Cary/Oakwood Hills suburbs of Chicago are beautiful neighborhoods that are clean, safe, fun, and always growing and changing.
Residents in Cary and Oakwood Hills enjoy well maintained schools with great teachers, fun and exciting classrooms, and an administration that cares about furthering education and seeing students move on to college education.
Cary restaurants and nightlife may not be as exciting as diverse as the city, but the various restaurants and bars are locally owned and put emphasis on customer service and freshly made foods.
Nightlife in Cary includes many small bars and pubs with relaxing and quiet atmospheres. Bars in neighboring Lake Barrington are nestled along the Fox River and offer beautiful views of the river while enjoying drinks, appetizers, and dinner.
Cary homes and townhouses and homes in Oakwood Hills are beautiful and sometimes include large backyards and views of the Fox River. Residents also have the advantage of commuter trains and the Cary Metra Station providing access to downtown Chicago for daily work or weekend fun and entertainment.
Cary has historical roots as an agricultural community and providing the milk supply to the city of Chicago. Shopping and entertainment near Cary is mostly centered in neighboring community of Crystal Lake.
Both Oakwood Hills and Cary are beautiful suburban communities and great places for raising a family or for buying your first home.
Cary and Oakwood Hills are northwest suburbs of Chicago and located in McHenry County approximately 50 miles and a one hour commute to the downtown Chicago Loop.
Neighboring suburbs include Trout Valley, Fox River Grove, Fox River Valley Gardens, Lake Barrington, Algonquin, Prairie Grove, Holiday Hills, Island Lake, and Crystal Lake.
Both Cary and Oakwood Hills are located west of the Fox River and within the vicinity of many lakes and bodies of water including Vulcan Lake, Lake Killarney, Silver Lake, and Slocum Lake.
Source US Census
Source US Census
Crime rates in Cary and Oakwood Hills have been lower that 1/3 the national average in 2008 and make both suburbs great and safe communities to raise a family.
The film Groundhog Day staring Bill Murray was filmed for some interior scenes in Cary and other surrounding towns like Woodstock and Rockford.
The Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad began to build tracks from Chicago to Janesville, Wisconsin in 1853. As construction moved through Crystal Lake in 1855, local farmer William Cary put out a sign to establish a townsite northwest of the Fox River.
In the 1880’s, dairy farmers benefited from the railroad station established in Cary and became a big portion of the milk supply in Chicago. By 1903, the area known as Fox River Valley opened a dairy bottling plant in Cary.
Fox River Valley became a popular destination for vacation rentals and attracted Chicagoan’s looking to escape the urban city. The west bank of the Fox River in Cary progressed into a chain of vacation resorts run by family-owned businesses.
The area also became known for the open gravel pits and gravel removal. The expansion of these pits have caused tension with the growing residential neighborhoods in Cary.
The community of Oakwood Hills began as an area of resorts and vacation homes on Andersen Lake (later renamed Silver Lake). Throughout the 1950’s, residents considered incorporation to improve road conditions and became incorporated in 1959.
Cary homes have a median home value of $184,100. Cary Homes for Sale come in a variety of sizes and values and can range in price anywhere from $80,000 to $800,000.
Oakwood Hills homes have a median home value of $166,000. Single family residences and Oakwood Hills homes for sale have a list price anywhere between $90,000 and $350,000.
Homes in both Cary and Oakwood Hills can be raised ranch, smaller prairie style homes, and larger newly constructed neoecletic or colonial homes. Many homes feature open layouts, large backyards, garages, vaulted ceilings, and other great comforts and amenities.
While condos are not one of the options for housing in Cary, townhomes are a popular type of housing recently emerging. Cary townhomes can range in price from $100,000 to $250,000 and have many options for beautiful and affordable homes for individuals and growing families.
Parking in Cary and Oakwood Hills is convenient and plentiful. For Oakwood Hills parking is prohibited between 2am and 6am. For any overnight guests needing to temporarily park on the street, call (815) 444-9453.
Similar to Oakwood Hills, Parking in Cary also prohibits residents to park overnight on streets from 1am to 6am and between November 1st and March 31st to allow for snow removal. Some residents will be given special permission to park overnight.
Transportation in Cary includes a senior bus service and a pace bus service known as ‘Dial n Ride.’ Call (800) 451-4599 or visit the Pace Bus website for more information.
Being so far north of Chicago, Cary residents use commuter trains to access the city of Chicago for daily commutes or weekend trip for shopping and entertainment. Union Pacific Northwest Metra Train Line run service through the northwest suburbs and to the Cary Metra Station.
The Cary Metra Station includes parking available to commuters and an agent selling tickets in the waiting room. The Northwest line runs service between McHenry Metra Station and Harvard Metra Station and Chicago Ogilvie Transportation Center.
The Cary Walk Score is relatively high in the downtown area with a 71% walkable score. The average score in Cary is 51% making the whole of Cary car-dependent. The Oakwood Hills area is even more car-dependent with a 18% Walk Score.
Both public and private schools offer great education opportunities in Cary and Oakwood Hills. Nearby Cary universities and colleges provide a lot of higher education options, and the Cary Metra Station gives transportation to all the schools in the City of Chicago.
Cary Colleges and Universities
McHenry County College 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012 (815) 455-3700.
First Institute 790 McHenry Avenue, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 (815) 459-3500.
Judson University 1151 North State Street in Elgin, IL 60123 (847) 628-2500.
Elgin Community College 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, IL 60123 (847) 697-1000.
Harper College 1200 W. Algonquin Road Palatine, IL 60067 (847) 925-6707.
