Winnetka Community

Community Information


Located 16 miles north of Chicago, Winnetka is considered one of most desirable communities on the prestigious “North Shore”. The name Winnetka, derived from the Indian word meaning “beautiful land”, is an ideal description of the village which stretches west from Lake Michigan to encompass inviting beaches, three picturesque retail centers, tree-lined streets of charming homes and gracious parklands.

Winnetka’s first settlers, the Erastus Patterson family, arrived in 1836. They soon established Winnetka’s first business, the Patterson tavern, to serve travelers along the Green Bay Trail from Fort Dearborn in Chicago to Fort Howard in Wisconsin. In 1854, knowing that the Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad would soon be coming through Winnetka, Charles Peck and Walter S. Gurnee, president of the Railroad, created the original subdivision of Winnetka. The village was incorporated in 1869.

Residents can participate in a variety of community activities. Some 50 organizations cover topics including history, historic preservation, gardens, antiques, government, sports, music, arts, theater and more. The Winnetka Community House is a non-profit organization that conducts recreation programs, activities of interest for all age groups, and serves as a meeting place for numerous clubs and organizations. The Winnetka Public Library has over 103,000 volumes as well as 3,600 audio visual items and is directly linked to 24 area libraries through the North Suburban Library System.

Parks and Recreation.

Winnetka’s comprehensive park system includes 28 neighborhood parks, 2 swimming beaches, 2 boating beaches, and 1 dog beach. There is also a year round indoor pool, 18 hole and Par 3 golf courses, 8 indoor and 12 outdoor tennis courts, an ice arena and winter outdoor ice rink as well as cross country skiing. Residents also enjoy recreation programs including basketball, lacrosse, softball, football, soccer and field hockey.


Winnetka has long been known for it’s excellent school system. Students attend one of three K-4 schools, one 5-6 grade center, one 7-8 grade center and New Trier High School, nationally known for outstanding test scores and the extremely high percentage of students who go on to college. Both elementary and high school districts offer gifted programs, computer instruction and a number of other special programs. Private education options are also available through four elementary and two area high schools.


The majority of homes in Winnetka are from 50 to 100 years old, offering a gracious mix of stately Tudors, Georgians and Victorians as well as traditional cottages and unique contemporaries on attractive, tree-shaded streets. Some newer homes, townhomes and condominiums are also available.


Drive time to downtown Chicago averages 30 minutes via the nearby Eden’s Expressway. Metra trains stop at three stations in Winnetka for a 27-minute express trip to the Loop - 42 minutes including all local stops. O’Hare Airport is a 30-minute drive while Midway is 45 minutes away. Local bus service is also available. 

Winnetka Village Hall 847-501-6000