Named for the Potawatomi word for “beautiful place”, Winnetka, with its stunning beaches, scenic downtown, and stately homes, more than lives up to its name. The Village is not just a looker. Nationally-recognized schools, extensive recreation facilities, and ideal location (just 16 miles north of downtown Chicago) make this North Shore haven the complete package.
The Village of Winnetka has a long, rich history. First settled in 1836 by Erastus Patterson and family, who opened a tavern on the Green Bay Trail post road after a long wagon journey from Vermont. After a period of slow population growth, the Village of Winnetka was incorporated in 1869 with 450 residents.
The modern Village began to take shape around the turn of the century. In 1901, New Trier High School opened its doors, welcoming 76 students. Winnetka Park District, the fourth oldest park district in Illinois, was established in 1904. The Village grew slowly, and reached its current population in the early 1930s. Interested in Winnetka’s history? The Schmidt-Burnham house, a 1837 log cabin preserved by the Winnetka Historical Society, is open for visitors at Crow Island Woods park.
For such a tranquil, idyllic community, Winnetka has had an outsize cultural footprint. Its shady streets have graced the screens of numerous Hollywood movies including Home Alone, The Breakfast Club, and Risky Business. And, as setting of TV shows such as NBC’s Sisters, Disney’s I Didn’t Do It, and, more recently, FX’s The League, Winnetka shows that is not just an ideal suburban village, but, in many ways, the ideal one.
Throughout the year, Winnetka is host to a number of events and festivals. At Hubbard Woods Park, The Winnetka Music Festival offers two days full of music, drinks, and excitement. On the Fourth of July, the Village puts together a full day of fun including a children’s parade, live music, and, of course, fireworks! Beyond these Village-wide events, neighborhood block parties contribute to Winnetka’s strong sense of community.
The picturesque downtown, complete with boutiques, galleries, and fine eateries, offers a way to while away an afternoon as well as fill standard day-to-day necessities. Nearby Evanston offers additional restaurant options and an 18-theater movie complex. Looking for even more excitement? Downtown Chicago is easily accessible with 3 Metra stations and the closeby Edens Expressway.
Lovers of the outdoors have much to enjoy in Winnetka. The Village has extensive recreation facilities including 23 community parks, 3 swimming beaches, a boating beach, a dog beach, and even a 18-hole public golf course and outdoor ice rink. The Green Bay Trail, a 8.9 mile bicycle and jogging trail, runs through the Village offering a scenic place for exercise. For children, besides the excellently maintained parks, the Park District offers professionally-run sports leagues and summer camps.
Looking for great schools? The City’s District 65 offers four excellent elementary schools, two highly-rated middle schools, and the renowned New Trier High School. New Trier is often acknowledged as one of the premier public high schools in the country, recently ranking #7 in Newsweek’s ratings list. The area also offers several prestigious private schools. Without a sliver of doubt, Winnetka takes education seriously.
Winnetka offers a variety of home types, from charming entry-level single-family homes to lakeside mansions, as well as condominiums, townhomes and numerous quality rental opportunities. For those looking for a scenic and tranquil place to call home with outstanding recreation and world-class school choices, Winnetka is the place for you!