"They say that I put Waukegan on the map. But it's not true. Waukegan really put me on the map. That's a fact." (--Comedian Jack Benny) Read Guide >
Waukegans ethnic diversity and strong urban center make the town an exciting place to live. Its children are served by the Waukegan Public School District from pre-school through high school.
Tour your neighborhood choices carefully; there are urban apartments with arts and sports facilities easily walkable, and suburban enclaves with plenty of green space, all within the citys borders. So the question becomes, do you want walk to drive?
Although rental vacancies are relatively available in some parts of town, in others, rental finds will be take more time. Youll want to start looking for rentals several months before you move - after all, demand for a renovated, stimulating urban center, access to lakes and beaches, and a year round commitment to the arts, remains steady.
To find properties in your price range and decide on a neighborhood, drive through the various communities and identify which locations suit you best--kind of like a test run before you buy. Then, its always a good idea to call rental properties, discover both cost and availability in your selected area. Be sure to look at the many different advantages of various property types: you may find apartments or town houses with paid utilities, or you may prefer properties with more land around them. Waukegan offers a host of choices for the savvy renter, and a range of options that will suit wallets of all ages and sizes!
City Center: Urban and dense, with excellent proximity to arts and entertainment, this area is comprised of small apartment complexes, apartment homes, and holds some all utilities paid apartments, too. Many properties are historic, built prior to 1939. Others span construction years up to 1969. In your apartment search, youll find a solid lower middle income neighborhood with many residents employed in manufacturing. If you like classic buildings, loft space, and city life, this is a neighborhood youll enjoy. More singles reside here than in other parts of the city. $
N Sheridan Rd/Grand Ave: This neighborhood, while less dense than the city center, is also urban and fairly compact. Here youll find apartment complexes, high rise apartments, and many renters. Like the city center neighborhood, many units are historic. Residents heritage skews Hispanic in this neighborhood. Housing stock ranges from small apartment complexes to apartment homes. $
Frontage Rd/Old Skokie Rd: Located away from the city center, the population is still dense even on these tree lined streets. A mix of owners and renters reside in newer properties built after 1970 to the present. Real estate here is in high demand - look early to find the apartment home you want. Youll find some residents of Asian heritage in this middle income community. Local cafes serve up Cambodian cuisine, a tasty treat no matter which neighborhood you select to live in. $$
N Delaney Rd/Oak Grove Ave: In this upper middle income neighborhood, youll find an affluent, diverse community, many employed in professional or sales occupations. Newer single family homes, townhomes, and apartment complexes make up the housing stock here. German, Mexican, Irish, and Italian residents provide a family oriented social melting pot, yum. Streets and laws are broader here, and most residents commute to work. $$$
Waukegan is an arty town. Every third Saturday, downtown Waukegan hosts an ArtWauk, highlighting paintings and sculptures as well as live theater, music, and performance art. The yearly Fiestas Patrias Parade and Festival is also held downtown. Celebrating Hispanic cultures and countries such as Mexico, Belize, and Honduras, this festival is popular with Waukegan residents, many of whom in the downtown area share this heritage. Come winter time, crafty art makers are out full tilt, offering holiday gifts at the annual HolidayWauk.Put on your beret and take a stroll downtown.
The urban core is alive with theater, music, restaurants, bars, and boutique shopping options, all walkable - but with a town named Waukegan, what would you expect? The Waukegan History Museum and the Lake County Sports Center are also located here. Also downtown is the historic Waukegan Public Library, housing over 205,000 books, and selected this year as one of ten National Medal for Museum and Library service recipients, the nations highest honor--this is every bookworms haven. Literature strikes again as another famous resident, sci-fi genius Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, and set many of his stories here, renaming the town Green Town.
And downtown gets more exciting every year--impossible, right? There are plans in the works for new retail and restaurants in the downtown area, and the type of development than encourages walking, and community mixed use. These plans signal a commitment to the vitality and diversity throughout this lakefront city town. And you cant beat the area for its rich ethnic diversity, with residents tracing their ancestry to Mexico, Poland, Ireland, Italy, and Asia.
Looking for some outdoor recreation? You wont have to go far. Waukegans lake front offers not one but two sandy beaches, volleyball courts, and soccer fields. Also along the lake: The Steiner Pavilion band shell, hosting concerts every summer with Lake Michigan as a backdrop to its comfortable lawn seating.
Music not your thing? Take a sail at Waukegan Harbor, which sports new floating docks, and the Waukegan Yacht Club. And if youd rather stay on land, a walking pier stretches spectacularly half a mile into Lake Michigan itself. A lighthouse, built at the turn of the century, resides on the far end. All that exercise get you hungry? Waukegan residents swear by Dockside Dogs, and for desert, Dockside Ice Cream.
Famous 1950's and 60's era comedian Jack Benny claimed Waukegan as his hometown on radio and television. Although he was actually born in Chicago, he spent his formative years in town, and a Waukegan middle school is named in his honor, and a statue stands outside the Genesee Theater, dedicated to him. In addition, the Jack Benny Center for the Arts houses the Waukegan Park Districts Cultural Arts Division, offering fine arts instruction for music and theater.
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