The Village of Wilmette (population just over 27,000) is approximately 14 miles north of downtown Chicago. It's bordered on the south by Evanston and Skokie, on the west by Glenview, and on the north by Kenilworth and Winnetka.
With a median family income of $133,777 in 2005, Wilmette is only the fifth most affluent North Shore suburb, trailing Kenilworth ($261,401), Winnetka ($218,623), Glencoe ($218,535) and Lake Forest ($181,579). East of Green Bay Rd, however, the median family income tops $171,000. West of Locust Rd and Skokie Blvd, it drops to $97,000. Overall, Wilmette has a surprising amount of economic diversity.
Wilmette's minority population, with the exception of Asians, is not sizable. African-Americans are less than 1% of the population, Hispanics / Latinos about 2%, and Asians about 9%. In West Wilmette, west of Locust and Skokie, Asians comprise nearly 25% of the population. Over 15% of Wilmette's population is foreign born.
The relative absence of minorities is not a reflection of bias or discrimination. Wilmette today is a socially liberal, welcoming community. It's not even, most would agree, a very status-conscious community relative to some of its North Shore neighbors.
Educational levels are uniformly high, with nearly 40% of over-25 adults having earned a college degree, and a similar percentage having achieved a graduate degree.
Wilmette is a place that values children and education very highly, and many of its families have moved here specifically to take advantage of the excellent public and private elementary schools and, of course, New Trier High School.
Public amenities, services, civic organizations
Wilmette has a rich array of public amenities, including an outstanding park system, beautiful public beaches, and an excellent public library. It has experienced, highly professional police and fire departments, and a variety of other public services. The village has a long tradition of citizen involvement in public life and boasts a wide range of charitable and civic organizations and clubs.
A comprehensive set of links to community organizations and information can be found at the Wilmette Public Library's Wilmette & Kenilworth Community Information page.
There are of course, a number of public and private golf courses within and near the village.
The Edens Expressway (I-94) is near the western border of Wilmette. The Lake Ave and Old Orchard interchanges are a few minutes drive from any part of Wilmette. Travel times to downtown Chicago can range from 20 minutes at off-peak hours to more than an hour, although a half-hour commute is closer to the norm. Many north suburban office corridors are easily accessed via the Edens and I-294.
Wilmette's public transportation system is excellent, ranking second only to Evanston's on the North Shore. There's a CTA Purple Line L stop at 4th and Linden, and a stop on the Metra Union Pacific North Line at Central and Green Bay in downtown Wilmette. Pace bus routes provide access to most of the village. Taxi service is available from 303 Taxi, American Taxi, and Norshore Cab.
Travel time to O'Hare Airport is approximately 30 minutes by car, taxi or limo.
Shopping, dining and nightlife
The nightlife write-up is easy: there isn't any to speak of in Wilmette. There are limited options in neighboring towns and an abundance in Chicago. Be warned: if you stop at Meier's Tavern just across the border in Glenview - the Wilmette police hang out on Lake Ave, watch cars pull out of Meier's parking lot and trawl for DUI arrests.
Dining options are also limited, but seem to be sufficient to satisfy residents in a place that's very family-centric.
You couldn't wish for better shopping than Wilmette can offer - or, if you can ...
The historic Plaza del Lago is on Sheridan Road in East Wilmette and is anchored by a Crate and Barrel.
Edens Plaza, on Lake Ave near the Edens Expressway, is a regional center anchored by Carson Pirie Scott, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Border's Books, and Tweeter. A smaller shopping center is across Lake Ave to the south.
Westfield Old Orchard shopping center, just south of the Wilmette border in Skokie, has over 170 shops ranging from Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom's, and Macy's to upscale boutiques and the North Shore teenager's must-have haunt, a Tiffany store.
Wilmette has dozens of churches and temples, many of them housed in architecturally significant buildings inter-mixed with residences. It's also home to the famed Baha'i House of Worship, which draws visitors from around the world.
For current market informtin, see the Wilmette Snapshot at Trulia.
Although Wilmette's housing stock is predominantly owner-occupied detached single-family homes, rentals (both single-family and apartments) are readily available. There are also numerous small condominium and townhome developments in scattered pockets throughout the village.
The character of the housing stock varies widely by neighborhood, reflecting the different periods during which various parts of Wilmette were developed.
At the higher end of the market ($3M and up), Wilmette has a very limited selection of homes. You'll need to head further north to Winnetka, Kenilworth and Glencoe if you're truly mansion-minded.
Wilmette is a mature community which has almost no vacant land available. New construction, as a result, consists mainly of single-family teardowns and the very occasional infill low-rise condo development. The entry-level tab for new construction is about $1.2 million in West Wilmette, and nearly $2 million east of the Metra tracks in East Wilmette.
Photos and video
ZIP code: 60091
- Last edited November 14 2008
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