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Named one of the “Best Small Cities to Live In,” by Money Magazine, Naperville is an outstanding neighborhood to live in. It was recently ranked in Fortune’s Best Places to Live and Launch a Business,” and was named the nation’s best place to raise children by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2000.
With a thriving downtown, outstanding schools and world-class parks, Naperville is a great place to call home. Naperville has a low crime rate with diverse cultural options and an active civic community.
Naperville has some of the best public schools in the nation, as ranked by US News and World Report. Most Naperville residents are served by either School District 203 or Indian Prairie School District 204.
Naperville District 203’s elementary schools are:
Beebe Elementary, Ellsworth Elementary, Elmwood Elementary, , Highlands Elementary, , Kingsley Elementary, Maplebrook Elementary, Meadow Glens Elementary, Mill Street Elementary, Naper Elementary, , Prairie Elementary, Ranch View Elementary, River Woods Elementary, Scott Elementary and Steeple Run Elementary.
Indian Prairie School District 204’s elementary schools in Naperville are:
Brookdale Elementary School, Clow Elementary School, Cowlishaw Elementary School, Fry Elementary School, Graham Elementary School, Kendall Elementary School, Longwood Elementary School, Owen Elementary School, Patterson Elementary School, Peterson Elementary School, Spring Brook Elementary School, Watts Elementary School and White Eagle Elementary School.
District 203 middle schools are: Jefferson Junior High, Kennedy Junior High, Lincoln Junior High, Madison Junior High, and Washington Junior High.
District 204 middle schools in Naperville are: Crone Middle School, Gregory Middle School, Hill Middle School and Scullen Middle School.
Private schools include: All Saints Catholic Academy (PK-8), Bethany Lutheran School (PK-8), Calvary Christian School (K-8), Chesterbrook Academy (K-5), DuPage Montessori School – Naperville (PK-6), Krejci Academy (K-12), Naperville Christian Academy (K-9), Naperville Montessori School (PK-3), St. Raphael Elementary School (K-8), and Sts. Peter & Paul School (K-8).
Naperville’s three public high schools are Naperville Central High School, Naperville North High School, and Neuqua Valley High School.
For an utterly unique dining experience, enjoy tapas-style dining in a 150-year-old mansion at Meson Sabika (1025 Aurora Ave). The Willoway Mansion was built in 1847 on a pristine four-acre estate near downtown Naperville, and in 1990 it was renovated and opened as a restaurant. Meson Sabika serves up hot and cold tapas plates in nine separate dining rooms named after different wine regions in Spain. Weather permitting, patrons can also choose to dine outdoors on the terrace.
The dishes at Sugartoad (2139 CityGate Ln) revolve around fresh ingredients from the restaurant’s own garden. This casual, fine-dining favorite features regional American fare including superbly executed favorites such as Kobe beef shortribs, jumbo lump crab cakes and grilled Chinook Salmon. For desert try the “Ants on a Log” – a piece of celery root cake with peanut butter mousse and rum raisin ice cream.
Potter’s Place (29 W. Jefferson St.), is a quirky, fun Mexican restaurant located in downtown Naperville. Now under its third-generation of ownership, this local family-style favorite has all the Tex-Mex standards. In the summer, a large split-level patio is available for outdoor dining.
Naperville is also home to outposts of many Chicago favorites, including Heaven on Seven (224 S. Main St), Hugo’s Frog Bar (55 South Main St), Giordano’s Pizza (119 S. Main St) and Rosebud (48 W. Chicago Ave).
The heart of Naperville is its pedestrian-friendly downtown, a rich and vibrant destination filled with hundreds of shopping and dining options.
Starting in the 1970s, the city began sprucing up its downtown – planting trees, adding decorative touches – while preserving the area’s historic look and feel. Many of the old shops along Washington Street and Jefferson Avenue boast their original facades, complete with vintage crown molding and ornate windows, giving the area an authentic, old fashioned charm.
The success of Naperville’s downtown is also due to its proximity to the Naperville Riverwalk. Considered by many as Naperville’s “crown jewel,” the Riverwalk is 1.75 miles of parks and green space running through the heart of town along the DuPage River. Visitors and residents alike are drawn to the walk’s meandering brick paths and lush landscaping, replete with fountains, covered bridges, and public artwork.
A Riverwalk highlight is the Millennium Carillon, a 72-bell musical instrument housed inside a 160-foot bell tower. Programmed to play at certain times throughout the day, the carillon is also occasionally played manually for public events. A stairway leads up 14 stories to the tower’s observation deck, where visitors are rewarded with spectacular views of Naperville and, on clear days, the Chicago skyline.
Centennial Beach (500 W. Jackson Ave), another Riverwalk stop, offers plenty of grassy and shady space, as well as a large sand beach and swimming area with lifeguards and a diving center.
For those with young children, the DuPage Children’s Museum (301 N. Washington St) is filled with innovative, hands-on exhibits designed to stimulate kids’ curiosity and creativity.