Naperville is the fourth largest city in Illinois and consistently rates as one of the best places to live in the state. You’ll find this family-friendly suburb with its excellent schools and safe neighborhoods just over 30 miles west of Chicago. In just a 42-minute drive, you can easily access Chicago for all that it has to offer but you may not need to head into the big city at all. Naperville has an abundance of activities and fun things to do in its own right. In addition to keeping you busy in your free time, Naperville is a popular location for businesses, which means if you are looking for work, there are plenty of job opportunities. The thriving economy has a diverse tax base.
The dining scene in Naperville is excellent, especially in the historic and downtown Riverwalk areas. You’ll find all types of cuisines amid a fun and lively nightlife scene. Music lovers will have no problem finding live music options among all sorts of genres. Additionally, locally-owned shops and boutiques, plus larger chains, provide all the shopping options you could need.
According to niche.com, Naperville is ranked #1 cities with the best public schools in the US. Naperville also earned the rating of #1 on the list of best cities to raise a family in America. To top it off, the city it’s also the sixth-best city in which to live in the entire United States. With ratings such as these, you know Naperville is going to be a wonderful place to call home.
Living in Naperville, IL: What to Know Before Moving to Naperville
You’re going to love living in Naperville. This city consistently ranks among the best places to live and raise a family in the entire nation. Family-friendly Naperville has a population of 147,682 and is known for its excellent schools. Due to the dynamic employment sector and very low crime rate, Naperville is an excellent choice not only for families, but also for singles, professionals without children, and retirees. Take a look at all this wonderful city has to offer:
Pros and Cons of Living in Naperville
- Employment opportunities
- Low crime rate
- Abundant recreational activities
- Excellent public schools
- A high cost of living
- Traffic congestion
- Cold winters
Taxes are a constant source of concern for Illinois’ citizens. The only other state with higher property taxes is New Jersey.
- Property Tax: Naperville’s property tax rate is 2.42% of assessed home value. Take a look at this article from The Will County Gazette, which shows how Naperville’s property tax compares to the other towns in Will County. The median property tax assessed for 2018 was $10,614
- Sales Tax: The current combined sales tax rate in Naperville is 7.75%. This rate is lower than the sales tax rates in both Chicago and Cook County.
- State Income Tax: The income tax rate in Illinois currently stands at 4.95%. The state legislature has proposed and passed a new graduated income tax, which could become effective in 2020 with voter approval. This higher than most income tax rate is a significant concern for Illinois residents and is possibly a factor in the state’s lack of population growth.
As of November 2019, the median home value in Naperville was $390,348, and the median list price was $434,900. According to zillow.com, home values dropped -0.2% over the past year. Homeownership greatly outweighs rentals, as 92% of residents live in an owner-occupied home.
If you decide to rent, expect to pay a median rental price of $1,999 in the city and $1,696 in the metro area. Most of the smaller homes are in older neighborhoods, and you can find very large homes with an acre or more of land on the outskirts of the city. Affordable housing options are difficult to find in Naperville. The Illinois Housing Development Authority states that just 6.3% of housing is affordable.
Cost of Living
Naperville’s overall cost of living is 17.5% higher than Chicago’s, and housing costs are 43% higher in Naperville than in Chicago. In Naperville, you’ll spend 30% of your income on housing, 15% on food and groceries, 10% on transportation, 7% on healthcare, and 6% on utilities. The remaining percentage will go towards miscellaneous expenses such as clothing, services, and entertainment.
Bestplaces.net calculates their cost of living indices on an average cost of living score of 100. The overall cost of living index in Naperville is 129.6. Expenses that are higher than the US average are grocery 101.7, housing 173.6, and transportation 126.9. Lower than average expenses are health 98.1 and utilities 96.2.
The epi.org Family Budget Calculator indicates that a family of four in DuPage County would need to earn $95,602 annually for a moderate lifestyle.
Weather and Natural Disasters
The northern part of Illinois has four very distinct seasons. Winter can be very cold and expect hot, humid summers. Temperatures in January average a high of 31 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 13 degrees. Wind chill can make winter temps seem even colder. Naperville residents have about 29 inches of snow per year compared to the US average of 28.
March remains chilly with average highs of 47 degrees F and lows around 26 degrees. April brings highs of 59 degrees and lows of 36. You’ll notice a nice warm-up in May with highs averaging 71 degrees and lows of 48.
