What do you think of Naperville, IL, the No. 2 city on this year's Best Places to Live list? What makes it a great American town? Are real estate prices reasonable? How are the schools? What activities and events does it offer? Is it a place where you can live a low-stress life? If you don't live there now, would you consider moving there? Tell us what you think. The best replies will be published here, and possibly in a future story on CNNMoney.com.
Posted by CNNMoney.com 1:00 AM 43 Comments | Add a Comment
If you don't live in this city now, would you consider moving there? The best replies will be published here.
What makes this city a great American town?
Tell us what you think of the No. 2 city on this year's Best Places to Live list.
Naperville is a great place to live (I happen to live in its adjoining neighbor, Wheaton). It has great schools; it is clean and attractive with a vibrant downtown; the River Walk adjacent to downtown is terrific. One of your categoies for rating places was "Museums w/in 30 miles"; that makes Naperville and Wheaton really shine because they are within 30 miles of Chicago with its world class museums, cultural opportunities, universities, lakefront, architecture, restaurants, and easy access to world-wide travel, etc.
You mention "stress-free" lifestyle. Who/how do you determine that? I believe one can live a stress-free lifestyle anywhere; it's mostly up to the individual to make his/her life stress free. Also, how do you determine "reasonable" real estate prices? For a huge number of people real estate prices along would make CA inacessible. Perhaps in this case it is a matter of one's income or one's willingness to devote a very large % of income to housing. What floats your boat? And how do you weight the various categories that float all the many boats out there?
I grew up in Naperville--lived there 18 years. The schools are excellent and it was a nice place to grow up. It has grown immensely over the last 40 years. It was a "small town" of about 17,000 people when my parents moved there in 1960. Now I know it's well over 100,000. I got lost when I went back for my 20th high school reunion.
Would I move back? Well, I went to college in Iowa and I ended up moving here. It's a little slower pace, though I live in the largest metropolitan area (Des Moines area), so there's plenty to do. I love it here. I might return, but I don't miss the crazy pace of the Chicago suburbs!
Naperville is a great american town. Ribfest is great. The childrens museum is wonderful. The downtown area is excellent. The people are great. The services are very good: I have an autistic child, and although I moved here (school district 204) before we knew she was, we have been amazed at the support and resources available. Naperville is a great American town, but more importantly it is a great town to raise a family. It is on the expensive side, but for all that you get, you can still get a very nice home for $400,000(ish). Placed in the context of the other Chicago suburbs, this is a good deal.
I am a fan of Naperville.
I was born in Edward Hospital in downtown Naperville, grew up in the neighborhoods, went to the schools, and loved every single minute of it. When I went searching for a college, one of my top criteria was to find a town like Naperville. It soon became apparent that this would be impossible! Naperville is one of a kind, and as much as I hate the thought of living in the same town my ENTIRE life, I would most definitely consider moving back to Naperville and raising a family there. It's always moving and changing so it's never boring! So much to do-- a great place to live for ANY age!
Naperville is a vibrant community with a great educational system. I spent my first 18 years of life there and was in the 5.5% bracket that attended the private schools. I received a wonderful education and was afforded great opportunites as a child and teenager.
Would I move back? The answer there is no. Not a knock on my hometown, but I went to college in Iowa and have since moved to Des Moines, IA. I have gotten used to the life Iowa has to offer...laid-back, wonderful people, and a much clower pace which keeps the stress level down. It is a different world when I go home to visit family!
Can a city like Naperville stay in the top 10 best places to live for 10 years?
Are the schools really as good as people say?
Real estate is nice, but is it still affordable?
Little crime and a lot of wholesome families?
Ice and snow in the winter?
The summer may be great with events like Ribfest, but is there anything good to do in the winter?
Answer to all these questions= yes!!
I grew up in Naperville before moving to Wlimington, NC at age 11. Although my years in Naperville were fun and safe and I received a great start to my education, when I left, it slowly dawned on me that I had been living in a fairyland. It took me some years to adjust socially. I'm not telling you how to raise your kid, but I think I would prefer to have lived in the "real world" from day one.
