On a gorgeous summer evening, residents of this charming west suburban village face a tough dilemma: pack a picnic and head to the shores of Lake Ellyn for a jazz concert? Take in that French film at the Glen Art Theatre (the western suburbs’ only venue for foreign and art cinema), followed by a glass of California Zinfandel at Cab’s Wine Bar? Or stroll downtown for dinner at Bistro Monet, Vitorio’s, or Shannon’s Irish Pub?
Regardless of the season, village residents have a lot to choose from in Glen Ellyn, a historic town 22 miles west of Chicago. Named for the glen where it was located, and the Welsh name of the wife of early settler Thomas Hill, the town grew up around Lake Ellyn, which was formed in 1889 when settlers dammed a spring that ran through the glen. Soon mineral springs were discovered, and the new town found fame as a health resort. Now home to 27,000 people, Glen Ellyn has preserved its historic character.
Lake Ellyn continues to be the center of recreation in the village, with “a walk around the lake” being the favorite form of exercise. Come winter, when the ice is thick enough for safety, skaters glide across the frozen expanse, and warm up in the historic boathouse.
The Glen Ellyn Park District offers thirty-one neighborhood parks and recreation facilities throughout the village, including Ackerman Sports and Fitness Center, where families enjoy the running track, climbing wall, batting cages, and more.
The Village Links golf course is one of the Chicago area’s most popular municipal courses. The 7,200-yard championship course often hosts qualifying rounds for the USGA and PGA tours, and the regulation length 9-hole course is perfect for casual play. Glen Ellyn is also home to Glen Oak Country Club, founded in 1911.
Busy Roosevelt Road divides Glen Ellyn into two distinct sections. To the north, renovated Victorians, Tudors and Colonials fill the walkable neighborhoods near the downtown area and around Lake Ellyn. Both the location and the older homes carry a premium, and prices here range from $300,000 to over $2 million. South of Roosevelt, sprawling ranches and comfortable split-levels built after 1950 are generally priced from $200,000 to $500,000.
New construction is limited to a few teardowns in the single-family neighborhoods, and some luxury condos near downtown. A 20-year strategic plan created by the Village calls for more multi-family development near the Metra train station.
Residents who commute to downtown Chicago, whether for business or pleasure, appreciate the ease and convenience of Metra trains, which make the trip from Glen Ellyn to Chicago’s Ogilvie Transportation Center in under 40 minutes. Easy access to expressways is another plus, with I-88 bordering the Village to the south, and I-355 to the West.
Shopping, dining, nightlife
In addition to the Glen Theater and an eclectic variety of restaurants, downtown Glen Ellyn offers dozens of boutiques and specialty shops. More shopping is available on Roosevelt Road, and major malls are an easy drive away, including Yorktown Mall in nearby Lombard and Oakbrook Center.
Live music is popular at downtown nightspots, and McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage offers a full schedule of theater and nationally known musical acts.
The College of DuPage, a large and bustling two-year college, provides both educational and cultural opportunities to residents. Younger students attend the excellent schools of Districts 41 and 89, and high school students attend Glenbard West or Glenbard South. A number of private and parochial schools are also available.