The community of Gurnee surrounds itself with natural beauty and the fun and excitement of modern amusement parks. Best known for Six Flags Great America, Gurnee attracts visitors to the area in the summer and even in the winter for its large shopping mall, Gurnee Mills.
Gurnee homes are affordable, stylish, comfortable, and offer a great environment for raising kids. Great schools keep property values stable and provide good public education for the residents and growing families of Gurnee.
Located halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee makes Gurnee a good location without rural isolation of some far north suburbs. Gurnee is also located only five miles from Lake Michigan shores and the beaches in the Zion community.
The Gurnee Park District maintains parks and trails to give the Gurnee community natural beauty and outdoor activities in the summertime. While public transportation is usually limited in suburban communities, Gurnee has access to two nearby Metra Stations and Pace Bus service provide transportation within the community.
Gurnee offers great public education and a good police department dedicated to keeping Gurnee safe and crime rates low. Neighborhood Watch gives the residents a chance to contribute to the safety of the community.
The suburb of Gurnee goes beyond being a small community and provides family fun entertainment with aquatic parks, playgrounds, and a large shopping center. While entertainment brings many people to the community, the safe community keeps residents and their growing families in Gurnee.
Gurnee is located in Lake County, 37 miles north of downtown Chicago Loop and about a 50 minute drive to Chicago. Gurnee is located west of Lake Michigan with only the city of Waukegan between Gurnee and the lake.
Neighboring communities include Gages Lake, Park City, Waukegan, Wadsworth, Grandwood Park, Old Mill Creek, Third Lake, and Grayslake. Besides being located close to Lake Michigan, the Des Plaines River runs through Gurnee.
Gurnee has the convenience of Interstate 94 running through its city limits and being located halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago. Interstate 94 also serves as a division for east Gurnee and west Gurnee.
Other nearby roads include US Route 41, a highway from Downtown Chicago Lake Shore Drive that passes through Gurnee and goes into Wisconsin. For routes running east and west, Route 120 (Belvidere Road) and Route 132 (Grand Ave) both pass through Gurnee.
Gurnee is located less than 5 miles from Lake Michigan and beautiful lake shore views. About a 20 minute drive to, the Illinois State Beach in Zion is a great way to spend a relaxing summer day.
Source US Census
The Gurnee Police Department operates many programs to combat any crime in the community including a Neighborhood Watch. The Gurnee Police Department House Watch program offers to have police periodically check a home whose owner is out of town for up to three weeks.
The village of Gurnee is a product of a stop along the stage coach line from Chicago to Milwaukee in 1836. Prior to this, the only inhabitants in the Lake County region were the Potawatomis Native American tribe.
Sawmills and gristmills were added as more settlers moved into the area, and in 1850, Warren Township was formed to prevent annexation by the growing community of Waukegan. The area continued to grow with the addition of a railroad in 1873. The addition of a train increased agriculture in the area and the area became known for its supply of dairy to the city, also referred to as the “milk train.”
The village of Gurnee became incorporated in 1928 with only 200 residents. The village did not see a large population growth until the addition of the toll road, Interstate 94 in the 1960’s. Gurnee became well known in the Midwest with the construction of Great America, one of the biggest amusement parks in the nation.
While Gurnee is still known today for Six Flags Great America, the addition of an outlet mall, Gurnee Mills, in 1991 attracts visitors to the area during winter as well. Keylime Cove Water Park and Resort adds an additional attraction to Gurnee with its indoor water park perfect for rainy days or cold winters and also features a relaxing spa.
Gurnee homes for sale can range in price from $120,000 to $950,000 including large mansions, attached town homes, and many other types of homes. The median value of homes in Gurnee is $304,700. Besides the values of homes being steady, 41.3% of residential homes were built in the 1990’s.
The types of homes in Gurnee vary in style and comforts. Many homes are ranch, colonial, eclectic, and contemporary style designs and layouts; Gurnee homes often sit on large lots, have vaulted ceilings, bay windows, and efficient and updated appliances.
Many Gurnee condos on the market are priced more affordable between $60,000 and $180,000. These mid-rise condos often feature beautifully landscaped walk-ways, balconies, indoor parking, ponds, elevators, and natural floral beauty.
Apartments for rent in Gurnee can range in price from $700 to $1,200 for 1 or 2 bedroom apartments. Also available are Gurnee homes for rent including many town homes and single family residences that can cost $900 to $4,500 a month.
Parking in Gurnee and on village streets is prohibited from 2am to 6am. Almost all housing options in Gurnee provide off street parking with driveways and garages for single family homes and town homes or private parking lots for Apartment complexes.
In some situations, Gurnee residents may need to park a visitor on the street overnight and can notify the police station at (847) 599-7000 to avoid ticketing of the vehicle. Gurnee Parking is always free, and businesses have private parking lots available for customers.
