Learn more about Elgin
The City of Elgin is one of the fastest-growing and most up-and-coming cities in the nation. Nestled in northern Illinois, about 35 miles west of Lake Michigan, Elgin is a city with its independence, character, color, and flair while still offering easy access to Chicago and the Chicagoland area.
A cultural center of the region, Elgin is home to The Hemmens, known for its variety of enriching events, from classical music concerts to plays to stand-up comedy and more. The Elgin Symphony Orchestra often plays The Hemmens and is one of Illinois’ largest and most popular orchestras. And Elgin is renowned for its commitment to education, with over 45 schools in the city preparing children and young adults for a changing world and enabling them with the knowledge to pursue successful careers.
Transportation in Elgin is a breeze with easy access to I-90, three Metra Railway stations, and 13 Pace Buses servicing the region.
Affordable Elgin homes for sale, a friendly and inviting community, the natural beauty that comes with being a riverside city, and all the various opportunities it presents- are a few reasons why Elgin is one of the fastest-growing cities in Illinois. Click here for more
Elgin is one of the fastest growing cities in Illinois.
The Elgin National Watch Company (once the largest producer of fine watches in the nation) made the clocks at Chicago’s Union Station.
The Elgin Public Museum, built in 1907, is the oldest building in Illinois that was built to as a museum and has since remained one.
The Elgin Symphony Orchestra is one of the largest orchestras in Illinois.
Elgin has a significant Laotian-American community, and the capital of Laos, Vientiane, is Elgin’s sister city.
Population (2000) – Total 107,521
Density 3,779.1/sq mi
Native American .40%
Hispanic/ Latino 34.32%
Pacific Islander 0.06%
From two or more races 2.98%
Median household income $52,605
After the Black Hawk War of 1832 caused the expulsion of many of the Native Americans living in the region, including the Potawatomi, many soldiers and militiamen took residence in the area.
In 1833, Hezekiah Gifford dubbed the town Elgin after the Scottish hymn, “The Song of Elgin”.
The Fox River lies at the heart of Elgin’s success. It could be forded many times a year in the region and its shallows provided excellent fishing. The Fox River Valley also provided fertile soil and many fresh water springs.
By 1837, Elgin had a bridge and mills and had become a route for stage coaches from Chicago on their way to the lead mines of Galena.
By 1849 the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad ran through Elgin. Soon thereafter, the railroad ran along both banks of the Fox River, connecting Elgin to Chicago and other urban centers.
In 1856 the Elgin Academy was founded, marking Elgin’s growth and extraordinary promise.
During the 1850s and 1860s, Elgin became known a producer of butter and dairy goods, sold primarily to Chicago.
Soon, though, the city would become known for the Elgin National Watch Company, rather than its dairy production. At the time it was rivaled only by the Waltham Watch Company of Waltham, Massachusetts.
During the Civil War, Elgin became a center for military production and industries began taking advantage of Fox River for water power.
In 1872, Elgin became the site of a major state institution, the Northern Illinois State Mental Hospital.
During the 20th century the city continued to grow modestly. Today, many of the industries have disappeared, and the city has prospered as a center for commuters.
Elgin real estate is well-known for its architecture and historic preservation. Homes in the Queen Anne style, from the Victorian era that’s left its mark on the region, spot the architectural landscape. Contrasting this are the Sears Catalog Homes, which define their own era (1908 to 1940).
In the historic districts, old cobblestone houses can be found, marking a time before the Victorian era.
Elgin homes can range in price of $40,000 to $400,000 for a 1 to 2 bedroom single-family home. Three to 4 bedroom houses can cost between $40,000 and 1.3 million dollars.
Elgin condos and townhouses range in price of $35,000 to $350,000 for a 1 to 3 bedroom.
Elgin rentals go for about $650 a month for a 1 bedroom, $800 for a 2 bedroom, and $1000 for a 3 bedroom.
Parking is absolutely free in Elgin. There are more than 2,000 parking spots in the Elgin downtown area, many with time limits of 15 minutes to 10 hours.
There are a few parking garages located downtown, as well. They include the Symphony Way Parking Garage at 95 Symphony Way; the Spring Street Parking Garage between Highland Ave and Chicago Street; and the Fulton Street Garage between Fulton and Prairie Streets downtown.
Interstate 90 runs through Elgin, giving residents direct driving access to Chicago and easy access to all the Chicagoland area.
Public transportation options are plentiful with Metra Railway and Pace Buses, as well as a Greyhound station located in the city.
The Metra Milwaukee District/West Line provides daily service to Elgin with 3 stations: Big Timber, Elgin and National Street. The MD-W goes to Chicago Union Station, with its origin at Big Timber.
