Skokie, Morton Grove, Niles, Des Plaines, Lincolnwood
The near northwest suburbs are family-oriented communities, with fine schools and park districts, as well as excellent shopping and health care facilities. Depending on the neighborhood, they offer a variety of housing options and commuter-friendly access to other suburban areas and to downtown Chicago.
Skokie, some 15 miles from the Loop, has much to offer religiously, culturally and aesthetically. Described by one resident as a "wonderful mix", the community celebrates its diversity in many ways. Public schools, where an incredible number of languages are heard, have diversity fairs celebrating countries of origin. The population mix is very much in evidence at the annual 4th of July parade, and in other monuments and flags representing the residents' countries of origin.
Skokie also draws high marks for its park district facilities, its city services and its school system. The sizeable Jewish community, which includes many Russian immigrants, Holocaust survivors and young families, likewise enjoys access to an excellent network of Jewish schools (at least four day schools), organizations and services, synagogues, and supplemental education programs and facilities. There are also a number of kosher restaurants, bakeries and food markets, particularly along Oakton and Dempster Streets.
There is a high concentration of Jewish Federation services; the Goldie Bachmann Luftig building housing offices of the Jewish Family and Community Service, Jewish Children's Bureau and Jewish Vocational Service; the Council for Jewish Elderly Lieberman Geriatric Health Centre and Robineau Assisted Living Residence; and the Mayer Kaplan JCC. The JCC serves a diverse, multi-generational population with a wide variety of recreational, educational, social and cultural needs, and draws many participants from neighboring communities.
Old Orchard, a large outdoor mall in Skokie, has undergone extensive renovation and includes as anchors major department stores Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Marshall Fields and Saks Fifth Avenue. Other major area malls are Golf Mill Shopping Center in Niles and Lincolnwood Town Center.
Among the area's health care facilities are Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Center, St. Francis Hospital in Evanston and Rush-North Shore Medical Center in Skokie.