The Village of Wilmette is a “North Shore” town located on the scenic shores of Lake Michigan. It’s recognized as a family-oriented community that values children and education very highly. Many families move here specifically to take advantage of the excellent public and private elementary schools, including top-ranked New Trier High School.
Wilmette is also known for its rich array of public amenities, including an outstanding park system with recreation programs and events, beautiful public beaches for swimming and sailing, and excellent public library.
Adjacent to Northwestern University, the Wilmette neighborhood features tree-lined streets with Victorian-style homes and stately mansions including interesting boutiques and shops, and wonderful restaurants. It’s a safe place to live. The crime rate in Wilmette is lower than average for the country.
Finally, Wilmette’s real estate has a high rate of owner-occupied single family homes, which tends to reflect stability in the local community.
Business Week ranks Wilmette 7th on their list of best places to raise children in the U.S.
There are two houses in Wilmette built by Frank Lloyd Wright: the Frank J. Baker House (and carriage house) and the Lewis Burleigh House.
The city of Mona Vale in Pittwater Council, New South Wales in Australia is Wilmette's sister city and participate annually in a student exchange program between their high schools.
Population: 27,628 (2004 Estimate)
Area: 5.3 sq. miles
Households: 10,024 (2004 Estimate)
Median Age: 42.2
Median Family Income: $115,044
Average Family Income: $168,832
Median Home Value: $441,600
Famous residents from Wilmette include: actors Charlton Heston, Tim Kazurinsky, Bill Murray, Rainn Wilson and actress Ann-Margret. Other notable residents include Christie Hefner CEO of Playboy, Rahm Emanuel White House Chief of Staff, and billionaire businessman Lester Crown
Wilmette has several places listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
Baha’I Temple (100 Linden Ave)
Bailey-Michelet House (1028 Sheridan Rd)
Frank J. Baker House (507 Lake Ave)
Alfred Bersbach House (1120 Michigan Ave)
Chicago and Northwestern Depot (1135-1141 Wilmette Ave)
Gross Point Village Hall (609 Ridge Rd)
Linden Avenue Terminal (330 Linden Ave)
Oak Circle Historic District (318-351 Oak Circle)
Ouilmette North Historic District (46 Block District ext from Chestnut Ave, Sheridan Rd, Lake Ave and 13th St)
The Village of Wilmette was incorporated in 1872. It was once home to the Potawatomi Indians. In 1829 a French-Canadian fur trader named Antoine Ouilmette, who was married the Potawatomi chief Sauganash’s daughter, convinced the local Native Americans to sign the Treaty of Prairie du Chien. For his service, the U.S. government rewarded Ouilmette with 1,280 acres of land and the village was named in his honor.
During the 1840s, German Catholic farmers began settling in this area which they named their village Gross Point. Then in 1848, Ouilmette sold his land to farmers and developers. The Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad tracks were built by 1854 which played a crucial role in the development of the village and began Wilmette’s road to incorporation.
The current Village of Wilmette was created in 1924 by the merger of two older villages, Wilmette and Gross Point. The Village boundaries were expanded when No Man’s Land, the triangle of land near the lake and bordering Kenilworth, was annexed in 1942. Zoning changes in Wilmette allowed high-rise apartment buildings to be constructed beginning in the early 1960s.
Today Wilmette is considered one of the most ideal settings in the Chicagoland area. The Village is recognized for its excellent public schools, close proximity to Lake Michigan and its beautiful beaches, excellent transportation and large, well-manicured trees.
If you’re looking for picturesque neighborhoods with well manicured lawns, tree-lined streets, and eye-catching homes… then Wilmette is the place for you! Here you’ll find spacious custom built Tudors, Victorians, and Colonial style homes. Wilmette real estate also features two-stories, split levels, ranches, bungalows, and apartments (both condominiums and rental). This quiet residential Village has been designated “Tree City USA” nine times. Search Lake Forest real estate here.
The Village of Wilmette offers excellent public transportation for residents. Getting around or in out of Wilmette is easy. The Village is served by Pace Bus Service, CTA rapid transit service, and the Metra Railroad Service. And if you’re driving by car, the Eden Expressway is easily accessible to reach the suburbs, downtown Chicago, or O’Hare Airport. Don’t worry if your car breaks down or you if need to rent one, Wilmette has I-GO Car Sharing for your convenience.
Pace bus service in Wilmette include bus routes 213, 421, 422, and 423.
You’ll find exceptional public and private schools, as well as pre-schools, located in the Village of Wilmette. There are two public school districts that serve Wilmette students; Avoca School District 37 and Wilmette School District 39. Wilmette is home to three top rated high schools: New Trier High School, Loyola Academy, and Regina Dominican High School.
C.J. Arthur's (1168 Wilmette Avenue Wilmette, IL 60091, 847.256.8870). Since 1989, CJ’s has been serving North Shore families with their old-fashion ambiance. If you get a chance check out their historic marble bar which was built in 1920s to serve as a Walgreens soda fountain. Live music is available; Bluegrass on Monday nights, local talent on Tuesdays, and jazz, blues, funk, or rock on Fridays and Saturdays. And if feel like singing “There’s a Tear In My Beer” by Hank Williams Jr. then head to CJ’s on Thursday nights for karaoke!
In September, Wilmette Arts Guild will hosts its 20th Annual Wilmette Festival of Fine Arts, plus other upcoming events include their second annual Fall Colors Retreat at Björklunden in Door County and art exhibition of Brigitte Wolf Salchow.
Wilmette Theatre is great place to see a classic movie, hear live music, enjoy comedy show, or sign up for an acting class. Check their website for movie information and upcoming events.
FUEL Breakfast & Lunch (1222 Washington Ct Wilmette, IL 60091 847-251-3835). Fuel is a Chicago type breakfast restaurant in the heart of Wilmette and it’s a kids’ cooking school. Enroll your child in a class today! If you’re looking for organic foods, you’ll be happy to know the owners only use local organic produce and meat from Wisconsin. Also, check out their list of unique Italian sodas!
Jilly's Café (614 Green Bay Rd Evanston, IL 60201 847-869-7636). In 2002, Zagat’s described Jilly’s Café as a “North Shore Treasure”. The café serves authentic food with American twist in a cozy French countryside atmosphere. Open for lunch and dinner during the week, and for brunch on Sundays. Check their website to review their menu and for their business hours. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Gusto Italiano Ristorante (1470 Waukegan Rd Glenview, IL 60025 847-729-5444). Buon appetito! Located in the heart of Chicago’s Northshore community, Gusto Italiano Ristorante since 1985 has provided customers with excellent Mediterranean cuisine, outstanding service, and unsurpassed hospitality. Gusto has a loyal following within the Wilmette community and has earned numerous culinary awards including the #1 Rated Eggplant Parmigiana by the Chicago Tribune, the Silver Platter Award from the Food Industry News and excellent reviews from the Daily Herald. Congratulazioni!
Wilmette hosts a French Market every Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm beginning in May through October. The Wilmette French Market is held in the Village Center located east of the Wilmette Metra station. The market offers a wide variety of farmer’s market goods like vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, and bread from local vendors. Watch a French Market video to learn more.