Chicago, IL, known for its skyline, culture, food scene, and stunning architecture, is unsurprisingly home to 3 million residents. From iconic sports teams like the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago White Sox, the Chicago Bears, and the Chicago Bulls, universities like the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, and its beautiful views of Lake Michigan, Chicago is truly a one-of-a-kind city.
Perhaps you’re considering living in Chicago but are not sure if you want to be one of 3 million residents. Luckily, Chicago has many neighboring cities that may be the perfect place to buy your first home or rent an apartment.
We’ve collected a list of 8 cities near Chicago for you to check out before committing to buying a home or signing a lease. Arranged from closest to farthest, these 8 cities are all within 50 miles of Chicago.
#1: Cicero, IL
Cicero, located 9 miles outside of Chicago, is the first of the eight cities near Chicago to check out. Named after Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman statesman, Cicero is also one of many great Chicago suburbs.
There are many things to do in Cicero, from visiting different parks, museums, and historical sites. Some of the top attractions in the area are the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, the Cicero Historical Society, and the Cicero Public Library.
#2: Oak Park, IL
Miles from Chicago: 9
Median home sale price: $455,000
Average 1-bed rent: $1,139
Walk Score: 78
Bike Score: 66
Transit Score: 61
Homes for sale in Oak Park, IL
Apartments for rent in Oak Park, IL
Oak Park is a village located approximately 10 miles outside of Chicago. Settled during the 1830s, Oak Park was home to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and acclaimed writer Ernest Hemingway. The city boasts three historic districts – Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie School of Architecture Historic District, Oak Park Historic District, and Ridgeland Historic District.
If you’re living in Oak Park, you won’t be bored. The city is home to several museums, including Wonder Works Children’s Museum and Ernest Hemingway Museum. You can also enjoy live performances at Circle Theatre and Open Door Repertory Theater. If you like being outdoors, Oak Park has plenty of green spaces, like Taylor Park, Austin Gardens, and Oak Park Conservatory. And if you’re looking for a good meal, you can choose from various restaurants, such as Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, George’s Restaurant, and Grape Leaves Restaurant.
#3: Berwyn, IL
Berwyn is a great place to live for many reasons. It has the most Chicago-style bungalow houses in the nation and maintains a small-town feel with just about 55,000 residents. Additionally, Berwyn is home to the oldest White Castle in the U.S., which is still operating on Historic Route 66. Finally, Berwyn was considered the original “commuter city” for those working in Chicago and is still only about a 20-minute drive into downtown.
There are plenty of things to do in Berwyn. For history buffs, check out the Cermak Road District, which is home to many historical sites and buildings. The Berwyn Arts Council offers a variety of arts and cultural events throughout the year. And for those who enjoy the outdoors, there are plenty of parks and forest preserves to explore.
#4: Evanston, IL
Miles from Chicago: 19
Median home sale price: $420,000
Average 1-bed rent: $1,402
Walk Score: 76
Bike Score: 89
Transit Score: 51
Homes for sale in Evanston, IL
Apartments for rent in Evanston, IL
Evanston is just 12 miles north of downtown Chicago, with Skokie to the west and Wilmette to the north. It’s one of the North Shore communities alongside Lake Michigan, meaning you’ll have great lakefront views. Evanston is a fantastic place to live, with many activities like visiting local art museums, dining at top restaurants, or spending time at a park.
Home to 11 museums, some of the most popular are the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, and Charles Gates Dawes House. If you like spending time outdoors, Evanston has plenty of green spaces like Centennial Park, Lovelace Park, or Dawes Park. You’re sure to find something to your liking with a variety of diverse eateries and restaurants such as Cross-Rhodes Restaurant, Hearth Restaurant, and Mt. Everest Restaurant.
