• Vernon Hills is the best suburb overall for city-like living in Illinois, and the best as well for access to amenities such as shopping and dining.
  • Burr Ridge tops the charts when it comes to health-related amenities.
  • Downers Grove, on the other hand, registers the friendliest residential sector.
  • Deerfield gets accolades for its business-friendly environment and top-notch education.

In the remote-work era, suburban living enjoys an increasing popularity among both families with kids and young professionals seeking more room to breathe at home. Chicago’s suburbs offer not only that but a great setting for after-work fun, blending the tranquility and neighborly charm of suburban communities with the excitement of urban conveniences.

The suburbs’ growing appeal has translated into substantial population growth with roughly 64% of the 97 biggest suburbs in Illinois seeing resident gains. The exurbs are also receiving increased attention as people continue to flee dense urban centers where space is at a premium. Yorkville, for example, has seen population increases in the double digits over the last five years, approximately 11%, whereas Aurora’s population dropped 8.7% during the same time frame. Chicago, which vies with Philadelphia for the country’s worst cities for lot and home square footage, had barely a 1% population growth over the last five years.

As suburban living continues to grow in popularity, some places hold a much greater magnetic pull than others. To see which smaller cities are best equipped to provide comfortable live-work-play environments while reducing the odds of post-move remorse, we analyzed 97 suburbs in Illinois with a population between 10K and 100K. We used several criteria to assess an area’s potential to cater to varied lifestyle needs, including local housing provisions, demographics, the business ecosystem, education, safety and entertainment options. As self storage often supports moving, we’ve also added a self storage metric (with a lower weight) that can give newcomers an idea about how much they can expect to rely on extra storage space to maximize home square footage.

Chicago’s northern and western suburbs have made great strides toward offering quality living, and our recent research found they do excel at blending suburban charm with urban-like comfort. They are great options for those who seek active lifestyles while also providing access to good schools, safe neighborhoods and more affordable housing markets.

Here are the 10 best suburbs in Illinois and what makes them stand out among all others.

1. Vernon Hills

Vernon Hills features decent housing diversity as far as suburbs usually go, with about two-thirds of the local inventory represented by single-family homes and a third by apartments. However, its strongest points are unfettered access to amenities, good education and a very active business scene.

The suburb ranks first in Illinois when it comes to amenities, with over six stores and three restaurants per 1,000 residents. Park space per capita is a plentiful 1,000 square feet, making the area a great one for families. The family-friendly vibe is completed by the well-performing education sector, for which Vernon Hills ranks second in the state. The local economy is thriving as well, with almost 38 businesses per 1,000 residents and a median household income of around $108K per year. On top of that, Vernon Hills is well connected to Chicago city proper through a commuter train line.

2. Burr Ridge

Although Burr Ridge is not as densely populated as many of the other suburbs that made it to the top 10, and only 15% of its housing stock comprises apartments, it certainly makes a great place to put down roots. In addition to tree-lined streets and huge yards, Burr Ridge offers great access to health-related services, shopping and dining experiences and a strong local economy.

It ranks first in Illinois for health-related stats and amenities, with almost 6.6 health care and social assistance establishments per 1,000 residents and an obesity rate that’s the lowest among all other suburbs. It also ranks the highest for life expectancy, at 81.3 years.

On the economic front, the suburb counts an impressive 55 registered businesses per 1,000 residents, which helps generate a median household income of over $148K. The easy commute to Chicago via public transportation (train or bus) only adds to its appeal.

3. Downers Grove

Downers Grove gains major points due to its residential sector, which combines relative affordability with a high pace of construction — there were 4.3 building permits per 1,000 residents registered in 2022. Also, a little over 30% of the local housing stock consists of apartments, which improves newcomers’ access to a diverse housing market. Doing business bodes well in Downers Grove: There are over 42 registered businesses per 1,000 residents, and excellent access to office and coworking spaces. Additionally, its proximity to major expressways and public transportation makes commuting to Chicago or other nearby suburbs a breeze.

