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Old 02-21-2020, 01:02 PM
 
3 posts, read 4,181 times
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Hi Everyone!

My wife and I are looking at a potential move to Indiana and are looking at NWI or the north suburbs of Indianapolis such as Carmel, Zionsville, etc. We currently live in the north side of Chicago so we’re coming from a very affluent area with strong schools, a strong sense of community with tons of families along with lots of great restaurants, shopping and culture. We’re not completely sold on moving but wanted to explore what’s out there in Indiana. I’ve been reading up on the forums trying to see which communities would be the best fit and I haven’t been able to determine if NWI has a community that would fit the bill.

Is there anyone on the forum who has moved from the north side of Chicago and found a good fit in NWI? From reading the Indianapolis forum it seems like Carmel and Zionsville could be a good fit so looking to see if there is a town that’s similar in NWI.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Hammond
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cadams, welcome to the forum! So that we can better match you up with areas that might work for you, would you mind sharing what city you are coming from or grouping of cities so we better understand what you mean by sense of community and culture? At least from what I know about Zionsville and Carmel they each have a very different character. Are you looking for something with a town center? Arts scene? small town feel or more cosmopolitan? Shopping in a downtown district or a mall? There's many ways to interpret what people are looking for.

Also since you are also looking at Indianapolis suburbs, it doesn't sound like you are tied to a particular job? Do you now, or would you need to continue to commute to Chicago on a regular basis?
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:29 PM
 
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NWI Indiana is the red headed step child of Chicago land. Carmel is the golden child of Indiana. Which sounds better to you?
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Old 02-21-2020, 01:39 PM
 
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Thanks Ned B!

We currently live in Lakeview and my job will allow me to be based out of Chicago or Indy. Ideally, I’d prefer to remain based out of Chicago as we truly love the city so a 45 minute commute to downtown would be ideal but we can slightly stretch that if warranted. In Lakeview and Lincoln Park, there are tons of families, there are literally over 100 kids just within a two block radius of us so we’d like to stay in a family focused area with great schools. We also have a great experience with the Park district for family friendly activities and sports so that would be a plus in whichever town we would potentially relocate to. Last, the food and shopping is really great - we can walk to so many great restaurants and shops to get almost anything we need. I understand there may not be a town that fits everything we have in the city as it isn’t an apples to apples comparison but we’re looking for a strong sense of community, strong schools, and a town with character and a pedestrian friendly downtown. We’re more familiar with the Illinois suburbs and really like the North Shore area but also like Naperville and Oak Brook; however, we’re looking into Indiana to see what comparable options exist that would have lower property taxes.

Thanks for any insight you may have.
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Old 02-21-2020, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Hammond
280 posts, read 473,709 times
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Forgive me cadams, I misinterpreted northside of Chicago as North Shore, so someplace like Glencoe or Wilmette. I'm very familiar with Lakeview having lived there within a block or so of Lake Shore Drive for 4 years. When I (we) relocated, we made our home in SW Hammond (i.e. Forest Avenue neighborhoods). I liked that the areas was walkable (as in there are sidewalks, good urban scale, parks nearby, not necessarily that we can walk to businesses), the architecture was historic and interesting, it's about as close to my job in Chicago as we could be and still be in Indiana. In 5 years (fingers crossed) there will even be a train station for the South Shore within half a mile of our house. The drawbacks are that the Hammond public schools aren't very great, but we don't have kids. There are families with kids in our neighborhood but many of them are private schooled. We also live in one of Hammond's safest neighborhoods, but the crime rate is still higher than what you could experience in other suburbs, but it's probably about in-line with crime rates in Lakeview.

Here in NW Indiana I would look first at Munster, Crown Point, and Valparaiso.

Munster would be my next choice if I were to live somewhere else. The schools are good, the property values healthy, there are some great neighborhoods and there are even a few places where you are within walking distance or at least biking distance of each of the high school, middle school, and an elementary school. I think there is a pretty strong sense of community there, though there is not a real town center as you will find in the other two I listed. Munster didn't really develop until the 1950s, so it's shopping is more suburban and spread out. But Munster is current working to improve their shopping experience (there are two new lifestyle type mixed-use developments in the works around Centennial Park), and have brought in a few interesting new restaurants in the last couple years. As part of the previously mentioned train project there would also be two new Munster train stations at the NW and SW corners of town.

