Written by: Olivia Forgette

Just an hour outside of downtown Chicago sits the picturesque town of McHenry, Illinois. Considering ditching your city slicker lifestyle for a slower pace? Your next move could be to McHenry. Delivering small town feels, with all the comforts of a larger suburb, McHenry has a lot to offer being nestled right in the heart of the Chain O’ Lakes, and just minutes from the Wisconsin boarder.

Picture yourself taking a stroll along the Fox River on the iconic Riverwalk. Pop into a local spot for some delicious Chicago-style pizza, deep dish on a special occasion, the real Chicago pizza any other day. If you know, you know!

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Must-See Spots

Green Street is easily the heart of town and home to many local businesses. If you’re considering moving to McHenry, Green Street is an essential place to check out. From local restaurants, including Buddyz, DC Cobbs with their rooftop lounge and Green Street Café to quaint shops for unique clothing and home décor, Green Street is a walkable part of town that locals love. This area is also home to one of the two public high schools, East Campus. Go Warriors, am I right?

The Riverwalk passes through Green Street with pretty brick pavers and crosses the Fox River with a beautiful arched pedestrian bridge.

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Another iconic part of town is just up the road on Riverside Drive. Riverside Drive is home to some of the best Italian food at Bimbos. The street follows the Fox River for added pretty views, and Riverside Drive is where you can get some of the most delicious baked goods in Illinois. No honestly, Riverside Bake Shop has the most scrumptious, well-made baked goods in the state. Check out some of their reviews on Trip Advisor!

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McHenry is also home to one of the few standing outdoor movie theaters! Making this the perfect spot to hang out on summer nights for families and date nights alike.

Another historic part of downtown McHenry is of course Main Street. Here you can find the local Metra train which gives direct service to Chicago, delicious Asian cuisine at Plum Garden, fun pubs and bars, Bliss Yoga and appealing historic buildings.

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City Stats

McHenry is home to just over 26,000 residents, so it has a small-town feel, but it’s not too small, if you catch my drift. The median estimated home value sits at about $190,000 in 2019.

Check out local statistics on the school districts in town here!


Community Events

As you can imagine, in a small-ish town, community events are a major part of the culture and lifestyle. There is a wonderful farmer’s market in Pearl Street Park all summer long that is home to the bounty of the local farming community. Pearl Street Park is also the place to see stunning holiday lights during the December season.

farmers market, home grown, farm culture

Every 4th of July you can view a showstopping fireworks display at Petersen Park.

There is also the iconic ShamROCKS the Fox event that happens every St. Patrick’s day. This event offers green beer galore and dying the river for an iconic Chicago vibe outside the city.

Every summer you can count on the town Fiesta Days events, which include drinking some adult beverages in the streets, live music, a parade, Art in the Park and much more.

In November there is the Turkey Trot, which is a 5K run that raises money for Hospice.

As for an unofficial town event, I must also mention the iconic Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl that happens each year at Christmas time. Imagine stomping through a snowy town in a flashy ugly sweater, drink in hand with great friends. It’s a good time if that’s your kind of thing.


Transportation Thoughts

In true suburb style, McHenry has public transportation available, but a car is a handy tool to have. There of course are walkable areas in town, but owning a vehicle is somewhat essential to get to and from grocery stores and more big box retailers in town.

There is also Uber and Lyft available in the area, it just may not arrive within 30 seconds like it does in downtown Chicago.



The city of McHenry offers a few various hospitality options for visitors. There is the Hampton Inn hotel in town, and there are many airbnb options too!

hospitality, hotel

Safe to Say

Check out statistics on the safety of the city of McHenry here!

McHenry is also home to a top-rated network of hospitals and medical facilities with Northwestern Medicine. These facilities rank number 19 in the Chicago Metro Area and number 23 in all of Illinois.


McHenry Market

The real estate market in McHenry is booming, as in most cities across the country right now. Homes are hitting the market and going under contract in the same day for higher than asking price. It’s safe to say it is a sellers’ market, but an exciting market nonetheless.

The real estate market is quickly climbing, with the average home value in McHenry is increasing year-over-year, according to Zillow.

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If you’re thinking you are ready to make a move to McHenry, remember that getting pre-approved before chatting with top real estate agent is always a good idea. Also consider you credit score and make improvements if you need to before diving into a home purchase.

As a buyer, the market can seem like it is moving at a crazy pace, so be prepared to make a decision quickly and jump on your dream property when you see it.


Ready to set down roots in the Chicago suburb of McHenry? Contact Maureen Forgette to get going on the first steps to becoming a homeowner in McHenry!

815.354.4236 | mforgette@comcast.net