Downtown Downers Grove is a charming area with all the perks of a city-like lifestyle: amazing restaurants, shopping options, walkability and regular events that gather the community together (such as live music or a weekly market).

4. Deerfield

Deerfield is the most business-prone suburb among the almost 100 analyzed, with over 53 registered businesses per 1,000 residents, a median household income of over $168K per year, and plenty of office and coworking space available to residents. With companies such as Walgreens Boots Alliance and Baxter International headquartered here, it’s only natural that the local economy is strong and employment opportunities abound.

Education is another sector where Deerfield shines and ranks first among its peers, making this suburb popular with parents. Schools in the area have a very good student-to-teacher ratio, and students regularly obtain high scores in standardized tests.

5. Bloomingdale

Bloomingdale’s residential sector is welcoming to newcomers, with about 35% of its housing inventory consisting of apartments, and it features a lively business sector — both great indicators of a city-like environment. The suburb boasts plenty of retail stores (almost six per 1,000 residents) and restaurants (3.3 per 1,000 residents). Old Town Bloomingdale is a picturesque area, walkable and bikeable, featuring eateries, small businesses and a seasonal farmers market. Festivals that gather the community together are also organized throughout the year.

Bloomingdale also ranks second among the suburbs analyzed for a healthy lifestyle, with good stats in terms of longevity and obesity prevalence.

6. Lake Forest

This green and scenic suburb, located along the shores of Lake Michigan, also has what it takes to qualify as an excellent destination for those wanting to reconcile a peaceful lifestyle with urban amenities. Residential construction is active in the area, with about four building permits per 1,000 residents in 2022, while almost 20% of the housing stock is apartments, which means newcomers have better prospects when it comes to finding living accommodations.

The economic landscape doesn’t disappoint either as Lake Forest features the highest median household income among the 97 suburbs we looked at, almost $196K per year. Plus, there are almost 50 businesses registered per 1,000 residents, with several thriving business districts, including Conway Park, which is home to big corporations such as Abbot, Pfizer, Tenneco and Chicago Bears, among others.

Amenities such as restaurants and retail stores abound in the area as well, and the suburb’s name, Lake Forest, fits perfectly: Not only is it located on the shores of a lake, but it features almost 1,400 square feet of park space per capita, so it feels like living in a (well-manicured) forest.

7. Libertyville

With its charming downtown area, strong business sector and unfettered access to amenities, Libertyville has what it takes to be a city-like suburb. In terms of amenities, residents enjoy almost four retail stores and 2.4 restaurants per 1,000 residents, while park space is a remarkable 960 square feet per capita. The well-preserved downtown area is a community gathering place where various events such as farmers markets, communal lunches and sidewalk sales take place regularly.

There’s more than fun in Libertyville, though: The affluent suburb has a median household income of almost $154K per year and over 44 businesses per 1,000 residents, thus ensuring access to jobs and other economic opportunities.

Libertyville also offers the right environment for young families: It’s a very safe suburb, and the educational sector includes several elementary and one middle school, with local students generally scoring well in standardized testing.

8. Glenview

The residential sector in Glenview is pretty accommodating to newcomers, as it’s reasonably affordable, and about one quarter of the housing stock in the area is made up of apartments. The city-like vibe of the suburb is amplified by a strong local economy, with over 37 businesses registered per 1,000 residents and a median household income of almost $124K.

Apart from amenities such as retail stores and restaurants, Glenview has many other attractions that make it an interesting, lively place to live, including Kohl’s Children Museum, Oil Lamp Theater and The  Grove, a unique nature preserve and historical site.

9. La Grange

Located only 16 miles from downtown Chicago and well connected to the city by public transportation, La Grange is a densely populated suburb with a distinct city-like vibe. Over a quarter of the housing stock in the suburb consists of apartments, while the housing market is accessible. The median household income in the area is a comfortable $124K per year, and the active local economy registers over 45 businesses per 1,000 residents.

