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Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Old Jul 28th 2007, 7:24 pm
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Default Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Hi everyone

May I introduce myself. I am a 33 year old mother of one. My hubbie is being relocated through work to Chicago area - Buffalo Grove to be exact. He is out there now and we will follow once house is sold etc etc.
Luckily don't have any worries about paperwork/visas etc because his company is dealing with it all. My main concern is finding the right area to live and send my daughter to school.
Is there anyone out there that is familiar with Buffalo Grove and the surrounding area? And am I right in thinking that a 7yr old goes to an Elementary school? Currently she is going into year 3 in England, does this make her Grade 3 in the States?
I would be very grateful of any information anyone can give. I will be visiting the States in a couple of weeks so would appreciate a bit of a headstart from people in the know!!

Many thanks
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 9:36 pm
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

I work about ten miles east of there... it's a great part of the Chicagoland area to live.

Arlington Heights: nice suburban bedroom community, average Chicagoland prices, good schools. Large East Asian immigrant population which means great Japanese/Korean/Chinese restaurants.

Deerfield/Northbrook/Glenview- more upscale, even better schools but very "keeping up with the Joneses". The setting for the eighties John Hughes movies (Ferris Bueller, Sixteen Candles etc).

Wheeling- surprisingly low rent, not a very nice town, IMO.

Vernon Hills, Libertyville and Lincolnshire- very nice suburban town, slightly above average prices, great schools. Libertyville is particularly nice, IMO.

Mundelein- not quite as nice as the three above, but close.

Anything on the lake is extremely nice but extremely expensive (no surprise there). Some of the most expensive towns in the states, but probably worth it, if you ask me.

Evanston is more urban and hip.

The more remote towns up north (Gurnee, Lindenhurst etc.) are McMansions as far as the eye can see, to be avoided, IMO.

The nearby Schaumburg area is OK, again lots of mcMansions (these slightly older than up North).

The Barrington (Barrington Hills, Barrington Estates, Killdeer etc) area has some of the biggest houses I've ever seen, very beautiful landscapes as well...

Overall- same old story, you get what you pay for.

Check out the Chicago Tribune website for community profiles.
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 10:07 pm
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
I work about ten miles east of there... it's a great part of the Chicagoland area to live.

Arlington Heights: nice suburban bedroom community, average Chicagoland prices, good schools. Large East Asian immigrant population which means great Japanese/Korean/Chinese restaurants.

Deerfield/Northbrook/Glenview- more upscale, even better schools but very "keeping up with the Joneses". The setting for the eighties John Hughes movies (Ferris Bueller, Sixteen Candles etc).

Wheeling- surprisingly low rent, not a very nice town, IMO.

Vernon Hills, Libertyville and Lincolnshire- very nice suburban town, slightly above average prices, great schools. Libertyville is particularly nice, IMO.

Mundelein- not quite as nice as the three above, but close.

Anything on the lake is extremely nice but extremely expensive (no surprise there). Some of the most expensive towns in the states, but probably worth it, if you ask me.

Evanston is more urban and hip.

The more remote towns up north (Gurnee, Lindenhurst etc.) are McMansions as far as the eye can see, to be avoided, IMO.

The nearby Schaumburg area is OK, again lots of mcMansions (these slightly older than up North).

The Barrington (Barrington Hills, Barrington Estates, Killdeer etc) area has some of the biggest houses I've ever seen, very beautiful landscapes as well...

Overall- same old story, you get what you pay for.

Check out the Chicago Tribune website for community profiles.
Hiro11

Many thanks for the information. It is always much more helpful to get the perspective from people who actually know the area firsthand.
I will endeavour to research the areas you mention. As I said in my post, finding a good school is very important to me, but finding a good school in a good area would just be a bonus!!
Many thanks again for taking the time to reply..
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 10:17 pm
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

I'd agree with everything Hiro said... we're a little further south than you (Naperville, 40 miles south to be exact).

Give us a shout when you come over, we can help you settle in.

If you're coming over on company transfer (L1 visa) as I'm assuming, are you planning on working?
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Old Jul 28th 2007, 10:29 pm
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Originally Posted by USBound View Post
I'd agree with everything Hiro said... we're a little further south than you (Naperville, 40 miles south to be exact).

Give us a shout when you come over, we can help you settle in.

If you're coming over on company transfer (L1 visa) as I'm assuming, are you planning on working?
I had looked at Naperville on t'internet - its supposed to be one of the best places to live in America is it not? I think it may be a little bit too far south for hubbie to commute to Buffalo Grove on a daily basis though???
Yes my hubbie is transferring through the company - I'm not 100% sure what visa it is - we are only in the preliminary stages. It is being done thru a relocation agency - to be honest I feel a bit left out because I don't seem to know what is happening - its completely out of my hands!
I don't plan to work just yet. I'm just a domestic goddess in the Uk at the mo (ie housewife and mum) but studying a writing course. Why will there be an issue if i wanted to work?
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Old Jul 29th 2007, 1:10 am
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Hello and welcome to the site.

I'm also in the Chicago area, just a bit west of US Bound, in Aurora (that reminds me, we must get together for drinks soon! - like, before we move to NZ ).

Aurora is the 2nd largest city in Illinois, and Naperville is the 3rd. I'm in far south-east Aurora and used to commute to Oak Brook, and from there to a client site in Elk Grove Village, which is about 15 miles south of Buffalo Grove. I found the area up there to be awful to get to, at any time of day. The traffic in the entire Chicago area will shock you. And please don't live as far out as Aurora or Naperville and commute to Buffalo Grove, eeeeeek! Most commuters just use the expressways as race tracks, and if you go the speed limit (55 mph) in the right-hand lane, you very soon feel like you're being driven off the road.

