Chicago: Suburbs

Best Routes Organized by Area

Brian Jelonek

Chicagoland is a vast collection of suburbs spanning several counties. We’ve put together this list of some best routes in Chicago’s major residential communities, corporate office locations, and business travel hot spots.


Evanston & Wilmette: Another cluster of big name offices falls around the coastal city of Evanston, home to Northwestern University, and its inland neighbors of Glenville, Skokie, and Wilmette. Do a loop around the NWU campus, and then enjoy the residential streets between Sheridan Rd. & Green Bay Rd. Wilmette is a nice destination suburb, home to the stunning Baha’i House and the Plaza del Lago shopping center. Big cluster of hotels in Evanston.

Highland Park, Glencoe, Winnetka. A route featuring the wonderful for running streets of Chicago’s North Shore neighborhoods, including a tour of Highland Park following the North Shore Classic Half Marathon course. Glencoe and Winnetka are also great for running.

Northbrook: An uncanny number of tech companies have settled in the Northfield and Northbrook areas north of Chicago. Popular spot for hotels.

Deerfield: Just north of Northbrook, Deerfield is another magnet for Fortune 500 companies, but otherwise has lots of pretty natural spaces. Lots of hotels in the Lake Cook Road area.

Zion & Near Wisconsin Border. Some scenic running at the north end of Chicagoland: nature trails and multi-use trails through dunes & wetlands at Illinois Beach State Park and around North Point Marina.


Lisle, Wheaton, & Warrenville. This is the area west of I-355 and north of I-88 and just east of Aurora.  DETAILS

  • Best Routes in Area:  Morton Arboretum, Herrick Lake Forest Preserve, Danada Forest Preserve, Blackwell Forest Preserve are all in proximity. The Aurora Branch of the Illinois Prairie Path is a good connector. INFORMATION & MAPS
  • Stores in Area: Naperville Running Company has locations in Wheaton & Napoerville. They also have grou runs (calendar).

Naperville: One of the largest residential suburbs of Chicago, Naperville is known for its rich craft beer and food scene, arts and culture festivals, and a lovely 1.75 mile Riverwalk along the DuPage River. Lots of hotels in this area.

Aurora: The most populated suburb of Chicago, Aurora is known for its vibrant music and arts events, and its scenic location on the Fox River. A few hotels but more options are in Naperville.

Elgin: A popular residential area northwest of Chicago, with lots of museums and historic buildings. Cluster of hotels off I-90.

Oak Park: Along with nearby Cicero, this is one of Chicago’s most affluent residential areas, with pretty streets and noteworthy architecture, including several Frank Lloyd Wright homes. There are a few hotels in town.

Schaumburg / Hoffman Estates: This heavily populated northwestern suburb is best known for shopping and eateries at the Woodfield Mall and Legoland Discovery Center. Nearby Hoffman Estates is a huge center of business and corporate offices, including Sears Holdings, AT&T, GE Capital, and Liberty Mutual. Big cluster of hotels between here and Arlington Heights.

Itasca / Elk Grove: These neighborhoods on the west side of O’Hare airport are major centers of industry, housing Fortune 500 companies and numerous corporate offices. Many hotels in proximity to the airport.

Arlington Heights: A major residential area with many corporate offices north of O’Hare airport, Arlington Heights also has a big food and shopping scene. Hotels are mostly west towards Schaumburg.

Oak Brook: This high-end residential neighborhood west of Chicago also hosts lots of businesses. Nearby Elmhurst is a cute residential area brimming with eclectic culture. Many hotels in the vicinity of I-88.

Rosemont/O’Hare: If you need to stay near O’Hare, good selection of hotels in the Rosemont area, with access to the Des Plaines River Trail.


Chicago East Side/Calumet Area: Wonderful series of trails around Wolf Lake, Egger’s Cove, and along Lake Michigan between Whiting Lakefront Park and Calumet Park.

Joliet: 30 miles southwest of Chicago, Joliet is a large residential area with attractions ranging from a local history museum to a speedway. Hotels are mostly off I-80 or Rt. 30.



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