The Geneva Motel in Geneva, IL has developed a reputation, but not the kind you might think. Harry and Tonto, with Art Carney, and Novocaine, with Steve Martin, were both filmed there.
Geneva tickles the western edge of Chicago, 36 miles from the city center. It was nominated as one of the best places to live in 2013 by Bloomsburg Businessweek. Now, everyone wants to live here! Originally settled in 1850, its fast growth over the last few years has been propounded by Chicago urban sprawl. But it definitely still has lots of character downtown.
Living in Geneva
With a livability score of 84, people are always looking to rent an apartment in Geneva.
When Should I Start Looking?
Plan to jump on your rental search the minute you decide you want to live here. It may take you a while, because everybody else seems to want to live here, too. Start planning six weeks or longer before your proposed move-in date to find rental housing. About 8% of Geneva's 21,495 residents rent their homes.
Where Should I Look?
Geneva is ranked ninth in the state of Illinois for livability. It's one of those rare places where you'll find decent apartment complexes throughout town. Many folks prefer the central area because it's easier to get around by walking. You may even score townhouses for rent here.
What You Need to Move There
You'll need the "usual" to secure a home in this city. Have your credit score, a copy of your last paycheck stub, and a letter verifying your employment and salary. When it gets serious, you'll need cash in the form of a cashier's or bank check. Expect to pay the first month's rent and that good old security deposit. If you're looking at pet-friendly apartments for you and Rover, you're going to be asked for a one-time pet deposit.
Even for a small town, Geneva has various neighborhoods ripe for the pickin'.
Geneva City Center: This neighborhood's residents have the distinction of having a longer commute than most any neighborhood in America. About 8.0% of commuters here travel more than one hour just one-way to work.
S Batavia Avenue / W Fabyan Parkway: If you're a regular supporter of the arts and enjoy outings to the theater, weekend boutique hunting or even a finely aged wine with dinner, then you might prefer this neighborhood.
Fabyan Parkway /N. Randall Road: This neighborhood is extremely stable. Only 1.8% of America's neighborhoods are wealthier than this area.
Roosevelt Road / Kautz Road: The greatest number of commuters in this area spend under 15 minutes commuting one-way to work (30.7% of working residents), one of the shortest commutes across America.
Life in the City
Geneva's stunning History Museum sits in the restored historic downtown area of town. Cultural activities, research and programs at the Museum are a source of pride for members and residents alike. One of the highlights of the Museum's program calendar occurs every other year in the spring. The Geneva History Center hosts the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club for a weekend display of various buildings all made from Legos, along with a model of a running Lego train.
The Berry House is in the heart of Geneva's historic shopping district. It hosts quaint little shops and coffee stops as well as a whole floor of antiques and collectables, a wine shop and a nut store.
Country Naturals showcases a collection of specialty items in a lovely old home, with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. It's worth a detour a little ways off the main road for the wonderful handmade candles and soaps, patio furniture and more.
There are many tasty taquerias in town, but a favorite is Bien Trucha. One of the more creative specialties here is the watermelon guacamole. This tiny place is a small gray building with no sign and a huge line around the block. Inside, the ambiance is cute and cozy.
The Geneva Ale House boasts 150 brews to sample, as well as creative sandwiches and burgers with deep-fried pickles and sweet potato fries. Casual and fun, the long, narrow eatery is always crowded, so come early. It's worth it.
For more peaceful natural surroundings, take a hike or a bike. Geneva has extensive bike trails along the scenic Fox River and the Illinois Prairie Path.
Sorry to say it, but you are so car-dependent here. The Walking Score is only 37, meaning you'll need a car to get most places you want to go.
Geneva is also serviced by the PACE bus system run by Chicago's suburbs.
Six Amtrak stations and the Union Pacific/West line of the Metra Commuter Rail system provide ways to get from Geneva to downtown Chicago, 36 miles (58 km) away. The average commute is 32 minutes, 14% greater than the average state commute. The closest passenger airports are Midway International and O'Hare International.