Kudos to Hiro for the excellent synopsis of the area around BG. I'm not overly up on that area myself, so can't really comment on it.
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Old Jul 29th 2007, 1:38 am
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Originally Posted by keira-2007 View Post
Why will there be an issue if i wanted to work?
there could be yes but it depends on your VISA...

if its H1b that he's coming over on then you will receive a H4 spouse VISA which essentially means you can do nothing...

if its L1 then you can apply for the required permissions to work.

btw - yeah I definitely would NOT recommend trying to live in Naperville and commute up that way... commuting is harsh to begin with, without going against the grain as it were (most commuter pathways are into & out of Chicago City itself).
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Old Jul 29th 2007, 1:40 am
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Originally Posted by Maz View Post
we must get together for drinks soon! - like, before we move to NZ ).
How about some time this week after work?

The only typical english style place we've visited so far is Quiglys in the Centre of Naperville... anywhere else you'd recommend?
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Old Jul 29th 2007, 2:04 am
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Originally Posted by Maz View Post
I found the area up there to be awful to get to, at any time of day. The traffic in the entire Chicago area will shock you. And please don't live as far out as Aurora or Naperville and commute to Buffalo Grove, eeeeeek! Most commuters just use the expressways as race tracks, and if you go the speed limit (55 mph) in the right-hand lane, you very soon feel like you're being driven off the road.
I live in Glen Ellyn (right next to Naperville) and commute to Deerfield.

AVOID THIS COMMUTE. It's simply never good and unbelievably awful if it snows. The only reason I do it is because we lived here for years prior to taking the job up north... Glen Ellyn is amazing, though.


Also, Naperville is OK, but pretty much the definitive early-ninties American zoom-burg. For years it was the fastest growing town in the US. Like lots of the newer Chicago burbs, this is good as everything is new (amazing public facilities in this area) and properly set up. On the other hand, these towns are more than a little McMansiony, full of Starbucks and devoid of character, IMO. Naperville does have truly excellent schools, great parks, great downtown, but it's just not my scene. YMMV.
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Old Jul 29th 2007, 2:06 am
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Originally Posted by USBound View Post
How about some time this week after work?

The only typical english style place we've visited so far is Quiglys in the Centre of Naperville... anywhere else you'd recommend?
Firkin and Fox in downtown Glen Ellyn is about as realistically English as Epcot, but does have the virtue of Paulaner and McEwans on tap...
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Old Jul 29th 2007, 2:35 am
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Originally Posted by USBound View Post
How about some time this week after work?

The only typical english style place we've visited so far is Quiglys in the Centre of Naperville... anywhere else you'd recommend?
You're on! I'm not working right now so can go pretty much where I want, when I want. But... I am interviewing on Monday in the evening (for a job in NZ) and not sure how quickly things will move after that. I'll keep you in the loop.

Quigley's is nice, and has the definite advantage of not having tellies all over the place, neon lights in the windows etc. etc. It's also not too dark, like way too many bars in the US. How come you're expected to sit there in near-total darkness to have a drink?

Anyway, yep that sounds good by me! I'll PM you my phone number and we can get everyone together.
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Old Jul 29th 2007, 2:39 am
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
I live in Glen Ellyn (right next to Naperville) and commute to Deerfield.

AVOID THIS COMMUTE. It's simply never good and unbelievably awful if it snows. The only reason I do it is because we lived here for years prior to taking the job up north... Glen Ellyn is amazing, though.
Ditto about Glen Ellyn, a truly beautiful town with lots of lovely mature trees.

Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
Also, Naperville is OK, but pretty much the definitive early-ninties American zoom-burg. For years it was the fastest growing town in the US. Like lots of the newer Chicago burbs, this is good as everything is new (amazing public facilities in this area) and properly set up. On the other hand, these towns are more than a little McMansiony, full of Starbucks and devoid of character, IMO. Naperville does have truly excellent schools, great parks, great downtown, but it's just not my scene. YMMV.
Naperville property taxes, has to be said, are through the bloomin' roof! It's very different, culturally and socially, from Aurora, which is 32% hispanic with nightclubs to match.

What they're doing on Jefferson should be stopped though. We all know it won't be. They're tearing down these tiny little houses with huge amounts of character, and putting up huge McMansions with pretty much zero garden, in their place.
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Old Jul 29th 2007, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Hi,

I don't have the link but if you do a quick search for 'Education' you'll find a couple threads we had in the last two months about elementary school. Generally the year X != grade X (year does not equal grade), especially at the younger years. Take a look at those threads and you'll see more details.

Also check out http://www.greatschools.net/ once you know where you are going to live to see the standards of the schools in that area.

And pack your long underwear. Chicago in the winter is well...there is a reason folks there are considered pretty tough.
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Old Jul 29th 2007, 3:16 pm
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
And pack your long underwear. Chicago in the winter is well...there is a reason folks there are considered pretty tough.
Ditto several times over! Personally I've had it with the weather here scuppering all our plans to do stuff outside without making it a thoroughly miserable experience. (sorry if I'm putting you off!) This past winter it didn't get above -20C for six weeks. That was just a tad depressing...
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Old Jul 29th 2007, 3:24 pm
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Default Re: Illinois - where to go/where to avoid?

Originally Posted by Maz View Post
This past winter it didn't get above -20C for six weeks.
I am not laughing...................honestly ...

Last edited by Ray; Jul 29th 2007 at 4:06 pm.
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