For families just starting out or those with school-aged kids, there’s one thing that is always at the top of parents’ real estate wish list: proximity to a great school. It’s right up there with a prime location and square footage, but many of my clients don’t have a clear place to start research or know where to get the information that is most pertinent to them. Here, I’ve compiled what you need to know about some of the most sought-after schools in neighborhoods for luxury real estate in Chicago.


Public schools in Chicago have neighborhood boundaries, meaning that residents within those boundaries are eligible to attend. This can put a premium on real estate in areas with the most coveted schools. But what makes a school stand out among others? The answer varies from parent to parent, but most are highly regarded for a particular specialty, academic programming or the school’s leadership and teachers.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the top rated public schools in Chicago (requires living within the school district):

1. James G. Blaine Elementary School (Southport Corridor)

1420 W Grace St Chicago, IL 60613

  • A clear focus on academic excellence, with an integrated arts program
  • Wide range of programs for family and students, including music, art, scholastic programs and sports
  • Located in Southport Corridor, an area coveted for its residential feel and proximity to Wrigley Field, community parks, shopping and dining options

View Active Listings Near Blaine Elementary School

2. Burley Elementary School (Lakeview)

1630 W Barry Ave Chicago, IL 60657

  • Chicago’s first literature, writing, and technology magnet cluster school
  • Nationally recognized curriculum authored by the school’s staff
  • Located in Lakeview, a favorite North Side neighborhood known for its central location, laid-back atmosphere and walkability to many activities

View Active Listings Near Burley Elementary School

3. Coonley Elementary School (North Center)

4046 N Leavitt St Chicago, IL 60618

  • Known for its enrichment programs in art, music, gym, library, dance and drama
  • Deep history dating back more than 100 years
  • Located in North Center, a vibrant neighborhood with a mix of activities like retail, music, theater and dining.

View Active Listings Near Coonley Elementary School

4. Lincoln Elementary School (Lincoln Park)

615 W Kemper Pl Chicago, IL 60614

  • A neighborhood school in Lincoln Park, one of Chicago’s premier residential areas
  • A cornerstone of the school is its Ecole Franco-Américaine de Chicago, a tuition-supported program with a curriculum certified by the French government
  • Recognized as a model school within the Chicago Public School system

View Active Listings Near Lincoln Elementary School

5. Oscar Mayer Magnet School (Lincoln Park)

2250 N Clifton Ave Chicago, IL 60614

  • A magnet school with a progressive education model
  • The school has a fine and performing arts focus, a Montessori program and an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program
  • Located on the west side of Lincoln Park, near DePaul University, community parks and neighborhood shopping and dining

View Active Listings Near Oscar Mayer Magnet School

6. Nettelhorst Elementary School (East Lakeview)

3252 N Broadway St Chicago, IL 60657

  • A fine and performing arts magnet cluster school
  • Features an on-site chicken coop, array of public artwork and an outdoor classroom
  • Located in East Lakeview near Wrigleyville and close to public transportation, neighborhood restaurants and of course, Wrigley Field

View Active Listings Near Nettelhorst Elementary School

7. Peirce School of International Studies (Andersonville)

1423 W Bryn Mawr Ave Chicago, IL 60660

  • International Baccalaureate Primary Years and Middle Years programs
  • Programs in dance, art, music, language, technology and others.
  • Located on Chicago’s north side in Andersonville, an area known for its charming row homes, antique shops and cafes

View Active Listings Near Peirce School of International Studies

8. Pulaski International School (Wicker Park)

2230 W Mclean Ave Chicago, IL 60647

  • An international school with an IB program and a regional gifted center for Spanish-speaking English language learners
  • Includes extensive health/wellness and parent/community programs
  • Located in Bucktown, a coveted Chicago neighborhood that blends urban with suburban, with plenty of bars, restaurants, coffee shops and parks within walking distance

View Active Listings Near Pulaski International School

9. South Loop Elementary School (South Loop)

1601 S Dearborn St Chicago, IL 60616-1225

  • A diverse school with a model to cultivate leadership and life skills
  • Programs in performing and fine arts, science, chess and more.
  • In Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood, near Lake Michigan and Museum Campus

View Active Listings Near South Loop Elementary School

Contact Sheldon at (312) 498-5080 or to learn more.

10. Waters Elementary School (Lincoln Square)

4540 N Campbell Ave Chicago, IL 60625

  • A magnet school that promotes environmental awareness and healthy living through academic curriculum
  • Recognized for its programs in ecology, technology and fine and performing arts
  • In Lincoln Square, an established neighborhood with German roots and plenty of dining and music destinations.

View Active Listings Near Waters Elementary School


In the real estate market, it’s all about location—and more often than not, that can mean location in proximity to a great school. Parents who are shopping for luxury homes in Chicago typically have schools top of mind when looking at different neighborhoods to live in. In addition to the city’s noteworthy neighborhood schools, Chicago is home to a number of coveted private schools, as well. Unlike neighborhood public schools, Chicago’s private schools do not require students to live within a certain boundary in order to attend, and these schools boast everything from ultra-specialized education programs to global campuses that connect students with the world at large.

Let’s take a look at private schools in Chicago that do not require living in a specified school district.

