With the comforts of suburban life and the vibrant culture of a big city, Skokie offers residents the best of both worlds. Just northwest of Chicago, the Village of Skokie is acclaimed for its lovely park district, top schools, and great shopping areas. Known as “the world’s largest village”, residents enjoy the area’s delicious restaurants and Westfield Old Orchard, one of the country’s first outdoor malls.
With easy access to Chicago with the Edens Expressway and the CTA Skokie Swift rail line, getting to Chicago and around Chicagoland is a breeze!
A New Village (1850-1900)
Originally a marshy prairie along the North Branch of the Chicago River, Skokie was settled by European immigrants in 1850. A German farming community, the small town was incorporated (as “Niles Center”) in 1888. Farming remained the main industry in the area until the 1920s. To avoid confusion with neighboring Niles, the name was changed to Skokie via referendum in 1940. The name, Skokie, is derived from the Potawatomi word for marsh or grasslands.
A Modern Transformation (1900-1960)
Two construction booms took place in the 20th century. With the construction of the Skokie Valley line (today the CTA Skokie Swift) in 1925, significant development of the area began. Large parcels of land were divided, and many two- and three-flats and “Chicago” bungalows were built. This first boom ended with the Great Depression. After World War II, another period of growth began. Thousands moved to the area as major projects like the Edens Expressway (1951) and Old Orchard Shopping Center (1956) went up.
Modern Skokie (1960-Present)
In the 1950s, the area attracted and supported a large Jewish population. At one point, the neighborhood was over half Jewish. Many synagogues, Jewish schools, and other cultural institutions were established. In the 1970s, Skokie began to attract other groups including large Asian, Hispanic, and African-American communities. Today, the area is a melting pot of cultures, with lovely homes, great parks, and much more.
While the lovely homes and parks provide the comforts of suburbia, Skokie has the cultural offerings of a big city. These include some of Chicagoland’s best restaurants and a great performing arts scene. That’s not all, with the Westfield Old Orchard Mall, Skokie is a premier shopping destination.
Eating out Skokie is a joy. The dining scene is affordable, diverse, and, most importantly, delicious! With selections ranging from fine dining Italian, casual family lunch spots, and classic Chicago dives, there’s really something for everyone. Looking for a recommendation? Kaufman’s Bagel and Delicatessen is a classic Chicago institution. Get a to-die-for corned beef or a homemade everything bagel with lox cream cheese. Poochies serves some of the best Hot Dogs, Burgers, and cheese fries you’ve ever tasted. Pita Inn, a north-suburban Middle-Eastern chain, offers one of the best lunch specials in Chicagoland.
With a world-class outdoor mall, big box stores, and a blossoming boutique scene, Skokie’s shopping scene is one of its greatest strengths. Built in 1956, Westfield Old Orchard remains one of the most vibrant shopping centers in Chicagoland. Offering two movie theaters, great restaurants, and, of course, your favorite stores. Skokie also offers plenty of grocery stores, hardware stores, a Target, so your daily necessities are covered.
You might not guess it driving down Dempster Street, but Skokie has a fair bit of culture including art galleries, museums, and live music. Theater fan? Check out the Devonshire Community Playhouse, for local thespians, and Gorilla Tango’s Skokie Theater and the Northlight Theater for professional fare. Live music can be found at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, The Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra. For a moving and inspiring experience, the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is a national destination for its unparalleled permanent exhibits.
With 42 parks and 240 acres of parkland, Skokie offers one of the most complete park districts in the state. Kids love the Skokie Water Playground, offering five slides, a water play area, and a huge dump bucket. When the skies are grey, head to the Exploratorium.
Kids and adults alike can enjoy the Emily Oaks Nature Center, a 13-acre nature area with wildflowers and wildlife. The area also offers a sculpture park, a massive public library, and plenty of sports fields and gyms. Golfers will enjoy the public Weber Park Golf Course, a nine-hole par-three course. The Skokie Sports Park offers miniature golf and a batting cage.
The Village of Skokie offers renters and buyers homes at a variety of price-points. Housing options include affordable single-family homes, spacious mansions, townhomes, apartments, and condominiums. From first time buyers to families looking for an upgrade, there is an option for everyone. With acclaimed schools, great entertainment, and superior municipal services, Skokie is rightly known as one of the most livable communities in Chicagoland. Come and check it out!