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The first people to settle in Skokie, Illinois were European immigrants from Germany and Luxembourg who came over in 1850. The town was incorporated in 1888 under the name "Niles Centre," but after decades of being confused with neighboring Niles, Illinois (both towns lie within the Niles Township), the name was changed to Skokie in 1940. The source of the name "Skokie" is a bit of a mystery though, but several Native American scholars have suggested that it is derived from the Potawatomi word for marsh or grasslands, which is what Skokie would have been before it was developed.
Skokie's name change was well preceded by a housing boom in the area that coincided with the economic boom years of the 1920s. Much of Skokie was subdivided during that time and the region was developed with thousands of Chicago-style bungalows. The stock market crash and the ensuing depression stalled development for the next couple decades, and it wasn't until the post-war period that Skokie really caught on as one of Chicago's premier suburbs. The second housing boom continued through the 1950s and was punctuated with the construction of the Westfield Old Orchard mall, which is one of Chicagoland's most visited shopping centers. Population and commercial growth in Skokie, Illinois have continued steadily since the post-war baby boom, and it's now one of the largest Chicago suburbs.
The Skokie Park District boasts one of the most impressive collections of natural resources, historical sites, indoor and outdoor facilities in the northern suburbs. Devonshire Park (N Greenwood Rd & Kostner Ave, 847-674-1500) is a notable Skokie park with 13 acres of grounds that house excellent athletic and recreational facilities. Devonshire received a nearly $4 million renovation in 1995, which included the installation of a new aquatic center, reconstruction and enlargement of the community and cultural center, and restoration of the basketball courts. The park also features three outdoor tennis courts, a baseball/softball field, a playground, and several covered picnic areas. Central Park (Emerson St & Central Park Ave, 847-674-1500) is an equally nice park that was also received an overhaul in the early 1990s. The 10-acre park includes two basketball courts, four tennis courts, two baseball/softball fields, and a children's playground. Plus, there's a large picnic area that often hosts large functions in the summer. If you're in the mood to get away from civilization for a little bit and to go for a walk in the woods, then the 13-acre Emily Oaks Nature Center (Brummel St & Kenton Ave, 847-674-1500) is where you want to go. The site was purchased from the Cook County Forest Preserve in 1929, and for the better part of the next 50 years it was allowed to go wild. In the 1980s, a multifunctional environmental facility was built, and later a couple of shelters and an open-air amphitheatre were added. In addition, trails were cut through the woods and a new shoreline deck was added at the edge of the pond. Oakton Park (Oakton St & Skokie Blvd, 847-674-1500) is the largest park in Skokie, with more than 20 acres of fields and athletic facilities. The park is adjacent to Emily Park, and the combined land area makes up one of the bigger green spaces in the northern Chicago suburbs. The site includes the Skokie Water Playground, a water park with two long slides and fountains. There are also four tennis courts, two baseball fields, and a large playground.
Skokie's only golf course is the nine-hole, par 3 Weber Park Golf Course (9300 Weber Park Pl, 847-674-1500), which opened in 1973 on a 26-acre plot of land. The small course rests on Kentucky bluegrass and has a moderate slope and course ratings. Water doesn't come into play at Weber Park and there are only a few sand bunkers, but it can still be a challenging course. Because Weber is owned and operated by the Skokie Park District, the prices are very reasonable (usually about $10), but the course gets a lot of use in the summer, so it's a good idea to call in advance to make sure there are tee times available.
From small bungalows to spacious mansions; first-time buyers to larger families looking for an upgrade; the Skokie, Illinois real estate market is versatile enough to accommodate everyone. With one of the best school districts in Cook County and a parks district that rivals any in the Chicago suburbs, Skokie is the ideal place to start a family or buy a first house.
The diversity of homes and wide range of real estate options found in the Skokie housing market are partly a result of low property taxes, which has made it possible for affordable middle class residences to exist alongside sprawling million-dollar homes.
