Energetic village suburb with old-school charm and ample shopping
Only 30 minutes west of Downtown Chicago and east of communities including Aurora, Wheaton, and Naperville, Downers Grove is a vibrant suburban village great for commuting into the city. The village has been ranked among the top ten livable cities for kids, in part due to its excellent school system and status as one of the nation’s friendliest towns.
Founded in 1832 and officially incorporated in 1844, the village’s growth was primarily facilitated by the development of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad. Decades later, two toll roads enabled access to the Chicago metropolitan area: I-335 and I-80. Modern Downers Grove has become a highly progressive and bustling suburb of Chicago that houses the University of Devry and an incredible array of businesses. It’s the headquarters for big companies like FTD, Ambitech Engineering Corp, Heartland Food Corporation, and Pepperidge Farms.
Residential housing consists of many highly affordable single-family homes, though there are also several larger million-dollar estates, upscale condos, and apartments available. Built primarily between the 1950s and 1980s, styles can include charming farmhouses, vintage bungalows, historic Victorians, and newer contemporary builds.
Residents often meander the tree-lined streets of the village’s attractively nostalgic downtown district, browsing from an assortment of boutiques, restaurants, and local haunts. It’s an incredibly family-friendly place to live, though Downers Grove is also an excellent environment for young business professionals who crave a little suburban peace.
The primary retail allure of Downers Grove is its downtown area, which houses fashionable clothing boutiques like Style Studio right next to pubs and independently owned bookstores. One of the most beloved booksellers in the area, Anderson’s Bookshop frequently features meetings with authors, book signings, and educational events for the community.
There is an abundance of local eateries in Downers Grove that have grown a loyal customer base out of residents and returning visitors. Ingram’s Busy Bee Bakery on Main Street is always a crowd-pleaser when you need a sweet treat. Their menu is full of cookies, bread, and pastries, though the bakery’s specialty is gorgeous customized cakes for parties and weddings.
The pubs downtown are the place to be on the weekends and evenings, boasting fresh tap brews and savory comfort fare. Ballydoyle Irish Pub & Restaurant is best known for its nightly live music, which helps establish the perfectly cozy nightlife ambiance for diners enjoying their menu of Irish and American bites. Hip and effervescent, Pierce Tavern pairs its creative American favorites and elevated craft cocktails with a chic brick interior and modern rustic setting.
Community reigns supreme in Downers Grove, and the village has a bevy of choices for creating memories and connections. From festivals to sports clubs to family-fun entertainment facilities, the types of activity in Downers Grove have a small-town feel.
The elegance of years gone by is personified by the glamorous Tivoli Theater, a classic-looking cinema whose lit-marquee has been denoting the movie of the night for audiences since its inception in 1928. Friends and family can partake in a game of bowling at Tivoli Bowl, whose quaint alleys are right next door to the theater. Those looking for recreational sports can join clubs like the Downers Grove Swim and Racquet Club for private, members-only amenities and family-friendly activity.
Downers Grove also hosts multiple community events throughout the year, inviting residents to mingle at smaller affairs like the Downers Grove Friday Cruise Nights, which provides live entertainment and an impressive assortment of classic cars. The village’s rotary club produces the annual GroveFest, the summer season’s premier spectacle of live music, food vendors, craft beer, and a carnival midway with rides, games, and more.
Downers Grove is home to several excellent schools. Top educational opportunities include: