The Most Walkable Surburbs Outside Chicago
What’s not to love about the city? Shopping? Check. Great food? Check? Wide open green space? Yeah, no. When we need some fresh air beyond skirting tourists taking selfies in front of the Bean, we need to head out. And these five Chicago suburbs earn high Walk Scores, which means can leave behind the crowded city without, you know, landing yourself in the middle of nowhere.
If you can manage to tear yourself away from Evanston’s meandering lakefront trails (also very walkable), you’ll love exploring its eclectic shopping and restaurant districts. Grab lunch at Foodstuffs on Central Street, shop at Coucou & Olive just off Davis street and catch a live show at S.P.A.C.E. near Dempster—voilà, your next three Saturdays are planned.
Chicago has the skyline, but Oak Park has the Frank Lloyd Wright. And while the village boasts plenty to do beyond swooning over historic design (shops along Lake Street, the movie theatre, Thursday Night Out events), why not stroll around town on a self-guided walking tour of the world's largest collection of Wright-designed buildings?
Wilmette’s tree-lined streets (some of them cobblestone—swoon) stretch for miles, yet you’re never far from one of its six distinct shopping districts. (Fun fact: Opened in 1928, Plaza del Lago is one of the country’s oldest shopping centers.)
Think Chicago is the only place to tour storied architecture? Hinsdale’s downtown has plenty, including Immanuel Hall, completed in 1900, and the charming R. Harold Zook Studio, built in the 1920s to mimic an English country cottage. When you’re not busy strolling the historic town center, you’ll enjoy browsing its modern shops—yep, there’s a Trunk Club here.
Green! There’s loads of it in Morton Grove’s St. Paul and Miami woods. Spend an afternoon exploring the trails, then wind your way to Burt’s Place, home of the best pan pizza you’ll find outside Chicago proper (from the same owner of famed Pequod’s), to refuel.