Do the people who make these lists actually visits these cities? Naperville may have a beautiful downtown area, but getting there or anywhere else in the city is nearly impossible. I think Naperville's #2 status is based on statistics alone. To me this place is way too yuppy, people are extremely rude drivers, and it feels like one big strip mall. Living here means you get Chicago prices (housing, gas, etc.) without the benefits of a big city.
Naperville is different than other towns for one main reason - it has spirit of small town. The people here are involed in the community. It's up to residents of Naperville not the state or federal government. Parents care about their children and are not afraid to dedicate a free time as volunteers. Naperville is like no other town, and we hope it will stay this way. And we have great Mayor and the City Council too.
Naperville ? Hammm Toooo expensive or Most expensive city in the Midwest Don't you think that ? But You get what you pay for! The best School District and surronded by AT&T ,lucent,Telllabs,BP,Colmas Investments,Nicor Gas, NALCO, Fermilab,Argonne Lab...Yes, for sure the un-employment is lowest in the midwest (so that compensates the price you pay to live there)...
Well, I live in Aurora which is just miles from Naperville, (Aurora offers far far cheaper pricing for homes then the millon $ homes in Naperville) but you miss the community. Naperville is growing and there are many new job oppurtunites. The commute time from Route 59 Metra station and Downtown Metra to Downtown Chicago is less then 25 minutes in fast trains. The area between Diehl Road and North Aurora is very very expensive (but offers quick commute to both I-88 and Metra)
Finally, Even though My home in Aurora is half the price of Naperville I wish I wanna move there some time soon (My kids are growing and I don't want to send them to schools in Aurora)
Your figures for housing prices and property taxes for Naperville, IL are way too low. I don't care what you used to obtain then but I can tell you from knowing many people who live there and looking at real estate for sale there at any given time that the $360,000 home prices and $5,000 property taxes you quote are for the cheapest housing in Naperville, not the average price. Your comments on congestion are also understated as almost all major roads in Naperville are bumper to bumper a good portion of the day, not just at rush hours. Parking downtown Naperville can be a trying experience unless you take a chance parking at a bank parking lot and hope that you don't get towed away. For those who live in Naperville and work downtown Chicago and want to take the train instead of driving, there is an eight (8) year wait to obtain a parking space at the two (2) Naperville train stations. While Naperville might rank high on your list, if one doesn't earn at least $75,000 per year, forget about owning any real estate in that city, and if one earns less than $60,000 a year forget about even renting there. I feel Naperville is an overpromoted and overpriced place to live in the metropolitan Chicago area. For one's money, there's better value in other suburban cities surrounding Chicago.
I can not believe the negative comments I have read other people post. I have moved here from Iowa, with the "slower life" and your right, IOWA IS SLOW!! Slow with jobs, slow with education, slow with opportunities in general. Since I have moved to Naperville, with my children, you could not pay us any amount of money to move back. Matter of fact you couldn�t pay me to move anywhere!! (My kids do not even want to go back to Iowa to visit, does that tell you anything!) I am in Naperville to stay. This place is wonderful! The people are so friendly and there are no rude drivers as someone stated. Every person I have met cares about this community as a whole. My kids are in the best school district ever in my opinion. Everyone in the school cares about the kids and the education they receive. Yes, there are yuppies here but this place is so diverse anyone fits in here. I have worked downtown and the commute is less than 30 min on the express train and I got my parking permit in less than 3 months not the 8yrs someone stated. There are many churches and businesses that you can buy a train parking permit from it's not a problem at all. There is like NO CRIME here. Children can play all day outside with no worries. Parents are all over the place. The trails are wonderful for biking and walking. Yes, housing prices are high but again you get what you pay for. Moving here gives you a better opportunity at a better life if you are willing to work for it as I have. You have the best of everything at your disposal. As far as downtown Naperville goes, it's beautiful. I have NEVER had a problem finding parking and the River Walk is beautiful and the most peaceful place on earth. Just go down there after a long day at work and relax and unwind. Then stop in one of the many restaurants for a bite to eat and a glass of wine.
I have a great job, wonderful schools for my kids, great neighbors, safe community and PEACE OF MIND. That's the AMERICAN DREAM and I would pay any amount of money for that! I never had that in Iowa!!
I feel Naperville really is one of the best places to live and that the recent honor of being voted #2 by Money Magazine is absolutely deserving!