Retail stores and restaurants are certainly not lacking in La Grange — in fact, with 3.3 eateries per 1,000 residents, La Grange takes the cake when it comes to dining out options. More than that, La Grange’s downtown area is a busy, lively spot where festivals, art fairs, carnivals and historic-house walks take place throughout the year.

10. Schaumburg

Schaumburg rounds out the top 10 of the most city-like suburbs in Illinois, and it’s also the most populous among them. The city-like character of the suburb is enhanced by the fact that almost half of the housing stock is apartments. As for job opportunities, there are about 57 businesses per 1,000 residents and plenty of office and coworking space as well.

Finding fun things to do in Schaumburg is an easy feat, from the multitude of stores and eateries to cultural attractions, such as the Chicago Athenaeum’s International Sculpture Park, located here.

Here are all 97 major suburbs in Illinois, ranked by their city-like qualities from best to worst:

97 Large Illinois Suburbs Ranked by City-Living Flair

SuburbOverall RankHousing Affordability IndexBuilding Permits*Single Family Homes %Population Change (5 years)Population Density (people/sq. mi.)Businesses*Median Household IncomeOffice and Coworking Space IndexRetail Stores*Restaurants*Park Space/ Capita (sq. ft.)Health Care & Social Assistance Access*ObesityLife Expectancy (years)Education IndexCrime RateCar UsageCommute Time (minutes)Self Storage per Capita (sq. ft.)Self Storage Rent
Vernon Hills, IL12100.464%3%3,45238.9$107,9381306.13.11002.64.831%$66
Burr Ridge, IL21061.585%4%1,57955.5$148,2141344.02.1476.26.628%81.315.00.3%64.8%35.61.1$86
Downers Grove, IL31974.369%1%3,45842.3$105,217653.82.8427.94.028%81.338.50.3%69.3%29.61.3$127
Deerfield, IL41820.480%3%3,47753.1$168,568493.62.2375.25.231%$96
Bloomingdale, IL51970.465%1%3,31642.6$87,3243635.93.3474.15.028%81.325.50.2%84.8%27.21.1$108
Lake Forest, IL61514.181%3%1,13144.8$194,267703.11.71384.34.131%$145
Libertyville, IL72260.480%1%2,34144.2$153,674923.92.4959.16.431%$105
Glenview, IL81640.874%3%3,43337.3$123,7712082.92.3562.84.730%77.820.80.4%72.8%30.61.9$117
La Grange, IL91811.574%3%6,42445.5$124,2925184.93.3172.23.930%77.813.00.3%64.9%32.81.1$148
Schaumburg, IL102181.552%5%4,04356.9$85,147546.33.7396.34.330%77.843.30.3%81.1%29.22.4$119
Lincolnwood, IL111290.278%6%4,96254.4$95,6502366.73.2316.16.830%77.842.50.4%81.4%26.60.4$111
Lombard, IL121970.361%1%4,34136.2$89,0792004.22.4451.53.128%81.349.30.3%78.5%28.22.8$110
Lake Zurich, IL131742.685%-1%2,89836.5$118,1392233.92.0623.22.731%$103
Elmhurst, IL141741.780%0%4,45236.5$128,3554193.02.0253.03.928%81.335.30.3%70.0%28.11.1$102
Geneva, IL151950.485%-1%2,16339.7$126,7593466.13.12222.44.336%80.326.80.2%73.0%28.51.4$100
Arlington Heights, IL162020.361%2%4,65438.2$106,9962603.21.826.74.530%77.833.00.2%75.9%28.71.7$112
Skokie, IL171920.761%4%6,70239.8$80,5431995.32.2161.85.230%77.843.30.5%76.9%28.31.3$120