The majority of Skokie homes are located on quiet residential streets. Tall, leafy trees surround the lots with trim, green grass yards and manicured shrubs. Homebuyers will discover a nice variety of one- and two-story homes and split-level houses with price tags in the $200,000s, $300,000s, $400,000s and up. Many properties at these price points were built between 25 and 75 years ago, but a number of Skokie's older homes are well-maintained and are valued anywhere from $500,000 to $900,000. New construction and recent rehabs in Skokie are harder to find, however, there is a respectable market for modern luxury residences that starts at $699,000 and goes up to $2 million.
The average sale price for a three-bedroom, single-family home in Skokie, Illinois is around $388,000, for a four-bedroom it's $490,000, and a house with five bedrooms or more has an average sale price of approximately $730,000. Although there are considerably fewer attached homes in Skokie than detached, there's a good selection of condominiums and townhouses in the area. The average sale price is about $182,000 for a one bedroom, $250,000 for a two bedroom, and $311,000 for a place with three or more bedrooms.
Skokie Residential Real Estate Info for Single-Family Detached Homes
|Average Sale Price 2005-2006||Average # of Days on the Market||Number of Sales 2005-2006||One Year Price Change||Price Change Since 94|
Source: Multiple Listings Service of Northern Illinois
Skokie is home to one of the biggest Jewish populations of the Chicago suburbs, and as such, it's the place to go in the Chicagoland area for a kosher meal or just a bagel and lox. The 1950s-style Ken's Diner & Grille (3353 Dempster St, 847-679-1425) has been around since the 1970s and is a popular stop for many Skokie residents. The barbeque steaks are some of the best around, as are the subs and milkshakes (which are tofu-based and dairy-free). In true "diner form," the place has counter service. And, on any given day most of the folks sitting up where the action happens have been going to Ken's for a few decades. Another favorite destination for diners who like to keep it kosher is the dynamic duo of Hy Life Bistro (4120 W Dempster St, 847-674-2021) and Slice of Life (4120 W Dempster St, 847-674-2021). The two restaurants are separate, but they're under the same roof; Hy Life serves meat and fish entrées with a full-service bar, while Slice of Life namely serves pizza and a variety of vegetarian options.
On the deli and bagel front, Skokie residents have it better than just about any other community in Chicagoland. Kaufman's Bagel & Delicatessen (4905 Dempster St, 847-677-9880) sets the standard for other Skokie sandwich shops. The most important test of a Skokie deli is whether or not their bagels are up to snuff... well, Kaufman's passes with flying colors! Their bagels are said to be the best in town, and the corned beef sandwich earns similar honors among regular customers and sporadic clientele alike. The next best deli after Kaufman's is Bagel Country (9306 Skokie Blvd, 847-673-3030), which offers more than 30 varieties of bagels. They take the time and care to make bagels the way they were supposed to be made: boiled and then baked. The restaurant is kosher, and it's enormous - seating is available for more than 100 people.
Skokie foodies are also connoisseurs of Asian cuisine, due to the excellent set of restaurants ranging from Chinese to Vietnamese fare. One of the best is Tub Tim Thai Restaurant (4927 Oakton St, 847-675-8424), an upscale Thai food joint in downtown Skokie. Tub Tim Thai offers all of the standards you might expect to find at a typical Thai restaurant (e.g. Pad Thai), but the menu also includes some specialty regional dishes that are rarely found outside of Thailand. Another popular Asian eatery in Skokie is the Vietnamese café, Tu Do' (3320 Dempster St, 847-675-8836). The place serves kosher Vietnamese plates as well as some Thai options. The private dining rooms are both intimate and attractive, and there is a switch that guests can use to request service.
Skokie residents that love to shop have the good fortune of living near one of the best shopping malls in Illinois - Westfield Old Orchard Mall (66 Old Orchard Shopping Ctr, 847-673-6800). The Old Orchard, as it is known to most locals, is the third largest mall in the state, and it has been around for more than 50 years. The retail center has 140 stores in all and is anchored by fashion favorites Bloomingdales (847-675-5200), Macy's (1 Old Orchard Shopping Ctr, 847-329-2700), Lord & Taylor (847-677-9000), and Nordstrom (77 Old Orchard Shopping Ctr, 847-677-2121).
