When the little ones start crawling, playing, and littering your house with toys, your family’s shared space might start to feel restricting. In the few years to follow, depending on where you live, you may even begin to worry if they can walk outside safely or play in a park close by. You may also find yourself questioning the quality of life in your current living space and even wonder how it affects your job. Ultimately, you just want the best for yourself and your family and sometimes, “the best” is in the suburbs. Here are 20 reasons to love moving to the Chicago suburbs.
1. Better Value for Your Money
Many young families move to the suburbs to manage their cost of living. Houses in the city are often more costly, yet limited in space. Even if you’re only renting, Chicago and its surrounding areas in Illinois are a a prime example of the giant leap in rent prices in the city compared to the suburbs. The Chicago area actually has one of the largest gaps between urban and suburban rent prices, with an average of $2,204 in the city and $1,402 in the suburbs. You can get more value for your money by moving to the suburbs because homes there are generally larger, better managed, and tend to have more modern features.
2. Access to the Outdoors
When you picture a living space for your family, an image of your house, the driveway, and the yard may come into mind. However, the spaces we routinely occupy often extend beyond our houses, cars, and buildings in general. Exposure to parks and other outdoor areas like forest preserves and golf courses are an essential part of living a healthy life. They provide greenery, fresh air, recreation, and respite from everyday stressors. Although Chicagoans live right next to Lake Michigan and have a few good park options, the suburbs of Chicago overall have significantly more open green spaces available for recreation.
Suburban residents have access to public parks where you can enjoy picnics, games, exercise, and meditation, alone and with the family. The Forest Preserves of Cook County and DuPage County also have an extensive trail system throughout the suburbs where you can connect with nature. Even the residential and downtown areas have landscape designs that cater to its surrounding natural environment in many suburbs, such as Clarendon Hills, which is also ranked one of the top suburbs to live in America.
3. Suburban Schools
The Chicago suburbs are a great place to raise a family because suburban public schools, whether it’s Elementary, Middle, or High School, are well funded, adequately maintained, and staffed to provide your children with quality education. In addition, the families in the neighborhood have educational goals for the school and their kids, which creates a close-knit community of active parents and teachers and both public and private schools. One example of a suburb with great schools is Hinsdale, which ranks as one of top suburbs with the best public schools in Illinois.
Unfortunately, urban school districts have earned a reputation for overcrowding, especially in Chicago Public School System. If your children are in suburban schools where the ratio of teachers to students tends to be more reasonable, they’ll likely be afforded more individual attention and have a better chance of academic success.
4. Neighborhood and Community
While living in Chicago’s downtown area has its advantages, one downside is that neighbors rarely have a sense of permanence and community. While there are always exceptions, not every Chicago neighborhood has the sense of community that is available in the suburbs.
In contrast, moving to the suburbs, where you’re more likely to put down long-term roots, provides a sense of stability and helps you become a member of a welcoming community. Suburban neighborhoods have opportunities for community activities and school involvement, fostering alliances, friendships, and communal values. In the Chicago suburbs, even the local businesses, like grocery stores, coffee shops, and boutiques, are often locally owned by fellow residents.
5. Mental Health Benefits
Generally, living conditions are better in the suburbs than in urban areas. More access to outdoor spaces, less crowding, lower pollution levels, and a higher sense of safety and security all have a positive impact on mental health.
Research suggests that the risk for mental illness actually tends to be higher for people who live in urban areas compared to those in the suburbs. While it’s important to note that where you live is not always the cause of mental health issues, environment can have an impact on your mental health. With a cleaner, safer, and less stressful environment, you have the space to focus on the wellbeing of yourself and your family.
6. It’s Easy to Get Around
Stalling in congested downtown Chicago traffic and navigating through the crowds of city blocks is hard enough alone. Now imagine doing this with kids! The suburbs are less crowded, which means more space and less foot traffic on the sidewalks.
When comparing population density, there’s no question that a suburb in the Chicagoland area like Naperville has a far lower number of people per square mile than the city of Chicago. The difference in population truly has an impact on your daily life. With less traffic congestion, simple errands like a grocery trip or dropping the kids off at school become faster and more efficient.
7. More Space
When the little ones start walking and turning the house into their play space, your home may slowly feel entrapping. When your home is in the city, you may feel the effects of this even more, as limited space is one of the most significant disadvantages of living in Chicago. Space is often limited not only inside, but also outdoors. With no yard and not much space for privacy, you’ll likely start feeling the need for more space. Urban homes are overall more expensive per square foot than suburban homes and fortunately, moving to the Chicago suburbs increases the space available for you, your family, and neighbors.
8. Enriching Environment for Kids
It’s important for your children to develop socially, make friends, and learn how to navigate the world beyond the home. However, an ideal environment for social growth can be challenging to achieve in the city. With a revolving door of new neighbors and little time to get to know them, you might not be 100% comfortable letting your kids interact with other families unaccompanied. In the suburbs, the increased sense of community and long-term homeowners means you can know your neighbors better and longer, creating the necessary trust for your children to build lasting friendships. Your children can also walk around, play with other kids, and grow in school and at home with their friends.
9. Better Parking
There’s a reason why many city dwellers choose not to even own a car and rely on public transportation instead. Finding a parking spot in a big city can be a frustrating, expensive, and time-consuming task. Even if you find a parking spot, it may be far from your house, leaving your vehicle exposed to other dangers. With a home in the Chicago suburbs that frequently have a garage and a driveway, you don’t have to worry about parking space, even when your friends come over.
