On the eastern banks of the Fox River, Northeast Elgin
stands like a deeply rooted old oak. The stately homes
have seen generations come and go, unwavering in their majesty. In 1884 a newspaper named the main thoroughfare “Elgin’s Fashionable Avenue” and so it remains. You won't be able to resist the charms of its winding streets and its preeminently convenient location when searching for apartments in Elgin.
Included in this area are two historic districts, both featured on the National Registry of Historic Places. This neighborhood begs you to take leisurely walks through its architectural wonderland of Victorian, Georgian, Craftsman, and Tudor homes.
Residents live just minutes from downtown Elgin,
and only an hour northwest of downtown Chicago. Easy access to Interstate 290 and Interstate 90 make commuting a breeze. In Northeast Elgin, you can inhabit a slice of the past without sacrificing modernity.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Whether you travel downtown to the restaurants on Chicago Street or stay in the neighborhood, finding a great place to eat is no problem in Elgin. Travel the world with fusion cuisine from Al's Cafe & Creamery. The menu incorporates flavors from Germany, South America, India and beyond for an international twist on cafe favorites. You can't go wrong with the chicken Florentine sandwich, but save room for dessert. Don't leave Al's before trying their famous chocolate malt made with homemade ice cream.
Located within walking distance of the train station, Elgin Public House remains a popular dinner spot for commuters on their way home. A cozy atmosphere warms you up on those brutal winter evenings. Burgers rule the roost and the varieties offered are nearly limitless. Try the Burger Saltimbocca with prosciutto and mozzarella piled on Italian ciabatta bread. Find the ideal brew for every burger on this pub's extensive beer menu.
Spice up a romantic date at Toom Toom Thai Restaurant. Dim lighting and small tables create an intimate setting and the quiet dining area provides a perfect atmosphere for conversation. Start with refreshing spring rolls packed with lettuce and basil as the perfect accompaniment to a spicy meal. Order the fiery crab curry with red pepper sauce, or take advantage of the option to invent your own custom dish. Mix and match any meat, fish, noodles and sauces for an entrée perfectly suited to your tastes.
While suburban nightlife usually disappoints, in Elgin you never lack things to do or see. High rollers should head to the Grand Victoria Casino for a night of blackjack on the Fox River. Don't assume you need to be a gambler to have a good time. The casino provides an assortment of live entertainment including music and comedy. Arrive on Sunday for brunch at Indulge and get treated to a live cooking demonstration by world-famous chefs, followed by a brunch consisting of everything prepared in front of the audience.
Visit Medusa to shake things up on the dance floor. Hot beats and an even hotter crowd make this a favorite haunt. Theme nights occur throughout each month so don't throw away those old Halloween costumes. Watch for the local celebrities that frequently appear as amateur DJs. "Darkwave" nights draw the largest crowd so be prepared for a scarcity of available seating.
History & Culture
Elgin came into its own in the mid-to-late 19th century, and many of the homes and buildings of the Northeast neighborhood date back to this time. The thriving dairy industry drove the economy and eventually led to Elgin's prominent position as the eighth-largest city in Illinois.
The Elgin Public Museum of Natural History and Anthropology keeps Elgin's history alive for its residents. With an admission fee of only $2, a visit to the museum is affordable fun for the entire family. Enjoy fossil exhibits and learn about the ice age, or explore the diverse cultural traditions of the Midwest. Visitors of all ages participate in fascinating experiments on Science Magic Night, and birdwatchers attend lectures on the area's endangered species. On your way out, stop by the rocks and minerals exhibit to view beautiful geode crystals found right in Elgin.
While most residents consider owning a car necessary in this area, the city makes bicycle-friendly streets its goal. Bike lanes and paths afford cyclists a safe way to travel. Additionally, Elgin provides access to the 35-mile Fox River Trail, a favorite of recreational cyclists.
Public transportation services in Elgin stand out among Chicago's suburbs. Pace Bus lines run throughout the city and stop at major shopping centers, schools, medical centers, train stations and downtown. You can travel nearly anywhere in Elgin for less than $2, and best of all, children ride free.
Three Metra train stations provide transportation to downtown Chicago with several suburban stops on the way. The train remains very popular among commuters because it's inexpensive and avoids rush-hour traffic. A trip downtown only costs $7 and monthly passes offer significant discounts.
Call a taxi for a ride to the airport or home from a long night, but don't expect to see taxis circling the streets - even downtown. Uber car service only extends into a portion of Elgin so it's a poor choice for traveling around town. However, you'll never have to worry about missing a flight, as your drive to Chicago O'Hare International Airport is just 30 minutes.
This neighborhood is lacking in apartment buildings, but in nearby neighborhoods, one-bedroom
apartments typically rent for around $700 a month, which runs a bit lower than many of the surrounding suburbs.
The general cost of living runs slightly higher than both the national and state averages. Gas tends to be quite expensive at 22 percent higher than the national average. Order a pint of beer at a neighborhood bar and expect to pay around $6.
Northeast Elgin residents do not travel far for groceries. Both Jewel and Elgin Fresh Market are nearby, but several ethnic and specialty markets also make their home in this neighborhood.
The city sponsors a weekly farmer's market from June through October. Hundreds of vendors supply locals with fresh vegetables, eggs and artisan cheeses. Live music and family entertainment make visiting the farmer's market more than mere shopping.
Your favorite big box stores are minutes away, and shopping malls surround the area, but downtown Elgin supports a treasure trove of small businesses. Celebrate the art of knitting at Elgin Knit Works Get inspiration from the overflowing baskets of yarn in every color and texture, or from the completed projects prominently displayed throughout the store. Let the expert staff help you solve all your knitting problems from tangles to dropped stitches.
Stop by the Soulful Sparrow and bring home a piece of locally created art. Treat yourself or a loved one to a piece of handcrafted jewelry you can't find anywhere else. Unusual home decor items, such as wine bottle soap dispensers, make this the perfect place to shop for housewarming gifts.
The city of Elgin provides residents with over 70 different parks and many recreational facilities. Beat the summer heat at one of two public pool complexes which include sand volleyball courts, splash pads, lap pools and water slides. Low fees and plentiful parking are just icing on the cake.
Immerse yourself in the wonders of nature at Trout Park. Hike the trails which surround the lake, and stop for a picnic lunch under one of the shelters. A group of rare white cedar trees attracts nature enthusiasts and photographers. Try your hand at fishing, or organize a baseball game on one of the fields. Encompassing an area of 44 acres, this park caters to both the athletic and the contemplative.
The crowning glory of Northeast Elgin may not be its famous homes. The NENA Butterfly Garden forms the peaceful centerpiece of the neighborhood. Hundreds of plant species were specifically chosen to entice the maximum number of butterflies. Bring your camera and start your own butterfly collection, or simply walk the cobblestone path. Engage your senses with the sound of bees, the scents and colors of flowers, and the gentle touch of warm breezes. An escape from stress and worry waits right outside your front door.