Warrenville, IL181916.980%2%2,52341.3$89,010642.62.4197.42.328%81.347.50.3%83.8%27.41.1$107
Orland Park, IL191670.978%0%2,66134.6$89,4914815.12.5585.04.530%77.843.00.1%82.6%34.21.8$120
Frankfort, IL201634.996%9%1,24533.5$145,6454023.12.0594.53.536%78.523.50.3%80.4%36.43.0$116
Westmont, IL212570.250%-2%4,92737.3$76,5342193.72.7150.04.228%81.337.30.4%77.1%25.70.8$144
Crystal Lake, IL222153.377%-1%2,12233.6$96,2743874.12.0940.83.435%79.535.30.2%85.0%29.16.1$98
Roselle, IL231951.672%0%4,20633.4$94,5895622.21.7357.81.828%81.334.00.2%85.0%29.90.4$120
Rolling Meadows, IL241940.062%4%4,32745.5$81,601642.42.2218.32.130%77.850.50.2%86.6%26.11.2$96
Des Plaines, IL251900.066%3%4,24734.8$79,4532703.32.1215.72.330%77.841.00.3%81.9%29.82.8$124
Villa Park, IL262050.073%4%4,82045.3$85,1734274.33.0154.53.928%81.363.50.3%81.6%27.40.1$122
Elk Grove Village, IL272000.171%-1%2,82076.2$89,1872323.72.9365.73.930%77.860.30.3%84.3%27.12.5$100
Algonquin, IL282003.790%-2%2,42828.7$115,3467204.62.7785.02.935%79.543.00.2%81.4%32.21.9$102
Darien, IL291720.079%-1%3,56027.3$104,2265342.31.5214.02.728%81.326.80.2%79.3%30.81.2$155
Mundelein, IL302173.980%0%3,31427.6$96,9934593.22.0544.81.331%$78
Woodridge, IL312280.757%2%3,53527.5$91,3992592.51.2507.32.628%81.353.80.3%79.1%31.60.5$129
Yorkville, IL3219213.987%11%1,02523.6$105,1294762.52.1643.01.335%79.940.50.1%89.0%34.96.1$90
McHenry, IL332241.480%2%1,88429.8$76,8584003.62.2610.32.535%79.524.50.2%86.6%32.28.3$90
New Lenox, IL341706.893%6%1,73825.2$118,8175872.41.6480.52.836%78.535.50.2%84.5%34.14.0$142
Mokena, IL351720.989%0%2,26138.2$114,4554213.32.0515.92.836%78.551.80.3%81.9%33.22.3$133
Addison, IL362041.363%-3%3,65841.4$75,9604772.92.3182.01.328%81.356.80.4%86.9%25.41.3$146
Batavia, IL372152.481%-1%2,49432.4$109,1465243.01.8187.81.736%80.339.50.2%77.1%29.01.9$119
Mount Prospect, IL382220.161%4%5,27227.1$92,4775072.51.8248.12.130%77.857.50.1%79.5%29.61.2$94
Antioch, IL392753.176%3%1,79423.0$100,7056043.02.0816.91.031%$69
Gurnee, IL402370.173%-1%2,28233.6$102,1403886.13.0368.44.331%$77
Morton Grove, IL411390.181%7%4,91431.5$91,3897533.82.2117.82.830%77.850.50.5%80.3%30.71.2$114
Sycamore, IL422603.471%3%1,84624.7$73,4752253.01.8409.92.734%$140
Carol Stream, IL432280.067%-1%4,38026.9$95,3424972.41.5406.01.528%81.346.30.2%86.0%29.11.6$87
Palatine, IL442320.257%-2%4,98327.9$86,4154332.61.5289.12.030%77.856.30.1%79.8%28.42.2$117
Oswego, IL451868.391%3%2,30521.9$106,7906222.41.7755.11.835%79.954.00.1%83.3%30.71.4$102
Woodstock, IL462442.171%2%1,97527.6$77,3336242.91.7846.21.535%79.550.50.1%90.6%27.06.5$73
Wheeling, IL472081.744%3%4,50933.0$74,3315112.31.6198.51.430%77.869.80.2%84.9%25.81.6$93
Highland, IL483311.270%4%1,52427.4$69,4423493.22.31187.52.539%76.435.30.4%88.5%28.49.1$75
Grayslake, IL492761.278%-1%1,89623.7$109,9755951.91.6782.02.431%$86
Morris, IL502681.671%5%1,47331.0$65,9116194.51.9301.23.335%78.442.50.4%90.5%25.26.0$80
