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Old 07-07-2017, 07:58 AM
 
1,974 posts, read 2,418,491 times
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Evanston, followed closely by Oak Park.


All the others follow behind these two.
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:54 PM
 
Location: Chicago
4,863 posts, read 5,821,698 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLake View Post
Evanston, followed closely by Oak Park.


All the others follow behind these two.
good assessment.
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Old 07-10-2017, 10:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
good assessment.


Well, of all the suburbs I've been to in Chicago (admittedly, probably only 1/3-1/2 of them), Evanston and Oak Park stand out clearly as having the most structured, built-out and dedicated downtowns. They are both vibrant, have ample shopping/dining, both are built-up and fairly large, but also stress pedestrian activity (biking/walking). Elmhurst I guess is OK, but it can't rank with Evanston or Oak Park on this criteria. Arlington Heights is decent too.


I'll repeat, Evanston and Oak Park-- imo -- have the most vibrant and compelling downtowns of all suburbs surrounding Chicago. Have not been to Naperville in a while but while I guess it can be construed as a suburb, for quite a long while it was its own distinct settlement.
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:37 AM
 
237 posts, read 181,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLake View Post
Evanston, followed closely by Oak Park.


All the others follow behind these two.
I had posted this before, but do read this article titled "The suburb that tried to kill the car", which is about Evanston's efforts to transform itself into a denser commuter and walk/bike friendly suburban downtown. They have also changed zoning laws to accomplish this.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/sto...t-works-213282
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:36 AM
 
209 posts, read 309,186 times
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My opinion, Chicagoland is so diverse that different groups exist

Most urban,close to city, liberal
Evanston
Oak Park

Old Money feel
North shore

Charming/character
St. Charles
Geneva

Most happening
Naperville
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Old 07-12-2017, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Illinois
772 posts, read 421,607 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westburbsil View Post
My opinion, Chicagoland is so diverse that different groups exist

Most urban,close to city, liberal
Evanston
Oak Park

Old Money feel
North shore

Charming/character
St. Charles
Geneva

Most happening
Naperville
Best post of the thread.

It depends on what you like. If you want restaurants/bars/action, Naperville is easily the best, and it's not even close. It's the only downtown outside of Chicago with a Catch 35 and a Hugo Frog Bar, for example. It's teeming with people of all kinds, all the time. Really an amazing scene for a suburb.

But if you want a charming, cute downtown, Geneva/St. Charles are both great calls. Wheaton is another.

I was underwhelmed by Oak Park and think it's totally overrated. Not to mention, it's a breath away from terrible urban decay and danger in Austin.

Evanston's is nice, but I'd rather just venture into the city if I'm already at Evanston. A quick ride gets you to Lincoln Square.
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Old 07-12-2017, 03:25 PM
 
Location: Chicago
4,863 posts, read 5,821,698 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigLake View Post
Well, of all the suburbs I've been to in Chicago (admittedly, probably only 1/3-1/2 of them), Evanston and Oak Park stand out clearly as having the most structured, built-out and dedicated downtowns. They are both vibrant, have ample shopping/dining, both are built-up and fairly large, but also stress pedestrian activity (biking/walking). Elmhurst I guess is OK, but it can't rank with Evanston or Oak Park on this criteria. Arlington Heights is decent too.


I'll repeat, Evanston and Oak Park-- imo -- have the most vibrant and compelling downtowns of all suburbs surrounding Chicago. Have not been to Naperville in a while but while I guess it can be construed as a suburb, for quite a long while it was its own distinct settlement.
and here's something that makes downtown Evanston and downtown Oak Park unique...and it's a biggie:

no other suburban downtowns are served by both Metra and CTA rapid transit lines.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:44 AM
 
9 posts, read 5,160 times
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Geneva & St. Charles
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:02 AM
 
Location: All Over
3,947 posts, read 4,053,166 times
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I don't think you can really compare all these very different burbs in terms of downtown. I think many people consider Evanston to almost be part of Chicago and is obviously frequented by many more people via Chicago as opposed to a burb like Batavia not getting any of that traffic. Also a burb like FOrest Park which has a pretty cool strip on Madison again I dont think can really be compared to a Naperville or Batavia

Personally I like Naperville, while it is turning into a lot of chains you have a huge number of bars in a small location for a suburb ie Irish Pub, Outdoor patio places, Dance Clubs, neighborhood bars, etc. You still have some shopping, a bit of office space, some good dining options, fairly easy to access ie fairly well located, decent parking, etc, etc, etc.

I think for a young person or really person of any age who doesn't want to live in the city Naperville isn't half bad in terms of nightlife when it comes to the burbs.
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Galewood
3,613 posts, read 8,304,282 times
Reputation: 2012
Oak Park for me, haven't spent much time in Evanston to compare....Downers Grove, Elmhurst and LaGrange are nice too. One draw back with Lagrange is the enormous amount of 4 lane traffic that comes through there and is often at a halt because of the rail line.
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