River Forest is a beautiful village just west of Oak Park. It is about ½ the land size of Oak Park with a little more than 1/5th the population of Oak Park.
As you can tell, River Forest is not as densely populated as Oak Park. Therefore it feels less busy and is a little quieter. River Forest homes will be slightly more expensive than Oak Park homes and they will have larger lot sizes. The village is more permissive of tear-downs, hence newer construction can be found in River Forest. They blend seamlessly with well-maintained sprawling estates.
River Forest is very family oriented containing one of the best public grade school systems in all of Illinois. River Forest is also a college town! Concordia University and Dominican University are thriving institutions that also offer many wonderful programs to families in all of the surrounding areas.
I like to think of River Forest as being divided into three sections: the north, central, and south areas. As with most of the near Chicago villages, the closer to the center of the village, the older the homes and structures. The center of River Forest is the east/west Street called Lake Street.
The northern section is north of Division Street from Harlem to Thatcher. These homes are not huge by River Forest or Oak Park standards but they are good in size with most homes being between 3 and 5 bedrooms with prices ranging from the upper $400k to the $2 or mid-$2 million. There is a section just west of Harlem and immediately north of Division that has some amazing large new homes built when the Dominican community sold much of its land for development around the mid 1990's.
The central portion of River Forest contains some of the areas grandest of homes and properties. Some of the larger homes can be 6 to 8 bedroom mansions with coach houses, iron gates and 100+ x 200+ lot sizes. These homes rarely come on the market but when they do, you better have a very knowledgeable, responsive and experienced real estate agent to tell you exactly what it will take to secure the home.
The southern portion of River Forest extends south of Lake Street to Madison Avenue between Lathrop and Thatcher. It is a small pocket that is nestled into the northern section of Forest Park and the Forest Preserve. Here you will find homes of many sizes and price. For the upper $300k range you may find some fixer uppers or small 2 and 3 bedroom homes. You are more likely to find homes in the mid $400k-$800k range with a few larger homes approaching the $1M+ area. Nice parks and great access to the Metra are great features of this area. This area also borders Forest Park and the Madison Street shopping and restaurant district.
The above is a gross simplification of the River Forest community. You really need to come to this beautiful area and let me show you a few homes and neighborhoods in order to really get a feel for any of the villages. Just email or call and we can arrange a time. Two hours is all you'll need to get started.
River Forest Village Stats:
Population = 11,635
Land Area = 2.5 square miles
Average Age of the Population = 42.2 yrs
% Of Homes That Are Single Family Structures = 65.1%
Average Age of the Homes = 53 yrs
Median Income = $114,337