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A Family-Friendly Community in Chicago’s Southland: Tinley Park, IL

By Jessica Walker Boehm on May 29, 2014

Residents of Tinley Park, a quiet haven south of Chicago, knew they had a special community, so it came as no surprise when their city was named America’s Best Place to Raise a Family by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2009. One of 85 municipalities in the Chicago Southland region, Tinley Park offers a stable economy, a variety of cultural experiences and plenty of dining and entertainment options.

Extraordinary Economic Stability

The village has continued to thrive despite a national recession, gaining new residents and businesses. “With one of the most diversified economies in the Midwest, Tinley Park has a credit rating in the top five percent nationwide and has maintained a balanced or surplus budget with no municipal layoffs or tax increases,” says Tinley Park’s director of economic development, Ivan Baker.

That kind of stability is good news for families and fosters a friendly atmosphere among locals. “The results for families are great schools, nationally recognized parks, award-winning police and fire departments, extraordinary public works, affordable homes, low taxes and efficient government,” Baker says.

Entertainment in the City, Closer to Home

While Chicago attractions are just a short train ride away, Tinley Park offers residents many options for date nights or family outings – and there are plenty of things to do closer to home.

Art aficionados can browse exhibits at the Vogt Visual Arts Center, a public art gallery in downtown Tinley Park. There’s also the Tinley Park Theatre and Tinley Park Community Band for those wanting to see a show or hear some good music.

For those who prefer to wander and explore, Tinley Park’s downtown area, Oak Park Avenue, provides an assortment of specialty shops and restaurants. At Tinley Park’s Metra train station, guests can climb to the top of the three-story stone clock tower for a wider view of the area.

Downtown Tinley Park regularly hosts special events, including the yearly Irish Parade and weekly summer concerts. Other warm-weather events include a weekly classic car show and the Downtown Tinley Farmer’s Market.

Located on Ridgeland Avenue, the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre draws big-name musicians and gives fans the chance to enjoy their favorite bands in a sheltered outdoor setting. “It’s one of the largest non-enclosed outdoor concert centers in the country,” Baker says of the 12,000-seat venue.

Tinley Park residents can cool off at White Water Canyon Water Park, a 5-acre attraction featuring a large main pool, lazy river, water slide, interactive fountains and sand play area. Other local parks and recreation centers offer facilities for swimming, miniature golfing, tennis, picnicking and sports.

Dining Options

Among Tinley Park’s 1,400 businesses are a variety of restaurants. Isabella Italian Cafe offers a selection of traditional Italian dishes, while Ed & Joe’s Restaurant & Pizzeria serves up fresh pizzas, salads and pasta dishes.

At Tin Fish, diners enjoy fresh seafood in an environment that recalls the early 1940s. Modeled after traditional fish houses on the Atlantic, the dining room’s soft lighting and dark wood furniture and fixtures make it an ideal spot for special events like business luncheons and rehearsal dinners.

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