foodie's paradise and happens yearly in August. It’s a four-day event that showcases local cuisine, including good eats from Italy, China, Cuba, Mexico, American barbecue, and Greece. Kids will love the celebration, as there are kid-friendly games and events, live music, a bocce ball tournament, and a giant Jenga. Nature lovers can retreat to Evans Fields and nearby Jerome Huppert Woods, where trailheads and lush trees surround visitors with a shaded canopy. It’s a great way to have a family picnic and get back to nature.

River Forest


River Forest is a village located about 11 miles west of Chicago. This suburb has roughly 12,000 residents in an area of about 2.5 square miles, with two universities providing college-bound students excellent opportunities to forge ahead into their adult lives. Dominican University is a 121-year-old private Catholic university with more than 3,000 students that offers more than 40 undergraduate degree majors and MBA and Ph.D. programs. Concordia University Chicago is also a private institution. It is a 158-year-old institution affiliated with the LCMS (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) and offers more than 100 undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

For nearly 20 years, River Forest has hosted an annual fundraising event, a 9/11 Lemon-Aid, to raise funds for local charities. As of this writing, almost $350,000 has been raised and donated to those in need. In 2019, its little league baseball team won the Little League Illinois Baseball Champions designation.

 Local realtors are experts in Chicago and its neighborhoods. They are ready and eager to assist you in finding your dream home amongst local real estate, including Oak Park homes for sale. Ready to get started? Reach out to trusted local agent Andy Gagliardo for assistance.




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