Unlike other covered, suburban shopping malls, Old Orchard has a defined center with a series of walkways that lead to the middle, which makes it feel like you're shopping in narrow city streets. Besides the anchor department stores, some of the other highlights of Old Orchard are Crate & Barrel (847-674-6850), J. Crew (847-675-0109), Victoria's Secret (847-673-2842), Banana Republic (847-675-0455), and Brooks Brothers (847-679-9090). Old Orchard is also home to one of the three only Apple (109 Old Orchard Center, 847-679-1801) retail stores in the Chicagoland area.
The arts play an integral role in Skokie's community fabric. The suburb is home to an assortment of performance troupes that share the joy of bringing live entertainment to the area. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (9501 Skokie Blvd, 847-673-6300) is an award-winning venue that has been a staple of the suburb since it opened in 1996. Now, after more than a decade in operation, the performing arts center is the headquarters for three different music and theater companies: Centre East (847-679-9501), Northlight Theatre (847-677-5276), and the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra (847-673-6300). The suburb's other major cultural attraction is the Skokie Theatre Music Foundation (7924 N Lincoln Ave, 847-677-7761). This non-profit organization hosts world-class musical concerts in its intimate yet state-of-the-art 150-seat auditorium. In addition to the packed calendar of live shows, the Music Foundation holds a number of educational workshops and classes, as well as professional clinics and business seminars.
If you're in the mood to relax and watch a movie, you're in luck; there are a couple of large, ultra-modern cinemas in Skokie, Illinois. The first is the Crown Village 18 (7000 Carpenter Rd, 847-673-8486), a massive Cineplex on the southern edge of town. The theaters are clean and spacious and, with 18 movie screens, there are always enough show times to ensure you'll get a ticket to see the film you want. If you happen to be on the other side of town, the AMC Garden Cinema at the Old Orchard Mall (66 Old Orchard Ctr, 847-673-6800) is another hot spot for catching a Saturday night flick. There are 13 theaters at Old Orchard, split into two separate areas - six on one side of the mall and the other seven on the other side.
The biggest stop on the Skokie festival circuit is the Greater Chicago Jewish Folk Arts Festival (8600 W Oakton St, 847-933-3000), one of the longest-running Jewish fairs of its kind in the country. There are typically two main stages used for musical performances and a couple smaller stages, one serves as a dance stage, and the other is used for family events. In addition to the various performances, the festival includes a petting zoo, a children's activity area, and an arts and crafts fair that features more than 80 different tents and displays.
The other popular community celebration residents look forward to is the Skokie Festival of Cultures (847-674-1500), an annual event commemorating the cultural heritage of people from around the world. It features international music, food and dress from countries across the globe. The festival started in 1990 and is held in Oakton Park every year. In 2007 the event attracted more than 30,000 visitors over two days with more than 30 participating cultures.
- Arie Crown Hebrew Day School 4600 Main St (847) 982-9191
- Cheder Lubavich Hebrew Day School 5201 W Howard St (847) 675-6777
- Devonshire Elementary School 9040 Kostner Ave (847) 676-9280
- Fairview South Elementary School 7040 Laramie Ave (847) 929-1048