The Gurnee Walk Score rates the community as a car-dependent area and averages only 49% walkable. This makes Gurnee public transportation and bus service an important necessity.
Public Transportation in Gurnee includes both Pace Bus services and Metra trains run to Waukegan Metra Station on the Union Pacific / North Line or Libertyville Metra Station on the North Central Service line.
For people in the West Suburbs looking for transportation to Gurnee, Pace Bus Route 284 - Schaumburg - Great America Gurnee Express operates a morning route from Woodfield Mall in Shaumburg, stops at the Rosemont CTA Blue Line Station and to Gurnee Six Flags Great America. The route also operates back 15 minutes after six flags closes.
Pace Bus Route 565 - Grand Avenue operates service from Sheridan Road and Washington Street near the Waukegan Metra Station and stops include Downtown Waukegan, Great America, and Gurnee Mills Shopping Center.
Also operating a service starting from nearby Waukegan Metra Station at Washington Street and Sheridan Road, Pace Bus Route 562 - Gurnee via Sunset operates a more residential friendly service with stops at Waukegan public schools and Gurnee Industrial Park.
Pace Bus Route 570 - Fox Lake - Gurnee Mills via CLC operates weekdays and Saturdays to Gurnee Mills shopping center, Fox Lake Metra Station, Eagle Creek Plaza, Round Lake Senior Center, College of Lake County, Round Lake Metra Station, and many other destinations.
Like most communities, Gurnee schools provide both private and public education options for children or couple looking to start a family. However, Gurnee public schools are the main source of education while nearby Colleges and Universities provide high education post high school graduation or for adults looking for career changes.
With a location in Gurnee, DeVry University Gurnee Center offers many bachelor degree and master degree programs through its College of Business & Management, College of Engineering & Information, and College of Media Arts & Technology. Many class options include other campus locations and online courses. 1075 Tri-State Pkwy., Suite 800, Gurnee, IL 60031 847-855-2649.
College of Lake County offers affordable education without a long commute or tough admission requirements. The community college offers adult education programs, transfer credit classes, and other certificate programs including professional/vocational and health care programs. Over 15,000 students are enrolled both part time and full time at College of Lake County. 19351 West Washington Street, Grayslake, IL 60030 (847) 543-2000.
Gurnee School District 56 provides public education to most of the residents in Gurnee. The district averages higher state test scores than the state average. Gurnee schools provide safe, educational, and nurturing environments for children. 900 Kilbourne Road, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 336-0800.
Warren Township High School Almond Road Campus (11-12) 34090 Almond Road, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 662-1400. O'Plaine Campus (9-10) 500 N. O'Plaine Road, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 662-1400.
Gurnee nightlife offers a variety of good bars many with sports themes, delicious food, great drink specials, and fun and relaxing atmospheres. If you haven’t worn yourself out during the day at Great America, Gurnee offers a lot of fun places to meet for drinks.
One of the funnest places to meet friends for food and drink is at the Fatman Pizza Pub and Sports Bar. Both a restaurant and a sports bar, the menu includes homemade coleslaw, burgers and sandwiches, double-decker pizza, delicious rib dinners, Bloody Mary menu, a menu dedicated to pitchers of Long Islands, martini’s, red and white wines, and other drinks. They also have a Fatman Burger Challenge--if you finish their $25 burger, it’s free. For added summer fun, Fatman’s Sand Volleyball is hosted on weekdays. 36309 N US Highway 41, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 244-8300.
Timothy O’Toole’s Pub is known for its extensive beer selection, including craft-speciality beer. Timothy’s also features unique and tasty menu items like Irish nachos, turkey sloppy joe, Guinness beef stew, and a weekend brunch that includes a Bloody Mary Bar. Many drink specials are unique only to Timothy’s, including drinks like O’Toole’s Famous Holy Water, Bubblegum Bombs, or the Caramel Pumpkin Spice Martini. 5572 Grand Ave, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 249-0800.
Similar to other bars in Gurnee, In-Laws Sports Bar and Lounge serves up tasty American foods and is a great place to watch all sports games. In-Laws does not close their kitchen at 10pm and even has a Late Night Menu full of delicious bar foods like rib tips, chicken garlic bread, wild wings, onion straws, chicken tenders, and thin crust pizza. 720 Milwaukee Ave, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 336-3166.
Gurnee shopping is mainly centered around Gurnee Mills, the shopping center that brings together some of the best retail stores and even many designer outlet shops. Some retail stores include Banana Republic Factory Store, Burlington Coat Factory, Disney Store Outlet, Forever 21, Hollister Outlet, Pumpkin Formal, Nike Factory Store, Time Factory Watch Outlet, Xtreme Hockey & Lacrosse, Zales the Diamond Factory Outlet, and many more. 6170 W. Grand Avenue, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 263-7500 .
