Naper's Settlement was established in 1831 on the bank of the DuPage River, west of Chicago. In 1834, Naper's Settlement made an ideal stagecoach stop, so a plank road was constructed to Chicago to make passage by horse drawn wagons and coaches easier. Naperville was incorporated in 1857 with a population of 2,000. The city remained primarily rural until the combination of Chicago's urban sprawl and the construction of the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway brought major employers to the area. Lured by relatively low housing costs, Chicagoans who wished to escape the city started buying homes in Naperville, eventually attracting numerous upscale retailers and leading to the city's current affluent status.
Naperville experiences four distinct seasons with summertime high temperatures averaging in the low 80's °F and summertime nightly lows in the 60's °F. The highest level of precipitation is also in the summer, averaging more than 4" per month. Winters are cold, with average high temperatures in the low 30's °F and temperatures at night dipping into the teens and lower. At 30 miles inland, Naperville seldom experiences severe lake effect conditions that make Chicago winters memorable.
Most Naperville residents drive to their destinations, or during summer, take advantage of the various bike routes through the city. The Regional Transportation Authority in Chicago operates PACE, a suburban bus system with wheelchair accessibility and bike racks for cyclists. Chicago's Metra transit system provides commuter rail service and Naperville's Amtrak station provides rail service to California and the western states. Chicago's two airports, O'Hare and Chicago Midway, are each about 25 miles from Naperville.
The cost of living in Naperville reflects the affluent lifestyle that many residents are accustomed to. The average cost is around 18% higher than the Illinois state average and 13% greater than the national average.
The majority of Naperville students attend school in either the Community Unit School District 203 with 21 schools or the Indian Prairie School District 204 with 33 schools. A small number of area students may also attend Community Unit School District 200 and Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202.
Homes and townhouses in Naperville start in the $250,000 price range and rise as the homes become larger, better located, or more distinctive in construction. New homes in the downtown neighborhoods north of Centennial Park are attractive to financially comfortable home buyers. Nice apartments in Naperville rent for between $1,200 and $4,000.
Several popular chain hotels as well as a handful of exclusive hotels are located in Naperville. Hotel Arista is a popular upscale hotel located at the CityGate Centre business and retail complex. The Harrison House Bed and Breakfast, circa 1904, is located in the heart of Naperville's Historic District, located a few short blocks from the shops and distinctive restaurants in downtown Naperville.
Naperville has a rich ethnic blend, and the local food establishments match that richness. There are more than 250 restaurants, diners, and sandwich shops in Naperville, with about a quarter of them concentrated in the bustling downtown. From breakfast at Schmaltz Deli to the cannolis at Zeppe's Italian Market, dining can be a different adventure every day! Catch Thirty-Five has been voted the best seafood in Downtown Naperville for 3 years running, and for classic Chicago style pizza, Lou Malnati's is the real deal.
Naperville offers plenty to do for residents and visitors alike, with shopping, parks, and exceptional dining. Summertime in Naperville is especially nice with a variety of programs throughout the warm weather season. Jump on a trolley and get a 1 hour introduction to Naperville's history and culture, or take a 3 hour Naperville Sights and Bites walking tour that takes in more than 60 public art works along with a sampling of local restaurants. The Naperville Ale Fest in July features over 180 unique craft beers from dozens of breweries and if wine is more your style, the Naperville Wine Festival in August is the place to be. Rollin' on the River hosts free summertime concerts on the Riverwalk on Friday nights, and on Tuesday evenings, you can enjoy a concert played on Naperville's Millennium Carillon. Centennial Beach, constructed from an abandoned quarry purchased by the city in 1931, is a unique swimming hole for locals, featuring a sandy beach and shallow slope at one end, and an 18' deep pool with diving boards and platforms at the other end, separated by swim lanes used for racing. Enjoy the history of Naperville by strolling through the Historic District and visit the Naper Settlement that recreates Naperville's early years through historic structures and demonstrations provided by character actors.