Best Chicago Suburbs for Families

5 Best Chicago Suburbs for Families 2024

Chicago is one of the largest, most exciting cities in the United States. The affectionately nicknamed Windy City offers plenty of world-class restaurants and entertainment, providing a bustling lifestyle if you’re young, single, or newlywed.

But what if you’re ready to settle down and have kids? Many families are happy to make Chicago their urban paradise. But how do some of the numerous Chicagoland suburbs stack up against the big city? Gather up the kids and check out 5 of the best Chicago Suburbs for families.

Chicago, IL
Chicago, IL

Best Chicago Suburbs for Families

1. Buffalo Grove, IL

Buffalo Grove is a charming village located 30 miles northwest of downtown Chicago in Lake County. With a population of over 43,000, Buffalo Grove is widely recognized as one of the best middle-class suburbs in Illinois. And there is no shortage of activities for parents and kids in this Chicagoland suburb.

Commute Time to Chicago

Buffalo Grove to Chicago By Car: 48 minutes

Buffalo Grove to Chicago By Train: 55 minutes

Metra Station
Metra Station

Income and Housing

The median income for Buffalo Grove residents is over $120,000 with average home prices nearing $339,000.


According to Neighborhood Scout, Buffalo Grove is safer than 75% of cities in the U.S. This Chicago suburb also has lower reports of violent crime and property damage than the national average.

Suburban Home

Buffalo Grove Schools

According to Public School Review, Buffalo Grove is home to four public schools in the top 5% for math and reading performance in Illinois:

· Prairie Elementary School, Grades 1-5

· Twin Groves Middle School, Grades 6-8

· Aptakisic Junior High School, Grades 6-8

· Ivy Hall Elementary School, Grades 1-5

If you’re the parent of young children, Buffalo Grove is a great place to send your kids to school.

Family Friendly Activities in Buffalo Grove

Buffalo Grove is home to many family-friendly local attractions. Throughout the summer and fall months, the Buffalo Grove Farmer’s Market provides fresh foods from over 30 vendors.

Farmers Market

Health-conscious families can take advantage of a wide selection of meats, produce, and flowers.

Visiting the Buffalo Grove Forest Preserve is a fun way to help your family stay active. The preserve is maintained by Lake County and offers more than 6 miles of hiking trails.

Check out the Most Affordable Chicago Commuter Towns

2. Lincolnshire, IL

Lincolnshire is a Lake County village located 34 miles north of Chicago. With fewer than 8,000 residents, Lincolnshire is smaller than most of the suburbs on this list. But low crime rates and quality schools make Lincolnshire an attractive place to call home.

Suburban Home

Commute Time to Chicago

Lincolnshire to Chicago By Car: 46 minutes

Lincolnshire to Chicago By Train: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Income and Housing

Residents of Lincolnshire have a median household income of around $130,000. The average home price in Lincolnshire hovers around $600,000, attracting higher income families.


Lincolnshire annually reports lower incidents of violent crime and property damage, making it another one of Chicagoland’s safest places to live.

Lincolnshire Schools

Lincolnshire’s public school system is among the best in Illinois. Daniel Wright Junior High School (grades 6-8) and Adlai E. Stevenson High School (grades 9-12) are ranked in the top 1% of math and reading proficiency statewide.

Family Friendly Activities in Lincolnshire

The Marriott Theater is one of the most praised regional theaters in the U.S. and it calls Lincolnshire home. You and your family will make tons of memories seeing well-known musicals in this 800-seat venue.

Spring Lake Park in Lincolnshire is the perfect place for a family bike ride or hike through 230 acres of campgrounds.

Check out the Cheapest Beach Towns to Live in near Chicago

3. Naperville, IL

Naperville is an affluent community located 33 miles west of Chicago. One of Chicagoland’s larger suburbs, Naperville is home to over 140,000 residents.

Naperville, IL
Naperville, IL

Commute Time to Chicago

Naperville to Chicago By Car: 46 minutes

Naperville to Chicago By Train: 1 hour

Income and Housing

Naperville residents have a median income of $130,000 a year with home prices averaging $500,000.


At the beginning of 2023, Naperville was named the safest city in the United States by MoneyGeek. With a crime rate of 42 out of 100,000 residents, you can’t ask for a safer community to raise a family.

Naperville Schools

Naperville is not just one of the safest places to live, the city also has a great public school system. Meadow Glens Elementary School and Highlands Elementary School (both grades K-5) rank in the top 1% of Illinois schools in math and reading proficiency. In addition, Naperville students’ average ACT and SAT scores exceed state and national averages.

Family Friendly Activities

A visit to the riverside Centennial Beach is the perfect family activity during warmer months. A Naperville institution, Centennial Beach offers a unique swimming hole experience with seasonal membership.

Paddleboats at Naperville, IL
Paddleboats at Naperville, IL

Check out the Richest Suburbs of Chicago

4. Wheaton, IL

Located 25 miles west of Chicago, Wheaton is a suburb in DuPage County with over 53,000 residents. It’s the 27th most populated town in Illinois.

Suburban Home

Commute Time to Chicago

Wheaton to Chicago By Car: 42 minutes

Wheaton to Chicago By Train: 1 hour

Income and Housing

The media household income in Wheaton is $106,000 with home prices averaging $370,000.


Wheaton does not have the lowest crime rate on this list. But with reports of violent crime at half the national average, Wheaton remains a suitable choice for families looking for options outside of Chicago.

Wheaton Schools

Wheaton school district 200 features two K-5 schools in the top 5% in math and reading proficiency. Longfellow Elementary School and Lincoln Elementary School report over 60% proficiency in math which is higher than the 45% state average.

Family Friendly Activities in Wheaton

Wheaton is home to the DuPage County Historical Museum. For history buffs, the museum covers the history of the county and the local Wheaton community. It’s a fun way to help kids learn more about the place they call home.

Check out our list of The Most Dangerous Chicago Neighborhoods

5. Elmhurst, IL

Like Wheaton, Elmhurst is a suburb located in DuPage County but a little closer to Chicago. Elmhurst is 17 miles from Chicago. It is a Chicagoland suburb with close to 50,000 residents.

Elmhurst, IL
Elmhurst, IL

Commute Time to Chicago

Elmhurst to Chicago By Car: 29 minutes

Elmhurst to Chicago By Train: 40 minutes

Income and Housing

From 2020, Elmhurst residents report a median household income of $123,000 with home prices averaging $410,000.


Elmhurst is one of the safest places to live in the Chicagoland area. With violent crime reports at 1 in 1200, you’ll feel comfortable raising kids in the area.

Elmhurst Schools

Elmhurst school district 205’s York Community High School (grades 9-12) is in the top 10% of math and reading proficiency. ranks district 205 the 15th best school district in Illinois out of 413.

Family Friendly Activities in Elmhurst

Elmhurst is home to the historic York theater which opened on Labor Day 1924. In the early 80’s, Classic Cinemas purchased the property and transformed the venue into a movie theater. York theater is the perfect place for a family movie night.

If you’re looking for a taste of culture, a visit to the Elmhurst Art Museum makes for a great family outing.

About John Curiel: John holds a BS in technical communication from Arizona State University. He is a freelance writer with SEO and social media management experience. Based in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois; John has written content for businesses across the United States. In his free time, he writes fiction and enjoys gardening.

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