Nestled along Lake Michigan’s North Shore, Winnetka is a community of tree-lined streets, sandy beaches, renowned schools, outstanding parks, quality recreation facilities, and plentiful non-profit and religious organizations. Founded in 1869, the name given to the community was a Native American word meaning "beautiful land." Natural beauty brought early settlers, but through careful planning, Winnetka has maintained a historic, small town charm, as well as family-oriented neighborhoods, while developing into a thriving village for people to live, work, and visit.
Winnetka was named "one of the best places to live" by 24/7 Wall Street in 2020. It is located in Cook County, less than 20 miles north of the City of Chicago and is accessible from the Eden’s Expressway (I-94).
Visitors of all types and ages will find an array of activities available-be it leisure time in nature, shopping, or dining. Winnetka boasts numerous shops, restaurants, and specialty merchants in the Village’s four distinct shopping districts (Hubbard Woods, East Elm, West Elm, and Indian Hill). Shops here are frequent stops for local residents, but also destinations for many in the surrounding area.
The Winnetka Community
Winnetka is located within an easy drive, or rail commute, of Chicago’s city center-with its significant business and cultural resources, as well as leisure time activities. The uniqueness of the community can especially be seen in the autumn, when the turning colors of the foliage become a photographer’s paradise.
A Chicago Tribune feature article on suburban life in Winnetka described the Village: "Winnetka’s downtown (three small districts anchored by Metra train stations), is a hub of rush-hour activity that doubles as a daytime destination for stay-at-home moms and retirees. Its beach-glass-and driftwood shops mimic those in New York’s Hamptons, sans the celebrities. Strip malls and big box stores are absent, while Village Hall supports the ’shop local’ ideal…While Green Bay Road links the business districts, Sheridan Road is famous for old-money houses with backyards that open to the lake. Parallel to Green Bay is a berm that hides the rail line, which the village lowered in 1943 after dozens of death at railroad crossings."
The Village occupies a land area of 3.81 square miles in Cook County, Illinois. The 2020 Census showed a total Village population of 12,744, up from 12,187 in the 2010 Census. According to the Census, there were 4,353 households and the average household size was 2.91 individuals. Further community and demographic information can be found on the United States Census Bureau's website.
The Winnetka Public Schools (Cook County School District 36) are locally governed by an elected School Board of seven citizens. For decades, Winnetka Public Schools have led the nation in progressive education and served as a model for educators who value the development of the whole child intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically. District 36 services approximately 2,000 kindergarten through eighth grade children in three elementary schools, one fifth/sixth grade center and one seventh/eighth grade middle school.
- Crow Island
- Hubbard Woods
Upon completion of eighth grade, students attend New Trier Township High School, a nationally recognized high school for the quality of its academic programs. New Trier, founded in 1901, serves approximately 4,000 students and maintains a student to teacher ratio of 14:1. New Trier Township High School District 203 is comprehensive four-year high school with two campuses; a freshman only campus in Northfield, and a sophomore through senior campus at New Trier East in Winnetka. In addition to Winnetka, New Trier serves Glencoe, Kenilworth, Northfield, Wilmette, and portions of Glenview.
Winnetka is also home to the private North Shore Country Day School (with both elementary and secondary programs), as well as two religious affiliated elementary schools.
Well-developed and maintained recreational facilities, all of which are operated by the independent Winnetka Park District, abound in the Village. Four public beaches and a boat launch, numerous parks, athletic fields, an indoor tennis club, ice rink, public golf course and forest preserve areas can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
The Winnetka-Northfield Public Library, operated as an independent district, has over 106,000 books, as well as video and audio items (including books on tape and compact discs), periodicals, reference materials, internet access and a direct computer link to 25 area libraries.
Winnetka Historical Society
The Winnetka Historical Society was founded in 1932 and currently owns and operates two historic buildings in Winnetka. The Museum at 411 Linden Avenue features gallery space and is also open for research. The Schmidt-Burnham Log House, nestled into Crow Island Woods (1140 Willow Road), offers visitors a glimpse of life in the 1850’s through the interpretation of costumed docents.
Winnetka-Northfield-Glencoe Chamber of Commerce
The Chambers of Winnetka Northfield and Glencoe combined in 2020. The mission of the Winnetka-Northfield Chamber of Commerce (WNCC) is to promote economic growth, development, and involvement in the local business and civic communities.
Some of the Chamber’s regular sponsored events include the Recognition Lunch, the Sidewalk Sale, the Winter Holiday Weekend, Women in Business lunches, and Business After Hours Networking. The Chamber also hosts ribbon-cuttings as new businesses open in Winnetka and become Chamber of Commerce members. Watch Village news for details.
Detailed information about member businesses, communications, and upcoming events can be found on the Chamber’s website.
New Trier Township
New Trier Township provides human services functions including the funding of social services and programs, advocacy for property taxpayers, and resident services. The Assessor’s office handles property tax assessment appeal and exemption matters. In addition, residents may visit the Township for services such as voter registration, notary public, and acceptance of passport applications.
Chicago and North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Village of Winnetka became a member of the Chicago and North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau (CNSCVB) in 2010. The CNSCVB is the official destination marketing organization for the North Shore region of Chicago, as designated by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Bureau of Tourism. Information related to Winnetka and local activities and events can be found on the CNSCVB website as well as in its print publications.
North Shore Legal Aid Clinic
This suburban legal aid clinic provides pro bono access to legal resources for those who are in need in the areas of immigration, domestic violence, and housing.