Regional Overview

Location: Map.

Education: Local colleges and universities include:


Transportation: PACE – The suburban bus division of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) provides fixed bus routes, Dial-a-Ride services, vanpools, and special-event buses throughout Chicago’s six-county suburban region.

Pace began operating in 1984 after three transit boards were created by reform legislation. The other two boards under the RTA are the Chicago Transit Authority, which provides transit service within Chicago, and Metra, the commuter rail service.

The agency’s largest transit facility – the Northwest Transportation Center in Schaumburg – serves as a hub in the growing northwest suburbs. It has 122 free parking spaces, serving eight routes and all special-event buses.

Pace provides several special-event services. Buses take riders from the Northwest Transportation Center to Wrigley Field, Soldier Field, Chicago Auto Show, Flower & Garden Show, Six Flags Great America, World Music Theatre, and Taste of Chicago.

CTA – The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is an independent governmental agency created by state legislation. The CTA operates the nation’s second-largest public transportation system and covers the City of Chicago and 38 surrounding suburbs. On an average weekday, 1.5 million rides are taken on CTA buses and trains.

Chicago is one of the few cities worldwide that provides rapid transit service to two major airports. From the downtown area, the CTA’s Blue Line takes customers to O’Hare International Airport in about 40 minutes, and the Orange Line takes customers to Midway Airport in about 30 minutes.

Metra – The 495-mile Metra system serves 230 stations in the counties of Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, McHenry, and Kane. On Metra, you can reach Chicago’s beautiful lakefront, museums, zoos, sporting events, shops and restaurants, concerts, special events, schools, and colleges, as well as quaint, historic suburbs and small towns. In some cases, Metra can take you practically to the front door – in other cases, your destination is easily in reach via Pace buses and/or CTA buses and trains.

On weekends and holidays, all youngsters 12-17 ride for half fare. Plus, family fares allow kids under 12 to ride free when accompanied by a fare-paying adult. A small group of adults can save 15% using a 10-ride ticket when traveling together. Or, get a group of 25 or more together and save even more on a special outing.

Midway Airport -Midway Airport is conveniently located 10 miles from downtown Chicago. In 1999, Midway served more than 13 million passengers. In 1998, Midway became the fastest-growing airport in North America when it served 11.4 million passengers, breaking a 1959 record.

The Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Orange Line offers travelers easy and quick (20 – 30 minutes) access between downtown Chicago and Midway.

O’Hare Airport – O’Hare International Airport offers more connections to more cities, more often than any other airport worldwide. O’Hare was voted the “Best Airport in North America” by readers of Business Traveler International for two consecutive years (1998 and 1999).


Arts and Culture: Chicago area museums include:

Points of Interest: See map:


Library: The public libraries of Berwyn, Elmwood Park, Forest Park, Oak Park and River Forest are all members of the Suburban Library System.

The Austin and Galewood neighborhoods have branches of the Chicago Public Library and are members of the Chicago Library System.

Shopping: Shoppers in the near west suburbs all have immediate access to small family-owned specialty shops as well as branches of national chains located in and around their central business districts.

Larger department stores and chains are conveniently located farther west at Oakbrook Shopping Center. Known for its outstanding mix of retailers and its beautiful outdoor ambiance. The center is the only Chicago-area shopping destination which offers six premiere department stores, including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Sears. The center also houses over 160 specialty stores including Banana Republic, J. Crew and Pottery Barn along with over 14 famous restaurants such as Papagus, Maggiano’s Little Italy, and The Clubhouse. Call for the free Spree Card, offering you savings at participating stores, attractions and hotels.

The newly renovated State Street features old-style street lights and two major department stores operating in their original buildings. At the corner of State and Randolph sits the grande dame of American department stores. The 11 story 450 department, Macy’s store boasts a glorious Tiffany dome and recently completed $110 million renovation.

Chicago’s world-famous Michigan Avenue sometimes called “The Magnificent Mile” offers over 2.6 million square feet of retail space, 460 stores, 436 restaurants, 2 unique museums and additional attractions to more than 22 million visitors each year.

Thriving within this one-mile area of tree-lined streets, from the Chicago River north to Oak Street, just steps away from the pristine waters of Lake Michigan, visitors can enjoy: exclusive retail establishments such as Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s; prestigious boutiques such as Cartier, Hermes, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Tiffany & Co., as well as a number of additional internationally recognized names.

Shopping in Downtown Chicago and along N. Michigan Avenue is easily accessible by car, CTA trains and buses.


Local newspapers: