Feb
02

Suburban Spotlight: Naperville

February 02, 2013

Naperville Town CenterLocated half an hour from Chicago, Naperville offers suburban living with a close-knit, community feel. One of the most notorious Chicago suburbs, Naperville is a hit with both long-term residents and visitors alike, thanks to a vibrant downtown with the picturesque Riverwalk and thriving small businesses as well as excellent area schools. There is no doubt as to why this Chicago suburban town has received a variety of accolades including consistently being listed on CNN Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” list, with a most recent ranking of number 53 in the nation.

So, what makes Naperville a top place to live? The community is focused on providing plenty of entertainment to its residents, ranging from parades and jazz festivals to heritage celebrations. And, in an age where many suburbs are defined by strip malls and big box stores, Naperville’s focus on supporting small businesses gives it plenty of charm and character.

The suburb also boasts stellar schools. Naperville Central High School ranked number two on Chicago Magazine’s top DuPage County schools list, while Naperville North High School earned the number four spot. The Chicago Magazine rankings were based on ACT scores, Prairie State Achievement scores, graduate rates and spending per student. Several other schools in the Naperville Community Unit School District 203 have also earned a 10 out of 10 score on GreatSchools.org. The perfect score schools are as follows:

  • Danielle-Joy Peterson Elementary School
  • Fry Elementary School
  • Highlands Elementary School
  • Clifford Crone Middle School
  • Gordon Gregory Middle School

Private schools nearby include:

  • Chesterbrook Academy
  • St. Raphael Catholic School
  • SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School
  • All Saints Catholic Academy
  • Naperville Christian Classical Academy
  • Calvary Christian School
  • Bethany Lutheran School

Naperville RiverwalkNaperville residents who are interested in pursuing higher education will be pleased to learn that there are plenty of options. Consider taking classes at North Central College, a liberal arts institution that offers more than 55 graduate and undergraduate majors and  is located on a 59-acre campus along the Chicago River. Many large universities such as Northern Illinois University, DePaul University and Governors State University also have satellite campuses in Naperville.

Naperville home values have increased 6.3 percent in the past year. The median home price for a single-family home in Naperville is $306,250, which is higher than the Chicago metro average price of $187,700. However, residents feel that living near top schools and in an area with a true community feel is important, making the higher cost  worth it.

There are currently 630 single-family homes for sale in Naperville, with prices ranging from $119,900 for a two bedroom townhome to $4,250,000 for a five bedroom, eight bathroom home.

The average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Naperville is $1,083 and the average rent for a two bedroom apartment is $1,318.

Naperville has a population of 141,857 and the median household income is $105,585. If you’re considering relocating to the Naperville area and are on the hunt for a new job, the good news is that many corporations are based out this Chicago suburb. The Office Max headquarters are located in Naperville, and the area is home to ConAgra’s grocery division as well as a Kraft Foods site. Other local companies include: Nicor, Tellabs, Amoco Research Laboratories, Bell Labs and Western Electric.

Living in Naperville also means you won’t get bored easily, thanks to the area’s notorious downtown. Here are just a few of the top picks for shopping, dining and entertainment.

Downtown NapervilleShopping

  • Anderson’s Bookshop. An award-winning independent bookshop that is known for frequently hosting book signings and other literary events. On Saturday, February 2, former Chicago bulls star Dennis Rodman will make an appearance to sign his new children’s book “Dennis the Wild Bull.”
  • Room 363. A store that specializes in one-of-a-kind home decor accessories and redesigned furniture plus jewelry, clothing and handmade artisan items. A great place to visit if you just purchased a new home and need some unique decor.
  • Twisted Olive. Features more than a dozen varieties of the world’s highest quality extra virgin olive oil. The shop also sells balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy plus gourmet olives and tapenades.

Dining

  • Meson Sabika. Enjoy authentic Spanish cuisine at a historical mansion. Menu selections include both cold and hot tapas selections, with dishes ranging from grilled eggplant stuffed with goat cheese to imported Serrano ham with manchego cheese.
  • White Chocolate Grill. Offers a wide variety of contemporary American fare. Specialties include ‘honest’ American burgers, made of fresh chuck roast that is grilled over live hardwood as well as barbequed baby back ribs. This is one restaurant where you won’t want to skip dessert, since the white chocolate brownie is phenomenal.
  • Café Buonaro’s. Established in 1990, this restaurant provides the best authentic Italian cuisine in Naperville. Choose from pasta or chicken dishes and more, and be sure to check out the extensive wine list.

Naperville AerialEntertainment

  • Naper Settlement. A family-friendly outdoor history museum that is perfect for all ages. Explore 12 acres of learning and interactive opportunities, and be sure to visit one of the settlement’s many special events.
  • Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center. You won’t want to miss a concert or theatre performance at this 13,000 square foot venue, especially since the acoustics in this building are on par with New York’s Carnegie Hall.
  • Centennial Beach. Once summer rolls around, bring the entire family to Centennial Beach for to enjoy four acres of property and an outdoor community pool that is also an NCAA/U.S.S. approved diving location.

Transportation

  • Metra: Residents can get downtown using Metra’s BNSF Railway. The station is located at 105 E. 4th Ave.
  • Highways: To travel into the city via car, residents can take I-88 E to I-290 E.
  • Airports: Naperville is about 40 minutes from O’Hare International Airport and about 40 minutes from Midway International Airport.

For more information on popular neighborhoods for new homes in Chicago, be sure to explore our site.

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Jessica Thom

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