The areas south of Munster (Dyer, Schererville, and St. John) have really been booming lately, but I don't think they'll really satisfy your desires. They are more typically sprawling and suburban, the schools are good, but outside of the schools there isn't really an overall community center or vibe or cultural scene. Some of this may come with time, as they are still young, but poor planning means they will likely always be plagued with terrible traffic. But we still find ourselves occasionally headed that way for particular restaurant cravings or shopping needs.

Crown Point probably fits the bill for the balance of having an actual downtown while being within commuting range of the Loop (expect one and a half hours or more depending on where you live). Schools are good there as well, and there's a fair amount of affluence, especially on the south side. Downtown (the square around the courthouse) has many good restaurants and boutique like shops. Mall shoping is just to the north at South Lake Mall.

Valparaiso with it's larger downtown, and nearby university is probably the most "cosmopolitan" of the small towns, and it's courthouse square is also surrounded by good restaurants and boutique shopping. It also has a fair share of culture and events. It's a place that I would love to live, except that it's about a two hour commute into the city. Nearby Chesterton is a little closer, more suburban with a very small downtown and is generally a smaller but very affluent community.

None of these places are probably perfect, and exactly your ideal place to live, but I would encourage getting out and taking a drive around to see if you could imagine living in any of them.
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Old 02-21-2020, 02:53 PM
 
51 posts, read 157,750 times
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Thank you Ned B - I really appreciate the thorough response and Hoosier hospitality

We’ll check out Hammond, Munster and Crown Point and will take a family drive. We’ve been through Merrillville a bit on our way down to Indy so we’ve seen one of the main commercial areas. Valpo sounds like a great city but I think it’s just a little too far from the city for what we’re personally looking for.

Once again, I greatly appreciate the feedback!
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:29 PM
 
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Are cadams219 and Mustang219 the same person or what’s up here?
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:42 PM
 
51 posts, read 157,750 times
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Sorry for the confusion - I had replied that I am originally from the region but it’s been a long time and that I’m looking for the same parameters as cadams. It looks like my post either got deleted or didn’t go through for some reason.

Thanks again for the advise and help!
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:48 AM
 
809 posts, read 2,190,109 times
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My thought would be that there isn't exactly that same type of town in NWI that you're really targeting. Munster and St John are the most affluent with good schools. Neither has a real downtown core or square. Crown Point and Valpo are nice towns with good downtowns, but imo those commutes to Chicago routinely are too far, especially Valpo to/from Chicago.

Zionsville and Carmel are entirely different types of towns yet are definitely both pretty affluent (in Indiana/midwest terms at least). Carmel is more like Naperville but not the same at all... mega suburb with about 100k population, but one massive high school of over 5k students. Zionsville has more of the small town feel, but imo that's changing quickly with the growth from transplants. Both Carmel and Zionsville are good options, but then again, you're living in central Indiana near Indianapolis which isn't my preference when living near Chicago is feasible. All towns listed here are family and kid friendly with very good schools and are safe.
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Chicagoland
91 posts, read 90,856 times
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My husband and I moved from the northwest suburbs of Chicago to Northwest Indiana about 20 years ago, and we have never regretted that decision. My husband continues to commute to Chicago to work as well.

Central Indiana is a great area. I really love downtown Carmel, but, in my opinion, Indianapolis does not compare to Chicago. While NWI does not necessarily have the "feel" of many Chicago suburbs, its proximity to Chicago maintains its status as being a hot contender for people looking to move to Indiana from the Illinois suburbs.

When I think of a specific downtown area in NWI, Crown Point and Valparaiso come to mind. Granted, Valpo is a little farther from Chicago then CP, but it really depends on your preference. Munster, Schererville, Dyer, St. John, etc. offer great places to live. However, as mentioned above, these towns lack the amenities present in many Illinois suburbs. Thankfully, though, Chicago and the Illinois suburbs are just a drive away!

In my experience, many of my clients are Illinois residents moving to Indiana for cheaper taxes, but they're also looking to maintain residence close to Chicago in order to access the city's benefits. However, other clients are only looking in Illinois due to the amenities many of the Illinois suburbs offer that, as of right now, cannot necessarily be found in NWI.

You've received some great advice! Let me know if I can help in any further way!
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