Cary Public Schools
Cary Community Consolidated School District 26 2115 Crystal Lake Road, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 639-7788.
Briargate Elementary School (K-4) 100 S. Wulff Street, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 639-2348.
Prairie Hill Middle School (5-6) 233 Oriole Trail, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 516-5513.
Cary Junior High School (7-8) 2109 Crystal Lake Road, Cary, Illinois 60013 (847) 639-2148.
Three Oaks Elementary School (K-4) 1514 Three Oaks Road, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 516-5533.
Deer Path Elementary School (PK-4) 2211 Crystal Lake Road, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 516-6350.
Community High School District 155 Center for Education, 1 South Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 (815) 455-8500.
Cary-Grove Community High School (9-12) 2208 Three Oaks Road, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 639-3825.
Cary Private Schools
Goddard School (Early Childhood Education) 801 Georgetown Drive, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 639-1160.
Trinity Oaks Christian Academy (PK-8) 409 N. First Street, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 462-5971.
Cary Methodist Preschool (PK-K) 500 North First Street, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 639-7655.
SS. Paul and Peter Catholic School (K-8) 416 First Street, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 639-3041.
Cary nightlife consists mainly of small bars and pubs filled with locals mostly centered around the Metra Station making it convenient to stop after the commute from downtown Chicago.
One of the oldest establishments in Cary is a local pub. Established in 1896, Cary Public House is one of the local favorite bars for lots of beers on tap and a menu full of burgers and sandwiches and a fish fry every Friday. 208 W Main Street, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 639-7244.
Another great nightspot is the Broken Oar Marina Bar and Grill. Located in Port Barrington, the Broken Oar is both a marina and a bar & grill located on the Fox River. Locals recommend the Bloody Mary’s made fresh and sitting in the outdoor patio during nice weather for views of the river. 614 Rawson Bridge Road, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 639-9468.
Wool Street Grill and Sports Bar is a great place for music, entertainment, drinks, and delicious food. Wool Street is also family-friendly with a kids menu and a banquet room with great services and prices. The menu includes many great dishes like “french dipped” prime rib, Texas BBQ beef, Bass ale burger, veggie burgers, and much more. 800 Feinberg Court, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 462-9665.
Located near the Cary Metra Station, The Tracks is known for having the best burgers in town. The Tracks also has a long list of beers and daily specials including a fish fry on Friday’s. The tracks offers a relaxing and cozy as well as an outdoor patio for drinks in the summertime. 108 W Main Street, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 639-6064.
Cary shopping includes many family owned and operated establishments. Businesses like Periwinkle Flowers, Ziegler’s Ace Hardware, Wedding Belles, Essence Antiques, Hot Rod Music, and Fox River Glass & Mirror are just a few of the stores and shops in Cary.
For a large shopping mall, Cary residents travel to Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee. The mall includes many retail shops and a large food court with many options for dining. The mall has several department stores including Macy’s, Sears, JCPenney, Kohl’s, and Carson Pirie Scott.
The nearest movies theater is the Regal Crystal Lake Showplace Stadium 16 Theater in Crystal Lake. The regal includes dozens of movie screens, full concessions and movie theater popcorn, and comfortable stadium seating.
Raue Center for the Arts is located in nearby community of Crystal Lake near the Metra Station and offers free parking to all guests. Raue is famous for performing arts including theater and music. 26 N Williams Street, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 (815) 356-9212.
Burrito Grande is a great place for Mexican takeout. The burritos are custom made and allows each customer to pick all the toppings. Other menu items include quesadillas, tostadas, mango salsa, taco salads, and homemade chips and salsa. Burrito Grande is a newer establishment in Cary but quickly becoming a favorite restaurant. 140 Crystal Street, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 516-1799.
For a sit down Italian restaurant, Galati’s Pizza and Pasta is a favorite for Cary residents and is located in downtown Cary next to the Metra Station. Galati’s has a beautiful and casual dining room, a bar, take-out, and delivery services. The dine-in menu includes Italian dishes like baked mostaccioli, tortelleni, maniciotti, and speciality pizza like the BBQ, Hawaiian, veggie, and stuffed pizza. 7 Jandus Road, Cary, IL 60013 (847) 516-3663.
Generoso Pizza is another great place for delivery or dine-in pizza. When ordering pizza, crusts can be thin, pan, stuffed, Chicago-style deep dish, double dough, or Sicilian style stuffed pizza. Generoso’s menu also includes sandwiches, burgers, salads, and Italian pasta dishes. 1006 E Algonquin Road, Algonquin, IL 60102 (847) 854-1700.
Other Cary dining and restaurants include places with American cuisine like Chris’ Coach House Restaurant, Cary’s Family Restaurant, and Tony V’s II. Many of these restaurants include fast food, small dining rooms, and takeout.
Cary festivals provide fun and family-friendly entertainment every year. Fall Family Fest takes place every September and includes hayrides, pony rides, a petting zoo, and a pumpkin patch. Every fourth of July weekend, the Cary Summer Celebration features a beer garden, tons of food vendors, live music, fireworks display, and admission is free.
The Cary Park District was established in 1971 and maintains community parks through Cary, Trout Valley, Fox River Grove, Oakwood Hills, Lake in the Hills, and other areas of McHenry County that are incorporated. Check the Map of Community Parks to see neighborhood parks in all of these communities.
Cary parks also include the Kraus Senior Center and the Cary Community Center. Both centers provide fun activities and programs for adults and children in the community. Athletics programs and classes keep children active and learning all year round.
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