There's something for everyone in Elmhurst, Illinois. You can marvel at the historically significant homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, check out the frequent festivals and events in Wilder Park, and enjoy easy access to Chicago through a straight shot on the I-290. Elmhurst is a bustling suburban community home to Elmhurst University, with plenty of parks, outstanding shopping districts, and college-town vibes. Whether you're looking for a quiet respite from the vibrant Chicago city life, a fun community that balances access to nature and big-city energy, or homes with steady appreciation and growth, welcome to Elmhurst!
Setting down roots in a new community can be overwhelming, especially if you're moving from out of state or have only visited a few times. This guide to living in Elmhurst will give you a real perspective into daily life here so that you can decide whether it's a perfect fit for your next home. Read on!
The appeal of Elmhurst
There are so many upsides to living in Elmhurst that it's hard to count them all, and everyone has their own favorite aspect of the community. Whether you love museums, enjoy living near a premium dining scene, or love having the Chicago skyline in the distance, you'll feel right at home. Here are some of the benefits that most residents adore.
Easy access to travel
Residents of Elmhurst are always well-connected. The free Elmhurst Express Trolley takes you straight downtown, where you’ll find an array of top shopping spots, restaurants, and more. Catch a movie at the historic York Theatre, find trendy gifts at Edie Boutique, or savor the steaks at 100 South Chop House and Grill. You can even take the trolley to other renowned retail districts, like York & Vallette or Spring Road, for a full day of adventurous shopping.
There’s also a Metra train station for a quick 30-minute trip to Chicago through the Union Pacific West connecting line. If you’d rather make the drive yourself, Elmhurst has one of the easiest commutes of all the Chicago suburbs, clocking in at less than 20 miles to the city. Plus, O’Hare International Airport is only about 10 miles away, making for easy travel whenever your heart desires.
Gorgeous parks and green spaces
There's always a park around the corner in Elmhurst. Visit Berens Park for enjoyable afternoons on the mini-golf course, batting cages, and open sports fields. Spend time at the sand volleyball courts, playground and splash pad, or the walking trails for a workout. The five-acre Pioneer Park on Mitchell Avenue is home to basketball courts, picnic spaces, soccer fields, and a playground perfect for fun with the entire family. If golf is the name of the game, head to Sugar Creek Golf Course for a challenging nine-hole course full of twists and turns.
Wilder Park in the center of Elmhurst is a go-to recreation area featuring open fields, the Elmhurst Art Museum, and a rec building. It’s also home to the award-winning Elmhurst Public Library, where you’ll find over 300,000 books, audiobooks, and more. Check out the Wilder Park Conservatory to witness beautiful plant life and enjoy the tranquility of nature. If you’re looking for fun in the sun, head to Norman P. Smalley Pool in York Commons Park or East End Park’s pool, where you’ll find a kiddie slide, diving boards, and the chance to cool off. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a 20-minute drive to the 1,700-acre Morton Arboretum to explore the nature trails and find peace.
Whether you love sports, swimming, or simply spending time outside in the great weather, you'll quickly have a list of your favorite local parks you love to visit.
Elmhurst is no stranger to a fun time, hosting various community events. The Elmhurst History Museum plans a “Third Thursday Gallery Talk” every month, showcasing the most impressive exhibits on display. The Elmhurst Public Library also hosts gardening classes, summer storytime sessions, kindergarten learning camps, sewing classes, and much more. The annual “Art in Wilder Park” is a must-see event featuring over 100 artists and 40 food vendors every spring.
The city also hosts an annual Memorial Day Parade, celebrating with floats and patriotic music from the Elmhurst City Centre all the way to Wilder Park. The City Centre is a happening spot with tons on the calendar, including free live concerts, great food, and a fun time. Plus, don’t miss the Elmhurst Farmers’ Market from June through October to find the freshest fruit, meats, and more. Not only that, but residents have easy access to all the festivities of Chicago, from Lollapalooza to Bears games at Soldier Field.
A robust job market
There is a growing local job market in Elmhurst, and you can commute to Chicago to access a wide range of professions in the creative, industrial, commercial, and education sectors. In fact, Chicago is a cornerstone of finance, arts and culture, industry, and science, with many top employers and successful companies in the area.
An active arts, entertainment, and museum scene
Head to the Elmhurst History Museum to see an award-winning portrayal of regional history at a top museum featuring tours, educational programs, and astounding exhibits. Check out the Elmhurst Art Museum, where you can marvel at the architecture, meander through the world-class exhibitions, or take a class.
To witness an impressive performance on the main stage, attend the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra or a production at the GreenMan Theatre Troupe’s community theatre. The York Theatre is full of history, as it was restored and expanded but upheld its Spanish architecture, featuring Enhanced 4K projection and comfortable stadium seating for a great show on the big screen. There’s even the Elmhurst Children’s Theatre, a non-profit for grades 5 through 8 to get started in the performing arts. In addition to all of Elmhurst’s offerings, you can simply take the Metra to Chicago to check out top spots like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Shedd Aquarium, and so much more.
Shopping districts and more
The downtown City Centre is the go-to spot for a retail adventure. From home decor and gorgeous jewelry to abstract art and clothing items, you are sure to find what you seek on your shopping list. The Spring Road business district is another bustling spot full of top shops and boutiques, fabulous restaurants, and a calendar of live performances, carnivals, and more. Head to York & Vallette or the North York Corridor to find even more unique spots for your shopping trip.
Beautiful seasons all year long
You can experience all four seasons in Elmhurst, from blooming flowers and mild afternoons in the spring to trees with fiery autumnal leaves in the fall. Enjoy the winter snow angels, the crisp fall air, and the sunny summer skies. If you love well-balanced warm summers and snowy winters, Elmhurst has it all.
Cons of living in Elmhurst
While Elmhurst has so much to offer for every resident, there are a couple of minor drawbacks to keep in mind as you determine whether living in Elmhurst is the right call.
Housing and rent prices
The median house price in Elmhurst is around $525,000, which is higher than both the national median and the median in the Chicago metro area. The Elmhurst housing scene experiences stiff competition in the peak home-buying season. With that said, Elmhurst offers so much — from the convenient location to the amazing shopping spots and gorgeous parks, you will find that life in Elmhurst is well worth it.
Not used to snow?
Many people may be moving to Elmhurst from warmer cities and states, so experiencing three feet of snow across the winter months can be a bit of a chilly shock. If you're purchasing your first home, learning to shovel snow and winterize your home will be crucial. Consult your real estate agent about what winterization features you should prioritize and how to keep your home in excellent condition all year. However, once you get the hang of lots of snow, you'll look forward to living in this winter wonderland.
Moving to Elmhurst is easy with a local guide
One of the best ways to enjoy your move to Elmhurst is to consult with a local real estate expert. A local professional can help you navigate the different neighborhoods, find homes with your must-have and wishlist features, and manage the entire home-buying process with ease. Whether you're new to the northern Midwest or Elmhurst, a trusted real estate agent is ready to act as your guide.
Start exploring homes
If you're considering living in Elmhurst, don't wait to find a local real estate agent. Moving quickly with the help of a licensed professional can help you secure the perfect new home and achieve all your real estate goals. Reach out to trusted broker Anne Thompson and her real estate team for the guidance and advice you can count on.
*Header photo courtesy of Anne Thompson