Bustling, award-winning city with outstanding public schools
Naperville has evolved from its small town roots to a lively city of nearly 150,000 with many of the popular restaurants and retailers found in downtown Chicago. Growing up in Naperville with family still in the area, it is no surprise that the city has won many awards. Naperville has been named one of the top five cities in the nation for kids, one of the USA’s top-earning and best-educated towns, the safest city in the USA, and one of the top 10 best places to live over the last several years. Naperville’s communities feature gorgeous and spacious single-family homes in a variety of styles.
Listed by Niche.com as the best city in America to raise a family and the city with the nation’s best public schools, people move to and stay in Naperville for obvious reasons. The city offers an endless docket of things to do and see for people of all ages and lifestyles. Naperville’s shopping and dining options provide residents nearly anything they could be looking for and areas such as the picturesque Naperville Riverwalk offer a scenic experience not seen in other suburbs.
Naperville has several distinctive areas with lots of happenings. Water Street is a hip new shopping district with many boutiques and restaurants plus the luxurious Hotel Indigo. Water Street’s businesses run along the Riverwalk on the DuPage River just south of the city’s historic downtown area. Highlights include authentic brick-oven Neapolitan pizzas at MidiCi, wine and charcuterie at SixtyFour, Mexican cuisine and cocktails at Quiubo, and innovative, globally-inspired dishes at Santo Cielo.
Main Street Promenade in the heart of Downtown Naperville features popular mainstays and plentiful boutiques. Anderson’s Bookshop is one of Naperville’s longest-serving businesses and a cornerstone of the community, first opening in 1875 as a pharmacy. The shop frequently hosts author signing events, book clubs and expanded its offerings in the recent years to include classic toys. Just down the street are two popular destinations. The Lantern Bar & Grill (opened in downtown Naperville in 1966) is an old-school tavern with some of the best burgers and coldest beers in town. Jimmy’s Grill, just across the street, offers a wide selection of craft beers on draft, tasty pub grub, frequent live entertainment, and a large outdoor patio in the heart of downtown.
Oswald’s Pharmacy is another 1875 original located alongside Trader Joe’s and other businesses at Naperville Plaza. Another longtime local favorite is Casey’s Foods. Since 1964, this neighborhood grocery store has sold delicious deli eats and a great selection of premium meat, fish, and fresh produce. Colonial Café has been a part of the community even longer, first opening in 1901. This cafe serves American comfort classics breakfast through dinner. It is a frequent go-to location for celebratory ice cream and drinks after sporting events, concerts and other special gatherings of family and friends.
Naperville Riverwalk follows the path of the DuPage River with 1.75 miles of brick paths and picturesque scenery. The route takes in covered bridges, fountains, and outdoor sculptures and artworks. Follow the Riverwalk west for sports and recreation at Centennial Park and swimming at Centennial Beach and southeast for 5.5 miles of hiking trails at Knoch Knolls Nature Center.
Naper Settlement is an open-air history museum covering 12 acres close to the Riverwalk. This living history museum has 30 historic buildings originally constructed between the 1830s and the early 20th century. For a unique experience, actors provide guided tours in character. Just north of Downtown Naperville, DuPage Children’s Museum is packed with fun hands-on exhibits that spark kids’ creativity and curiosity.
Over Labor Day weekend in September, Naperville Last Fling a four-day festival featuring a parade, live music, and a carnival—occurs. Naperville Half Marathon & 5K is usually held in Downtown Naperville in September or October.
Naperville has excellent schools by any measure. Residents send their children to District 203 (ranked #7 in Illinois) and District 204 (#9 in Illinois). There are 35 elementary schools (14 in D203, 21 in D204) and 12 middle schools (5 in D203, 7 in D204) across the two districts in addition to 5 public high schools (2 in D203, 3 in D204). Naperville also has many strong private school options; however, the vast majority only serve up to Grade 8. Often, those privately educated for elementary and middle school will transfer to one of the public high schools or attend a neighboring private high school – the largest of which is Benet Academy located at the border of Naperville and Lisle. Located just Southeast of downtown Naperville is North Central College, a private liberal arts college offering both undergraduate and graduate programs.
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