Once a summer retreat for wealthy Chicagoans, Lake Zurich today is a beloved suburban village with a cozy small-town feel!
Named for the lovely lake in its center, Lake Zurich is known for its welcoming community, great schools, and beautiful natural surroundings. The idyllic community was even named as one of the “Top Twenty-five Affordable Places to Live in the Country” by U.S. News and as one of the “Best Places to Raise Your Family” by Frommer’s.
Just 36 miles from Chicago’s Loop, commuters can get to the city with Metra trains in nearby Barrington and local highways.
Lake Zurich Village Guide
Featuring top shopping, dining, and entertainment, Lake Zurich residents have plenty to explore in their community. Attractions range from the village’s beautiful parks and natural areas to its charming cobblestone-paved downtown and lakeside boardwalk.
Lake Zurich Food and Drink
Lake Zurich residents enjoy a small, but vibrant dining scene. Options range from fine dining to casual family establishments. Some local favorites include Beelow’s Steakhouse, serving surf and turf since the 1920s, and Zin GastroPub, offering an affordable farm-to-table experience.
The area also has several friendly bars. Check out the Copper Fiddle Distillery for some local flavors in a fun environment!
Lake Zurich Events and Culture
Lake Zurich’s village events bring out its small-town feel and welcoming community. Since 1942, the Alpine Festival is an ever-popular event. The community has a small-town feel with several local events. Attracting more than 10,000 visitors annually, the Alpine Fest features fun carnival rides, live music, and other entertainment on Main Street.
Lake Zurich Park and Natural Areas
Lake Zurich offers its residents dozens of parks and several hundred acres of green space. The world-class district features manicured gardens, sports fields, tennis courts and nature trails.
A popular park is Henry J. Paulus Park. The park features a beach on the Village’s namesake lake and includes a picnic area, playgrounds, athletic fields, and a concert stage. The park is also the site of the Village’s annual Fourth of July celebration.
Lake Zurich is located in the heart of Lake County’s vibrant cultural scene. The area includes great concert venues like Waukegan’s Genesee Theater and Highland Park’s Ravinia Festival and great natural attractions like The Chicago Botanic Garden and the Illinois Beach State Park.
That’s not all, Lake County is dotted with great restaurants, shopping centers, and local businesses. For family fun, check out ziplining at Boundless Adventures and mini-golf at Par-King Skill Golf. The area also has some great local festivals including Long Grove’s delicious Chocolate Fest and Waukegan’s Art Wauk.
Lake Zurich History
The Lake Zurich area was first settled by New England in the 1830s, who were quickly joined by German immigrants a few decades later. In these early years, residents in the community aided runaway slaves as part of the Underground Railroad.
In 1896, the village was incorporated as “Lake Zurich”. Despite plans for greater development (including a failed train line to Chicago in the early 1900s), the village remained mostly agrarian. By 1910, the population had only reached 200 residents.
Becoming Lake Zurich
In the 1920s, Lake Zurich became a popular summer retreat destination for Chicagoans. Mostly around Lake Zurich, a large number of summer cabins were built in the Village. After World War II, the village’s reputation as a retreat led to steady population growth. Spurring development were the construction of two highways through the area (U.S Route 12 and Illinois Route 22).
Lake Zurich Today
In the 1950s, greater housing development in the Village began. From the 1970s on, the Village’s reputation as a summer retreat faded as the area gradually became a suburban bedroom community. Today, the village is a lively addition to a vibrant tapestry of Lake County towns and villages.
Lake Zurich Homes
In the Village’s days as a summer retreat, most of the homes in the community were unwinterized cabins. Thankfully, that is no longer the case.
Located in quiet, tree-lined neighborhoods, Lake Zurich is known for its lovely and affordable housing stock. As to be expected for a suburban community, the majority of homes in the area are single-family houses, but the village also boasts a limited amount of condos and townhomes.
Homes in the community range from restored homes from the 1960s and 1970s to a growing stock of custom new construction. Prices are affordable, with 2-3 bedroom houses in the $200,000 to $400,000 range. At the upper edge of the market, one can also find luxury mansions for around $1 million. Most homes are on large lots with manicured lawns, gardens, and curb appeal.
Lake Zurich is an idyllic suburban village in the heart of Lake County. Come and check it out!