"My kind of town, Chicago is.
My kind of people, too,
People who smile at you." (My Kind of Town, Frank Sinatra)
Chicago is a world-class city that is home to more than 2 million people and that’s just in the city itself. When you count all of the surrounding suburbs, there are over 9 million people who choose to live here. If you've decided that the city itself is too busy or too expensive that’s when its time to check out the burbs. Palatine is a village in northwest Cook County that is definitely worth a second look for folks interested in settling into the good life--because who doesn't want to?
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Living in Palatine
Palatine made news in 2008 because they considered seceding from Cook County due to the county’s tax increase--talk about a daring city. With the increase, Palatine’s tax rate is now 9.5 percent, which is one of the highest tax rates in the entire country. In fact, taxes are very high in all of the greater Chicago-land area. But the millions of people who call this metro area home find that the high taxes are a necessary evil that comes as one of the inevitable tolls of living in such an exciting city. Taxes, it's a love-hate kind of thing.
Palatine is a comparatively affordable suburb for working families. It’s certainly not the lowest cost suburb, but it-s also not the most expensive, either. If you want to move here, you’ll need to prepare in advance. How far in advance you need to prepare depends on how many bedrooms you need. Renting a one bedroom apartment in Palatine is usually not incredibly difficult. However, the number of vacant apartments in Palatine is about half that of the national average, so you may want to expect a waiting period. In general, the more bedrooms you need, the more time you should allow for finding your dream home for rent. Three-bedroom apartments for rent may be most likely to have waiting lists, just because the cost of buying houses in Palatine is higher than many families can afford. So don't be lazy and get searching now!
Most landlords and apartment complexes want tenants whose monthly incomes are about three times higher than the rent. Other factors they consider are a good job record and references from previous landlords. If any of your references are less than perfect, don’t worry too much; you can probably still find some place to rent to you. Palatine is a good town, but it’s not as exclusive as certain other suburbs and therefore doesn't practice snobbery to the same extent.
Palatine is such an ideal location because it’s close to everything. Its only 18 miles from O’Hare International Airport, so people who have to travel frequently for business will appreciate it. The village is also close to many major routes in the Chicagoland area, including I-290, IL-53 and US-14. However, no matter how convenient the location is for you, expect to spend a lot of time in your car. Average commute times are longer than the national average in Palatine, as well as in the rest of the Chicago area.
If you dont want to be stuck in traffic, fortunately Chicago has a lot of great public transit options. METRA stations have stops in Palatine, as do PACE buses. The commute may still take a while if you use public transit, but at least you could spend the time reading a book or catching up on email instead of feeling road rage.
There’s really no such thing as a bad neighborhood here. However, some neighborhoods are better than others. Here are some of the more popular neighborhoods in Palatine.
Staples Corner: This area is centered around Lake Cook Road with North Hicks and Rand intersecting at different points. The rent here is a little less than average and it’s a quiet neighborhood that’s a bit more rural than others.
Barrington Woods: This area has a lovely, old feel and is very green with lots of trees and big yards. Houses for rent here go for a little more than average and ’it’s a very pleasant neighborhood with easy access to amenities in Palatine.
Village Center: This is a popular area that’s right off the train station and close to a number of small suburban parks and the Palatine Public Library. Twin Lakes Golf Course is nearby as well for people who love an early morning tee time.
Living in Palatine
Many subdivisions have homeowners associations, or HOAs, to set standards for residents. HOAs have rules about what residents can do in terms of things like yard maintenance and exterior home dcor, with the goal of keeping the property values high. In villages like Palatine with a lot of homeowners associations, apartment complexes are often set closer to the main shopping areas.
Speaking of which, there’s a lot of great shopping in Palatine and nearby. Right in Palatine, you can find a variety of cute boutiques like Anne’s Unique Boutique and the Chandelier Boutique, as well as stores catering to the runners and bikers in the area. The village also has several music shops for student and professional musicians to get their supplies. Woodfield Mall, the largest mall in Illinois, is just 8 miles up the road. What are you shopaholics waiting for?
Dont let it fool you that most non-chain restaurants in Palatine are located in strip malls: there are plenty of really good places to eat here. From the Capri Deli and Pizza to Napoli Pizza, there are lots of non-chain restaurants to get a real Chicago pizza. Mexico Uno will solve your craving for chips and salsa, and Asahi Japanese Restaurant will fulfill your sushi wishes. Caf Fourteen and the Red Apple Pancake House and Caf are delicious places for breakfast, and for those with a sweet tooth, Signature Sweets will top off any evening with gelato and froyo.
You dont have to leave Palatine to enjoy yourself on the weekends. The village itself has fun stuff to do, like the Downtown Palatine Street Fest every August, which has music for the grown-ups, an adorable pet parade and a Kids Zone for the youngsters. Theres also the Palatine Park District Fall Festival and a summer concert series. Get ready to dance!
When you want to sneak out of the burbs for some real excitement, it doesn't take long to get into the city of Chicago for arts and culture. Whether its shopping at the famously upscale "Miracle Mile" which doesn't get old, even when you live here or viewing an exhibit at one of the citys many museums, youll never get bored when you’re this close to the country’s third largest city. Taste of Chicago lets you explore some of the best food the city has to offer. In the summer, Chicago residents flock to the beaches of Lake Michigan, which is a great place for swimming, sunbathing, or just some truly excellent people watching.
Palatine is a great place to call home because you get the best of big city life without the drawbacks. With Palatine, you really get the best of all worlds.