Chartered as a Village by the Illinois Legislature in 1869, Winnetka has long been recognized as one of the most affluent and desirable communities on Chicago's "North Shore". Winnetka is a community of fine, well-kept homes of unusually high character set along tree-shaded streets. Winnetka, 18 miles from the Loop, has established a reputation as one of the most desirable communities in the greater Chicago area. Its stately homes, unique shopping areas, excellent school districts and numerous recreation choices add to its appeal. Many of Winnetka's small businesses are clustered in one of three major shopping areas, which resemble Tudor villages. There are antiques stores, gift shops, clothing and shoe stores, book stores, grocers, specialty food stores and a variety of professional offices situated within these areas. The Winnetka Community House, a stately old Tudor mansion, serves the community as a hub for local activities and as a meeting place for a variety of local organizations. Programs of all sorts are held in the house, including art classes taught by the North Shore Art League, as well as music, dance and theater classes.
The village has an extensive park system, recreation facilities and programs. Residents have their choice of three well-maintained beaches. The Lloyd Place Beach has a launching ramp for boats. The A.C. Nielsen Tennis Center and the Winnetka Ice Arena are also available for the enjoyment of residents.
Winnetka's housing is diverse and includes everything from Colonial, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian to unusual contemporary homes and charming cottages. Many of Winnetka's homes are large and often have spacious property. The majority are 50 to 100 years old.
Elementary school-aged children attend one of three elementary schools followed by middle school. The district offers programs for gifted students, instruction in computer use, fine arts and music classes and a number of other special classes. High school students attend the renowned New Trier High School, in district 203. In addition to an outstanding academic program, the school, located on Winnetka Avenue, has fine interscholastic sports programs, intramural activities and a wide range of music and performing arts classes and productions. Also offered are more than 70 organizations that provide a huge variety of extra-curricular opportunities for all New Trier students.
The Edens Expressway (I-94) is just west of the village. Drive time to the Loop is 30 minutes. Commuters board Metra trains at three different stations in Winnetka for a 27 minute express trip to the Loop and 42 minutes on the locals. O'Hare Airport is a 30-minute drive, and Midway is 45 minutes away. Bus service is available throughout the village.