Summers are hot and humid, and about ten days annually, be prepared for temperatures that exceed 90 degrees. July highs average 84 degrees Fahrenheit and lows average 62. Humidity can be high, especially during strong summer thunderstorms. August is the wettest month with 4.2 inches of rain on average. The yearly rainfall average is 39 inches which is on par with the national average of 38.
Don’t get caught outside during lightning storms. The public pools and outdoor sports fields have excellent weather tracking procedures and will close in the event of lightning. Aside from lightning, tornadoes are the biggest natural disaster threat. These don’t happen as often as flooding, but they cause a much greater chance of personal injury and higher damage repair costs. USA.com explains that Naperville has a tornado index of 268.63 which is much higher than the national average of 136.45. It‘s even higher than the state average of 220.15.
The Naperville emergency preparedness site is a valuable resource for making plans to stay safe.
Economy and The Job Market
With an unemployment rate of 3.1%, the job market decreased by -0.2% over the past year. Over the next ten years, job growth is forecast to be 28.9% compared to the US average of 33.5%. The median household income is $109,512 yearly, over twice the US average of $53,482, and according to townsquarepublications.com, the economy is active due to the many car dealerships and strong hospitality sector.
The Naperville Development Partnership lists these employers as some of the largest in the city. And since it’s a suburb, there are also many job opportunities in the surrounding areas. Many professionals work in Chicago and take advantage of Naperville’s excellent Metra service to downtown. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular employment sectors and employers.
- Professional, Scientific, and Technology Services: Most of Naperville’s working population, 13,586 employees, work in either a professional, scientific, or technological setting. Vericlaim, Nokia, Nalco, Sikich, and BP are just a few companies offering jobs in either the professional or technology sectors. Some of the companies with more of a scientific focus include Aerotek, Nanochem, and Ecolab.
- Healthcare and Social Assistance: With 13,012 employees working in either healthcare or social assistance, this is the second-largest sector for employment in the area. Edward Hospital and Health employs the largest majority with almost 5,000 workers.
- Retail Trade: In 2017, residents and visitors spent a total of 3.4 billion retail dollars, the highest in the state outside of Chicago. With this number, it’s easy to see how 11,098 workers make a living in retail trade.
- Accommodations and Food Services: You’ll find a large portion of employees, 7,848, working in accommodations and food services. With the large number of businesses located in Naperville, business travel is a big part of this. Also, the city has a high median household income, which makes dining out more affordable for many residents.
- Finance and Insurance: Many professionals, 7,398, make their living in either finance or insurance. BMO Harris Bank, Prudential, Fidelity, and Creative Financial Staffing are just a few companies that offer jobs in this sector.
- Administrative/Supervisory/Waste Remediation Services: Waste Management, MedPro, and the city of Naperville, among other firms, offer jobs in municipal administration and waste management. Just over 4,300 workers work in this sector.
- Wholesale Trade: Companies like Eby-Brown, Phoenix, Sally Beauty Holdings, and ABC Supply Company employ 3,351 workers in the wholesale trade profession.
- Management of Companies and Enterprises: There are 2,787 employees currently working in management positions.
- Educational Services: The primary employers of educational services are Naperville’s award-winning school districts, Naperville District 203 and Indian Prairie District 204. The city is also home to North Central College which is another large provider of jobs in education. Some 2,575 people work in education.
- Construction: With 2,296 people working in construction, this is another popular job choice for many residents. Naperville is a vibrant city with new homes and businesses under construction all the time, providing a variety of jobs in the construction industry.
Traffic and Transportation
This 2017 article from the Chicago Tribune explains how traffic is the number one complaint for most residents. Congestion and restricted flow are problems, and limited public transportation only adds to this. Eighty-nine percent of Naperville’s working population uses a car to commute to work. Only nine percent use public transportation.
The Metra runs commuter rail service consistently to downtown Chicago with many stops along the way. For public transportation around the city, you’ll use the PACE bus. You can access schedules by clicking here plus access other public transportation information. O’Hare International Airport in Chicago is the nearest airport and is only 30 miles east via I-88 and I-294.
State Route 59 runs along the city’s western edge, and SR 53 is just beyond its eastern border. I-88 runs along the northern part of the city, and I-355 is easily accessible to the east. I-55 is near Naperville towards the southeast.