There are 13 Pace Buses servicing the Elgin area, providing access to the Metra stations and neighboring towns.
Pace Bus 541 connects to the Metra MD-W Line, Sherman Hospital, and grocery stores in the area.
Pace Bus 542 provides service to the southeast Elgin residential areas and stops at Grand Victoria Casino, Clock Tower Plaza, Elgin High, and elsewhere.
Pace Bus 543 connects at the Elgin Metra Station and provides service to Dundee and Carpentersville.
Pace Bus 544 provides service to eastern residents of Elgin and connects to the Elgin Metra Station, St Mary’s school, and elsewhere via Chicago Street.
Pace Bus 546 serves the southwest residential areas of Elgin. It also connects to the Elgin Metra and stops at Elgin Community College.
Pace Bus 547 goes to Elgin’s shopping and commercial areas.
Pace Bus 548 provides service between the Elgin Terminal and Metra Station to west Elgin.
Pace Bus 549 serves Elgin Community College, Larkin High School and other destinations along South McLean Boulevard and South Randall Street.
Pace Bus 552 serves commercial and shopping areas in North Elgin and Dundee.
Pace Bus 554 provides rush hour service between the Elgin Metra, Hanover Park Metra and Schaumburg.
Pace Bus 801 runs between Elgin and Geneva, connecting at Metra Elgin and Metra Geneva. It connects with Pace Buses 529 and 802 for service to Aurora.
Pace Bus 803 provides service between the Elgin Metra and Carpentersville.
Pace Bus 550 serves the business area along Big Timber and Randall Roads with its terminus at the Elgin Metra.
Elgin Area School District U46, the second largest district in Illinois, serves Elgin, with many of its schools in city limits. The city is also served by Central School District 301, a community college, a university, and a number of excellent private schools.
Abbott Middle School, 949 Van St
Century Oaks Elementary, 1235 Braeburn Dr
Channing Elementary, 63 S Channing St
Coleman Elementary, 1220 Dundee Ave
Country Trails Elementary, 3701 Highland Blvd
Creekside Elementary, 655 N Airlite St
Einstein Academy, 747 Davis Rd
Elgin Academy, 350 Park St
Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Dr
Elgin High School, 1200 Maroon Dr
Ellis Middle School, 225 S Liberty St
Fox River County Day School, 1600 Dundee Ave
Garfield Elementary, 420 May St
Good Shepherd Lutheran School, 111 Van St
Highland Elementary, 190 N Melrose Ave
Hillcrest Elementary, 80 N Airlite St
Hilltop Elementary, 1855 Rohrssen Rd
Huff Elementary, 801 Hastings St
Judson University, 1151 N State St
Kimball Middle School, 451 N McLean Blvd
Larkin High School, 1475 Larkin Ave
Illinois Park Center for Early Learning, 1350 Wing St
Larsen Middle School, 665 Dundee Ave
Lords Park Elementary, 323 Waverly Dr
Lowrie Elementary, 246 Oak St
McKinley Elementary, 258 Lovell St
National-Louis University Elgin Campus, 620 Tollgate Rd
Otter Creek Elementary, 2701 Hopps Rd
Prairie Knolls Middle School, 225 Nesler Rd
Prairie View Grade School, 10N630 Nesler Rd
Providence Baptist College, 345 W River Rd
Ronald D O’Neal Elementary, 510 Franklin Blvd
St Edward Central High, 335 Locust Ave
St John’s Lutheran School, 109 N Spring St
St Laurence Catholic School, 572 Standish St
St Mary Catholic School, 103 S Gifford St
St Thomas More Catholic School, 1625 W Highland Ave
Washington Elementary, 819 W Chicago St
Westminster Christian School, 2700 W Highland Ave
Elgin is home to a charming nightlife of comfortable pubs, hopping sports bars, elegant lounges and more. Whether out for a romantic evening or out with pals, Elgin has all the right hotspots to hit up.
Elgin Public House (219 E Chicago St, 847-468-8810) has a great staff, excellent pub food, friendly patrons, and a comfortable, lively atmosphere. Every Wednesday night Elgin Public House puts on a trivia night, a huge hit with the locals, and on the second Friday of each month they put on a karaoke contest. They also sport darts, a bar-top touch screen, Star Wars pinball, Buck Hunter and more games.
Douglas Street Sports Bar & Grill (231 Douglas Ave, 847-695-5659) is the perfect place to get together with friends and watch the game. Every Monday Night Football game is met with 35-cent wings, $6 Coors Light pitchers and $1 sliders. On the weekends you’ll be treated to live music, and each Wednesday they have a karaoke competition that stretches for weeks on end.
