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15 things to know before moving to Lake Forest, IL

Written by Allie Gardner

Located in Lake County, Lake Forest is a picturesque town with a population of 86,425 residents.

The town’s quaint downtown exudes warmth, while the Gorton Community Center hosts cultural events. With top-rated schools, proximity to Lake Michigan, and a close-knit community spirit, Lake Forest invites residents to discover the essence of suburban serenity.

Let’s consider 15 things to know before moving to Lake Forest, IL!

1. Lake Forest has a historic charm

Lake Forest is a beautiful city where stately Victorian and Colonial Revival homes line the tree-shaded streets.

Established in the mid-19th century, this Illinois gem exudes an air of timeless elegance, with architectural marvels that tell tales of the past. The historic district, adorned with meticulously preserved estates, attracts residents and visitors alike to wander through its enchanting neighborhoods.

Immerse yourself in the architectural splendor that defines Lake Forest, where every corner reveals a piece of the town’s rich history, creating a living tapestry that seamlessly weaves the past into the present.

2. Immerse yourself in natural beauty

Lake Forest is a beautiful city with lush landscapes and tranquil waters nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan. The presence of majestic tree canopies and scenic trails allows residents to embrace the outdoors.

The town’s parks, like the sprawling Middlefork Savanna, offer a serene escape into nature’s embrace. Lake Forest’s commitment to preservation is evident in its open spaces, where residents can savor breathtaking views of the lake and meadows.

With each season, from the vibrant bloom of spring to the serene snowfall of winter, you get the opportunity to immerse yourself in Lake Forest’s breathtaking beauty.

3. Home to Lake Forest College and 16 schools

Home to Lake Forest College, this town thrives as an educational center. With a distinguished history and commitment to education, the college infuses vibrancy into the community, and its influence extends beyond classrooms. This helps to shape Lake Forest into a dynamic and culturally enriched haven.

Additionally, Lake Forest has 16 top-rated schools, which include seven public schools and nine private schools. Some of these schools are Rondout Elementary School, Deer Path Middle School, Lake Forest High School, and Lake Forest Academy.

The presence of this prestigious institution and school contributes to Lake Forest’s vibrant and intellectual community.

4. Explore Lake Forest Downtown

Lake Forest’s downtown area exudes charm with its boutiques, shops, cozy cafes, and inviting atmosphere. It’s a delightful destination for strolls and a casual afternoon spent exploring local businesses.

With a blend of historic architecture and a vibrant environment, the downtown area reflects Lake Forest’s community spirit.

5. Convenient access to Chicago

Lake Forest’s proximity to Chicago, just a Metra ride away, makes it an attractive destination for residents seeking a seamless blend of suburban tranquillity and urban opportunities.

This accessibility opens up a plethora of job opportunities, cultural experiences, and entertainment options in the vibrant cityscape.

For residents, the ability to easily commute to Chicago provides a valuable link to a dynamic metropolitan hub while allowing them to retreat to the peaceful shores of Lake Forest.

6. Experience Lake Forest’s culture at the Gorton Community Center

Lake Forest boasts a rich cultural scene. You can experience the town’s culture at the Gorton Community Center.

Hosting art exhibitions, live performances, and community events, this vibrant hub is a focal point for enriching experiences. From art enthusiasts to performers, the Gorton Community Center fosters a shared appreciation for culture, making it an integral part of Lake Forest’s identity.

7. Crime rates are less than the national average

With crime rates far below the national average, Lake Forest is a safe area to live in. Compared to the national average of 22.7, Lake Forest has a violent crime rate of 6.4. Also, property crime is 13.8, which is lower than the national average of 35.4.

Lake Forest offers its residents a safe atmosphere; however, it is important to adhere to safety and security measures to stay safe.

8. Living costs are 87% higher than the national average

Lake Forest is quite an expensive place to live, with a cost of living higher than the national average by 87%. Housing expenses are the major reason for this. The median home price is $997,291, which is way higher than the national average of $430,000.

Ensure you plan your budget accordingly before making the move to this city.

9. Middlefork Savanna offers lots of recreational opportunities

Middlefork Savanna is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its extensive trails that wind through woodlands and meadows, hikers and nature lovers are attracted to this picturesque landscape. Birdwatching also becomes a great experience here, as diverse species inhabit the savanna.

Additionally, cyclists enjoy navigating the trails, while the expansive open spaces provide ideal settings for picnics and outdoor gatherings.

Middlefork Savanna stands as a natural oasis, offering a peaceful escape where residents and visitors can immerse themselves in the beauty of Lake Forest’s outdoors.

10. Experience four distinct seasons

Experience the changing seasons in all their glory. While winter blankets the town in a serene layer of snow, with temperatures averaging 20°F to 30°F, spring introduces a thaw, bringing blossoms and milder temperatures ranging from 40°F to 60°F.

Summer, on the other hand, ushers in warmth, with July temperatures averaging 70°F to 80°F, perfect for outdoor pursuits. And fall paints the landscape in hues of red and gold, accompanied by refreshing temperatures ranging from 40°F to 60°F. 

Living in Lake Forest allows you to enjoy all four seasons.

11. Enjoy the outdoors at Lake Forest Open Lands

Lake Forest Open Lands plays a pivotal role in preserving the town’s natural beauty. This nonprofit organization manages open spaces, parks, and hiking trails, allowing residents to connect with nature.

Through conservation efforts, Lake Forest Open Lands ensures the town’s ecological diversity thrives, providing sanctuaries for wildlife and serene retreats for the community.

Their commitment fosters an appreciation for the environment. This helps to enrich the overall quality of life in Lake Forest

12. Enjoy delicious meals at Deer Path Inn

Embark on a culinary journey at Deer Path Inn, where timeless elegance meets exquisite dining. Here, you can access delicious meals within a refined atmosphere, as the inn’s menu merges classic and contemporary flavors.

From great dishes to impeccable service, each visit to Deer Path Inn promises a delightful dining experience that captures the essence of culinary excellence in Lake Forest.

13. Access excellent healthcare facilities at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital

Experience top-notch healthcare at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital. This leading facility in Lake Forest provides access to comprehensive medical services delivered by a dedicated team of healthcare professionals.

 With state-of-the-art technology, specialized treatments, and a commitment to patient-centered care, the hospital ensures the well-being of the community.

14. Lake Forest has a diverse community

Lake Forest boasts a diverse community, with residents representing a variety of ethnic backgrounds. From Caucasians and African Americans to Asians and Hispanics, the city’s multicultural tapestry enriches daily life.

This inclusive environment fosters connections and understanding, creating a vibrant mosaic of traditions and perspectives within the welcoming embrace of Lake Forest.

15. A strong community spirit among residents

Lake Forest thrives on a vibrant community spirit, where neighbors become friends and shared values create a close-knit atmosphere.

Residents actively engage in local events, volunteering, and fostering a sense of unity. This community spirit forms the heart of Lake Forest, making it a welcoming and inclusive place to call home.

In Conclusion 

With its many exciting opportunities, Lake Forest is a great place to call home. However, keep in mind that the city’s cost of living is much higher than the national average.

As you prepare to embark on this new chapter, these 15 insights will help you adapt to the unique blend of history, nature, and community in Lake Forest, IL!

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