As a college town with a booming downtown, Elmhurst is a uniquely exciting Chicago suburb.
Residents enjoy large lovely homes, safe streets, and some of the best public schools in Illinois. The tight-knit community enjoys local events and sports events at the beautiful local parks. Elmhurst is known for being a great place to raise a family and has even been named one of “Ten Best U.S. Towns for Families” by Family Circle.
Just because families love Elmhurst doesn’t mean it’s a sleepy bedroom community. Elmhurst has exciting attractions and great cultural opportunities including the Elmhurst Art Museum, the Wilder Conservatory, and the Elmhurst Children’s Theatre. That’s not all, Elmhurst City Center offers residents great dining options, a wealth of local shopping, and thriving entertainment.
Just 16 miles west of Chicago’s Loop, residents have easy access to Chicago and all of Chicagoland with Metra Trains, the Tri-State Tollway, and the Eisenhower Expressway!
Elmhurst City Guide
From great restaurants to award-winning parks, Elmhurst residents have plenty to explore and experience within their quaint city.
The Greater Chicago area is renowned for its restaurants, and Elmhurst is no exception. The area has unique restaurants that make eating out in the area a total treat.
A sandwich from Zenwich is a local classic. Topping “best sandwich lists” -their Asian-inspired sammies are as delicious as they are creative. Other favorites include Egg Harbor Cafe, for great breakfast, Francesca’s Amici, for family Italian, and Los Fernandez Rosticceria, for delicious Mexican food.
Elmhurst City Center
Hosting over 275 businesses, Elmhurst City Center is the heart of the city. The area, with easy public parking, is also a date-night destination with more than 40 eateries. In addition to great restaurants, the core of the area are its local boutique shops. These include the Uptown Shop, a unique gift store, and Gem Comics, a friendly neighborhood comic book store. The area even offers the Classic Cinemas York Theater, showing new run movies.
Of course, downtown’s not all that Elmhurst has to offer. The area has more than a half-dozen shopping areas, including big box stores and a variety of grocery options.
Elmhurst gets its family-friendly reputation in part from its tight-knit community. One can get to know neighbors at neighborhood block parties, youth sporting events, or just walking around the area. And once you know your neighbors in Elmhurst, you’ll never want to live anywhere else! One great opportunity is the community’s great events. These include the annual Rock the Block Party, a family-friendly street fest offering great food, drinks, and live music, and the Memorial Day and St. Patrick’s Day Parades, some of the longest-running in Chicagoland.
While Chicago and its world-class attraction are well within reach, residents don’t need to leave their city to experience some great culture. The crown jewel of the area might be the Elmhurst Art Museum. The museum regularly tops “Best Suburban Art Museum” lists. Something about Elmhurst Children’s Theater.
Parks, Recreation, and Nature
Elmhurst offers some of the best recreation options in Chicagoland. Established in 1920, the Elmhurst Park District manages 28 parks and 21 facilities. Every resident in the community is within walking distance of a lovely local park or walking trail. The athletic facilities include two public swimming pools, The Abbey Leisure Center, the Courts Plus workout facility and even a public golf course. The Wagner Community Center offers residents workout equipment, and classes. The Hub at Berens Park is another great attraction – with mini-golf, water features, and batting cages. The City offers great programs including youth sports, arts programming, and summer camps.
Beyond the parks, the city has great access to nature. A unique community asset is the Wilder Park Conservatory, a wonderful conservatory and botanical garden. And, within a short drive, you can find more than 24,000 acres of forest preserve across 59 natural areas.
Elmhurst City History
Early Settlement as Cottage Hill
Originally known as “Cottage Hill”, the Elmhurst area was first settled by farmers in 1836. In 1850, a railroad line was connected through the community and connecting it with Chicago. The city changed its name to Elmhurst in 1869 and Elmhurst College was established a few years later. After the Chicago Fire of 1871, many wealthy Chicagoans moved to the city and built lovely homes, many of which still stand.
Elmhurst modernized in the late 1800s. The economy shifted from mostly agriculture to industry and local shops serving the affluent population. By the 1920s, the streets were paved and residents had electric power, running water, and a fire department and the parks department had been established. Still running community traditions were established including Memorial Day and St. Patrick’s Day Parades.
After World War II, Elmhurst developed into a modern railroad suburb, with thousands moving from Chicago. Many beautiful neighborhoods were built and modern amenities such as the Elmhurst Art Museum, the public library, and the Wilder Park conservatory were built or established.
Major Development halted in the 1990s as the city reached its borders in the 1990s, though redevelopment has continued. In the decades since, the city has improved its housing stock, strengthened its school system, and continually improved the downtown area- one of the finest suburban downtowns. Today, Elmhurst remains one of the best places in Chicagoland to own a home, raise a family, or retire.
Those looking to settle in Elmhurst have great housing options to choose between. Residents enjoy large lots, well-kept yards, and peaceful, tree-lined streets. Like most Chicago suburbs, real estate in the area is primarily single-family homes. These Elmhurst homes range from historic mansions and newly constructed estates to cozy family ranches and bungalows. The area also has condominiums and townhomes, some in and around the Elmhurst City Center area.
With all the city has to offer, it’s perhaps no surprise that homes in the area are more expensive than much of Chicagoland. Small homes and condos can be found for around $450,000 and larger homes in the $700,000. At the top of the market, you can find luxury mansions for well about $1 million.
Elmhurst presents great family-friendly options with some of the attractions of a larger city. Residents enjoy beautiful homes, award-winning parks, and some of the best public schools in Chicagoland. Come check it out!