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Mac, Home Buyer in Minnesota

I am moving to the chicagoland area in 9-12 months, I want to move to the north shore, I love the downtowm in

Asked by Mac, Minnesota Wed Jan 2, 2008

highland park, is there any information on that area that make it more or less appealing to live there (versus other N. shore cities)for a married man with children ?

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Highland Park is a wonderful community with much to offer. It would be good if you could spend some time looking all along the North Shore to determine which community is best for you. Wilmette has a great downtown, actually a couple of them, as does Winnetka, Glencoe, and of course Lake Forest. Evanston is really more like a city than a suburb and has its own appeal. The main differences are proximity to Chicago, and the school systems, which are all pretty marvelous. Evanston has its own school district and high school, Glencoe, Winnetka, Wilmette and Kenilworth all feed into New Trier High School (Kenilworth has a K-8 primary school if you prefer that format), and Highland Park and Lake Forest each have their own elementary school systems and high schools, although Lake Forest High School also includes children from Lake Bluff and Knollwood. I recommend checking the school websites to see their stats, such as class sizes, number of teachers with advanced degrees, test scores, teacher/student ratios, class offerings, etc. They all are really excellent, it's hard to go wrong, it's just a question of what feels right when you do your research and then visit. School visits are the ultimate litmus test. There are also some terrific private schools in the area.

Real estate taxes are another consideration...Lake Forest has had a historically low tax rate compared to other North Shore communities. Evanston and towns up the shore through Glencoe are in Cook County, Highland Park and Lake Forest are in Lake County.

Proximity to your work is a big deal. Traffic in the Chicago area can be awful, and downtown parking is expensive. All of the North Shore communities are served by the Metra train, which is fast and efficient if you are going to downtown Chicago. Check out the Metra website for schedules, maps and fares. East-west options are less appealing and most involve sitting in your car.

Please feel free to give me a call if you have any other questions or would like to discuss cell number is 847-922-4119. I've been a broker for over 30 years in Chicago, and have lived for the past 15 years in Lake Forest with my husband and three children. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 2, 2009
If an appealing downtown area is important to you, as you mention in your question, then Highland Park is a terrific choice. As you travel North from Chicago, Evanston has the largest downtown, followed by Highland Park (I don't like that fact that you have to pay to park in Evanston's downtown). But there are other factors to consider as you search among the various communities on the North Shore. I have lived on the North Shore my entire life and there are so many opportunities to consider.

Each community along the North Shore has a different look and feel. If you have children, you may want to check out the schools (they are all fairly top notch) to see if they have the types of programs or facilities that you want/need. Evanston, Wilmette and Glencoe have nicer beaches than Highland Park, while Highland Park is the home of Ravinia Music Festival.

Highland Park tends to have more homes available in every price range than Willmette and Glencoe. On the flip side, real estate taxes tend to be higher in Highland Park.

Other things to consider, depending on the age of your children, are things like day care, places of worship, before/after school care, park district facilities and programs, etc. There are links to all of the North Shore communities on my blog, and I also have a link to a web site that gives you test scores for the various schools. So you can get one-stop shopping for everything you want to know about the North Shore.

If you have any other questions about the North Shore, feel free to contact me directly: 847-226-5594
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 2, 2009
Here is a helpful link for comparing communities. Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
I have noticed that Highland Park and Northbrook share certain cultural/ethnic qualities while Lake Forest and Lake Bluff share others. I would suggest identifying the differences and determining whether they are important to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 30, 2008
Hi Mac,

I’ve lived in Highland Park since 1991 and raised my family here. Highland Park offers outstanding schools, many great parks, terrific downtown Highland Park area with many one-of-a-kind shops/restaurants/art galleries, banks, excellent Aquapark, golf courses, Ravinia festival in summer (world renowned names from classical to jazz, rock, etc.). There are great public Lake Michigan beaches and even a dog beach (at Moraine Park). There is a wide range of properties in Highland Park for many income brackets from condominiums, townhomes, various styles of single family homes from ranches, split levels, traditional, contemporary to Victorian mansions and Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces. This is a great place to live.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 29, 2008
Highland Park is a great area and it's geographically large enough to accomodate almost any setting you might like. The downtown area, as you know, has more of an urban feel. Several of Highland Park's excellent schools are near the downtown area, which might answer your question.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 23, 2008
Here is an excellent website for your question:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2008
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