- Highland Elementary School 9700 Crawford ave (847) 676-9380
- Jane Stenson Elementary School 9201 Lockwood Ave (847) 967-9380
- John Middleton Elementary School 8300 N St Louis Ave (847) 673-1222
- Lincoln Junior High School 7839 Lincoln Ave (847) 676-3545
- Madison Elementary School 5100 Madison St (847) 675-3048
- Niles North High School 9800 Lawler Ave (847) 626-2000
- Niles West High School 5701 W Oakton St (847) 626-2500
- Old Orchard Junior High School 9310 Kenton Ave (847) 676-9010
- Oliver McCracken Middle School 8000 E Prairie rd (847) 673-1220
- Saint Peter Catholic School 8140 Niles Center Rd (847) 673-0918
- Bugsy's Charhouse 3353 W Dempster St (847) 675-2847
- Hy Life Bistro 4120 W Dempster St (847) 674-2021
- Ken's Diner & Grille 3353 Dempster St (847) 679-1425
- Marcopolo Asian Restaurant 8014 Lincoln Ave (847) 763-1848
- Ruby of Siam 9420 Skokie Blvd (847) 675-7008
- Tu Do' Restaurant 3320 Dempster St (847) 675-8836
- Tub Tim Thai Restaurant 4927 Oakton St (847) 675-8424
- Bagel Country 9306 Skokie Blvd (847) 673-3030
- Bagel Restaurant & Deli 50 Old Orchard Shopping Ctr (847) 410-8788
- Kaufman's Bagel & Delicatessen 4905 Dempster St (847) 677-9880
- Shallots Bistro 4741 Main St (847) 677-3463
- Maggiano's Little Italy 175 Old Orchard Shopping Ctr (847) 933-9555
- La Baraka Lebanese Restaurant 8820 Skokie Blvd (847) 673-9393
- Psistaria Greek Restaurant 4711 W Touhy Ave (847) 676-9400
- El Tipico Mexican Restaurant 3341 Dempster St (847) 676-4070
Middle Eastern Cuisine
- Kabul House Afghan 3320 Dempster St (847) 763-9930
- Pita Inn 3910 Dempster St (847) 677-0211
- California Pizza Kitchen 374 Old Orchard Shopping Ctr (847) 673-1144
- Edwardo's Natural Pizza 9300 Skokie Blvd (847) 674-0008
- Lou Malnati's Pizzeria 6649 N Lincoln Ave (847) 562-1918
- Bonefish Grill 9310 Skokie Blvd (847) 675-8620
- Don's Fishmarket & Tavern 9335 Skokie Blvd (847) 677-3424
- Don's Fishmarket & Tavern 9335 Skokie Blvd (847) 677-3424
- Duffy's Cocktail Lounge 8014 Lincoln Ave (847) 677-6604
- Principl's Pub 4249 Main St (847) 675-7773
- Skokie House 7887 Lincoln Ave (847) 679-4570
- Tavern on Touhy 5300 Touhy Ave (847) 679-9022
- AMC Garden Cinema 66 Old Orchard Ctr (847) 673-6800
- Crown Theatres Village 7000 Carpenter Rd (847) 673-8486
- North Shore Center for the Performing Arts 9501 Skokie Blvd (847) 673-6300
- Centre East - 9501 Skokie Blvd (847) 679-9501
- Northlight Theatre 9501 Skokie Blvd (847) 677-5276
- Skokie Theatre Music Foundation 7924 Lincoln Ave (847) 677-7761
- Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra 9501 Skokie Blvd (847) 673-6300
- Happy Foods 4616 Oakton St (847) 679-1661
- Jewel-Osco 9449 Skokie Blvd (847) 677-3331
- Village Market Place 4034 Dempster St (847) 933-0900
- Curves for Women 4546 Oakton St (847) 677-7855
- Elite Personal Training 9116 Karlov Ave (847) 677-3548
- Fitness first 9300 Weber Park Pl (847) 674-1500
- Lifetime Fitness 5300 Old Orchard Rd (847) 470-8600
- Pace Fitness Center for Women 8056 Lincoln Ave (847) 673-2252
- Skokie Public Library 5215 Oakton St (847) 673-7774
- CVS Pharmacy 4001 Main St (847) 677-8133
- Endler's Pharmacy 3956 Church St (847) 674-5680
- Osco Drug 9449 Skokie Blvd (847) 677-2564
- US Post Office 4950 Madison St (847) 676-2232
- Arrowsmith Shoes 5151 Weber Ln (847) 763-2702
- DSW Warehouse 9601 Skokie Blvd (847) 674-2772
- Famous footwear 7131 Central Ave (847) 673-1744
- Men's Wearhouse 9314 Skokie Blvd (847) 679-7463
- Payless Shoe Source 3333 W Touhy Ave (847) 676-1964
- Plato's Closet 9448 Skokie Blvd (847) 677-7475
- SAS Shoes 4132 Dempster St (847) 679-7463
- Westfield Old Orchard Mall 125 Old Orchard Shopping Ctr (847) 674-7070