As the founder and publisher of the town's community living magazine, what I set out to do each day is learn about everything the city has to offer-Then share it with the town's residents.
I have met countless faces and visited hundreds of places- the people are strong willed, family-oriented and hard working. They are all aspiring to (if not already) living the true American Dream which comes with a safe & secure city, good schools (because of the teachers), well rounded residents- all who want the same thing, a happy community.
Additionally, the town is ruch in history and next year, deserves #1!
I'm not surprised that Naperville, IL ranks high on the Best Places to Live list. It has a wonderful downtown, great medical care with Edward Hospital and many related clinics & practices, fabulous restaurants and shopping, numerous job opportunities and great access via train and the tollway. For kids the parks are modern and well maintained, plus there's a wonderful kid's museum and Naper Settlement living history village.
Housing prices CAN be steep, and while many of the public schools are good, they are not all on the same level. You can compare them at greatschools.net to see what I mean.
When we looked to move to this area from Iowa, we felt that Naperville, although a great town, felt a little "too big for its britches." We chose instead to live in Wheaton, adjacent to Naperville.
The housing here was more affordable, although it's becoming popular and probably starting to catch up to Naperville. Wheaton also has its own outstanding hospital (Central DuPage), and lots of medical access. The school test scores are impressive and comparative to much more expensive communities. We felt that Wheaton had more of a hometown sort of feel while still offering great shopping and restaurant choices. The park district does a great job with their playgrounds, zoo, nature marsh, waterpark and multitude of interesting and affordable classes offered around town. The whole town works hard to put on plenty of festivals for the whole family as well as special activities for idle teens including a skateboard park and work out/leisure center just for teens.
Plus, I've never felt safer in any other city. You can't drive anywhere without seeing a squad car out on patrol. The police are very protective and right on the scene the moment you need them.
Glen Ellyn adjacent to Wheaton is much the same and another great choice to raise a family.
There is no place like Naperville anywhere in the US. My husband took a new job in Grand Rapids, MI 3 years ago and I still feel like I am living in the twilight zone. We would do anything to be able to move back.
My wife and I have and are still considering moving here because of the exllent school system and I'm also from Illinois.
I am a returing resident of Naperville. Having lived here previously for 6 years we returned after 3 years in the east for the better quality of life we had here. We chose to live in South Naperville this time which currently is undergoing a building up phase. Sadly though the #2 place to raise a family does have some flaws. We are soon to be the new spot of Flirty Kitty sexy lingerie boutique. I'm so glad that I can take my kids up for a Blizzard at the DQ, a slice of pizza at Little Nonni's, a haircut at Great Clips and get some sexy lingerie all at the same stop. I don't have to go to the mall now. Our city has allowed this store to come into our family friendly place to live(as well as Lover's Lane on Ogden Avenue in the north portion of Naperville). The mayor of our fair city said he doesn't get south much when I spoke to him expressing my dismay at the opening of this new business. Mayor, don't forget you have voters down here to. I look forward to seeing your picture at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Flirty Kitty.
I hope the next time the writer of the Best Places to live goes further than downtown Naperville to take a look around. How about coming south of 87th street? I'll take you around myself.
Naperville is way overrated. Like people have mentioned you cannot drive in any direction without encountering horrible traffic. The bigger problem, however, is that it lacks real diversity. It reminds me of a Stepford wife type place.
I grew up in the Fox Valley (Naperville, Aurora) for about 19 years of my life. I moved away about 4 years ago and that was the best decision I have ever made. Naperville is not a friendly place. Everyone there is snobby and superficial. All they care about is themselves. My parents still live here and can not wait to move away. The cops care more about stupid petty things opposed to real crimes and things that matter. I have to say, the only people that can actually enjoy living in this overrated town are people are very wealthy and only care about keeping up with the Jones. So if you fit that description, you should move to this location.
You have GOT to be kidding.I have to visit every year and its only gets worse.If you like horrendous traffic,strip malls,chain restaraunts,subdivisions and keeping up with the Jones',this is your dream town.Flat and borring as far as the eye can see.Summer?Brutal and hot/humid.Winter? Often so cold you could die just getting the mail.There are excellent schools throughout the suburbs of Chicago.How could this even rate a MENTION on "Best Places"??We are perplexed.Did anyone actually tour the area? Its a nightmare to anyone who wants something besides life in a subdivision.
