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Old 03-21-2007, 06:50 AM
 
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Hello - we are relocating to Chicago area. We have two school-age children and are looking for (a.) a great school district, (b.) shortest commute into Chicago possible and (c.) some semblance of a life for mommy and daddy (we are only 36 for heaven's sake). I think we have it narrowed it down to Riverside or Oak Park. Other Suggestions? Comparisions? Nice or not so nice things to say about either place?

Thanks!
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Old 03-21-2007, 08:16 PM
 
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We're also considering the same two communities and would love to hear feedback... Our children are not quite school-age, but we're looking for the same things as abyers.
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Old 03-22-2007, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
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Both suburbs are known for good housing stock and schools. Oak Park has a bigger downtown/shopping area, more public transit options, more of an urban feel (due to proximity to Chicago), and a higher crime rate (again, due to proximity to Chicago). Real estate is pricier in Oak Park.
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Old 03-22-2007, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Homewood
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Default from Oak Park

I lived in Oak Park for several years and loved it. I did leave Oak Park for Homewood,in the south suburbs. Homewood, Flossmoor area has many different home styles , old to new, small to very large,like Oak Park, without the generic look of Tinley Park, or Orland. A direct train line to Chicago is more than convienient. Both Homewood and Flossmoor have award winning recreation, golf courses and parks. Schools are excellent, shopping, restaurants, it's all here, check it out!
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Old 03-23-2007, 11:37 AM
 
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How long does it take to get into the city from Homewood, Flossmoor area?
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Old 03-26-2007, 03:03 PM
 
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I don't know what your background is, but either place should be fine for raising a family. Only difference I would say is Riverside is primarily old-money white people, and Oak Park is very left wing and famous for its integration of blacks from the west side of Chicago and whites. So if you don't like liberals or blacks, move to Riverside. If you don't like stuffy old white people, move to Oak Park.
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Old 03-27-2007, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Homewood
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Homewood-Flossmoor area is about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on which train you catch, and how far you're going. The last stop is Michigan Ave. at Randolph. The Dan Ryan expressway is under alot of consruction, but driving into the city was about 45 min. into the loop.
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Old 04-04-2007, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
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I recently drove through Riverside. I must say its very charming, with its winding, curvy roads (rare unique in that part of Chicagoland). It reminded me a lot of some of the older suburbs of Boston (except for the flatness). The downtown area is very small, quaint, and a little bit shabby. There was a brand new condo/retail building going up which will probably have a Starbucks or something like that. Whereas Oak Park has a very urban feel to it, due to the street grid, the el, and relatively built-up downtown area, Riverside feels a lot further from Chicago than it actually is. Another nice thing about Riverside is that the downtown area is by the side of the Des Plaines river, with a nice riverfront park area.
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Old 04-17-2007, 12:12 AM
 
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Default Both Riverside and Oak Park are great but........

I have lived in both Riverside and OP. I don't have children. I hear that both school districts are pretty good. Riverside is so pretty and charming. Lots of really nice old houses and beautiful trees. Not much to do in the downtown area. There just really isn't much there. I know there is evidence of change (growing downtown), but that has been talked about for the last 20 years at least to no avail. The train ride is short to downtown Chicago (about 20 minutes).

Oak Park - has a lot more to do. The Oak Park downtown area has a couple of nice book stores, plenty of good restaurants, a movie theatre (feature films), close to plenty of public transportation (buses and trains) and is also only about a 20 minute train ride to downtown Chicago. Oak Park has a nice farmers market every year beginning first weekend in June through October. They always have events in the parks (family-oriented), live music, plays, etc. Very cultural. There are also gift shops, some clothing stores (Chico's, The Gap, Benneton, etc.) Almost anyone will "fit in" there. In nearby River Forest there's a great Jewel (grocery store) on Lake Street and there is a Whole Foods Market as well (walking distance from downtown Oak Park). I really enjoy Oak Park.

My opinion is that there is much more to do in Oak Park, especially for families. The Oak Park library is really great too!

Feel free to e-mail me if you have more specific questions about either Riverside or OP and I will be happy to help if I can.
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Old 04-17-2007, 01:26 PM
 
2,038 posts, read 2,053,558 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liz60559 View Post
I have lived in both Riverside and OP. I don't have children. I hear that both school districts are pretty good. Riverside is so pretty and charming. Lots of really nice old houses and beautiful trees. Not much to do in the downtown area. There just really isn't much there. I know there is evidence of change (growing downtown), but that has been talked about for the last 20 years at least to no avail. The train ride is short to downtown Chicago (about 20 minutes).

Oak Park - has a lot more to do. The Oak Park downtown area has a couple of nice book stores, plenty of good restaurants, a movie theatre (feature films), close to plenty of public transportation (buses and trains) and is also only about a 20 minute train ride to downtown Chicago. Oak Park has a nice farmers market every year beginning first weekend in June through October. They always have events in the parks (family-oriented), live music, plays, etc. Very cultural. There are also gift shops, some clothing stores (Chico's, The Gap, Benneton, etc.) Almost anyone will "fit in" there. In nearby River Forest there's a great Jewel (grocery store) on Lake Street and there is a Whole Foods Market as well (walking distance from downtown Oak Park). I really enjoy Oak Park.

My opinion is that there is much more to do in Oak Park, especially for families. The Oak Park library is really great too!

Feel free to e-mail me if you have more specific questions about either Riverside or OP and I will be happy to help if I can.
I agree with the Oak Park library comment, it is great! Oak Park is very urban feeling, a place where gay and african american are welcomed and very liberal in thinking. I just really wouldn't feel as safe there with small children, given its urban nature, but that's just me. Riverside is pretty, but boring. Have you looked a little further west than Riverside in La Grange? It has all the attributes of Oak Park, but in a more suburban setting with better schools and a lot of young families. It is also a 17 minute train ride to downtown. No offense to Homewood, but from a real estate investment standpoint, it sucks.
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