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Old 01-05-2011, 05:33 PM
 
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I am looking for people that currently live in or used to live in River Forest and Oak Park. Why did you move there? Where did you live before?

We are looking for a short commute to the City (loop area) and good schools. We are also looking for a neighborhood/area with young families.

I get why people move to the North Shore (its the NORTH SHORE...) and I think I get the Western burbs (proximity to all expressways...), but I just don't quite get River Forest/Oak Park... Is it the easy commute into the City or is it more than that???
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:58 AM
 
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Not a resident or a person that lives in Oak Park, but I think this could be helpful. I like Oak park and it a very nice burb but the main reason why someone might choose it is because they need access to both the western burbs and the city itself.The area is racially diverse and sort of has some night life(not in Oak park itself but in Forrest Park nearby). It also has good schools.

Oak park is sort of an a happy medium between needs that can be hard to reconcile. i.e. Good schools and access to the city via driving.Or access to more hip areas of the city on the weekend without being far away from work in the western burbs. Or having an urban experience when living in the city itself is not practical.

Another reason to choose it is if you need to work in the western burbs but want a bit more nightlife. However Napervile has some nightlife.

If you are working in the loop odds are you wont be driving there. Many burbs have Metra service which can quickly get you to and from work in the loop. Unless you need to drive to work in your car a short commute to the loop probably isn't a good reason to choose Oak park or River Forrest(Although it is a very short commute. You can get to/from the loop in about 15 mins via Metra. Green line 20-30min. Driving would be 30-40mins from the loop in rush, 15-20 non rush. ).

Other burbs with good schools and larger houses/lawns for the money have metra commutes under an hour.

Oak park has both Metra and CTA EL service via the green line to downtown as well as nearby CTA 24 hour blue line service in Forrest Park.

What age are your Children? Some of Chicago's public grade schools are ok. It is more the High schools that are a big problem.

Last edited by chirack; 01-06-2011 at 09:09 AM..
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:13 AM
 
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Thanks, that really helps. My husband currently has approx. 1 hr. 20 minute commute door to door from Lake forest. He takes the Metra (40-50min) and then 15-20 minute walk/bus to his office on Michigan. We love the feel of the Northern Suburbs, but most of the affordable ones are just too far. Evanston is the closest, but that would still be about 45 min to an hour commute (25 minute Metra and 15-20 minute walk). I am also thinking about going back to work and can't imagine that kind of commute.
We have 3 children who are 3, 5, and 8. We really need good elementary and middle schools (we will worry about high school later), that is why River Forest was appealing. It satisfies two important criteria - commute time and schools.
You mentioned a fun atmosphere or night life...were you referring to proximity to the City or Forest Park (or both)?
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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Oak park would cut the commute. However if you are working on Michgan it would probably be better to use the Green or Blue line they would take you closer to Michigan. Metra could get you there in 15 mins but yout would still have to bus/walk the same 15/20 mins.

The nightlife I mentioned is mostly forrest park but getting to Chicago's northside, river north, and west loop areas from Oak park is not a bad weekend commute.

However you are going to have a tough time cutting the commute under 30-45 mins total.

The areas in chicago with good schools would take you about 30-45 mins total to commute also.

Last edited by chirack; 01-06-2011 at 09:59 AM..
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
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We moved from Boston to Chicagoland for my job in the western suburbs. OP was as close as we could get to the city without having a totally intolerable commute. I could live further out with a shorter commute and a larger house, so for us, it was totally a lifestyle decision.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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Easy commute and access to Chicago played a huge role in our move here. So many other reasons too including diversity, the lack of keeping up with the Jones attitude, the general vibe and the people. People who live here made the decision to raise their families in a more urban setting.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:34 AM
 
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I'd spend a night out in Forest Park before deeming it real "nightlife." It's not like the city. I agree with the above posters that proximity to the Loop is good, though certainly further to Michigan Avenue. IMHO, getting to the north side of the city (e.g., Lincoln Park) to go to restaurants and hang out is not as easy as it seems... can be a good 45 minutes when all is said and done. The great driving times from OP or RF are really into the Loop in my view.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:04 AM
 
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I use to travel from Oak Park to Andersonville once a week @ 6:30 p.m., and I would always make it in 30 minutes. In terms of getting to various city neighborhoods, it feels like an extension of the city. OP/RF are great for both city and west suburban access. My bottom line is I feel more a part of the city than were I to live in a further out suburb...popping into the city on a Saturday whim is much more likely to occur from Oak Park than from LaGrange (though I love LaGrange too and could easily live there). RF schools are great. Nightlife is less an issue for the over 30 w/ young kids crowd...you can quickly and easily get to any and all cultural and night life options - Lyric, symphony, House of Blues, art in pilsen, shopping in Oak Brook, or Caffe de Luca in Forest Park....if at 30-sumpin' you need to hang out on Rush street or Division to pick up trash then time to make an appt w/ Dr. Phil ...so there you go
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:25 AM
 
223 posts, read 621,891 times
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absolutely true - The city is definitely very reachable from OP. I guess the important distinction I'd make for someone considering OP or RF from the outside is that while yes, the city is certainly more accessible from, say, Naperville, and yes you can get to Andersonville from here easier than you can from further out, the reality is that you need to realize that there is still some effort in deciding to go into the city -- as opposed to considering what's available for nightlife, shopping, etc. within a 10-15 minute reasonable drive. Definitely it's a huge plus that you can do all this city stuff if you wish - my only point is that I do think people considering this area can be deluded into thinking that it's all at one's fingertips -- and it's not, especially if you have young kids... it's just not so easy to get in the car and go all these places -- therefore, at least I've personally found, it's important to be acutely aware of what is or isn't in the immediate vicinity or region.
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:39 AM
 
5,916 posts, read 12,266,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunt20 View Post
I am looking for people that currently live in or used to live in River Forest and Oak Park. Why did you move there? Where did you live before?

We are looking for a short commute to the City (loop area) and good schools. We are also looking for a neighborhood/area with young families.

I get why people move to the North Shore (its the NORTH SHORE...) and I think I get the Western burbs (proximity to all expressways...), but I just don't quite get River Forest/Oak Park... Is it the easy commute into the City or is it more than that???
Yes. And so much more.

Oak Park/River Forest has everything that the north shore communities have, but at a BIG discount, and without the attitude.

After all, you said (it is the NORTH SHORE). So what??? Who cares

So many of the west suburbs are just as great, but like I said without the attitude.

In addition to being close to downtown. The area has BEAUTIFUL housing stock, great neighborhoods, great walkable downtown. Stuff for kids to do. Some nightlife/date places for singles in Oak Park and Forest Park. Some forest preserve along the Des Plaines for a nature fix. Not only access to downtown but equal access to the I-88 corridor if you work in Oak Brook, etc. Need more??

The area is what Evanston is on the north side, the Oak Park/River Forest area is on the west.

Also the area, has a thriving African American middle to upper middle class population. Something I like. I always felt slightly creeped out by the lack of upper middle class African Americans in the north shore/north suburbs.
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