A pretty, quiet, lakefront suburb of Chicago known for its brick, tree-lined streets, excellent schools and architecture. It is slightly north of Evanston and Skokie, and is nestled between Winnetka, Kenilworth and Northfield.
A Brief History
Wilmette dates back to 1674 when Father Marquette beached his canoes and settled on its shore. It was named after Antoine Ouilmette, a French-Canadian fur trader who was granted 2 miles of lakefront property by the Treaty of Prairie du Chien.
After the Chicago Fire, many people fled to the suburbs and Wilmette was incorporated in 1872.
The western half of the city, then called Gross Point was incorporated by German farmers. This was annexed by Wilmette in 1926.
Wilmette is really a quite beautiful city, full classy homes and expensive cars. The lakefront is gorgeous, sporting the magnificent Gillson Park, which contains a beautiful beach, a fun playground (complete with a turtle that sprays water!) and lush, green lawns. (I know I sound like a travel brochure, but its really like that! Gillson rocks!). Right next to Gillson is Wilmette’s most famous landmark, one of six Bahá'í Temples worldwide. This building is a fabulous dome, made of white stone that has been carved to look like lace. Seriously, it rivals quite a bit of historical architecture.
What drew my family to the town was not so much the safe neighborhood or beautiful setting, but the school system. Schools on the North Shore of Chicago are some of the best in Illinois. Wilmette is in the New Trier district for High School (New Trier, located in Winnetka, IL, is the number one public high school in Illinois and often competes for the same position nationwide. It should also be noted that it is also one of the largest customers to the marijuana industry). Other high schools in the area include Loyola Jesuit College Preparatory, Regina Dominican and North Shore Country Day School. All of these are very prestigious.
It probably does not come as any surprise to find out that Wilmette is a quite well-to-do neighborhood. The median income is around $90,000, and the average home is worth around $300,000. Of its 41,120 residents, 39,172 are white, with most of the remainder comprised of Asians. Despite this, Wilmette is a much more down to earth atmosphere, particularly compared to their neighbors, Kenilworth(less) and Winnetka.
Things To Do
Visit one of the city’s many parks
See a movie at the Wilmette Theater, which is quite fun and artsy
Eat at Chuckwagon (if you don’t mind a heart attack)
Go to Centennial Park for a great swimming pool, indoor tennis and ice skating
Bowl at the Wilmette Bowling Center
Get sushi at Kama Kura or Akai Hana
GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!
For God’s sake, Wilmette’s nice, but Chicago is calling you!