Best Places to Live Near Chicago


The City of Oak Forest is a hidden gem in southwest Cook County. With 28,000 residents and 450 businesses calling it home, Oak Forest’s unique location, set in forest preserves just 20 miles from the heart of the Chicago Loop, provides residents with a range of conveniences that enhance their overall quality of life. From nature enthusiasts going wild for the trails, paths and wooded areas, to the urban explorer easily accessing everything Chicagoland has to offer in under 30 minutes, people are living the lives they imagined in Oak Forest.

Affordability brings many residents back “home” to Oak Forest – it’s not uncommon to find families who were raised in the city and decide to return to buy their home and raise their family. People often say they get more home for the money in Oak Forest, especially when considering the easy access back to the heart of Chicago.

Residents of Oak Forest also appreciate the diverse backgrounds of the citizens which can be experienced and celebrated at annual events and a wide array of restaurants and shops. The Irish Festival at Chicago Gaelic Park has been an Oak Forest tradition for many years.

Lovers of everything outdoors are among the first to say that Oak Forest is one of the best places to live near Chicago. The city is home to:20 top-notch parks and, with the help of the Oak Forest Park District, offers incredible recreational programs for people of all ages. Nearly 640 acres of green space surround the city, largely connected by 20+ miles of looped trails for incredible hiking, biking and exploring nature.

Golfers rejoice with the close proximity of George W. Dunne National Golf Club – one the region’s most renowned golf course – it’s literally just minutes away from residents’ doorsteps.

Families tend to flock to Oak Forest, not only because of the picturesque community and wide ranging activities, but also because of the six school districts serving the area (four within the city’s boundaries). Three private schools, including the nationally recognized Saint Damian Catholic School, are rooted in Oak Forest.

While it’s easy to see what draws so many people to Oak Forest, most residents also need to get back to the “real world” on a daily basis. Both business commuters and shoppers value the 24/7 access to downtown Chicago via the frequent Metra trains departing from the newly constructed state-of-the-art commuter station at 159th Street and Cicero Avenue. The Pace bus system also shuttles commuters to and from the station with convenient morning, afternoon and evening routes.

Drivers appreciate the convenience of several nearby interstates, including I-57, I-80 and I-294. Oak Forest is also served by U.S. Route 6 and State Routes 43 (Harlem Avenue) and 50 (Cicero Avenue).

City leaders know residents have many options when choosing a community and have put convenience and community at the forefront of the Oak Forest experience. Oak Forest offers complimentary door-to-door bus transportation for seniors (60 years or older) and disabled individuals (18 years or older) who live in the city, a full-service health and fitness center, a wide-range of leisure and educational programs and the family-friendly Gingerwood Pool during the summer months.

The city’s Green Steps Commission encourages everyone to be more eco-conscious with a wide-ranging scope of programs and offerings. With environmental stewardship as a priority, Oak Forest residents can participate in curbside recycling, Rain Barrel/water conservation efforts and multiple energy efficiency initiatives.

Additionally, the Oak Forest Fire Department provides 24-hour fire protection, paramedic service and emergency response while the Oak Forest Police Department proudly protects and serves the residents and businesses of Oak Forest.

If you’re looking for big city amenities with small city charm, look no further. the City of Oak Forest offers its residents top-notch government services, cutting-edge technology, world-class recreational activities, exceptional schools, unbeatable family environment, all within a well-established community. It can’t be missed as one of the best places to live in Chicago.