Nestled along the Chicago River, Niles is a picture-perfect suburb with equally picturesque homes. From cozy Colonial houses to pristine parks to the 94-foot Leaning Tower of Niles, this northern village offers plenty of character. With multiple shopping centers, theaters, and eclectic restaurants, Niles residents never lack for daytime entertainment. Niles provides unique atmosphere and music through local night owl haunts such as Capone’s Hideout, Layalena’s, and Lucky Magee’s. With all this and easy access to Metra, Pace, and CTA lines, Niles is a perfect place to call home.
Niles is a picturesque suburb centered around the Chicago River and Milwaukee Avenue. Just 15 miles north of Chicago, the village provides easy access to city business and pleasure. Niles is also adjacent to Morton Grove and Glenview to the north, Skokie to the east, Park Ridge to the south, and Des Plaines to the west.
There are four Niles sister cities: Nafplion, Greece; Leixlip, Ireland; Limanowa, Poland; and Pisa, Italy.
In honor of its partnership with Pisa and the scientist Galileo Galilei, Niles features a 94-foot tall half-scale replica of the Leaning Tower on Touhy Avenue. This Leaning Tower of Niles was built in 1934, 600 years after the original. It was also shown in the opening montage of Wayne’s World.
The Tam O’ Shanter Golf Course was the site of the All American Open PGA Tour from 1941 to 1957 and the 1964 and 1965 Western Open.
Niles is home to the glorious St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery, final resting place of Frederak Fraske--last surviving veteran of the “Indian Wars”—and George Halas, former coach of the Chicago Bears.
Maryhill Cemetery is rumored to house the remains of notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Population (2008)- Total 28,513
Density 4853/sq mi
Median income $57,797
The area now known as Niles was first settled in 1837, when John Marshall and Benjamin Hall built the North Branch Hotel. Soon after the North West Plank Road—now Milwaukee Avenue—was built in 1850, the Niles township was formed. It is believed the village name was derived from the Niles Register, a nationally distributed newspaper.
Further prosperity came to Niles after the turn of the century as the Chicago Surface Lines railway traveled down Milwaukee Avenue. Between 1899 and 1930, the town’s population rose from 500 to 2,135.
The village owes much of its local character to industrialist and inventor Robert Ilg constructed a recreational park, two swimming pools, a water towel, and the famous Leaning Tower of Niles.
The average home or condo cost in Niles is $364,433. Detached houses are $404,623; Townhouses or other attached units are $281,636; In 2-unit structures are $504,506; In 3-to-4-unit structures are $472,200; In 5-or-more-unit structures are $279,907; and Mobile homes are $140,000 on average. The median Niles rental cost is $800 per month with an average of $712/month for a studio, $800/month for a 1 bedroom, and $875+/month for a 2 bedroom.
Niles houses many beautiful property designs, including spacious stone and brick homes, sharp modern homes, charming Prairie Style homes, classy Colonials, and creative customs. Common features include dramatic windows, elegant hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, and open floor plans, perfect inspiration for unique interior decoration!
Niles is just 2 miles away from the Morton Grove Metra Station (8501 Lehigh Avenue). The Milwaukee District North Line transports passengers to Chicago’s Union Station without the stress of rush-hour traffic. Commuters who wish to cut their driving time can access the nearby CTA Purple Line in Evanston, just 7 miles away.
Pace offers three Niles bus routes: Route 411, Route 412, and Route 413. Route 411 offers free fare to the Recreation Center, Civic Center Plaza, Leaning Tower YMCA, Trident Community Center, Dempster Plaza, Golf Mill Shopping Center, Library, Ballard Plaza and Notre Dame High School. Route 412 rives free service to Golf Mill, Four Flaggs, Golf Glen and the areas in Niles north and west of Golf Mill including Big K-Mart and The Breakers. Route 413 gives free rides to the Village Crossing Shopping, the Leaning Tower YMCA, Target, Costco, shops in Pointe Plaza, Aldi Foods, the Civic Center Plaza and the Village Crossing Shopping Center.
Niles is just 5 minutes driving distance from the I-94 Edens Expressway and 7 minutes from the I-90 Kennedy Expressway, convenient for commutes to Chicago. Illinois Route 43, or Harlem Avenue, also provides easy access to the city. Niles is also located just 8 miles from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Niles Flash Cab at 7501 North Milwaukee Avenue (847) 647-8777 and Ambassador Limousine Services at 8418 West Carol Street (866) 398-6500 offer rides to and from the airport.
Niles is served by Districts 63, 64, 67, 71, 72, and 219. The region also offers 8 private schools, including unique special needs programs at New Hope Academy and Joseph Academy.
Layalena Restaurant and Nightclub on 8801 North Milwaukee Avenue (847) 470-9000 offers a relaxing bar experience with hookahs, fine food, and a romantic atmosphere. The club is known for its excellent Arabic music, ranging from rollicking dance beats to lush, beautiful ballads. In fact, the owner himself is a famous Assyrian singer, Shabeh Lawando!
For an out of the ordinary bar and unique musical entertainment, locals head to Capone’s Hideout at 6873 North Milwaukee Avenue (847) 647-8147. Many patrons come out just for the ambience, which features low lights, beautiful 20s ironwork, and a bloodstained wall where a gangster was purportedly gunned down. The bar itself originated from the prohibition era and is well aware of its history, offering menu items that date back to 1921! What better spot for a roaring 20s or gangster themed party than the hideout of Capone himself?
