Located in Lake County, Illinois, Lake Forest is a city that is considered to be part of the Chicago metro area. Situated along the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Forest is about 32 miles north of Chicago — a trip that would likely take about 45 minutes if you are traveling by car.
If you have your eye on Lake Forest as a place to relocate to, you will want to learn all you can about the area. The following information is designed to give you a broad overview.
According to the 2010 United States census, Lake Forest had a population of about 19,375 residents.
Though Lake County itself has one of the highest rates of taxation on property in the nation, Lake Forest – at 5.502 percent – is the lowest of the villages and townships that make up the county. The sales tax charged Lake Forest is at the rate of 0.500 percent. When combined with the rates charged by the state and the county – 6.250 and 0.750 percent respectively – the total amount of sales tax charged by Lake Forest is 7.500 percent.
The majority of students who reside in Lake Forest attend schools within Lake Forest School District 67. In addition to serving students in the village, Lake Forest High School also serves the neighboring communities of Knollwood and Lake Bluff. The following schools – which are comprised of both public and private options – provide educational services for students:
- Cherokee Elementary School
- Everett Elementary School
- Sheridan Elementary School
- Deer Path Middle School
- Lake Forest High School
- School of St. Mary
- Lake Forest Country Day School
- Montessori School of Lake Forest
- East Lake Academy
- Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart
- Lake Forest Academy
Prior to being pushed away from the area by violence and money in 1836, the Native American tribe of Potawatomi occupied the area where Lake Forest stands. In 1857, Lake Forest College was established and the village grew up around it. The college was originally known as Lind University and was founded by ministers of the Presbyterian faith. From the beginning of its development, the planners of Lake Forest had an eye to the privacy of the village.
Though it was first established as a stopping point for people as they traveled south toward Chicago, the town’s planners opted to limit the layout of the roads into it in an effort to reduce the amount of traffic. This was designed to protect the tranquility and quality of life that Lake Forest offers its residents. Today, Lake Forest is considered to be one of the most significant of Chicago suburbs in terms of architecture, history and scenic beauty – all amenities that make it an extremely sought-out place to live.
Lake Forest is Famous For…Green Spaces!
Part of the immense appeal of Lake Forest is its vast amount of green spaces. For nearly 50 years, there has been a concerted effort on the part of a small contingent of interested citizens to protect the undeveloped spaces that surround the village.
As they watched areas all around them quickly become urbanized and saw the loss of habitats of both plants and animals, a group of concerned individuals banded together and formed the Lake Forest Open Lands Association, an organization dedicated to land conservation.
Due to its dedication and singular focus of restoring ecosystems by offering environmental education and preserving animal habitats, the organization acquired more than 700 acres of land over the next 38 years.
Within those acquisitions, six nature preserves are now housed. Lake Sheridan – which encompasses 250 acres – is located along the shores of Lake Michigan. It provides you with access to hiking and biking trails, as well as fishing and cross-country skiing. Middlefork Savanna celebrates the raw, natural beauty of the Lake Forest area. Spanning an area of 687 acres, Middlefork Savanna boasts a 25-acre swath of tallgrass savanna – recognized as the highest quality in the nation and one of the country’s most fragile ecosystems.
The Wildlife Discovery Center provides residents with the opportunity to engage with animals in ways that are extraordinary. From nature-based birthday parties, summer camps and live animal exhibits to keeper talks, college student internships and feeding demonstrations, the Wildlife Discovery Center is a unique museum focused on living history.
Shopping and Dinning in Lake Forest, IL
Market Square, widely considered to be the first planned shopping center in the United States, was completed in 1916. The brainchild of resident Arthur T. Aldis, who wanted to revitizlie the downtown Lake Forest area and replace the aging structures currently there, he hired Howard Van Doren Shaw, an architect, to design it.
Today, Market Square is a mecca of shopping and dining opportunities that make it a popular destination for residents of the village as well as others. In addition to nationally-known brands such as J. Crew and Talbot’s, you can also find boutique stores like Kiddles Sports, Sweet Pete’s Candy and Kelsey Boutique. Starbucks, Left Bank and Einstein Bros Bagels are just a few of the restaurants in Market Square.
As a integral part of the Lake Forest community, Market Square offers events year-round for residents to enjoy. A sampling of events include a car show, Concerts on the Square and the Gorton’s Dog Day Parade, among others. Get a taste of the beauty and serenity that Lake Forest is famous for by visiting one or two – or even all 16! – of the unique courtyards that dot the village. Open air markets are one of Lake Forest’s many special touches. Choose from three different options that include various opening schedules – such as daily, Tuesdays and Saturdays – to make it more convenient for you.
The City of Lake Forest is governed by its policy making and legislative body, the city council. The city council is comprised of a mayor – who is elected to a two-year term, and eight aldermen – two from each of the city’s wards. Aldermen are also elected for a two-year term with staggered elections each year. Currently, the following individuals make up the Lake Forest city council:
- Mayor: Donald P. Schoenheider
- First Ward Alderman: Prue Beidler
- First Ward Alderman: Catherine A. Waldeck
- Second Ward Alderman: George A. Pandaleon
- Second Ward Alderman: Timothy P. Newman
- Third Ward Alderman: Stanford Tack
- Third Ward Alderman: Jack Reisenberg
- Fourth Ward Alderman: Michael R. Aldeman
- Fourth Ward Alderman: Michelle Moreno
Average House Prices
The median sale price of a home in Lake Forest is $745,000 based on the 35 homes that sold in the village from January through April 2016. This figure reflects an increase of $85,000 compared to April 2015’s figures of $660,000. Also showing an increase was the average price per square foot to $250.
This is a nine percent increase over the same time period in 2015. Both of these figures show an increase after recent declines. The median rent in Lake Forest stands at $4,637, a number that is decreasing compared to a high of nearly $5,000 seen in February. April’s median rent is $1,237 higher than the same time period in 2015.
The average household income for Lake Forest residents is $140,846. For Lake County as a whole, the median household income is $77,873.
Lake Forest boasts three hotels within its borders.
Hilton Garden Inn Lake Forest Mettawa
Located on North River Woods Boulevard, the Hilton Garden Inn Lake Forest Mettawa offers a convenient location right off the highway with easy access to Chicago. Spacious rooms, a fitness center, ample breakfast and a helpful staff help make this hotel a top choice for travelers to the area.
Residence Inn Chicago Lake Forest Mettawa
This Marriott hotel offers visitors to the Chicagoland area top-notch accommodations. It boasts large rooms that consist of a bedroom with bathroom, kitchen and living room. The hotel also offers a grocery shopping service and a canteen with a varied selection of foodstuffs.
The Deer Path Inn
Situated along East Illinois Road, The Deer Path Inn provides its guests with the ultimate boutique hotel experience. Along with a genuine interest in its guests and a superb attention to detail, The Deer Path Inn also offers visitors tastefully-decorated rooms with supremely comfortable beds and outstanding showers.
Fun Facts About Lake Forest, IL
- Median age of Lake Forest, IL resident: 45
- Percentage of residents who are college educated: 76
- Percentage of residents who are homeowners: 92
- Lake Forest’s postal code: 60045
- Percentage of residents who are single: 19
- Average rent of a property in Lake Forest, IL: $4,637
Secluded from its neighbors yet a short commute to Chicago, Lake Forest offers the best of both worlds. This close-knit village provides the good life for those who want to put down roots and raise a family there or head off the beaten path in retirement. Relax, get to know new neighbors and drink in all the green spaces that make Lake Forest a highly-sought-after destination for those in the Chicago area.