1. Near North Montessori School (Wicker Park)

1434 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60642

  • Located in ultra-hip Wicker Park, beloved for its urban community, boutique shopping and independent eateries
  • Classes are treated as dynamic learning laboratories to enable exploration and skill-building
  • Students have opportunity to work at the school’s farm-to-table business, providing school lunches and giving students hands-on business experience

View Active Listings Near North Montessori School

2. Francis W Parker

330 W Webster Ave Chicago, IL 60621

  • Located in Lincoln Park, a neighborhood coveted by families for its residential-like setting
  • Top-rated, college-prep school for children in pre-K through 12th grade
  • Located in Lincoln Park, one of the city’s most sought-after neighborhoods
  • Known for its progressive education program with an emphasis on community and citizenship

View Active Listings Near Francis W Parker Elementary School

3. Latin School of Chicago

59 W. North Boulevard Chicago, Illinois 60610

  • Located between Lincoln Park and Old Town
  • Focus on liberal arts including visual and performing arts programs for all grade levels
  • Located in the Gold Coast neighborhood
  • The student-to-teacher ratio is 8:1, with more than 150 courses available to students

View Active Listings Near the Latin School of Chicago

4. Catherine Cook School (Old Town)

226 West Schiller Street, Chicago, Illinois 60610

  • Located in Old Town, known for its architecture and quaint streets
  • Preschool through 8th grade
  • Academic programs emphasize independent thinking, experiential learning and social responsibility
  • Offers more than 65 extracurricular activities and clubs, including Creative Builders, Future Problem Solvers, Robotics Club and more

View Active Listings Near Catherine Cook Elementary School

5. Francis Xavier Warde

751 N. State St.Chicago, IL 60654

  • Located in River North, an energetic urban neighborhood close to downtown
  • Catholic elementary school for students in pre-K through 8th grade
  • Focus on diversity and inclusivity; the school provides need-based scholarships to 30 percent of its students
  • Features a dual track religion program designed for both Catholic families and interfaith families

View Active Listings Near Francis Xavier Warde Elementary School

6. Bennett Day School (River West)

955 W. Grand Ave Chicago, IL 60642

  • Located in River West for all grade levels (pre-K through 12th grade)
  • Focused on progressive education, where students “learn by doing”
  • Indexed Tuition program aims to make the school accessible to families ofall income levels

View Active Listings Near Bennett Day School

7. Lycee Francais de Chicago (Ravenswood / Lincoln Square)

1929 West Wilson Ave. Chicago, IL 60640

  • French international school with a rigorous bilingual education program and multicultural community
  • College preparatory school to ready students for top universities around the world
  • Campus includes specialized art studios, start-of-the-art library, and four-story atrium in one of the city’s most dynamic, artistic and cultural communities

View Active Listings Near Lycee Francais De Chicago School

8. Gems Academy Chicago (Lincoln Park & South Loop)

350 East South Water Street, Chicago, IL 60601

  • Preschool through grade 12 in the Lakeshore East neighborhood near downtown Chicago
  • Part of a micro-network of schools, including campuses in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore and opportunities for student exchange and collaboration
  • International baccalaureate program aims to develop students to be global citizens

View Active Listings Near Gems Academy School

9. British International School (Lincoln Park)

814 W Eastman St, Chicago, IL 60642

  • Toddler to fifth grade students in an urban campus environment
  • Students have access to Global Campus, an exclusive personalize online learning platform to connect students around the globe and enable virtual learning
  • Collaborations with M.I.T, and the Juilliard School give students specialized, hands-on experience outside of the classroom

View Active Listings Near British International School

10. Chicago City Day School (Lakeview East)

541 W Hawthorne Pl, Chicago, IL 60657

  • Serving students in junior kindergarten through 8th grade with a two-acre campus just one block from Lake Michigan
  • Indoor and outdoor facilities provide unique opportunities for experiential learning for students
  • Develops students in public speaking beginning in first grade

View Active Listings Near Chicago City Day School

Public Regional Gifted Centers (Selective Enrollment, Requires Testing to Gain Enrollment):

Chicago also has 13 Regional Gifted Centers, designed to provide appropriate services for children identified as gifted. These schools offer a differentiated, enriched curriculum focused on skill development in an area appropriate to a student’s abilities and interests. They are also design for students who are English language learners with a first language of Polish, Russian or Spanish. 

Three Regional Gifted Centers are full-site centers (Edison, Keller, and Lenart), meaning that all students in these schools are in the Regional Gifted Center, and no student may enroll in the schools without going through the application and selection process. Ten Regional Gifted Centers are housed within neighborhood schools:

These schools have two separate programs: a regular education program and the Regional Gifted Center program. One Regional Gifted Center is housed in Beasley, a magnet school.

There are no attendance boundaries at the city’s Regional Gifted Centers, so students across the city are eligible to apply. 

For more information, visit the website for the Office of Access and Enrollment at and click 'Programs' and 'Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools.’

Finding a great school is as important as finding a great home. Chicago offers the best of both worlds, with renowned public (and private) schools nestled into some of the city’s most beloved neighborhoods. To learn more about the schools near your real estate search, contact Sheldon Salnick at (312) 498-5080 or at