Gurnee entertainment offers a variety of family-friendly fun attractions. Six Flags Great America is located in Gurnee and offers a day, or two, of fun thrill-seeking roller coasters and plenty of children friendly rides and entertainment. Great America opens every year in May and remains open til the Month of October where they host Fright Fest every Saturday and Sunday til Halloween. Great America provides many summertime jobs and brings tourist to the area all summer long. 1 Great America Pkwy, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 249-1528.
When Great America closes for winter, the fun does not stop in Gurnee. KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort is open all year with a resort spa, hotel rooms, theme restaurants, indoor waterpark, and gift shops. The Daily Herald named KeyLime Cove 2010 Reader’s Choice for Best Day Spa, Best Indoor Waterpark, Best Hotel, Best Family Value, Best Place to Work, and Best Theme Restaurant. 1700 Nations Drive, Gurnee, IL 60031 (224) 656-8685.
The Genesse Theatre is located in the neighboring community of Waukegan. Opened in 1927, the theater was designed to cater to cinematic screenings, live music, live theater, and performance art. After the renovations reopened the theater in 2004, the Genesse Theatre reopened and begin to attract comedians, film screenings, concerts, play performances, and many more including the reopening weekend performance by Bill Crosby.
Gurnee Park District Special Events organizes summer concerts for the residents of Gurnee. The park district hosts Sounds of Summer Concert Series and the Children’s Consert Series periodically from June to August at Viking Park.
Many Gurnee resturants are apart of large corporate chains like Chipotle, Golden Corral, Olive Garden, Panera Bread, Ruby Tuesday, and many more. But not all Gurnee dining is from the corporate world; many restaurants are unique and locally owned and managed.
For authentic Italian pasta and fine dining, Risotto’s Italian Ristorante serves the residents of Gurnee delicious pasta dishes and warm Italian bread. With a large selection of dinner entrees, Risotto’s also offers a lunch menu. With seven different meat sauces and seven different pasta types to choose, all pastas are made fresh to order. 5101 Washington Street, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 662-7100.
It's Veggie Meals is a great place for authentic Indian cuisine and vegetarian meals. They’re fresh curry is cooked daily and warm roti’s are made fresh and brought to your table. The restaurant is set up buffet-style and also features TVs with Bollywood films and musicals. 401 N Riverside Drive, Gurnee, IL 60031 (224) 636-2032.
Taco’s El Norte Gurnee is a great place for American Mexican food. With a large menu of delicious entrees and options, El Norte also serves up Margirita’s, homemade fresh salsa, a kids menu, burritos, tortas, deserts, taco salads, and many more. 401 N Riverside Drive, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 623-3034.
For great barbecue and American food, Backyard Steak Pit has a long menu of foods that come with a baked potato or steamed veggies. The menu offers grilled steaks, seafood entrees, grilled kabobs, Black Angus Burgers and sandwiches, appetizers, and many more. 1818 N Grandwood Drive, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 356-5200.
Chan’s Chinese Restaurant offers dine-in authentic Chinese cuisine, carry-out, delivery, or catering for larger events. Chan’s menu include nine different fried rice varieties, egg foo young dishes, tofu entrees, and many more classic Chinese dishes. 5101 Washington Street, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 623-9035.
If you love a diner that serves breakfast all day and has dinner menu and a bar open in the evening, Gurneez Diner is a great place for a morning brunch, late night drink, even live jazz music. Saturday nights include free salsa dance lessons, a DJ, and dancing til 2am. 750 S IL Route 21, Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 367-7415.
Many of the parks in Gurnee promote preservation of nature and community fun and activities. Viking Park is home to the annual Great American Family Campout, a weekend of camping, outdoor movies, games, and campfires.
The Gurnee Park District also provides and maintains many bike and walking trail throughout the area. With about 16 trails, Gurnee Trails promote outdoor activities, family-friendly fun, exercise, and good health.
Other fun events in Gurness include the Gurnee Days Festival held every in August for more than 30 years. Events at the festival include a bike rodeo, parade, story time extravaganza, gold tournament, 10K Race and 2 Mile Fun Run, food booths, Rib Fest, bingo, carnival rides, talent show, fireworks display, and plenty of fun childrens games and activities. Some of the Gurnee Days Locations include Viking Park, Grand Avenue, Mother Rudd Home, and HeatherRidge Golf Course.
Gurnee Park District Special Events provide fun festivities even in the fall and winter season. In the fall, the village of Gurnee hosts Kid's Halloween Spooktacular and Heritage Fest. During the winter months, Gurnee also organizes a Winter Writing Contest, The "Almost" Slumber Party, Frosty Fest, and Viking Park Singer's Holiday Concert. The park district keeps the residents of Gurnee entertained all year round.