What to Do
You won’t run out of fun things to do in Naperville. For starters, the very chic downtown area features the Riverwalk, a great spot for shopping, dining, and nightlife. Many fabulous restaurants dot this area, so be sure to check out the Downtown Naperville website for some recommendations. Downtown and the historic district offer over 100 shops and over 300 other businesses so there’s always a lot going on downtown. The downtown area also offers many community events featuring everything from dog walking to community Yoga classes. You’ll want to take a look at the events calendar on the above website to find out what the next fun activity will be.
Besides the downtown area, there are many other opportunities for fun. Take a look at this list from thecrazytourist.com, which features the top 25 things to do in and around Naperville, including Naper Settlement, Centennial Beach, the DuPage Children’s’ Museum, the Solemn Oath Brewery, the Knoch Knolls Nature Center and more. The Brightside Theater offers live performances and education. Be sure to check out their schedule and buy your tickets in advance. Naperville Trolley and Tours offers some great fun, including historical tours and bar hops. You can even hire them for your wedding or special event. For more tour amusement, give Naperville’s Bites and Sites Culinary Tours a call.
You’ll find many parks, forest preserve areas, and other venues that will satisfy any nature lover. Be sure to check out the nearby Morton Arboretum or the Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve. The city sponsors half marathons and other races for the running crowd, and there are many safe places to run without the fear of traffic.
The above summary is just a small description of all you can find to do in Naperville, Illinois. So whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, a music lover, or just looking for some fun nightlife, you’re sure to have a wide variety of choices.
Schools and Universities
Two award-winning public school districts serve Naperville. These are Naperville Community Unit School District 203 and Indian Prairie School District 204. One of the reasons this city is highly popular with families is because of the great school districts. Take a look at greatschools.org. This organization awards many Naperville schools a 10 out of 10 ratings. You’ll also find a lot of schools with 8 and 9 out of 10 ratings. The lowest rated schools have a score of 5/10 and there’s only one elementary and one junior high with that rating.
North Central College is a private four-year college that offers excellent programs for those seeking higher education. With its suburban location, Naperville is also near many other fine post-secondary institutions. You can find out more by reviewing this publication from collegesimply.com.
Neighborhoodscout.com gives Naperville a crime rate of 55 out of 100. This rating means that Naperville is safer than 55% of cities in the United States. The violent crime rate is 10.2 compared to the national average of 22.7. The property crime rate is 19.9 compared to the US average of 35.4. Refer to the crime map to see where the highest and lowest areas of crime are.
- Electricity, water, and wastewater: The City of Naperville provides these three services. To establish service, residents need to register and pay a deposit at the city’s finance department. Please click here for more information and to view the online submission form.
- Gas: Nicor provides gas service. You can reach them at (888) 642-6748 or at nicorgas.com.
- Trash pick-up/recycling: Groot provides garbage and recycling pick-up; this website is specifically for Naperville residents.
- Internet and cable: A variety of service providers are available. Go to highspeedinternet and enter your zip code to find the best packages, pricing, and more.
Best Neighborhoods in Naperville
The eight neighborhoods featured here are suburban residential communities without many shopping and dining amenities. Although downtown and certain areas of Naperville are full of restaurants, shopping, and amenities, if you live in the neighborhoods listed here, you’ll have to drive to run errands and commute. If you prefer to rent, you may find leases available for single-family homes and townhomes in these neighborhoods. However, you’ll be able to find many apartment complexes and condos in other areas of Naperville.
Acorn Hill Estates
You’ll find the Acorn Hill Estates neighborhood east of Book Road, with Douglas Road to the north and Leverenz Road to the south. This affluent neighborhood began in the late 1980s, and building continued on and off into 2014.
Most of the single-family homes here are quite large and represent a range of styles. The average lot size is 2.75 acres and landscaping is well-maintained. Square footage ranges from 3,410 up to 21,805 and most homes boast five to six bedrooms and three to seven bathrooms. There’s also a wide range of prices starting around $700,000 and reaching up into the multiple million dollars.