#5: Elmhurst, IL
Miles from Chicago: 18
Median home sale price: $695,000
Average 1-bed rent: $1,750
Walk Score: 48
Bike Score: 52
Transit Score: 25
Homes for sale in Elmhurst, IL
Apartments for rent in Elmhurst, IL
Living in Elmhurst will provide you with a welcoming and small-town feel. It’s home to York Theatre, which has an Art Moderne façade and 1930s-style interior. Elmhurst has a 35-mile pedestrian and bike trail that runs from Elk Grove Village to the Brookfield Zoo called the Salt Creek Greenway Trail.
There are various things to do in Elmhurst, including visiting the Elmhurst Art Museum, the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, going on wildflower walks and hikes at the Preserve, biking and picnicking in Wilder Park, and shopping downtown.
#6: Naperville, IL
Miles from Chicago: 33
Median home sale price: $503,750
Average 1-bed rent: $1,422
Walk Score: 34
Bike Score: 45
Transit Score: 12
Homes for sale in Naperville, IL
Apartments for rent in Naperville, IL
Naperville is located approximately 28 miles west of Chicago and has beautiful parks and a vibrant downtown area with plenty of shopping and dining options. Naperville is home to the world-renowned Naperville Ribfest, which takes place every year in late June or early July. You can find some of the best ribs and barbecue from around the country, as well as live music and carnival rides.
Other popular attractions in Naperville include the Naperville Riverwalk, a beautiful walking and biking path along the DuPage River. You can also visit the Naper Settlement, a living history museum that tells the story of Naperville’s founding and development. Finally, check out the Naperville Art League, which offers classes and hosts exhibitions of local artists’ work.
#7: Aurora, IL
Miles from Chicago: 41
Median home sale price: $284,150
Average 1-bed rent: $1,452
Walk Score: 40
Bike Score: 53
Transit Score: 21
Homes for sale in Aurora, IL
Apartments for rent in Aurora, IL
Aurora is nestled in the outer region of Greater Chicago. Aurora has a diverse economy and is home to several museums and attractions, as well as a thriving arts scene. From enjoying local art and dining at top restaurants to spending time at a park, there are many cool ways to spend your time in Aurora.
Popular museums include the SciTech Hands On Museum, David L. Pierce Art & History, and Aurora Regional Fire Museum. Performing arts venues like Paramount Theatre and Riverfront Play House are fan-favorites amongst locals. Waubonsie Lake Park, RiverEdge Park, and Simmons Park are just a handful of the amazing parks and green spaces you’ll find throughout the city. There are a variety of delicious eateries and restaurants that appeal to every palette in the city, including Ritos Mexican Restaurant, Double Yolk Pancake House & Restaurant, and Pomegranate Restaurant.
#8: Elgin, IL
Miles from Chicago: 41
Median home sale price: $289,000
Average 1-bed rent: $1,800
Walk Score: 43
Bike Score: 51
Transit Score: 29
Homes for sale in Elgin, IL
Apartments for rent in Elgin, IL
You can find Elgin about 41 miles northeast of Chicago, in Cook County. If you’re living in Elgin and looking for something to do in your free time, you have plenty of options. Elgin has everything from nature parks to stellar restaurants and the arts and culture scene.
Home to 6 museums, some of the most popular destinations include the Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 Museum, Elgin Area Historical Museum, and Elgin Public Museum. Performing arts venues like the Blizzard Theatre and Next Door Theater are fan-favorites amongst locals. Parks are plentiful in Elgin, where you can find green spaces like Lords Park, Festival Park, and Wing Park. Some of Elgin’s must-try restaurants and eateries include Ray’s Family Restaurant, Paul’s Family Restaurant, and Big Skillet Restaurant, sure to please your taste buds.
All cities must have a population of more than 50,000 and be less than 50 miles away from Chicago. Median home sale price data from the Redfin Data Center during August 2022. Average rental data from Rent.com during August 2022. Walk Score, Bike Score, and Transit Score from Walkscore.com during August 2022. Population data sourced from United States Census Bureau.