West Chicago, IL511990.074%-6%1,68528.5$83,3794122.31.4758.40.828%81.346.00.3%86.6%27.11.1$95
Edwardsville, IL522904.074%1%1,26527.3$78,2982913.12.2220.71.939%76.446.00.1%84.6%25.06.7$69
Tinley Park, IL531980.576%-2%3,47621.7$87,8644012.61.8292.52.330%77.852.50.2%84.8%32.61.0$124
Shorewood, IL541793.193%9%2,27520.2$111,5607122.61.8332.31.336%78.552.00.2%85.9%28.81.3$100
Homer Glen, IL551562.394%1%1,11525.2$120,3066892.21.3336.11.836%78.541.00.2%87.2%36.52.6$112
Schiller Park, IL562270.357%-1%4,21741.7$59,4203283.32.351.50.630%77.853.50.5%91.1%26.81.4$110
Bartlett, IL571850.386%-1%2,61221.6$114,1217351.61.2879.21.428%81.363.80.1%80.9%32.60.7$109
Channahon, IL581905.394%11%86920.2$105,1565611.$292
Bridgeview, IL592020.153%3%4,06946.0$58,3717835.83.6169.81.630%77.864.30.5%91.0%33.12.1$153
Fairview Heights, IL602792.071%-1%1,45337.8$70,82522713.34.0492.22.439%75.970.30.6%90.6%23.92.1$82
Franklin Park, IL611960.075%1%3,86247.4$70,2217292.$112
Huntley, IL621762.990%6%1,91219.8$76,6124101.71.0304.81.735%79.552.50.1%82.7%31.82.5$120
Cary, IL631984.394%0%2,87421.9$106,9407261.71.21112.01.035%79.557.30.1%82.7%29.20.5$116
Melrose Park, IL642050.046%0%5,99727.8$58,8716913.$127
Swansea, IL6523617.874%10%2,32524.1$80,3317393.01.3187.14.839%75.947.30.5%89.7%23.61.2$98
North Aurora, IL6621416.882%2%2,47120.5$88,7275152.61.3522.32.036%80.368.30.4%84.3%30.12.6$88
Lake in the Hills, IL671870.291%0%2,84217.8$102,1067471.40.91026.01.335%79.541.50.1%88.1%33.63.3$88
Lockport, IL682017.787%4%2,29122.8$96,4816351.91.8411.41.336%78.556.80.2%86.6%38.11.2$145
Glendale Heights, IL691950.066%-3%6,17519.4$77,5827012.21.4181.61.128%81.360.00.3%89.1%26.51.6$157
Bolingbrook, IL702021.189%-1%2,99823.1$97,3714992.71.7364.42.336%78.564.00.4%84.2%31.12.6$124
River Grove, IL712200.052%3%4,42130.2$65,6256742.61.715.11.030%77.853.00.5%85.8%32.30.9$134
Lyons, IL722420.060%1%4,87927.1$67,8077303.$172
Troy, IL732595.377%8%1,96617.2$80,6776292.11.1544.21.239%76.448.00.3%92.7%25.78.5$68
Matteson, IL742270.477%-1%2,04715.8$85,3324502.61.8312.31.430%77.856.81.7%80.2%38.11.7$132
Crest Hill, IL752030.171%0%2,25115.0$63,1725142.51.3240.31.336%78.534.50.6%93.0%28.21.6$104
Northlake, IL762050.067%4%4,04719.9$64,7926361.71.5104.90.830%77.852.00.4%90.6%27.90.3$107
Waukegan, IL772540.356%2%3,70017.6$58,8444302.41.3376.20.831%$72
Oak Forest, IL781960.076%-2%4,56815.9$81,2886721.71.1138.61.330%77.849.30.5%82.2%32.10.7$103
Plano, IL792505.187%-9%1,21315.7$82,8835922.01.3818.10.735%79.944.30.3%92.4%31.81.8$110
Burbank, IL801830.383%1%7,02921.2$73,4667643.21.5138.51.330%77.859.80.6%89.3%35.30.4$154
Midlothian, IL812170.378%-3%5,08321.4$58,0117393.52.4151.30.830%77.866.50.8%86.4%29.51.0$88
South Holland, IL822010.197%-2%2,97525.6$72,3456851.91.3368.32.230%77.857.81.1%77.5%36.30.8$87
Montgomery, IL831931.893%5%2,16914.5$100,9117752.01.21215.40.435%79.971.80.3%91.8%33.90.9$120
Richton Park, IL842874.263%-6%2,9308.4$65,1327161.21.3256.10.630%77.849.50.6%81.2%39.40.3$95