I am looking forward to moving to the Naperville area soon. I hope that we are mking the right move. I am orginally from North Carolina and my husband is from Naperville. He has told me alot of great things and as I see it if it was so horrible it wouldn't be 2nd on the list. It's got to be better than where I am from. It's really boring in North Carolina. I maybe a small town girl but, I have a heart to live in a city with lots to do and you can get around with a vehicle. You can't do that hear in NC. Go HUSKIES!!!!! I LIKE COMMENTS FEEL FREE!!!!!!!!!!
all I know is that everyone that I know from Naperville has an attitude problem and quite surprisingly are borderline alcoholics. Why is that?
Naperville...I must admit it's great... I'm a recent transplant from the Washington, DC area (via NYC via Atlanta...hey, I've moved alot) which is quite expensive...the DC area has GREAT schools (colleges included) and many of neighboring areas in MD are listed at the top of the list, including Columbia, MD. BUT TALK ABOUT EXPENSIVE and crowded and CRIME...At any rate, OVERALL I really don't care for Illinois but it's growing on me. My husband wanted to move back to this area to be close to family. Personally, I hoped that we would move somewhere WARM this time around but since having children, I have a newfound prospective on what's important regarding the area you live in. Naperville provides those essentials and necessities needed for a good, well-rounded family life. You are less than an hour away from downtown Chicago and downtown Naperville, although small in my opinion is quite quaint and cute. There's plenty of community and family events year round. I love how the families all come out and walk around downtown when the weather is warm. They most certainly need to beef up that area with more shops and restaurants but what's there now is quite sufficient. The neighborshoods... are expensive to say the least. We ended up getting what would be a mansion by Naperville's standards by moving to Oswego, about 15-20 minutes away. Needless to say, if it's Illinois that we're going to stay in...I most certainly wish to move and stay in Naperville...By far, it's one of the best, safest, friendliest neighborhoods I've seen and the job market in the overall area is pretty competitive and plentiful. The commute sucks but we don't even want to discuss the commute in DC, Atlanta or any large metro-area for that matter. Oswego isn't BAD AT ALL...It's really growing and becoming more progressive. But just to get rid of the 20 minute extra commute to Chicago, I'd say move to Naperville...IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT!
The one thing I have observed in Napervile is TRAFFIC. Yes, it is a nice city with alot of restaurants and shopping but that is what shopping malls are for. It takes forever to get from one end of town to the other and basically it is a suburb of subdivisions. The housing is not tied together in any way.It used to be a realtors dream for transferees. If you were transferred to Chicago, you ended up in Naperville. I don't know why it is on the list. It belongs around #100, because of the horrible traffic
I have read some of the postings here and I am just wondering what were some of those comments coming from. Obviuosly the ones that are negative is because they haven't really met the real Naperville. This is the best place EVER!! Top schools, kids-friendly places, nicest people ever. I love and take pride saying I LIVE IN NAPERVILLE.... I LOVE IT!!!
I grew up in the Caribean, having said that, I hate winter. Until I moved to Chicago (Naperville). I happened to realize that all the good things that Naperville has to offer compensate for the windy, cold weather. I am raising my family here and hope to grow old here with my kids.
PROUD TO BE A NAPERVILLIAN-CHICAGOAN.
If you can't afford to live in Naperville then so be it, but that doesn't make it a bad place to live or mean that it should not be ranked #2. Did you ever think that you really do get what you pay for?? It's expensive because of the great schools and local attractions. Typically, the best schools are never in really "affordable" places. It's one think to bad mouth a place when it really is bad, but don't do it just because you can't afford to live in it. There are plenty of others out there that can and could use a good opinion on the area before deciding to move there. I have never lived there, but it sounds like a great place to me.
I lived just North of Naperville for 10 years and you can have it! Unfriendly, horrible traffic, outrageous taxes and home prices. What's good about it except for the school system. I want to live where people enjoy diversity and each other, are well educated and I can walk or drive somewhere without someone giving me the finger.
