Bartlett: Home of the largest traditional mandir, a type of Hindu temple, in the United States.
The rural village of Bartlett is less than 35 miles west of Chicago, but it feels more like a million miles. One is a roaring professional town, while the other is a pleasant, slightly quirky little village with a mixture of agriculture and industry. Bartlett is a picture perfect example of an idyllic Midwestern town, with local business, ballfields and families with two kids and a dog. It is warm, welcoming and slightly old-fashioned -- a place where the entire community comes out to the Heritage Days Fair every year. It has one foot solidly in its past, but is always developing and looking to the future, which has made it a destination city for folks who want to work and play in Chicago, but also want a somewhat rural setting.
Is Bartlett Right for You?
Bartlett may be a Midwestern village, but its relative proximity to Chicago and its high quality of life have made it into one of the premiere towns in the Chicago vicinity. It is a family town and a down-to-earth place that mixes high-end professional work with a good, solid, dirt-under-the-nails agricultural past. Agriculture and industry keep a lot of the residents of Bartlett employed.
One of Bartlett's main draws for the Midwestern commuter is the relative ease of getting in and out of the city. A Metra station in the center of town can whisk commuters in and out of Chicago, making Bartlett a haven for Chicago's professional families. That's about it when it comes to public transportation, though, and outside of the downtown area, Bartlett is not all that walkable. This means a car is almost a necessity, and with Illinois weather, you'd better make sure it's a good winter vehicle, preferably with all-wheel drive. Bartlett is close to a number of major routes, including I-90, I-290, I-88 and Route 59, so getting in and out of town is a breeze. Those routes can get you almost anywhere in the state.
Let's talk about that weather for a minute, especially if you're from the south. It gets positively frigid in the winter months, so make sure whatever rental property you decide on has a good, reliable heating system and preferably an alternative heat source, like a pellet stove. Make sure the windows are in good shape too, unless you want a massive electric bill. Of course, Bartlett can't be consistent. With terribly cold winters that have consistently dropped into negative numbers, it also has incredibly balmy summers where hitting three digits a few days out of the year is normal. Fall is nice and crisp, while spring comes along a bit late.
Bartlett has just two cons: it's incredibly expensive, and rental properties are extremely scarce. A full 94% of the residences in Bartlett are owner-occupied, and with a relatively low turnover rate due to the quality of life in the town, you'll need to start trying to find an apartment long before you intend on moving in. You'll want to make sure that all of your paperwork is nice and tidy, as the landlords can be super selective. Make sure you've got good references too, as these properties are in good condition, and if a prior landlord says you trashed a place, you're most likely out of luck. As far as budget apartments go, you won't find many of them. The majority of homes for rent are just that -- homes. Townhomes and single-family dwellings make up most of the residences up for rent, although apartments in multi-unit buildings pop up here and there. Even those are expensive, as rental prices in Bartlett are generally a bit higher than comparable units across the the rest of Illinois. You might also luck out and find a few rent to own properties available. So, if you want to move, get started now.
Neighborhoods in Bartlett
Bartlett might just be a relatively small village, but it has a few different neighborhoods for you to choose from.
Green Bridge Ln./Camden Ln.:This neighborhood has more of an urban feel to it than the rest of Bartlett. The prices here are quite a bit higher too. The area is mostly made up of owner-occupied homes and townhouses.
Spaulding:Spaulding is more affordable than the Green Bridge Ln./Camden Ln. area. It contains a lot of single-family homes, but you might be able to find some homes for rent here.
Village Center:This area is right in the heart of Bartlett. The rental prices are average, and you'll find small apartment buildings and single-family homes here.
Living in Bartlett
For a sleepy Midwestern town, Bartlett has a great assortment of places to grab food and beverages, and they've done an excellent job of keeping it local, with almost no chain restaurant representation. The usual world cuisines are represented, from Thai to Italian, sushi to Mexican. It's got some fun little places, like the 2Toots Train Whistle Grill, where all the food is delivered by model train, right on up to high-class dining at TL's Four Seasons.
If you decide to sample the many places to grab a bite, youll probably want to go work that off the next day, and with the great outdoor recreation spots around the village, you’ll have the opportunity to. Cook County Forest Preserve is to the north, with Mallard Lake to the east. Both of these provide plenty of hiking ground, as well as lakes for boating and fishing. If all that is a bit too strenuous for you, at least get out on the links at one of the nearby golf courses, and don’t bother renting a cart.
The inner village still holds some history, including the original railroad station, which has been converted into the Depot Museum. A second museum, the Village of Bartlett History Museum, preserves and shares the rich heritage of the area. Both are open year round and are the pride of the village. The inner village is also very walkable, but outside the few blocks of downtown, you'll want a bike at least.
Bartlett loves to provide plenty of activities for residents, with plenty of arts and culture to go around. Local artists are often on display at the Bartlett Village Hall gallery, while two theater groups perform in town throughout the year. The arts council also presents a juried fine arts fair every July. Every year, the Bartlett Heritage Days displays the best the town has to offer from crafters, vendors and flea marketers. Entertainment and historic reenactment are also on the bill for Heritage Days.
If you want to get out of town for activities, it’s only a short jaunt down I-90 to Chicago and all the thrills of the big city. Chicago is quickly becoming the center for all sorts of art and cutting-edge cuisine, from gourmet hot dogs to being the place where molecular gastronomy started to take off. The best part about living in Bartlett is that going to the city is a pretty easy day trip. You can go out for dinner and a theater show and still make it back home to put your head in your own bed.