a house in Berwyn, Illinois
Photo: Sean Gallagher
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Best for Bungalows

Berwyn, Illinois

• Just seven miles west of the Chicago Loop
• Big, beautiful bungalows with original oak millwork
• Thai restaurants, Irish pubs, and one of the best music venues in the Chicago area

The Neighborhood
"People used to snicker whenever you mentioned Berwyn," says photographer Matt Schademann, who purchased a brick bungalow here three years ago. Indeed, many Chicagoland residents only knew of the area through a sci-fi-movie TV showcase on which host Svengoolie relentlessly chastised working-class Berwyn. But this city of 53,000 a stone's throw from Chicago proper is shaking off its butt-of-joke status thanks to an affordable housing stock, a slew of recently opened restaurants, shops, and watering holes, and an enviable proximity to the Loop. The Chicago Tribune even called Berwyn "the center of the middle-income buyer's market." Long ago a stronghold for Czech and Italian transplants, Berwyn is becoming a choice for families and young suits, as well as artists and writers, looking for a laid-back, livable, more economical alternative to the big city on the lake. Many residents even prefer to spend evenings and weekends right here, taking in dinner at one of Berwyn's many eateries, a 16th Street Theater show, or a jazz gig at the famous FitzGerald's.
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