With ample and comfortable seating, Lucky Magee’s (9215 Greenwood Avenue, (847) 795-8000) is a prime spot for large group outings. The bar offers a classic sports pub environment, off-track betting, and a surprisingly wide-range of food offerings. The waiters are friendly and informative, making this a great spot for both seasoned and beginning level gamblers.
Jang Choong Dong (9078 West Golf Road, (847) 768-5884) is a hot spot for Korean food and late night karaoke. The restaurant features private rooms and high quality sound equipment, ideal for small parties and after work get-togethers. Song lists include a wide selection of tunes in multiple languages.
Morrison Roadhouse (7355 North Harlem Avenue, (847) 588-1320) is a great neighborhood juke joint for extra late nighters. The bar stays open until 4 am and offers cheap drinks, including all night Corona and Heineken bombs for $4. The kitchen also serves juicy burgers, hot wings, and other appetizers late into the evening.
Virtuouso Performing Arts on 3 Waukegan Road (847) 583-0740 offers classes for aspiring artists, from ballet dancers to actors to classical musicians. Teaching faculty include distinguished veterans of their fields, including former stars of the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre and the Joffrey Ballet.
Shoppers will be right at home in Niles. Between the Golf Mill Shopping Center on 239 Golf Mill Center (847) 699-1070, the Civic Center Plaza on 7801 North Waukegan Road, and the Oak Mill Mall on 7900 North Milwaukee Avenue (847) 967-8860, residents seldom find reason to shop outside the village.
With three floors of unique collections, replicas, and interactive exhibits, the Niles Historical Museum is an entertainment destination in and of itself. The museum offers year-round free admission and special programs on the 4th Saturday of every month.
Movie lovers can view all the latest feature films at Kerasotes Showtime Theatre on 301 Golf Mill Center (847) 544-7380 and Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5- 9180 West Golf Road (847) 299-2366.
For food as good as Mom makes, what better choice than Just Like Home Restaurant (8501 West Dempster Street, (847) 696-3663) The restaurant is known for its fresh ingredients, large portions, and low prices. Though the menu is expansive, it focuses on comfort dishes and delicious diner classics.
Himalayan Restaurant (8265 West Golf Road, (847) 324-4150) boasts a family friendly menu of Nepali and Indian food. With a lunch buffet, catering service, and full bar, the restaurant also services a broad span of dining moods. Diners especially love the Tandoori Chicken, Palak Paneer, and the Chicken Tikka Masala.
Recently featured on ABC News 11, Shabu House (8257 West Golf Road, (847) 470-1700) offers gourmet Korean-style hot pot. The name refers to the Korean phrase “shabu shabu,” or “swish swish” for the swirling motion of the meat in its savory broth. Guests congregate around a boiling stew vat and cook fondue-style with fresh veggies, raw meats, noodles, and seafood ingredients. The restaurant also offers tasty peanut, spicy, and apple ponzu dipping sauces.
Cheo Ga Jip Pizza and Chicken (8273 West Golf Road, (847) 583-1582) offers a Korean take on American fast food. The fried chicken is extra crispy and served alongside pickled daikon radishes. Cheo Ga Jip’s pizza features eclectically delectable toppings such as sweet potatoes and bulgogi.
The nearby Bakersville Asian bakery (8357 West Golf Road, (847) 966-0404) offers everything from dainty bean buns to savory pastries to giant bowls of frozen yogurt. A cup of coffee or one of the many bubble teas provides the perfect dessert compliment.
The Niles Park District provides a number of facilities for entertainment, recreation, and relaxation. District programs cater to children, teens, and adults.
Residents can drop off their preschool children at the Grennan Heights classroom-- located at 8255 Oketo Avenue (847) 967-6975-- on the way to workout in the building’s gym. With its outdoor basketball and tennis courts, Grennan Heights is great for keeping active in the summer. The Golf View Recreation Center (7800 North Caldwell Avenue, (847) 967-1529) also provides an inexpensive workout environment, with 2 court gyms, an open gym, an indoor track, and a room filled with state of the art fitness equipment.
The Park District also offers many options for less structured sports, including the Tam O’ Shanter Golf Course (6700 West Howard Street, (847) 965-2344). This gorgeous 9-hole course offers over 37 acres of green and golf lessons for all ages. Notably, this course was also the site of the All American Open PGA Tour from 1941 to 1957.The Oasis Fun Center (7877 Milwaukee Avenue, (847) 967-6648) is another great destination for fun in fair weather, with a large pool, spray pad, drop slide, water slide, and diving boards. The Fun Center even hosts parties for 15+ guests, perfect for special events and children’s birthdays.
Niles’ Tam Tennis Club (7686 North Caldwell Avenue, (847) 375-8949) gives locals a place to play on cool or rainy days. The Club includes 8 pristine indoor courts, tennis lessons for all ages and skill levels, as well as drop-in and traveling adult tennis leagues. For winter sports, residents enjoy the Iceland Skate arena (8435 Ballard Road, (847) 297-8010). The fabulous rink hosts figure skating classes, youth-league hockey games, open skates, parties, and more.
The Niles Teen Center (239 Golf Mill Center, (847) 375-8949) provides a welcoming hang out spot for teens. Guests can play video games, receive homework help, and socialize with their peers in a safe and structured environment. The Niles Senior Center (999 Civic Center Drive, (847) 588-8420) caters to adults on the other end of the age spectrum, offering classes and trips to enrich the lives of elderly citizens. For local children and adults, the Howard Leisure Center (6675 Howard Street, (847) 967-6633) offers a wide range of instructed activities, such as art classes, camps, cheerleading, dance, drama, and music lessons. The Center is also home to the Bright Beginnings Preschool, convenient for multi-taskers with multiple children!