If God had a summer home, we’re sure it would be in Wheaton, IL. Ok, not completely sure, but for what it’s worth, we bet he’s at least been there on vacation more than once. Wheaton, which has roughly 75 churches within its city limits and surrounding area, representing almost 40 different religious denominations. Wheaton supposedly has the most churches per capita than any other city in the U.S. In addition to its spiritual side, Wheaton is a tight-knit and affluent community that’s just an hour’s train ride from downtown Chicago.
Though it may be close to a Midwestern metropolis, Wheaton is a safe little haven. Or rather, a safe little heaven (Zing!). A large portion of its population consists of college students, while the rest largely consists of families and young married couples. It’s primarily an owner-occupied kind of place, full of charming neighborhoods and downtown condominiums, but rentals are by no means scarce. Let’s take a closer look at renting in Wheaton. Zoom in! Enhance!
Style and Prices: Wheaton has a nice mix of housing types for different budgets and lifestyles. If you’re willing to dish out a little more dough, town homes and condominium-style apartments are the easiest rental housing to find in Wheaton. These are often decked out with luxury building amenities and premium features. Most come with in-unit laundry, all appliances included, outdoor space, parking, and plenty of room to spread out (at the very least!). These types are situated in large complexes or subdivisions, so they all look pretty similar.
If you’re seeking something with more character (or something a little cheaper) many more “traditional” apartments are available as well. Like their stylish counterparts, these options do have premium notes – a nicer kitchen, parking, or in-unit laundry – but tend to be older or smaller units in smaller buildings. A decent number of rental homes are available in Wheaton, though they may be a little harder to find.
Utilities and Fees: Due to the owner-occupied nature of the town and low average apartment age, finding a living situation with any utilities included isn’t very common. Many landlords or companies may require you to include a credit check fee with your application to rent, and a small fee or deposit if they allow you to have a pet.
General Areas of the City: While the city is small enough that it doesn’t make a huge difference, many residents do make a distinction between North and South Wheaton, with the dividing point being the train tracks that cut through the middle of town. You can expect the area surrounding downtown to be priced a little higher for convenience and proximity. The south side of Wheaton is newer, and thus, tends to attract more upper-middle class residents. The north side is a little more historic, with older, cheaper housing, and isn’t as close to many popular shopping and recreation areas. And if you’re worried about living close to the college, rest assured that locals insist its religious nature makes for a very polite and mild breed of student.
If you’re planning a move to Wheaton, here are some other useful facts and trivia to pack into your knowledge box.
A Brief History: Originally two large tracts of land owned by the brothers’ Wheaton, they generously gave small portions to a new railroad that named the nearby depot after them. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the offer of free land for those willing to build brought a small population, which incorporated into a town shortly thereafter. Wheaton saw significant growth through the latter half of the 20th century, including the development of large condos and shopping in the downtown area.
**Amenities and Recreation:* For a quiet, family-oriented suburb, Wheaton has a lot to do. Its extensive parks system includes a zoo, golf courses, two public pools, and many forest preserves. It’s unsurprising to hear this has snagged a decent number of awards from the National Recreation and Park Association. Wheaton’s small downtown area is home to many small businesses and restaurants, and the Wheaton Public Library has been recognized as one of the top ten libraries of its size in the nation.
Education: Wheaton’s public school district has been consistently ranked one of the top districts in the state, which is attractive to those with the K-12s. As far as higher education goes, Wheaton College is a prominent player in the community, with its campus located just East of downtown, and the Illinois Institute of Technology has a Wheaton campus, as well.
Transportation: Chicago’s suburban commuter rail system, Metra, makes two stops in Wheaton: one downtown, and one at the Wheaton College campus, both of which terminate in downtown Chicago. The city is also served by Pace suburban buses, which run through town and to nearby cities.
Wheaton is known for its quiet, friendly nature, and “homey” feel, apart from its religious affiliations. While some describe it as “snoresville,” others see it as a safe, family-friendly environment that’s perfect to settle down in. Whichever one you agree with is up to you.