Darien is a quaint town 22 miles southwest of Chicago, truly “a nice place to live.” With over 130 acres of parks and free events such as Darienfest, the village offers local flair, charm, and a sense of community. Darien’s stately homes are set in a beautiful natural environment, with backyard views of prairie flowers, wetland wildlife, or rolling green hills and forests. The resident Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is one of the most expansive and well-maintained habitats in Northern Illinois, with 2,689 acres of beautiful landscape. Thanks to nearby Metra and Pace transportation, residents can experience all the comforts of the country with easy access to the city.
Darien is a peaceful suburb located 22 miles southwest of Chicago. The village is nestled within shady forests, golden prairie, and rolling green hills.
The village is bordered by Westmont to the north, Willowbrook to the northeast, Burr Ridge to the east, Lemont to the south, Bolingbrook to the southwest, Woodridge to the west, and Lisle to the northwest. Darien is also conveniently located between I-355 and I-55.
There are 5 other Dariens in the United States: Darien, Connecticut; Darien, Georgia; Darien, New York; Village of Darien, Wisconsin; and Town of Darien, Wisconsin.
Population (2008)- Total 22,389
Density 3,705/sq mi
Median income $84,918
Darien began as the Andrus Inn, established by New England native Thomas Andrus in 1835. The Inn served 15 stagecoaches with a tavern and post office. The coaches ran along a line where I-55 is presently located. Andrus titled the area “Cass” and built a log cabin church of the same name.
In 1859, large groups of German Lutheran immigrants settled in the area. In addition to their many farms, they created the first St. John Lutheran Church and laid out a cemetery which still stands today.
In 1890, the Village of Lace was established, creating a village “triangle” bordered by Cass Avenue, Plainfield Road, and 75th Street. This triangle, known as “the point,” included the town hall, general store, blacksmith shop, and post office.
In 1969, the communities of Lace and Cass were incorporated under one village: Darien. The name of the village was suggested by acting mayor Sam Kelly, who had recently visited a town called Darien in Connecticut. The two communities differ in their pronunciation; Darien, Illinois is pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable whereas Darien, Connecticut accentuates the last.
The village of Darien boasts a low population density, allowing for large private yards and breathtaking views. The rolling hills and lush foliage provide a tranquil living environment.
The median home value in Darien is 371,722. Detached houses are $444,989; Townhouses or other attached units are $299,156; In 2-unit structures are $157,566; In 3-to-4-unit structures are $221,472; In 5-or-more-unit structures are $240,312. The average monthly rent is $736 for a 1-2 bedroom unit.
Darien properties include quaint brick Ranches, Contemporary Style Homes, and a wide variety of gorgeous customs. Many homes feature backyard decks and beautiful vistas in all directions.
Darien is located between I-355, which provides easy transportation to north and south suburbs. I-55 also runs through Darien, which connects with I-294 for convenient access to downtown Chicago.
Darien is 23 miles from O’Hare International Airport, 18 miles from Midway International Airport, 18 miles from the Schaumberg Regional Airport, and 26 miles from the Dupage County Airport.
The Clarendon Hills Metra is located just 3.8 miles from Darien on 1 South Prospect Avenue. Commuters can reach the city through the BNSF Metra line in 60-75 minutes. The line ends at Chicago’s Union Station.
Pace Route 751 serves the Village of Darien. The line runs between Addison and Darien, stopping at the Glen Ellyn Metra Station and the Clarendon Hills Metra Station.
Q Billiard and Sports (8109 South Cass Avenue, (630) 241-0970) is a great casual hang-out with a fully-stocked bar, over 20 pool tables, and $1 cues for rent. In addition to billiards, the bar offers beanbag games, darts, foosball, and a number of arcade machines. Sports events are always playing on the television, and Saturday nights feature live band entertainment.
Dry Dock Inn (1125 North Frontage Road, (630) 963-0808) is a fun local dive bar with cheap drinks and a relaxed atmosphere. Friday nights feature special well deals and $1 tacos.
