City Guide / Chicago

Chicago Neighborhood Guide: Naperville

By Kailey Hansen | Oct 18, 2021
Waterfront view in Naperville, Illinois

If you’re planning on moving to Chicagoland and prefer a relaxed lifestyle with quick access to a major metropolitan area, Naperville, IL, is calling your name. This popular western suburb has consistently garnered awards, making it on Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” list seven times, Apartment Therapy‘s “Coolest Suburbs” of America list, and SmartAsset’s ranking of top cities where millennials are buying homes.

If you’re worried about moving into a sleepy Illinois suburb, you won’t get one here. Boasting over 250 restaurants, a lively downtown district, a gorgeous riverwalk, and an express train line into downtown Chicago, this thriving family-friendly community is a charming and exciting neighborhood with plenty to offer to those moving here.

Nestled 30 miles outside the Chicago area, Naperville has become an epicenter for professionals working downtown who prefer to live outside city limits. Surrounded by major highways, the commute to Chicago is around 40 minutes during off-peak hours, and the same if you are hopping on the Metra railway to Union Station. Fear not—there’s plenty to do without leaving Naperville as well. From outdoor trails to shopping to fun nightlife, this bustling Illinois suburb has enough to keep you busy.

Thinking about moving to Naperville, IL? Here’s what you need to know!

Where to eat in Naperville, IL

This area is a great place for food lovers. The walkable and expansive Downtown Naperville District includes over 50 restaurants with an array of cuisine. Start your weekend off right with brunch at Egg Harbor Cafe, the quintessential quaint eatery that serves everything from omelets to crepes to pancakes and endless refills of coffee. You’ll want to put your name in early, though—this place is always busy due to its great food and cozy atmosphere.

There are limitless options for dinner out on the town, from iconic Chicago-style pizza at Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s to a slew of independent restaurants (many with dog-friendly patios!)

Riverside dining in Downtown Naperville is one of the best ways to enjoy the neighborhood. Sushi lovers can experience a blissful evening on the river at Blue Sushi Sake Grill, while burger and beer enthusiasts can spend warmer evenings on Empire’s rooftop.

Tucked away in a corner of the downtown area is Fiamme, a lovely Italian restaurant with specialty pizza, pasta, cocktails, and a great wine selection. During good weather, the best way to experience this place is hunkering down in one of their patio cabanas, complete with string lights and good vibes. Those looking for a more eclectic and unique meal can check out Allegory, which boasts a tiny cobblestone patio, modern farm-to-table American fare, and the chicest atmosphere ever. If you’re having company in town, this is the place to bring them!

Ready for dessert? Simply wander the downtown streets and you’ll find yourself stumbling across Cookie Dough Creations (which has your fill of edible cookie dough and ice cream), Molly’s Cupcakes, or Kilwin’s confectionery. Explore just outside of downtown and you will find a popular Crumbl Cookies location!

Honorable mentions include the award-winning seafood restaurant Catch 35, date night hot spot Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House, and Mesón Sabika, a mansion-turned-venue specializing in tapas and offering guests a beautiful garden patio. 

Where to get groceries in Naperville, IL

Naperville is home to one of the new Amazon Fresh locations, complete with high-tech carts that let guests skip the checkout line altogether. There is no shortage of grocery stores available in town, including Jewel Osco, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Fresh Thyme Market, Whole Foods, Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Market, and more.

Where to get coffee in Naperville, IL

Take a stroll along Water Street, an upscale block of Downtown Naperville, to indulge in Sparrow Coffee. This organic and eco-friendly company roasts handcrafted beverages, including delicious black roasts and a menu of artisanal drinks.

Fans of Peet’s Coffee can experience a sit-down cafe to enjoy some of their favorite espresso beverages, teas, and bakery items. 

The newly renovated Starbucks Reserve is a prime find in Downtown Naperville. It offers guests a spacious, industrial-style cafe that’s perfect for working remotely, reading, or catching up with a friend. And, their Reserve menu includes specialty items such as pizza, beer, and wine.

Outdoor attractions in Naperville, IL

Naperville’s Riverwalk is the community’s pride and joy. Weaving through the downtown district past fountains, bridges, and through a tree-lined path, this DuPage River trail combines the outdoors with a bustling small-city feel.

For those seeking more in-depth hiking and biking trails, DuPage County is chock full of them. Naperville also neighbors Cantigny, a 500-acre park that houses a greenhouse, gardens, outdoor events, and more, and the popular Chicagoland Morton Arboretum destination, located just minutes away. The Morton Arboretum is consistently a favorite among city dwellers and suburbanites, as it features outdoor art exhibits, gardens, nature trails, and conservation education.  

Local gyms in Naperville, IL

Both gyms and studios are plentiful across town. Enjoy circuit training and fitness classes at OrangeTheory, Crunch Fitness, and F45 Naperville. Take yoga classes at CorePower, or work out on your own time with gyms such as Planet Fitness.

Live music and nightlife in Naperville, IL

Ready for a fun night on the town? Chicago offers plenty, but you can also find exciting nightlife locally. Grab a few drinks and dance at Features, a movie-themed bar, then hop next door to the old-school tavern, Lantern

If it’s live music and margaritas that strike your fancy, go to Potter’s Place, the buzzing two-level bar that’s one of the busiest Downtown Naperville finds on any given weekend.

Looking for a relaxed night out with company? Grab a table at Tapville Social’s beer garden and enjoy a pour-your-own-beer experience. Old Town Pour House, located in a restaurant corridor of Naperville, also boasts an impressive beer menu and a large outdoor fireplace.

If wine is more your style, enjoy a bottle on the river at SixtyFour – Wine Bar, an upscale waterfront bar with good views, good wine, and plenty of charcuterie to go around.

Transportation in Naperville, IL

Board the Metra commuter rail line for quick access to downtown Chicago or to visit other ‘burbs. Local train stations are situated in Downtown Naperville and on Route 59 (which is walking distance from Landing’s Metro 59 apartments.) Trains run throughout the day, and certain hours offer express transportation to Chicago. 

Whether it’s for dinner in the city or to explore one of Chicago’s many neighborhoods, your commute to Chicago is less than an hour due to Naperville’s easy highway access.

In addition to the local bus system, ride service drivers such as Uber and Lyft are prevalent throughout the Chicagoland area as well.

Land a great apartment in Naperville, Illinois

If you like the idea of moving to Naperville, Illinois, Landing offers fully furnished apartments with flexible lease terms, concierge services, seamless transfers, and all the amenities you need. Browse our available apartments in Naperville, or contact us to learn more about how Landing works.

Still looking for the right Chicago neighborhood for you? Browse our other Chicago neighborhood guides, including:

Kailey Hansen

Kailey Hansen is a freelance writer and communications professional based in the land of deep-dish pizza. She has lived in both the city and the suburbs of Chicago and enjoys writing about the amazing things the Windy City has to offer. When she's not dishing about the best places to grab a slice of deep-dish, you can find her writing (and obsessing) about binge-worthy TV shows for BuzzFeed and why cats are the best (and absolutely outlandish creatures) for Rover's blog, The Dog People.