Ravinia, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a frequent destination for aficionados of world-class jazz, pop and rock music, takes its name from the steeply sloping ravines that punctuate the landscape along Lake Michigan's shore in Highland Park.
Highland Park has always been one of the most socially – if not economically – diverse of the North Shore suburbs, perhaps tracing to its commercial roots as a shipping port. When the railroad came to Highland Park shipping quickly gave way to an influx of affluent professionals seeking homes and summer retreats in the city's leafy environs.
City services, park district
The City of Highland Park provides a full range of municipal services, including professional police and fire departments. The city's Web site links to the many senior, youth, cultural, entertainment and civic resources available in Highland Park.
The 100-year old Highland Park Park District oversees 44 parks spanning 650 acres. The extensive facilities include tennis courts, playing fields, an ice arena, a nature preserve, an 18-hole golf course, a water park, and a swimming and boating beach. The District oversees more than 3,000 seasonal and year-round educational, sports and recreational programs.
Highland Park experienced growth spurts in the early 1900s and in the 1950s, resulting in a housing stock that differs from the more traditional residences that dominate other North Shore suburbs.
The town boasts an unrivaled abundance of Prairie School, mid-century modernist and contemporary homes, in addition to a healthy selection of 19th-century architectural styles. Downtown Highland Park offers transit-oriented development featuring mid-rise condominium and apartment complexes.
The housing stock of Highland Park spans a wide range of sizes and prices, from affordably-priced compact homes and condominiums to sprawling modern masterpieces and country estates in the upper-bracket pricing tier.
Metra's Union Pacific North Line stops at downtown Highland Park and at Ravinia stations, arriving downtown in 50 to 55 minutes. Pace bus service connects residential areas to the train stations and to Highland Park High School. Taxis and limo services are readily available.
Many homes in eastern Highland Park are minutes away from the train stations, on foot or by car.
Skokie Highway (US Route 41) quickly connects residents to the Edens Expressway.
Shopping, dining, nightlife
Planners from around the country look to the successfully redeveloped downtown Highland Park as a model. It's a vibrant, pedestrian-scale environment that hosts a wide variety of shops and restaurants, ranging from nationally known upscale brands to often quirky but always interesting locally-owned ones.
Sunset Foods is legendary among grocery shoppers for completely over-the-top service and knowing its customers.
In addition to the internationally-known Ravinia music festival, Highland Park hosts a number of performing arts groups.
Public grade-schoolers in Highland Park attend one of the eleven highly-rated schools in North Shore School District 112. The District offers an optional dual language program designed to enable students to become bilingual and biliterate in both English and Spanish.
Millions of TV watchers recognize Highland Park High School as the venue for the Emmy award-winning American High series, while parents and students know it as a bastion of academic achievement. HPHS, as its known locally, has a diverse student body and a tradition of ranking among the state's top-achieving high schools.