10. Varied Architectural Styles
We all crave beauty in our lives, and in the suburbs, there’s ample opportunity to choose from any of the beautiful home styles. House hunting in the suburbs is fun because you’re no longer constricted by the limited availability of space in the city and can look at homes from diverse architectural styles. From the more traditional styles like Victorian, Cape Cod, and Tudor, to more recent styles like Mid-century Modern and Contemporary, and even Chicago area classics like the brick bungalow, there are more than a few architectural styles to peruse. The best Chicago suburbs have all of these styles, and more.
Suburban homes also tend to be well designed and cared for since homeowners invest in their houses. Despite the stereotype that suburban homes are generic or all look the same, moving to the Chicago suburbs absolutely does not mean you’re sacrificing beauty and variety. Most homes have flowers, well-kept yards, and fewer tall buildings jutting out on the horizon.
11. Family-Focused Infrastructure
No real estate agent in the Chicago suburbs will show you a small home with a kitchen the size of a bathroom. The houses and infrastructure in the suburbs are built to sustain families and the majority of houses have ample space for the entire family to live comfortably. You can cook with the kids, perform house chores together, and enjoy movie nights on couches with enough space for everyone.
12. Blissful Silence
Is it the disruptive sound of police sirens, ambulances, and trains well past midnight that annoys you the most about living in the city? Perhaps it’s the neighbor’s shouting and loud music seeping in from the paper-thin walls, or the neighbor upstairs working out at midnight while you sleep. Unfortunately, living in the city means living with noise pollution. Even if you’ve become accustomed to the constant noise, experts believe this long-term exposure to loud noises can have a negative impact on health. However, you can make the decision to prioritize your hearing and say goodbye to the noise and hello to healthier noise levels by relocating to the Chicago suburbs.
13. Gardens and Flower Beds
Space in the city is limited, and with the number of people who took up being plant parents during the pandemic, we know this is a problem for more than a few of you. In most city residencies, you get a balcony if you’re lucky, but even that may not offer the space you need to grow plants and herbs. Chicago suburbs are the perfect place to start your garden, where you have space to grow your herbs and vegetables in a small kitchen garden instead of a shoebox. Your flowers can also thrive in flower pots and beds around your house without getting choked out by the city dust and the shadows of tall buildings.
14. Your Own Laundry Room
It might not always be the biggest or the most spacious, but you can get a home in the Chicago suburbs with a laundry room. No more piling clean and dirty laundry in your bedroom or dragging your clothes to the nearest Laundromat for shared machines. In the suburbs, your home can have a dedicated laundry room where you can do small washes daily or spend an entire day sorting through the laundry in the privacy of your home.
15. The Privacy of A Yard
This may seem like we’re pointing out the obvious, but having a yard makes a world of difference because suburban yards offer the space to do what’s often impossible in urban residential areas. When you have no energy to drive to the park, restaurant, or bar, you can have fun in your yard. You can play games with the family, throw a ball with the dog, set up a pool for the kids if the space allows, and have barbecues and dinner with family and friends, all within the privacy of your own yard.
16. Sense of Security
While safety in many urban areas has improved over the years, security is still one of the biggest concerns for people living in the city. Muggings, break-ins, robberies, and armed violence are all potential dangers in urban Chicago. There is plenty of data that show higher occurrences of violent crimes in areas that also have a high population density. Many young families are aware of this issue and have concerns about raising a family in the city for this reason. Moving to the suburbs typically means living in areas with low crime rates, giving you the sense of security that comes with knowing you are raising a family in a safe environment. Towns such as Western Springs, La Grange Park, Naperville, and Clarendon Hills are all western suburbs that rank among some of top safest places to live in Illinois.
Driving or walking in a crowded city is challenging and stressful, even with public transportation options. In addition, the inconvenience of accessing places in the city makes them seem further away. However, in the suburbs there are fewer obstacles, like traffic congestion and public transportation delays, to hold up your daily travels. And when you need to go into the city, the downtown area is only a short drive or Metra ride away.
18. Create New Beginnings
Moving to a new home is an opportunity for renewal. When you relocate from the city to the suburbs, you can focus on creating new friends, establishing a new life for your family, and even look for new job opportunities. You can also say goodbye to old environments that trigger unwanted memories and focus on creating a new lifestyle. In addition, since your neighbors don’t know you, you’re free to re-establish your social standing and discover new ways to form healthy friendships and alliances. Whether this opportunity for reinvention means you’re going for the full makeover montage or you simply want to surround yourself with different friends, the suburbs are the perfect place to start fresh.
19. Happier Pets
Your pet is also part of the family and deserves the love, attention, and environment that allows them the freedom to explore and thrive. Millennials, the generation who is currently buying houses and planting long-term roots tend to delay or opt-out of having children, and instead seek companionship with animals. So for many of the young families moving to the suburbs, we know that the happiness of your pets are a priority. While even the best neighborhoods in Chicago have limited spaces for pets to play, the suburbs provide more space for your pet to stay physically active and healthy. Your dog will feel happier with more space to roam outside and explore new smells and sites, while cats will enjoy an expansion of indoor territory. You’ll have the space to make your home more enriching in the suburbs for most pets.
20. The Smell of Freshly Cut Grass
One of the downsides to city living is the variety of less than pleasant smells your nose encounters on a daily basis. An interesting collection of odors often pollute the air in most cities, whether it’s from trash downstairs, vehicle fumes, or the cocktail of smells that tend to permeate public transportation hubs. But in the suburbs, whether you’re in a large suburb or a small town, air quality is generally better and it smells fresher. Instead of waking up to the fumes of public buses, try taking in the smell of freshly cut grass.
Find a Home in Chicago Suburbs
Considering the advantages of living in the suburbs and weighing all your options is essential before you make the big decision. However, for many young family, living in the suburbs has numerous benefits. Scout Real Estate Partners understands what it’s like to live in urban Chicago and transition to the suburbs. Reach out to find a home that meets your needs.