Darien is located near some of Chicagoland’s finest attractions. From quiet garden strolls to exciting shows, Darien residents never lack for entertainment.
The Tivoli Theatre (5021 Highland Avenue, Downers Grove (630) 968-0219) is an elegant old-fashioned movie palace with velvet curtains and ornate gold trim. The theater dates back to Christmas day, 1928, and was one of the first theaters in the country to show “talkie” films. Today, the Tivoii remains on the cutting edge with HPS4000 surround sound and Digital 3D. In addition to current popular films, the Tivoli hosts live shows and performances, including the Midwest Ballet Theatre and West Towns Chorus. Movie lovers can also view feature-length films at the Cinemark Imax on 6500 Route 53, Woodridge (630) 434-2629.
Morton Arboretum (4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle (630) 968-0074) offers a dozen themed gardens, including a Children’s Garden, a challenging Maze Garden, and a soothing Fragrance Garden for relaxation and reflection. The Children’s Garden includes a playground area, splash stream, and a wide range of special kids events that encourage creative exploration. The Sterling Morton Library is also on the Arboretum’s premises, providing glass shelves and curved cherry bookcases with reading material for all ages. A nearby Reading Garden is the perfect spot to curl up with a good book.
The Morton Arboretum is also a great place for hiking and bike rides, with over 16 miles of trails nestled in 1700 acres of prairie grass, Heritage Trail woodland, and Meadow Lake waters. Wildlife lovers will enjoy the beautiful Schulenberg Prairie, one of the oldest planted prairies in the entire Midwest.
Established in 1852, Graue Mill and Museum (3824 York Road, Oak Brook, (630) 655-2090) is home to 150 years of proud history. The site is also homes to the only operating gristmill waterwheel in northern Illinois. Along with unique tours and shops, the museum hosts A Day in the Country, a popular antiques and vintage fair.
Blueberry Hill (7340 Route 83, (630) 734-1300) is a great place for a hearty early morning breakfast or a leisurely Sunday brunch. Though the restaurant serves a broad menu of omelets, skillets, and other classic family foods, it is famous for its enormous fluffy pancakes. With fast service and friendly waiters, Blueberry Hill is a perfect dining spot for large groups and children.
Jam n Jelly Café (7511 Lemont Road, (630) 985-9595) is a whimsical breakfast and sandwich shop. The café features delicious frittatas, waffles, crepes, and healthy options for calorie-conscious customers. The atmosphere is bright, clean, and modern, and the food arrives piping hot. Locals recommend the homemade jams and jellies from which the café derives its namesake.
Darien offers over 130 acres of parks and two main recreational facilities, The Darien Park District Community Center (7301 Fairview Avenue, (630) 958-6400) and the Darien Sportsplex (451 Plainfield Road, (630) 789-6666). The Community Center hosts a wide variety of classes, meetings, and great for after school entertainment and enrichment. The Center’s nearby park contains 8.9 acres of green space, a playground, and a baseball field. The Sportsplex includes a field house for soccer players, and an ice arena for skaters and hockey enthusiasts.
Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve (630) 933-7200 is a sight to behold with over 2,689 acres of rolling hills and rocky ravines. The preserve offers some of the most diverse and beautiful views in northern Illinois, with 700 acres of woods, a dolomite prairie, and golden savannah grasses. Its eclectic habitats are home to over 600 species of native plants and over 160 avian species, creating a perfect environment for bird watchers, hikers, and other nature lovers. The preserve also hosts an outdoor education camp for scout and school groups through the Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center (630) 850-8110.
Darienfest is a free music and food festival held every September in Darien Community Park. Local vendors sell a wide variety of treats from BBQ to Grecian gourmet to icy sno cones. The music acts are equally unique, including modern rock, southern blues, and funky dance jams.
Throughout the summer months, Darien’s Park District sponsors double-feature Movies in the Park at Darien Community Park. The films are free and suitable for all ages, bringing friends and family together under the stars.