Alsip, IL852620.058%-2%2,91728.5$59,1237572.91.5246.51.230%77.861.80.9%87.8%32.21.8$92
Streamwood, IL861750.091%-2%5,10018.2$88,8247361.71.5292.90.830%77.880.30.4%88.5%28.81.3$109
Fox Lake, IL872570.175%5%1,39822.9$64,2217553.82.939.61.031%$97
Belleville, IL883110.269%-1%1,82923.6$56,4042922.61.4306.71.639%75.961.30.9%87.4%25.94.8$78
Lansing, IL892520.072%2%3,87519.8$62,3977052.81.7177.21.430%77.881.31.6%83.9%32.12.2$113
Hanover Park, IL901960.084%-2%5,92413.8$80,5357421.21.1185.70.730%77.857.50.2%86.7%29.80.9$91
Alton, IL913390.077%-5%1,67122.7$45,2253674.01.8681.52.339%76.475.01.8%87.1%24.13.1$80
Chicago Heights, IL922820.072%-8%2,70715.4$54,8706931.91.380.60.830%77.851.31.4%86.3%27.13.2$96
Zion, IL932500.072%2%2,51913.2$58,4317091.61.06588.50.431%$88
Cicero, IL942130.043%1%14,47712.0$58,4337731.$106
Carpentersville, IL952100.087%-1%4,82413.8$73,1217541.51.3150.00.736%80.366.00.2%89.8%30.41.4$85
Park Forest, IL962950.086%-2%4,3077.9$58,6577790.40.2459.40.530%77.854.80.7%84.1%31.91.0$95
Markham, IL972230.198%-7%2,17113.3$43,8357541.70.8162.80.230%77.877.31.9%78.7%33.51.0$96
*per 1,000 People

StorageCafe analysis of U.S. Census, Yardi Matrix, Commercial Edge, Coworkingcafe, Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FBI and Trust for Public Land data



This analysis was done by StorageCafe, an online platform that provides storage unit listings across the nation.

To determine the top suburbs that offer the best urban and suburban living combined, we ranked 97 suburbs located in Illinois. We considered a suburb any place located within a large metro area and with a population of between 10K and 100K.

The ranking is based on the suburbs’ overall scores. Overall scores represent an average of all the suburbs’ weighted scores based on the metrics presented below:

To calculate the number of retail stores, restaurants and health care and social assistance establishments related to population, we used U.S. Census data and made estimates based on ZIP code data.

To assess education, we created a ranking based on standardized test results, number of public schools per 1,000 residents and student-to-teacher ratios.

Obesity rates and life expectancy were calculated based on county-level data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The data on self storage costs was taken from Yardi Matrix, StorageCafe’s sister division and a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self storage sectors.

Fair use and distribution

This study serves as a resource for the general public on issues of common interest and should not be regarded as investment advice. The data is true to the best of our knowledge but may change if amendments to it are made. We agree to the distribution of this content but we do require a mention in return for attribution purposes.



Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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