So, you’re in the market for a home. Maybe you got a new job, or you live in the big city and want to start a family. Or, maybe you want to move to the suburbs, but aren’t they basically all the same?
Before your Zillow app inundates you with hundreds of listings, make a list of what you really want—not just in a house but in a community. What’s important to you? Quality schools? Diverse neighborhoods? Easy commute? Low crime? These are all things an informed home buyer should consider.
And, while you’re at it, why not consider Elgin, Illinois? Explore Elgin Area has compiled a list of the top 10 reasons to choose Elgin for your new home this year.
The City of Elgin's commitment to quality of life for its residents is supported by a comprehensive yearly calendar of special events. In addition to programs available through the Edward Schock Centre of Elgin, public events also include the Fourth of July Parade & Fireworks, Free Concerts in Wing Park, Free Movies in Festival Park, National Night Out, Elgin Short Film Festival, Art Harvest and Elgin's signature event, Nightmare on Chicago Street among others. If it's a special event, it's happening here in Elgin! Check out a full list of Elgin events.
There’s no shortage of things to do or see in Elgin. History buff? Explore the Elgin Area History Museum and Elgin Public Museum to learn all about the history, the people and the places who made Elgin, Elgin!
Nature lover? Hawthorne Hills Nature Center offers a picturesque 67-acre natural area.
Love to read? One of Elgin’s most popular attractions is the award-winning Gail Borden Public Library. The main branch consists of more than 150,000 square feet of space, offering more than 530,000 books and digital assets as well as meeting and community rooms, a teen center and hundreds of engaging educational programs per year.
Want a place to host your next party or celebration? Historic Lords Park Pavilion is a two-story pavilion situated on 108 lush acres in Lords Park that can accommodate up to 300 people. Would you rather host your event outdoors? Walton Island is a site to behold with a gazebo that is perfect for small gatherings, weddings or parties.
The Fox River Bike Trail offers bikers more than 40 miles of scenic adventures. The trail runs alongside the Fox River in Northern Illinois, crossing six bridges and passing through nature preserves and charming locales. The trail is the perfect outing for spirited cyclists, hikers, families and outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can also enjoy fishing, boating and kayaking at sites along the trail.
Making your fitness to-do list? Whether its playing 18 holes at Bowes Creek Country Club or The Highlands of Elgin, swimming laps at Adventure Island or Wing Park Pool, walking the trails of Hawthorne Hill Nature Center, shooting hoops in the fieldhouse or ascending the 32-foot climbing wall at the Edward Schock Centre of Elgin or enjoying family time in one of 76 city-owned parks, whatever your game, Elgin’s got game.
Sources: City of Elgin, U-46 School District, Elgin Community College, Judson University, US Data, IL Home Relocator, IL Home Town Locator
Arts and culture truly help define Elgin as a city, as evidenced by multiple performing arts venues such as the Elgin Art Showcase, Side Street Studio Arts, Elgin Community College’s Spartan Auditorium and the 1,200-seat Hemmens Cultural Centre, which celebrates 50 years in 2019 and continues to host the nationally renowned Elgin Symphony Orchestra. Art events such as Elgin’s Art and Soul on the Fox, Elgin Fringe Fest and Art Harvest help engage the public in the arts in Elgin.
For local entertainment, look no further than the Grand Victoria Casino, which offers Las Vegas-quality gaming, dining and nightlife. If gaming isn’t your thing, the smart play would be to double down on the cuisine from one of the four on-site restaurants: Prime BurgerHouse, Indulge Buffet, Buckingham’s Steakhouse and Lounge or Crave Deli.
Is it time to eat yet? Elgin’s diverse menu has something for palates of all shapes, sizes and styles. There’s tasty malts at Al’s Café, delicious pasta and stone-oven pizzas at Café Roma, sushi and sake at Kubo and cocktails at Martini Room. From Arabica Café to ZZA Factory, we’ve got so many great tastes in Elgin. Explore Elgin’s website and visitors guide feature a comprehensive list of all dining options in Elgin and the surrounding communities.
Elgin’s Central Business District is the place to be for arts, culture, events, niche shopping and a wide array of eateries and drinking establishments. Architecture junkies, take note: downtown Elgin is replete with Art Deco, Romanesque Revival, Chicago School and mid-century-modern buildings to quench your architectural cravings. Quality of life amenities such as Festival Park, the splash pad, Riverside Drive Promenade and the cobblestone courtyard of DuPage Court are all home to concerts and popular events.
Commuting to Chicago is made easier with Elgin’s proximity to Interstate 90 and easy access to public transportation, including three Metra stations and a new Pace Bus Park and Ride facility in Elgin. Elgin is also bicycle-friendly with miles of bikeable thoroughfares both in town and along the Fox River Bike Trail.
Don’t just take our word for it. Here are some quotes from residents who love Elgin as much as we do:
Elgin’s responsive, award-winning Public Safety department includes the Elgin Fire Department, with more than 130 sworn firefighters operating out of seven stations, and the Elgin Police Department, employing more than 180 sworn officers.
For more than 100 years, two local hospitals have served the healthcare needs of Elgin residents. Sherman Hospital is now part of Advocate Health Care, the largest health care delivery system in the state of Illinois. U.S. News & World Report named Sherman Hospital a 2018–2019 Best Regional Hospital. St. Joseph Hospital was named one of Illinois’ top hospitals in 2015 and is now part of Amita Health.
The city’s Elgin 311 call center is a tremendous resource to help connect residents to Elgin’s local government. During normal business hours, Elgin 311 citizen advocates answer general questions and process non-emergency service requests, including reporting potholes, a missed garbage collection or processing water bill payments.
Elgin is primarily served by School District U-46, the state’s second-largest school district with an enrollment of nearly 39,000 pre-K through 12th-grade students. U-46’s award-winning dual-language program enables more than 10,000 students to develop bilingualism and biliteracy skills in U-46 classrooms. Students can enroll in specialized learning programs at the district’s public high schools—Elgin High School offers the Gifted and Talented Academy, and Larkin High School is home to the Visual and Performing Arts Academy. The Elgin Math & Science Academy, a U-46 charter school, opened in 2018 for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Other Elgin school districts include Community Unit School District 300, a Carpentersville-based district that serves northwest Elgin; Community Unit School District 301, a Burlington-based district that serves west Elgin; and Community Unit School District 303, a St. Charles-based district that serves southwest Elgin. Elgin is also home to more than a dozen private schools.
Elgin Community College offers 138 associate degree and certificate programs. Judson University is a four-year Christian college with more than 50 undergraduate majors, minors, pre-professional programs and adult undergraduate programs.
In 2018, Elgin employed over 57,000 people, primarily in manufacturing, healthcare, social assistance and retail services. But small businesses account for more than half of the people employed in Elgin, and our Downtown Neighborhood Association and Chamber of Commerce cultivate a fantastic support system for companies of all sizes. In Elgin, we proactively encourage shopping small and local all year round.
Nearly 1.6 million square feet of new, speculative industrial space was built and delivered in 2020 - a record amount for Elgin in a single year