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Old 01-31-2008, 01:41 PM
2 posts, read 13,252 times
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My family and I are moving from southern California to Chicago and are trying to decide between River Forest. The homes that we have looked at in both towns are very similar in price (mostly around 1 million). I have 2 high school aged children who will be attending Fenwick High School, I've been told that alot of kids from both River Forest and Hinsdale attend there, so public schools are not an issue. I was wondering what some major differences between the two towns are besides that River Forest is closer to the city and the homes are older. If anyone can give me any more insights to help me make this difficult decision I would really appreciate it.
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Old 01-31-2008, 01:49 PM
Location: Phoenix metro
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Both towns are lovely, but I prefer Hinsdale just a little bit more, heres why: the downtown is quaint and very nice... the streets are completely tree-lined... majestic homes (old and new)... Continental Ferrari dealership.

Hinsdale is the epicenter for the teardown phenomonon. Ive heard Hinsdale called the "grandfather of the teardown craze" and I believe it. Many older homes there were demolished to put up mansions, some of them only a few feet apart. The town is quiet, very prestigious, has quite a bit to do, etc. Really, you cant go wrong with either city to be honest, but I just like Hinsdale that much more. And no, the Ferrari dealer doesnt have anything to do with my reasons for loving Hinsdale, its just an added bonus.
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:10 PM
Location: Oak Park, IL
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River Forest is more urban than Hinsdale, although both towns are comprised of large, expensive SFHs. Getting to Fenwick from RF is a lot easier than from Hinsdale.
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:14 PM
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The only positive I see for Hinsdale over River Forest is the gentle rolling (for Chicagoland) topography. It adds to the nice suburban nature of the village. River Forest is dead flat in topography.

The houses are fairly comparable (and probably cheaper, on average) in River Forest. You are next to the Des Plaines river which is pretty nice (but not for swimming), Oak Park's downtown is easily accessible and very nice (Hinsdale's a bit small for me).

Plus being in River Forest, your kids (or you) won't have to drive 14 miles one-way to school. They'll only be a mile or mile and a half.

But I am a bit biased since I live in and love Oak Park.
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Old 01-31-2008, 03:37 PM
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Default Tough one

I grew up in So. Cal. ( like you ), and now live in Hinsdale. But I know both River Forest and Hinsdale well, and I like both. Some of River Forest's streets are beautiful, like North Franklin, and take you back to the time when the Chicago Mob settled in the town and built solid mansions. River Forest is serene, and is adjacent to Oak Park, which is urban and has an active downtown, as well as history. It is also closer to downtown by car, and I am guessing by train as well. I like the grid pattern of the streets; when you think of traditional "mansions" the streets of River Forest come to mind. Plus, River Forest is somewhat less expensive than Hinsdale.

The thing that I don't like about River Forest is that it has high crime Maywood on the west, and is less suburban in feel. It is somewhat of an isolated island of suburbia compared to the towns around it.

Hinsdale is central well situated to expressways and trains; alot of kids from Hinsdale take the train in to Fenwick. It is surrounded by nice towns, and is a 22 minute express train ride to downtown. It is close to Oak Brook and the shopping and other amenities, even though it has a small town feel. It has a different feel than River Forest, Hinsdale has more of a Connecticut feel to it, (hilly. wooded, understated) River Forest has kind of a San Marino, California feel to it (Old, big houses, I think you can relate to this, being from there ). Although you have your kids in Catholic schools, schools in Hinsdale are top rate,and will probably affect property values down the road.

Also. Hinsdale also attracts alot of transferees like you, and from what I've noticed has alot of California transplants. River Forest might have some, but I am guessing most are Chicago born and bred.

If I were you, I would drive around both Hinsdale and River Forest, and see the surrounding towns as well. Both are nice towns; although River Forest was never on the list for me, and I think I would still choose Hinsdale over River Forest, both are comparably nice towns to live in. Good luck in your search.
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:03 PM
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Save on the commute and just live in River Forest. It is a great community and close to the city...a very short train ride. Hinsdale is nice, but not better...just different and more suburban. With Oak Park next door you have the culture and great shopping/restaraunts too. Fenwick is a magnificent school. I know people who have landed their first jobs just because they went there and the connections they made.
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:15 PM
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I vote for Hinsdale ! investment,beauty,close to the city, great schools,beautiful 'hoods,easy access to many areas,close to top shopping (oakbrook) nice hospital, beautiful town.
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Old 01-31-2008, 06:46 PM
Location: Barrington
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Just curious, are you looking at older classic homes or newer construction? Also, any idea how long you plan to live in the area?
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Old 01-31-2008, 07:55 PM
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thanks everyone for your help, keep posting with your opinions. and middle aged mom to answer your question; I know that there are more newer construction homes in Hinsdale but it doesn't really matter if its a classic home or a new construction. All the houses we've looked at in River Forest have been recently remodeled, so its not really an issue. And we plan to stay in the area for a very long time unless something unexpected comes up.
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:18 PM
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Both areas are really nice, however, I favor River Forest. It's a village on the edge of the city, and I love that. It's proximity to Oak Park and River Forest is a plus; both towns have walkable downtowns and many eateries, cafes, stores, art galleries, etc. River Forest is home to both Concordia and Dominican Universities; with Dominican having a pretty good selection of art events frequented by the community. Both campuses are small and lovely, adding to the town's charm. Your kids will have a dream commute to school, plus they can easily get into the city on the Green Line Subway from Oak Park when they want to visit downtown - another plus. So for cultural offerings, walkability and proximity and ease to the city, I'd live in River Forest over Hinsdale. With it being in Cook County, the real estate taxes are probably less too.
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