Seems to me that people are so frustrated there because of the inability to get from one place to another that road rage and constant anger prevail. I got out and moved to Madison WI. Except for the high taxes and housing prices, it's a dream come true.
Jo in Madison WI
I hear all these people bashing Naperville and making generalizations. I live in Naperville and I'm neither stuck up or a borderline alcoholic. Heck, I don't even drink alcohol. Naperville is a very good place for kids to grow up and very safe as well. As for traffic, if you've lived here long enough, you'd know all the back roads to get to one place to another. But honestly, most of Chicago's suburbs have bad traffic regardless. It's just the way it is in IL. I went to school in Champaign and you want to talk about taking forever to get from one end of town to another, then you've got to visit Champaign. Driving to any good stores such as Meijers take about 15-20 minutes at least. Plus, people are actually friendly in my neighborhood and watches out for each other. People smile and say hi so I don't know where other people were living in Naperville but don't base everything off of ONE experience.
I grew up in the South burbs of Chicago and moved up to the Naperville area because t was closer to work for my wife. living in the Chicago area for over 40 years I can tell you that some of the posta here are true and some are not well informed.
People here are very unfriendly, a totaly different snobbery that does not exist in the South burbs or southside of Chicago.
Also the average housing prices as many have said are way off. The average nice home in this town will run you $450,000 and up. $300,000 will get you a small liitle frame house near the downtown area. Big thing though is the snobs. Can't stand them and can't wait to move back to the South burbs. People think they are better than anyone else that lives on this planet.
I live in small town north of Houston, and reading these average home prices astonishes me. In the Houston area, you can get a very nice 2000 sq foot home in a nice suburb with good schools for around $150,000.
I live about 30 minutes from Naperville. One of my sisters-in-law and her family live their and when my husband and I first moved to Illinois and spent some time visiting her and her neighbours/friends I can totally agree with a comment made by someone else in this list...it's like a Stepford wives community. I have never met a bigger bunch of condescending, uptight, clones in my life and think the place is highly overrated. If you don't fall into line and do things according to the "accepted norm" then forget it...God forbid you actually be an individual here...you will not be accepted into the inner circle of Napervilledom.
We're only living in Illinois for another three years or so and then we're moving somewhere warm...and I'm not just talking about the weather!!
If you are looking for the best place to raise a family, Naperville really is among th tops. I have lived in San Diego, and Boston, and Bend, OR these are nice places, but I would never return to raise kids.
Sure Naperville is expensive, but so are private schools in California. Many of these places we have lived lack in education, it does not take priority. The school system is the best, and that was our top priority for my family.
Only 30 minutes to downtown Chicago, but downtown Naperville has all the restaurants and shopping you could need.
If you are looking for an ideal family town with the best schools, you've found it.
Naperville is not at all what it's cracked up to be. Horrendous traffic, outrageous cost of living, and forget the parking situation!! I have lived here for 4 years and never EVER venture downtown because it's always packed and never anywhere to park. Forget trying to commute via train. The trains are on time and great, that is, if you can find a place to park. Try out an 8 year waiting list for a parking permit. Well, that helps a lot! They say it was intended to be a small town but then grew and grew. Well growth is great, if you can accommodate the growth. Naperville cannot. If you like to pay high taxes, outrageous rent or mortgage, like taking an hour to go 2 miles and don't need to park a car, then I say Naperville is the perfect place for you to live!
If you are a fan of a pretentious, soul-less way of life, then Naperville is the place for you.
When in Naperville for work, I often shake my head at the local residents. They are literally off in la-la land. Others are correct, it is as if you walked into another dimension. Trophy wives, spoiled rotten kids, and snobbery are common.
Judge others not by the color of their skin, but rather by the car that sits in their driveway... err, did MLK's quote go a little differently? Well, it applies in Naperville anyhow.
Good luck finding a home with running water and electricity for $300,000. Seriously though, I don't believe you'll find a property with anything resembling yard and more than 2 bedrooms for anything less than $400,000.
With a wealthy community often comes excellent school district ratings. I think the allure of the schools is the facilities, rather than the quality of teachers or the student/teacher ratio.
Their school athletic facilities far exceed most schools as is the case in most privileged areas.
