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KaCee 01-23-2003 05:10 AM

Help in settling near Chicago!
My family is moving from AL to IL this summer and trying to figure out what city to settle in that is near Chicago. My husband will be working downtown and taking the train. We are looking for a city with good schools, close to train station, etc. Also, we are hoping to move more south or south west rather than north, because we have plenty of family in IN and OH that we want to be closer to. We are very excited about this move even though it means total sticker shock (you can't believe how little we paid for our house down here) and weather shock (although even AL had snow last night!) but I would like some advice if any of you know much about the suburbs, even fun activities there. We've scanned real estate ads looking at Naperville, Tinley Park, Orland Park, etc. Any closer in than those and we really can't afford to live there! Thanks!

jkmommy 01-25-2003 06:39 AM

I currently live on the south side of Chicago. In New Lenox, the schools are excellent. There is a train that your husband could take into work.
You could also try Orland Park, Tinley Park, Mokena, or Oak Forest
I just moved from Oak Forest 2 1/2 yrs ago. I grow up there all of my life. Excellent schools. I loved living in Oak Forest but we had a growing family and needed a bigger house.
All of the cities that I have mentioned are not far from Indiana.
My husband travels to Indiana everyday since he works there.
Good luck with your search.
You will love to live in the Chicagoland area. But remember it gets veryvery cold here.

musicmom1 01-25-2003 06:45 AM

HI! I live southwest of the city in a town called "Worth"> It has a very nice, small town feel. We moved here almost 3 years ago. The community is very involved with the schools and there are many children here. I am very pleased with the schools here and we have a very good tax bracket. The neighbors are all very kind. There is a train station (metra) that runs to chicago...on the Tinley park line....rite in the middle of town! Harlem Ave....a major artery, divides the town. There are 3 elementary schools, one middle school and of course the H.S. (district 127). We are just north east from Tinley (maybe a 10 min drive). The homes are just as nice, just not as expensive. If you would like some more info, please just PM me and I will get back to you. We were originally looking in the Tinley, palos area but found it to be a little pricey for us at the moment. I am very glad that we are here. I don't know how old your children are, but the park district and surrounding areas are very reasonable for activities. We are surrounded by forest preserves and also by the Cal Sag channel, which has a nice new walking path by it, as well as a boat launch. The community is quite laid back and friendly but also very caring. You really would not be disappointed. ...not to mention the commuter trains located here. All the major shopping areas are here....Target, WalMart, KMart, Jewel foods,Cub foods...2 major malls in the vicinity. When do you have to move?
You can to to the town website at

Other cities that are closer are Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge, Alsip...I would be happy to help in any way that I can!

Best of luck!

Barbara J 01-25-2003 08:50 AM

Moving near Chicago
Hi. I know moving so far from where you are at can be scary. There are a lot of factors for you to consider. What type of income bracket will you be in? If it is upper income than you definitely want HINSDFALE. They have a very small town feel but are close to the city. The schools there are by far the best. If you move too close to the city then you will probably have difficulties finding a good public school. If you are medium income there is an area South of the city called Crete/Beecher which is right on the line to Indiana. Farming community and yet again easy commute. My brother lives in Hinsdale and he and his wife have lived all over the Chicago area. They did a lot of research before they did to find out if it was a good place to raise kids. My sister lives in Beecher and has raised a son there. Both places offer excellent opportunity with different pros and cons. We live in a small town in Indiana called DeMotte. We too have MANY commuters to the city. We have three children here and I teach in the community. It is very close knit and the people here are good to the core. The town is founded on Christian traditions, in fact we have 27 churches! However, regardless of your race or faith, everyone is accepted here. The advantage of course to living across the Indiana line is the WAY LOWER TAXES and COST of LIVING.
Where is your family in Indiana? Both of our families are from Illinois and Indiana and so I know a lot about the areas. If you want more information feel free to email me privately at [email protected]. Good Luck!!!!
Barbara Jackson

erstbrmom 01-25-2003 09:08 AM

Naperville is a great town. School District 203 is top rated in the country. Wonderful and active downtown area. Excellent library system voted top in country for a city our size. Excellent property values and decent real estate taxes in DuPage County. Look it up on the internet. Welcome to Illinois - it's a great place to live!

brittani29 01-25-2003 09:19 AM

Plainfield, IL. It is a well sought after area. The taxes are a little high, but you pay for great schools, DIstrict 202, there are a lot of homes off of Caton Farm, that have Joliet taxes, but all the benefits of Plainfield. Great school, great community. Check it out, I love it here. Small town feel. But big enough, and growing:)

MomsZoo 01-25-2003 02:46 PM

I live in Northwest Indiana where there are several trains going into the city. Personally, I would love to live in Orland Park, IL or somewhere around there, but we can't really afford it. There are a lot of nice towns in NW Indiana and for the most part, housing is cheaper as our the property taxes. The schools are excellent, depending on which town you're in (Munster and Lake Central schools are considered to be the best in the area) I think the park districts in IL have a little bit more to offer, but Indiana's catching up fast.... Just my 2 cents :p Feel free to send me a personal message if you'd like more info!

KaCee 01-26-2003 02:01 PM

Thanks and more info requested
Thanks to all of you who have replied so far. You know what is the best thing that I get from all of your replies? Positive thinking. You see, when I started informing people in this small southern town where we are heading, mostly I get looks of horror! And even though I say that we are excited about getting closer to family, they continue to say how sorry they are! One lady went on and on about how difficult it would be. Thanks alot!

