Looking to live in a college town? Chicagoland is the place for you. Our area is studded with incredible institutions for higher learning which draw thousands of students and professors from all backgrounds and walks of life to our area.
Whether you’re a student enrolling in class, an employee getting ready to work at a local university, or an investor looking to purchase a new rental property, it helps to know the best Chicago neighborhoods near colleges and universities.
From the city to the suburbs, here are a few Chicagoland communities to explore:
Evanston is a charming community conveniently located just about 12 miles north of downtown Chicago.
Well-known as the home of Northwestern University and its many music halls and museums, Evanston has plenty to offer outside of campus living — including a lively downtown full of shopping and dining, a flourishing music and arts scene, plenty of parks, and easy proximity to the beaches of Lake Michigan. In fact, Apartment Therapy named Evanston one of its “Coolest Suburbs in America” in 2019, calling it “an endlessly exciting place to live, study, and visit.”
Located on the northern tip of the city, Rogers Park is a vibrant and welcoming neighborhood. For students and professors, Rogers Park is home to the main campus of Loyola University Chicago, and offers easy access to Northwestern to the north, as well as Northeastern Illinois University and North Park University to the west.
Rogers Park offers easy access to Lake Michigan, and you’ll find that the entire neighborhood boasts a uniquely pleasant atmosphere — with ample outdoor spaces, lots of public art and murals, and shady, tree-lined streets. Rogers Park is home to a number of amazing restaurants and bars, and hosts a variety of engaging festivals throughout the year.
The South Loop is a bustling residential district located in the heart of downtown, putting residents near the city’s central business hub, as well as prime shopping, entertainment, and dining. This area is also notable for being home to campus buildings for a number of Chicago colleges and universities, including Columbia College Chicago, East-West University, Roosevelt University, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Outside of its campus facilities, the South Loop boasts amazing public art and murals, as well as easy access to some of the city’s most iconic attractions, including Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, and the rest of Museum Campus. Escape into nature in nearby Grant Park, or hop on the L and get whisked away to another nearby neighborhood in no time.
Hyde Park is a renowned neighborhood, best known for its many local attractions, beautiful architecture, and relaxed vibe. One of the jewels of Hyde Park is the sprawling and ornate campus of the historic University of Chicago. Hyde Park also puts you in close proximity to the Illinois Institute of Technology, which is situated just a bit north in Bronzeville.
In addition to the amazing architecture of the university campus, Hyde Park is home to two masterpieces by legendary local architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It also boasts two of Chicago’s best museums, the Museum of Science and Industry and the DuSable Museum of Afican American History. Foodies will find something to love at one of Hyde Park’s many tasty local restaurants, while book lovers can find their next read at 57th Street Books or the Seminary Co-Op.
Elmhurst is a close-knit community and classic college town, filled with beautiful homes and a fantastic downtown area. This area is home to Elmhurst University, and is just a short drive away from a few other notable institutions of higher education, including Wheaton College and the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.
You’ll find lots of natural beauty in Elmhurst’s many parks and trails. To get up close with nature, visit the Wilder Park Conservatory. Enjoy a bite to eat at one of the community’s many restaurants and bakeries, including Kilwins, Hamburger Heaven, and Roberto’s Ristorante & Pizzeria.
University Village, Little Italy, and the Near West Side
Located just southwest of the Loop, Chicago’s Near West Side is home to the University of Illinois Chicago, and puts you just a short distance away from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
The area around UIC is sometimes known as University Village, thanks to its collegiate feel. This includes a long stretch of Taylor Street packed with bars, bakeries, dessert shops, burger joints, and one-of-a-kind storefronts. To enjoy some fresh air and quiet in the city, pop into nearby Sheridan Park or Victor Park.
Another one of Apartment Therapy’s “Coolest Suburbs In America,” Naperville is known for its world-class parks and nature areas, a thriving downtown full of local businesses, unique cultural offerings, and excellent schools. One notable institution of higher ed you’ll find in Naperville is North Central College; this community also puts you within driving distance of the College of DuPage.
Ready to Live In the Heart of It All?
Looking to find a home near one of Chicagoland’s many universities? We get you. At Baird & Warner, our agents are hyperlocal experts who can help you find the property that’s just right, while making the buying process easier at every step of the way. And with mortgage and title services in-house, our One-Stop Shop takes the hassle out of closing on your new home, so you can focus on getting to know your new neighborhood.