Seeing the community first hand, as well as knowing many who grew up there: It would be better to go to another area with a good and safe school district, rather than grow up, learning from the elitist monster that has become Naperville. The petty politics that often accompany possible opportunity gets to be a bit too much for most youth... that is, unless Mom and Dad donated a lot of money toward the new gym or library.
When you read the comments on this site you have to remind yourself that "... you can not please everyone". Is Naperville perfect - no, but neither is anywhere else unless you believe in the after-live and go to heaven or your version of it.
I have lived in Naperville for 9 years after spending 2 years in downtown Chicago, prior to that I lived in England. I moved to Naperville because my wife and I were starting a family and everyone I asked said that this was the best place to bring up children. So far I have to say that I have not regretted the move.
I think what has made Naperville #2 on this list is not one particular thing but the sum of everything it has to offer. Here are a few personal examples; on several occasions we have left the house for the entire day and found on returning that the garage door was left open � when we checked the contents of the garage nothing was missing; when we had a family emergency and had to go back to the UK with only 6 hours notice our neighbors rallied round and made sure our garden was watered, weeded and the grass was cut while we were away for 3 weeks � this was without us having to ask anyone to do this for us; in the summer we attended the many free concerts sponsored by local business in the various parks around Naperville; when I have clients visit our offices in Naperville the selection of local restaurants is great and can be reached in very little time; the library is a very good local resource that we as a family use regularly � the evening and afternoon events they put on a great. These are just a few of the things that come to mind.
Naperville is a nice place to live, work and raise a family. Does it have its faults? Yes. Does it deserve to be #2 probably? As I started above nowhere is perfect but it is a pretty good place and you would be hard pressed to find somewhere that had the sum of all the parts that Naperville offers.
I grew up in a neighboring town to Naperville, which is Aurora. Try telling a Naperville resident that you're from Aurora. Then you'll really see what snobbery is like.
I have another example: Naperville has a big summer fest every year. One year when I was kid, I attended the fest and was standing in line. I accidentally bumped into some yuppie-looking man in front of me. Before I could say "excuse me," he said, "excuse you!"
All I've seen and heard about Naperville is how snobby people are. They think they are the greatest and that their city is the greatest. Well, hate to break it to you, but it's not. And I don't see how people think the school systems are so good. The majority of the teachers don't know what they're doing or how to treat children. I live a few blocks from the Naperville/Lisle border, and I have to say, you can definitely tell the difference between the two.
I've lived throughout the U.S. and abroad, and have happily made Naperville my home for the past 19 years. It's where I decided to settle once I decided to settle.
First, let's be up front about one thing: it is a relatively expensive town to live in, though anyone who thinks it's solely a bastion of the wealthy needs to recalibrate their sense of economic reality. Where it does get expensive is in the "downtown" area, where there is a great array of fine restaurants, shopping, and excellent parks.
The schools are excellent and the park system is unrivalled. The library has been ranked the best in the U.S. for several years, and our police and fire departments are similarly ranked. It's all these things and more--things like a Children's Museum, an historic settlement museum, the River Walk--that add up to a great place to live.
If I do have one criticism, it's that the downtown area is very congested on weekends, a result of the fact that people from throughout the metro area think it's a nice place to congregate. I suppose that in that regard we're victims of our own success--it's a place that people want to be, so you have to deal with the fact that there are a lot of people here. It's truly a great town.
In a town with 10 square miles and over 130,000 people there are a lot of experiences you can have. The downtown area is very nice but crowded on the weekends as others have noted. Home prices start in the 400's and go from there...but you get what you pay for...low crime, great schools, etc. For those of us working downtown Chicago, Naperville is hard to beat. For those folks (like myself) without a parking permit for the train station lots, a bus service runs from the neighorhoods to the station and back. Between the bus and the train to Chicago, I barely even need a car. I absolutely love that I can leave my downtown Chicago office and be back on my quiet street in 45 mins. I guess I live on a good street because I have not met a snob yet. I suppose if I had to drive to work in the Naperville traffic I might foster a different view, but for now it works me. Finally, Naperville is a great place to raise kids because of the safe environment and large amounts of activities for a young family. Yes, this is la-la land but exposure to the real world is just a short train ride away!
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