The schools are excellent with GreatSchools ratings of nine or ten and include, Elementary: Robert Clow (GreatSchools rating 9/10); Middle: Gordon Gregory (9/10); High: Neuqua Valley (10/10)
This neighborhood lies south of 95th Street and north of 104th with Book Road to the west. Building began in the early to mid-1990s and continued until 2012. With such a long build time, you’ll find many home styles within a wide price range. The median sale price of a home here is $460,000, and square footage ranges from just under 2,000 square feet to 4,500 square feet.
Ashbury is a very popular neighborhood for families because of its abundant amenities. There’s a clubhouse, aquatic center, tennis courts, and a fish-filled pond. Children can easily walk to school, and the active homeowners association sponsors many community events throughout the year.
Schools – Elementary: Patterson (GreatSchools rating 8/10); Middle: Clifford Crone (9/10); High: Neuqua Valley (10/10)
The Ashwood Park neighborhood is west of 248th Avenue and north of 115th Street. Built by Crestview Builders, this subdivision offers large homes at competitive prices. The square footage ranges from 2,400 to 8,000 and the median sale price is $753,000.
Ashwood Park has a community pool and other attractive amenities such as tennis courts, a clubhouse, and many parks and playgrounds. It’s a great neighborhood for families in a luxury setting, and the schools are excellent.
Schools – Elementary: Danielle-Joy Peterson (GreatSchools rating 9/10); Middle: Scullen (9/10;) High: Waubonsie Valley (10/10)
This neighborhood was built in the 1980s and 1990s and is a well-established single-family home community with mid-size homes on quarter-acre lots. You can find homes from just over 1,000 square feet up to 3,100 square feet, with most being somewhere in the 2,000 – 3,000 range.
Brookdale is a high-interest neighborhood for families because of its parks, playgrounds, tennis courts, and a clubhouse. The median sale price of a home in this neighborhood is $399,000.
Schools – Elementary: Brookdale (GreatSchools rating 7/10); Middle: Thayer J Hill (8/10); High: Metea Valley (10/10)
Cress Creek, located west of Ogden Avenue and Mill Road and east of River Road, was the first community in Illinois built around a golf course. A few homes date from the 1950s but most were built during the late 1960s into the 1970s. It has a very active homeowners association and has many neighborhood amenities that make it a very popular choice for families. There are pools, a clubhouse, golf, restaurants, and more.
There are some nice townhomes, but single-family homes make up the majority of residences. The median sale price of a home in Cress Creek is $446,750 and you’ll find small homes of 825 square feet up to very large homes of 6,730 square feet.
Schools – Elementary: Mill Street (GreatSchools rating 7/10); Middle: Jefferson Junior High (8/10); High: Naperville North (10/10).
Hobson Hollow sits along Hobson Road east of Wehrli Road. This neighborhood is a single-family home community that dates from 1989 and development continued throughout the 1990s. Most lots are half an acre and the median sale price is $589,000. Most residences are mainly four-bedroom homes with some variation. Square footage ranges from 3,300 to 4,000. With its highly rated schools, it’s easy to see why this is a popular family neighborhood.
Schools – Elementary: Ranch View (GreatSchools rating 10/10) and Meadow Glens (10/10; )Middle: Kennedy Junior High (10/10); High: Naperville Central (10/10).
This townhouse community is south of Ogden Avenue and east of Route 59. The median sale price is $331,750, and the square footage ranges from 1,550 to 2,232.
Kimball Hill Homes and M/I Homes built this community between 2008 and 2012. There are many amenities for residents to enjoy such as walking trails, horseshoe pits, bocce ball courts, a park, and an outdoor grilling area with community BBQs. There’s even a putting green. Mayfair is an excellent choice if you prefer to live in a townhome.
Schools – Elementary: Mary Lou Cowlishaw (GreatSchools rating 7/10); Middle: Thayer J Hill (8/10); High: Metea Valley (10/10).
Niche.com ranks Naperville #40 out of 228 best cities to retire in the United States. Part of that is due to the Carillon Club, a neighborhood for those over the age of 55. This active adult community lies west of Route 59 and north of 95th Street.
You’ll find townhomes that range in square footage from 960 to 2,668. These homes were built in the late 2010s and have a median sale price of $399,000. There are numerous amenities for residents to enjoy including a large clubhouse, two swimming pools, bocce ball courts, tennis courts, parks, and more. Since this is a 55 and older community, schools aren’t a factor when choosing to live here.
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