Blue Island sits about 15 miles from the Loop and nestles comfortably within the Chicago Southland area along the southwest border of the city.
A beautiful city with small-town charm and community spirit, Blue Island draws residents who appreciate the easy commute to anywhere in Chicago and the low cost of living. Young families and those seeking quieter living with easy access to conveniences call this neighborhood home. Good schools and more than 100 weekday METRA trains also serve as significant draws.
Restaurants & Nightlife
"Uptown" Blue Island, namely Main Street and Western Avenue, offers an eclectic mix of dining options and friendly neighborhood taverns.
For out-of-this world appetizers and pizza courtesy of the best hidden gem in the city, check out Giuseppe's Pizza. Locals claim it's the best pizza on Chicago's south side, and the bread comes with a unique, homemade girardiniera.
Head to Maple Tree Inn for a romantic date-night dinner or a fun get-together with close friends. Grab some Louisiana-style grub, and wash it down with one of eight boutique wines or 24 craft beers on top. Make sure not to fill up on complementary jalapeño cheese corn bread muffins so you have enough room for a meal of hickory-buttered BBQ shrimp and grits. Down a few Creole Voodoo Zombies, one of the Inn's signature New Orleans cocktails, and then head to the back of the room to listen to a live band.
Revel in local beer selections at Rock Island Public House. This joint keeps its craft beer selection rotating, often featuring many Midwestern brews, and gets its beer directly from breweries. A jamming jukebox, pinball machines, old-school arcade games and board games ensure you stay well-entertained no matter the company. The outdoor patio is pet-friendly, so bring your four-legged pals.
Join other games fanatics or music lovers at Tommy's Place. Sunday night's games attract trivia junkies and gamers from all over town, and every weeknight features a DJ, karaoke or live bands. Locals consider it a bonus that the kitchen stays open late.
History & Culture
Blue Island provides rich history and a vibrant arts scene. Local history buffs enjoy the photographs and local artifacts at the Albee House, which tell the tale of the city's emergence and various periods of growth.
As one of the oldest Chi-town suburbs and the birthplace of actor Gary Sinise, Blue Island first earned its namesake thanks to its position on an island-like glacial ridge and the blue, misty vapor that blanketed the area during a period of Native American settlement.
The 20th century saw Blue Island taken over by heavy industry centered on oil refining, railroads and brick making. This changed mid-century, when a lively business district set up shop along Western Avenue, referred to by locals as "uptown."
The arts scene keeps residents enriched through countless community and arts events, many sponsored by the Blue Island Arts Alliance. Walk down the Historic Arts District to browse masterpieces by local artists. This area includes the Cornerstone Gallery and Studio, which showcases local artists.
In the fall, take in a variety of local acts at the annual Blue Island Arts Alliance Variety Show for a family evening of fun while mingling with your neighbors. You can also hit the annual Park Forest Art Fair to view fine art, listen to live music and nibble on food from local eateries.
Blue Island spans only a 4.5 square-mile area. This makes walking anywhere in town easy. As an added bonus, the streets are bicycle-friendly. The small-town feel and small community also makes parking a snap at most locations.
METRA provides commuter trains to the Loop, a mere 25-minute ride. You also benefit from easy train access to Joliet's downtown area and casino and lines that run to the Magnificent Mile and other top Chi-town destinations. CTA and PACE offer numerous bus routes that connect to the city and south suburbs.
When heading out of state, you get to skip the congestion of heavy city traffic. Hop on one of three major interstates, I-57, I-294 and I-80. When you don't feel like driving, multiple taxi cab companies service the area. Make sure to call ahead or book online, as street-side hailing nets zero results. Blue Island also falls just outside the coverage areas for Uber and Lyft.
Blue Island residents pay a lot less than the city average for housing, but groceries are slightly more expensive. Transportation costs less than in surrounding south Chicago neighborhoods. Renters can snag a one-bedroom unit, on average, for around $600 a month, while most three bedrooms cost at least double that amount.
What Blue Island lacks in retail shopping space, it makes up for with the character and small-town atmosphere found in its antique shops and retail boutiques, among a few other neighborhood gems.
An antique paradise, Blue Island leaves you with plenty to explore. The three floors at Three Sisters Antique Mall provide decor, collectible treasures and lighting. This shop, just one of the nine thriving antique stores within walking distance, gets a nod from locals for the great trinkets, toys and costume jewelry hidden among all the treasures.
Music lovers in Blue Island make the short drive north to Beverly Records, a well-loved record store on South Western Avenue. Stop in to find an old favorite on vinyl, or check out the store's extensive collection of rare albums. If you're a music junkie, join the Jukebox Club for an instant discount off of the purchase of any 45. Beverly Records also rents karaoke machines.
For runway-worthy fashion that doesn't break the bank, Zav's Treasure Chest provides the ladies of Blue Island with a one-stop shop. Purchase handbags, clutches or high-end fashion pieces to keep the town abuzz with your bold yet sassy fashion sense.
When you want the best meat in town, head to El Ranchito Market. Residents take advantage of the super fresh meat at great prices. You can also find fresh ceviche all day long, and the small restaurant inside serves up steak tacos and a variety of Mexican dishes.
For grocery shopping, several supermarkets service the neighborhood so you won't have to go far to get the essentials.
The Blue Island Park Distract ensure you have plenty of green space to relax, get active and engage in quality family time thanks to 12 local parks.
In the summer, Memorial Park and its pool and splash pad draw locals eager to beat the heat. An entry fee is required, but seasonal passes make the pool budget friendly. In the winter, kids love the park's the toboggan slide and sledding hill.
Head to Hart Park to catch local adult baseball and softball games, or let the kids climb on the playground structure. Make sure to bring you wallet to hit the concession stand in the summer for cool treats.
For a tree-shaded playground with several slides, pack up the kids for a picnic at Leonard Bartle Centennial Park. You can even get in a family game of soccer or engage in some neighborly ball games on the four baseball diamonds.
To give your canine pal a workout, hit the Bark Park on 119th Street. This dog park charges an annual fee, but the wide open, fenced-in space makes it worth every cent.