Martini Room (161 E Chicago St, 847-741-0349) offers residents of Elgin homes a comfortable yet sophisticated lounge experience paired with the best martinis in the city. Excluding Sunday, you’ll find one of their martinis on special each day for just $6. And Martini Room maintains a community feel with their weekly or monthly art shows that allow you to display and sell your own artwork. Martini room also presents tastings and themed nights of music and dancing.
Entertainment is easy to find in Elgin. With venues that host big-name talents, a professional sports team, a vibrant casino, stand-up comedy shows and more, Elgin keeps things lively and engaging.
The Hemmens (45 Symphony Way, 847-931-5900) hosts a variety of events throughout the year, keeping the locals immersed in music, entertainment and culture. The auditorium seats 1,200, providing an intimate atmosphere, no matter where your seat is. Performers at the Hemmens have included comedian Bill Cosby, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, writer David Sedaris, Rick Springfield, and others. The Hemmens also hosts children’s plays, musicals, and a variety of community-based events.
The Grand Victoria Riverboat (250 S Grove Ave, 847-888-1000) is non-stop fun and excitement for lovers of blackjack, roulette, poker and the whole riverboat experience on scenic Fox River. The Grand Victoria Casino puts on plenty of promotions and has four different restaurants to dine at.
Elgin is a wonderful place to dine. It offers all different types of cuisines for all different types of occasions. From casual comfort food joints, to hip and modern hotspots, to elegant and sophisticated fine dining restaurants, Elgin fits the bill and keeps diners satisfied.
Sushi Station (847-783-0040) is a fun and unique dining experience with an interactive touch. At Sushi Station they serve the food “kaiten style” where diners sit at long tables over which a covered conveyor belt slowly rotates the sushi by you. You get to pick and choose at your leisure. Their menu explains how the pricing works. Sushi Station is also popular for simply preparing the freshest sushi in town at a reasonable price.
Burnt Toast (2492 Randall Rd, 847-551-9725) is Elgin’s breakfast, brunch and lunch place. The food is comforting, the dining area is modern, and the staff is as friendly as ever. Burnt Toast prepares their dishes with fresh ingredients not only because it tastes better, but because it’s also better for you. Their menu is full of waffles, French toast, bacon, eggs and pancakes, as well as sandwiches and salads.
Nick’s Pizza & Pub (990 S Randall Rd, 847-531-5550) is the kind of place with peanut shells on the floor. Literally. This is the place to relax, let it all out and just have a good time and good food with friends and family. High wood-beamed ceilings and a stone fireplace greet you as you enter the warm environment of Nick’s Pizza. The menu is extensive and will please everyone from kids to grownups.
White Pearl Restaurant (265 S McLean Blvd, 847-695-3399) prepares authentic Chinese noodle dishes and made to order soups. The menu at White Pearl is not huge because the chefs specialize in these specific dishes so you can be guaranteed an exquisite meal.
For an elegant, upscale Italian dining experience, Villa Verone is the restaurant to visit. A fine dining establishment, Villa Verone prepares only the freshest pastas, sauces, chicken and seafood served in a rustic, sophisticated Italian dining area. Favorite authentic Italian dishes from their menu include Capriccio Marino, Tilapia Oreganata and Gnochi Rapinati.
The Elgin Brewfest is one of the area’s most popular summer events. The Brewfest is a wonderful charity event held annually to help support the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin. As you would expect, there’s plenty of brews to get festive with, as well as an awesome selection of local food vendors and live music to enjoy with it.
The Elgin Wine Festival gives wine connoisseurs, wine enthusiasts and wine novices, alike, the opportunity to sample and enjoy more than 150 wines from all over the world. There are wine seminars and cooking demonstrations to take in as well as live music and great food.
The Annual Elgin Fine Arts Festival is an art-filled weekend of food, music and fun. The Elgin Orchestra Symphony plays outdoor concerts at night as a perfect way to wind down a day of art exhibitions, strollin the park, and enjoying the summer in Elgin. And the festival is free.
Festival Park is where you’ll find most summer festivals occurring. This elaborate park cost $11.5 million dollars and offers gorgeous views of the river. Festival Park also has a spray fountain for cooling off in the summer, gardens and a play area full of interactive components like oversized musical instruments. There’s also the Elgin Express, a fun train ride that goes through the park.
Walton Island is a wonderfully unique little park located right in the middle of the Fox River. Walton Island is in two parts, connected by a walkway and connected to the east bank by two separate walkways. Along the east bank is the Fox River Trail, perfect for biking and walking riverside. Fishing off of Walton Island is a favorite pastime, and it is an ideal site for wedding parties.
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