River Forest, IL
Neighborhoods and Homes For Sale

Around River Forest

Notable For

River Forest began as an unplanned residential community. Settlers bought large properties and built their homes in the 1850s only to subdivide them after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Chicago residents wanted to leave the city and start life over in a community that was less likely to burn down. Further growth was slow over the following years with bursts of construction activity in every decade. In the 1950s, Chicago mob figures Sam Giancana and Anthony Accardo moved in, giving River Forest a bit of a reputation while they lived there. Today, the organized crime stigma is long gone and now has a reputation of being a quiet upscale community with beautiful homes.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in River Forest is significantly higher than the U.S. average. Housing costs make up the largest portion of monthly expenses, but grocery and transportation costs are also higher than average due to high taxes from Cook County. The cost of homes in River Forest run on the high end due to the suburb consisting of single-family homes on large lots and little in the way of multi-family housing options. The housing stock ranges from farmhouses from the 1800's, American four squares from the turn of the 20th Century, mock Tudors from the 20s, and mid-century mansions. A small number of condominium buildings are located mainly on the edges of town.


River Forest is well-served by public transit and major roadways. The Metra station located on Central Avenue operates on the Union Pacific West line that runs east to Chicago and west to Elburn. Pace bus service runs multiple bus lines that stop at destinations including multiple CTA train stations, hospitals, schools, and travel to surrounding communities. Major Chicago streets extend west through the town and provide an alternative to the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) that travels east to Chicago and west towards Hillside. North Avenue (Route 64) is located at the northern edge of town and runs east to west. Harlem Avenue (Route 43) runs north to south on the east side of River Forest.


Elementary aged students attend schools in River Forest Public Schools District 90. There are two elementary schools and one middle school. High school students attend Oak Park and River Forest District 200 which consist of a single high school of the same name. Both school administrations focus on elevating students to perform at their best through the use of challenging curriculums that engage children. District 90 is executing a five-year strategic plan to revamp its goals and vision for the future of the schools and students.


Architectural buffs frequently walk around River Forest to view the outstanding selection of homes built in a variety of architectural styles since the late 1800s. Architects famous and unknown left their mark on the housing stock and a majority of those homes still stand today. Dominican University is a small university that graduates a large number of teachers every year. Concordia University is well-known for its excellent Master's programs in education and doctoral programs in leadership. Thatcher Woods stretches along the town's western boundary and is an excellent place for walking and jogging. For dining, shopping and nightlife, Downtown Oak Park is not quite a mile away.


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Disclaimer: School attendance zone boundaries are supplied by Maponics and are subject to change. Check with the applicable school district prior to making a decision based on these boundaries.


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