I've been in Chicago since the 90s and have lived all over Chicagoland. My preference is as close to the Lake as humanly possible. To live in Naperville to me personally, is like living in Iowa - it will never happen.
Evanston is a very hip town, urban feel with green space all in one, as its the first suburb North of Chicago city. Continue North along the Lake - all the towns along the shore have a flavor of their own: Wilmette, WInnetka, Kenilworth, and further up to Glencoe, Highland Park, Lake Forest & Lake Bluff.
Spend some time wandering & enjoying these different neighborhoods - If you want pros & cons of each with more detail, please be in touch. You will quickly learn what appeals to you.
Over the years I've been in many of Chicago's suburbs. There's only one that qualifies as young and hip, if you're single, and that's Evanston. Northwestern University is a huge presence. Depending on where you are in Evanston you've got an easier commute to downtown via Metra and the El than you do from many parts of Chicago.
Naperville? Nice place to raise a family. Ditto for Oak Park and most of the rest of the suburbs mentioned here.
Forest Park? The bar and nightlife scene is a lot less rowdy than it used to be. Good restaurants, housing options, commute, etc. Hip? Nope.
As I talk with my buyer clients who currently live in Chicago and are deciding whether to leave the city for the suburbs, they typically talk about Evanston first, Oak Park second. Residents of Evanston, especially those who have relocated to this town from other areas, will inevitably say "Evanston is a great blend of urban (Chicago) and suburban living." Perhaps the presence of Northwestern University is part of the reason, a large part of the reason. Oak Park has a similar "feel" to it, but "different." It is very enlightening to park your car in the heart of the community's "downtown" area and walk around, observe the stores and people, and TALK to people. Ask them about their town. People love to talk about where they live. You'll learn a lot, I promise.
Define "hip." Night life? Restaurants? Mega movie complex? College sports? Great lakeside recreation opportunities? New home construction projects? Evanston meets all those requirements.
Define "young." Now we're talking demographics. I would suggest surfing over to the Chicago Tribune's real estate section. They offer a demographic profile of the numerous communities throughout Chicagoland. That should help you quite a bit.
My final thought on your question is this: nothing beats a personal on-site visit to any possible communities you might consider. Line yourself up with a local friend to tour you around town, or just map yourself a day tour. Most towns have a nice website to boast of their amenities and activities; tap into that resource to guide you as well.
I would be available to help you pick through any of these ideas at your convenience. Have fun exploring!
Like they said there are many hip suburbs outside of Chicago. It dependes what you are looking for and how far from the City you would like to go. I am a city agent and I have buyers from the city looking in North West Suburbs. It depends on your search criteria. How much do you want to spend and what you are looking for.
How far do you wnat to be from your job? How much of travel time is too much. Do you have children?
What school district would you like to be in?
I think you should have on idea what you are lookin for before you start looking. Make a list of what it is you MUST have in your new home and then make a list of what you would like to have compare and contact good buyers agent who will be able to help you with everything.
Ifeta Faye Redzovic ABR Broker, Chicago Il
I asked this question of my daughter recently and she told me that a lot of her friends hang out along Madison Ave. in Forest Park. They offer a great night life, as well as theatres, coffee houses, and boutiques. If you have any questions,please, feel free to contact me.
1) Where will you be working? Traffic can be miserable.
2) How much money do you have to invest in housing, and how much do you care about eating out, etc.
3) Do you have any kids, and how old are they, what activities do they like or what activities would you like to cultivate for them? (for example: hockey, horsebackriding, swimming, competitive speedskating, bicycling? different places have different facilities for these things, both for kids and for yourself.)
4) Do you want to be close to family or friends?
You really have to do a lot of looking into this yourself.
You see, there's a very "stricked" law that we as agents can't violate and that's called "STEARING". Stearing is where you ask to go to a certain location based on a certain classification of people who you want to live with. If we then "direct" you to those areas, then it's stearing.
There are a lot of young hip suburbs out there. It depends on where you are looking to move; the north suburbs, the west suburbs or the south suburbs. Since I dont know, I will tell you where I have been seeing a lot of young people move to.
When looking at the north suburbs, I would probably have to say Schaumburg. There is a lot to do up there. They have great eatery, fun nightlife, and great shopping. Real Estate is a little higher up there, but the places are very nice.
The western suburbs I would have to say Naperville, and leaning towards "downtown" Naperville. Once again, the resturants out there are very good. They also have a great nightlife that has an array of bars you can walk to. The shopping around there is very nice as well. The downtown real estate is a little expensive for young people, but 5 minutes out is very resonable.
For the south suburbs I would have to say Lockport. Lockport is by far the most popular with young couples, because it has a wide selection of new townhomes with modern features that young people like. It is also very affordable for young couples. However, they lack a good nightlife, and the shopping is up and coming. I think 5 years from now this will be more appealing on those aspects. But it is very close to surrounding suburbs that have great shopping and right off 355 to get to the city.
These are my 3 top choices I see young people looking at in there respective locations. I work with a ton of first time buyers all over the greater chicago area, and would love to answer any questions you have regarding real estate.
Americorp Real Estate
Brokers Associate, e-PRO
Many of the Chicago suburbs have much to offer the young, but Naperville and it's unique downtown area and nightlife stand out above the rest. Schaumburg, Mt. Prospect and Park Ridge also have a lot to offer.
If you have any questions, or need help finding a home/condo/etc., please feel free to email me or call me anytime.
Have a great day!