A destination-type downtown plunked right on the Fox River – ideal for leisurely and blissfully pointless strolling or mom-on-a-mission errand-running.

Naperville’s been booming for decades, yet every time we’re downtown, we find something we haven’t seen before – from an under-the-radar speakeasy to a pay-by-the-ounce wine bar with too-many-to-try-in-one-night options on tap. And while it’s on the train line (surprise, surprise), it’s also on the Fox River – which gives it a slightly different feel than many of the surrounding suburbs. Even more stroll-worthy or something. Historic storefronts have been revitalized, while adjacent blocks of new construction have been thoughtfully designed to complement the older buildings. And seasonal outdoorsy events abound (Ribfest! Last Fling!).

Beyond the River Walk, Children’s Museum and the be-costumed crew churning butter and whatnot at Naper Settlement, there’s a solid dining scene and enough watering holes to avoid any sort of rut. That said, there’s much to be said for the familiarity of go-to’s. So if you find one you reallylikealot – feel free to pledge your lifelong loyalty. Housing-wise, the immediate downtown stars blocks of historic Queen Annes, four squares and other vintage styles. Beyond that, the surrounding subdivisions sort of freestyle, depending on when they were developed. We’ve got two Naperville projects currently in the works. More on those as soon as they’re wrapped.

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