Anyway, thanks for the ideas of looking into areas I hadn't thought of yet like Worth and Oak Forest. Those of you that gave me the school district numbers, I really appreciate it for when I am looking up school "report cards" on the internet. When musicmom1 talked about parks/recreation, it made me realize that is another important thing for our family, so if those of you in other suburbs can tell me a bit about recreation in your town, that would help. I grew up in Ohio where there were many parks and hiking trails nearby, and I would love to find that for my kids, if we can find a happy medium with housing prices and location!

When it comes to trains, we know that Naperville has the express trains going to it, while other trains would take twice as long. But when my husband got downtown on the Naperville line he would still have a 20 min. walk to work. So, it's an express train (35 min?) plus 20 min. walk or get closer to a non-express train (1 hr?) and barely any walk. Does anyone know if the trains usually run well -- without delays? For the past several years my husband has had about a 25 min. car ride (without traffic lights and past a bunch of cows) so this whole train thing will be new to us both.

Yes I heard about Hinsdale but scanning the housing ads, I think we will have to move farther out to be able to afford something! My husband grew up in the Lake Central, IN, school district and we thought about settling over there but that adds just a little too much commuting time on.

We hope to move in June and are in the process of finding out the relo package, etc. Unfortunately, houses in this small town don't always sell quickly, but we do have a family already interested that is coming by this week and the house isn't officially on the market. Wish us luck.

OH, and if I want to PM someone, are there directions somewhere on this site? (Actually, it took me awhile to figure out what PM meant!)

chi 01-26-2003 02:24 PM


You couldn't be moving to a more wonderful area! I grew up in Chicagoland but I wouldn't dare advise you on towns as I married and moved away in 1979. However from experience then taking the Burlington to the Loop everyday the trains are very reliable and I don't believe that has changed very much. If you can get WGN radio (720 am) you might want to tune in. I'm living in a rural/small town area now and it's amazing how frightened people are of any "big city". Don't pay any attention to your current neighbors, your kids will have a much fuller life where you're moving to. Hope the move goes smoothly! Good luck and enjoy the snow!!!

MomsZoo 01-26-2003 03:11 PM

to "pm" someone, just click the 'pm' button on the bottom of their post. It's very easy.
I hope all goes well with the sale of your home and the move in general.
I used to work downtown and my experience with the train was wonderful. What would have taken me over an hour by car (because of traffic) took less than 40 minutes by train. That was coming from NW Indiana.
Good luck to you and your family :heart:

KaCee 01-28-2003 08:29 AM

Chicago Fun
To get the kids excited about our move (and to house hunt) my family will head up north over spring break. We've been to Chicago once (hit Disney Quest -- now gone I think -- and the American Girl store and out to eat). What are your favorite things to do in Chicago? What would you NOT do again?


MomsZoo 01-28-2003 11:01 AM

We love going to Navy Pier... there's always something to do there and the children's museum is also there, which is something you have to do at least once. The Field Museum (in my opinion) is a snooze fest.... boring! The only reason we went there is because they Sue the TRex and my son was really into dinosaurs at the time. Up north is Six Flags Great America, which is awesome if you and your kids like roller coasters, we go there at least once a year. We usually stay away from the beach because there's always e-coli warnings every summer, which stinks because my kids love the beach (and it's a lot cheaper than any water park in the area) but oh well :-P::
Hope that helps!

chi 01-28-2003 11:07 AM

The tried and true's will work to start with. Field Museum, Science and Industry Museum, Sears Tower Skydeck, any beach, Lincoln Park Zoo(free), Brookfield Zoo (huge), Uno's(pizza), Navy Pier. just go for a picnic. A lot depends on your kids ages. Just riding the El or train may be fun, it was for mine. They loved when we took the El to Wrigley Field, even when there was a malfunction and we had to wait for another train. It was an ADVENTURE. Try :-D

musicmom1 01-28-2003 11:10 AM

If you are coming to Chicago, you should definately take a boat ride! There is one that we went on with our family called "Mercury Cruiselines"...located on the S.E corner of Michigan and Wacker. GREAT commentary and were very friendly. THey also offer the Official Chicago Architecture Tour of the river. VERY informative and relaxing. Both can be accessed online. Tickets can be purchased online for the Chicago Arch. Tours. IT is well worth it!!

musicmom1 01-28-2003 11:12 AM

Oh, I forgot.....the trains usually run ontime....Much better than an hour and half car ride, stuck in traffic! Weekend travel to the city is much faster than weekday. There are many nice places to live surrounding the city. Best of luck to you.

Bab 02-01-2003 03:03 PM

I lived in the Chicago area for over 40 years (in Chicago, Hometown, LaGrange, Palos Heights) and have recently retired to sunny southern Nevada.

LaGrange is a wonderful & friendly place to live that also has the bonus of the express train to downtown jobs. I think the Burlington Northern express train took only 17 or 19 minutes from the LaGrange Station to Union Station. My neighbors all walked from home to the train. Check out the train travel time as it can be quite long from some of the suburbs that don't have an express train, which makes fewer stops.

They have a wonderful Newcomers Club that you can belong to for your first five years after moving in. It had activitites every day and evening for moms, couples, kids. The year I was president it had 150 members from all over the U.S. and is a great way to make new friends.

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