Lake Forest Guide

The City of Lake Forest is home to more than 20,000 residents who enjoy their town’s year-round beauty and relaxed atmosphere. The family-centered community, which is 31 miles north of Chicago, is known for its lush ravines, towering trees, and high bluffs. Lake Forest is also home to winding streets, manicured lawns, charming homes, and elegant estates. The town has some of the best schools in the state and more than 100 community organizations where residents can meet and share interests.

The famed Market Square, built in 1916, was the first planned shopping mall in the country. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the square retains a turn-of-the-century ambiance and hosts events such as the Taste of Lake Forest and the Deer Path Art League’s Fall Festival of Art. Retail shopping is also available at a variety of small shops, family-owned businesses, and large department store chains.


Public school students in Lake Forest attend classes in School District 115, which also serves the nearby communities of Lake Bluff and Knollwood. Those seeking post-secondary education can attend Lake Forest College, a private liberal arts institution, or Lake Forest Academy.


Lake Forest was incorporated in 1861. Village founders created a “city in a park” that incorporates the region’s trees and bluffs into its design. In the early 20th century, Lake Forest became a popular bedroom community for Chicago’s upper class. Today, a number of notable residents still call Lake Forest home, but the scenic village also welcomes middle-class families and young professionals.


The Lake Forest real estate market contains a variety of prices and styles. Single-family detached homes feature English, Victorian, Tudor, colonial and cottage-style designs. A small selection of condominiums and townhomes is found around the city with prices starting in the mid-$100,000s. Prices can exceed $500,000 for newer properties with amenities such as garages, basements, and fireplaces. Prices range up to $5 million and more for stately estate properties with acreage and amenities including cathedral ceilings, sweeping scenic views, multicar garages and fireplaces. Land and lots are also available for custom building.


The Lake Forest Parks Department operates several community parks, an 18-hole golf course and a beach with a boat launch. The Gorton Community Center offers programs for all ages, including fine arts classes, fitness classes, and team sports. Senio

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