With lovely neighborhoods, thriving businesses, and some of the best schools in Illinois — Northbrook is a vibrant and welcoming north suburban Village.
Residents and visitors alike enjoy the area’s excellent shopping, dining, and entertainment. And with the Metra train and the Edens Expressway, getting to the Loop (and beyond) is a breeze!
Northbrook Village Guide
Between Northbrook’s lovely residential areas sit some of the north suburbs’ best shopping, dining, and entertainment. Along Shermer Road near the Metra station, Northbrook’s walkable downtown features local boutiques, cozy restaurants, and the popular Sunset Foods grocery store.
National retailers (REI, Whole Foods, Best Buy) can be found on Willow Road, and a stretch along Skokie Boulevard offers fashion outlets and a Trader Joe’s location. In the northern part of the community, Northbrook Court, with over 150 stores and restaurants, is one of the top shopping destinations in Chicagoland.
Local Food and Drink
Northbrook’s eclectic dining scene attracts from across the northern suburbs. Village restaurants range from classic American and Italian to Greek and Thai, and from dives to fine dining.
Some local favorites include Meatheads Burgers and Fries, serving superior burgers and fries in a casual setting, Stir Crazy Cafe, featuring innovative pan-Asian cuisine, and J. Alexander’s, for delicious American classics and an extensive wine list.
After dinner, one can get a drink at a friendly bar. These include Hanson Brothers, offering live music, and Landmark Inn, with tons of beers on tap.
Culture, Community, and Entertainment
The area also has its fair share of entertainment and culture. Some great local organizations include the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, one of the country’s great community orchestras, and The Northbrook Park District Leisure, putting on children’s and family theatre. Just to the east is the Ravinia Festival, one of Chicago’s oldest outdoor music venues.
Within the community, one can find a 14-screen theater AMC in Northbrook Court and Pinstripes, an upscale bowling alley and bocce center.
The Village also hosts some great events to bring the community together. These include a Fourth of July celebration (fireworks!) and the Northbrook Days Festival, a five-day celebration featuring rides, games, live music, great food, and beer & wine.
Parks and Recreation
With an outstanding Park District, pristine nature preserves, and miles of biking and running trails, lovers of the outdoors have much to enjoy in Northbrook. The Park District offerings include over 500 acres of beautiful parks, a 27-hole championship golf course, and even unique offerings such as the Ed Rudolph Velodrome, a professional bike racing track. For kids and teens, sports, arts programming, and summer camps are available. A local gem is Village Green Park, which offers an old-fashioned gazebo, a playground, concerts, and other community events.
The Northbrook area was first settled in the 1830s as a farming community. In the 1850s, the area became home to a brick factory, which flourished in the wake of the Chicago Fire. Incorporated as Shermerville in 1901 with 300 residents, the community voted to change the name to Northbrook in 1923. The name change was prompted by an effort to shake the Village’s reputation for raucous saloons and taverns.
With many moving to the suburbs after World War II, Northbrook experienced rapid population growth. In 1950 the population was around 3,000; by the end of the 1960s, more than 20,000 lived in the Village. This growth necessitated new construction; many new schools including Glenbrook North High School were built in the 1950s and the Northbrook Court mall went up in 1976.
By 1987, the last working farm had been sold. In recent years, Northbrook became a business center as Allstate, United Parcel, and Underwriters Laboratories moved their headquarters to the area.
For such a small community, Northbrook has been in the spotlight quite a bit. Director John Hughes grew up in the community and used Northbrook as the backdrop for classic films including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Weird Science. Other notable residents of Northbrook have included 30 Rock cast member Scott Adsit, Northwestern Men’s Basketball head coach Chris Collins, and the Cleveland Indians’ Jason Kipnis.
On its quiet tree-lined streets, Northbrook offers a variety of housing types. The Village’s single-family homes range from mid-century ranch all the way to contemporary. One can find townhomes and condominiums at a variety of price points, and the high end of the market include impressive luxury mansions.
With beautiful homes and world-class education in a thriving suburban landscape, Northbrook is the perfect place for your laid-back suburban retreat!