Learn more about great places in Lake Forest to shop and dine!
Please visit the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce's website.
Download the LFGo App!
Download the free iPhone app and walk, ride or run. Explore 500 places as you tour Lake Forest! The LFGo app tracks your location and allows you to explore Lake Forest while the app's guide talks to you, sharing quick stories and interesting facts about the places you pass.
Community Information Overview
With an area of approximately 17 square miles, Lake Forest is home to 19,375 people according to the 2010 Census. The City of Lake Forest was incorporated as a city under a special charter granted by the Illinois State Legislature in 1861 that permits Lake Forest to be administered efficiently and economically with a minimum number of separate government bodies. The City Council is the legislative and policy-making body and includes the Mayor and two Aldermen from each of the City's four wards.
The City operates under the council-manager form of government with the day-to-day operations of the City in the hands of a full-time, professional City Manager who is appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the City Council.
Residents are provided excellent educational opportunities through the public and private elementary and high schools, as well as Lake Forest College and the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. You can learn more information about the schools, Lake Forest Hospital and the diverse organizations that compose the fabric of our community by selecting "Links" above.
With its natural beauty every season, Lake Forest is a remarkable community because of the individuals who call it home.
History and Preservation
The City of Lake Forest, incorporated as a City under a charter granted by the Illinois State Legislature in 1861, was primarily founded to support the establishment of church-related educational institutions. Lake Forest's claim to historic distinction however, rests on many factors that are both physical and social.
Present-day Lake Forest is physically distinctive not only because of its picturesque street plan, but because of the early date when it was platted. Of the suburban communities in America that were planned in the nineteenth century, according to the picturesque principles worked out for English gardens and American rural cemeteries and parks, Lake Forest is one of the very earliest, coming only five years after the first such town in America, Llewellyn Park, New Jersey, was founded in 1852. The Lake Forest plan, platted in 1857, is notable because its architect, the landscape gardener Almerin Hotchkiss, went on to create such other important picturesque places in the Midwest such as Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis. The general concept reflected in the Hotchkiss plan is of the city in a park, with its streets laid out in an organic manner that takes into account such natural features as the ravines and lake bluffs, instead of forcing the street plan into a formal gridiron plan.
Lake Forest is equally famous for the many notable persons who chose to make their permanent or summer homes there. By World War I, the list of property owners in Lake Forest read like a Who's Who of the rich and famous in Chicago. In addition, Lake Forest is also noted for the quality and character of its architecture whether erected for residential, religious, educational or public purposes. Although the names of some of the earliest architects working for Lake Forest clients are still unknown, it is probable they were among the foremost of their profession practicing in Chicago. One of the earliest architect who we know to have worked in Lake Forest was Henry Ives Cobb, who built his estate in Lake Forest in 1890. Other noted Lake Forest resident architects were Charles Frost and Howard Van Doren Shaw, both of whom also maintained estates. Even such well-known eastern architects as James Gamble Rogers and Charles Platt were called upon to design for Lake Forest clients. In short, the quality of the architecture in Lake Forest was very high, and the quality of its construction equally so.
It is these same factors that give Lake Forest its historical significance, that also make the estate areas of residential Lake Forest historically and visually distinctive. In addition, it was the concentration in Lake Forest, probably more so than in any other community west of the Hudson River, of a vast assemblage of impressive estates laid out by important architects for some of most influential families of Chicago that makes both Lake Forest and its estates especially significant. Coupled with its unusual location high on the bluffs overlooking an inland sea, and its equally rare early picturesque plan, Lake Forest is a unique place of special historical and physical distinction.
Play. Shop. Dine. Rest.
FOR CUSTOMERS/VISITORS: Easy shopping, 24/7 at local Lake Forest businesses. Connect and shop on any device. For a unique experience, connect with local businesses on social media and receive special promotions and discounts. For more information about local businesses, contact the City of Lake Forest Office of Economic Development. CLICK HERE to connect to Virtual Lake Forest.
FOR LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS: Local business can take advantage of the new Virtual Lake Forest and sell products on the Virtual Lake Forest page through one of four channels. Use this step-by-step guide to create your own eCommerce shopping platform.
1. Facebook Shopify
2. Google inside business video
3. Amazon local shopping cart
The Virtual Lake Forest is an online business directory and shopping mall, bringing customers to your store 24/7. As a Lake Forest business owner, your listing includes your business photo, address, contact information, business hours, facebook link and ecommerce link.
NEW and available right now: Add your panoramic virtual tour inside your store to Google Maps. Simple load the Google Streetview app, take the photos and upload to Google Maps. If you really want to have fun, purchase the Google Cardboard goggles and view your store in virtual reality (VR).
Stay tuned for the new Virtual Lake Forest shopping experience. Shoppers will be able to move their avatar within a virtual environment and interact in real time with other users. The Virtual Lake Forest offers an extraordinary commercial tool for giving brands a newer and fresher look. If you would like to join the pilot program, contact the Office of Economic Development. Pilot program participants to date include: the Lake Forest Shop, Kiddles Sports and the Lake Forest Bookstore.
Please note: Parking is prohibited on all streets from 3:00am - 5:00am
(for matters related to street parking, please call the Non-Emergency Police 847.234.2601)
The City of Lake Forest requires payment of a $3.00 daily fee or display of a parking permit hang tag to park in one of the Central Business District (CBD) city owned lots or Metra train station parking lots. Please refer to the CBD Parking Map or the Telegraph Road Parking Map to view the various parking lots. See further information about daily fee and permit parking below. A parking permit does not include the Forest Park Beach parking lots. Parking permits may be purchased online or at the Municipal Services Building, 800 N. Field Drive, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Questions regarding parking permits can be directed to the finance department 847.810.3622.
Click here to learn about disabled parking permits.
Lake Forest is served by two Metra Rail Lines:
Daily Fee Parking in the Central Business District
Daily parking is available in the numbered parking spaces located at Westminster, McKinley, and Oakwood* parking lots in the central business district near the Lake Forest Metra train station (Union Pacific/North Line - Ogilvie Transportation Center to Kenosha). Please see the "Daily Fee" areas on the CBD Parking Map. After parking in either the Westminster or McKinley lots, note your space number and locate the pay station for that lot. To pay for parking, enter your space number and insert your payment ($3.00 cash, or $3.25 with credit or debit card). Please take your receipt and retain for your records. No change or refunds will be given. Daily fee parking can also be paid by phone at 877.727.5004, or by the ParkMobile Phone Application (click here for a detailed brochure). The ParkMobile App requires a one-time entry of credit card information. After registering a credit card, payment is made by simply entering your space number and the Zone number "852". The fee that will be charged when paying by phone or using the App will be $3.62. The App allows users to avoid having to physically make payment at the pay station. Parking lot patrol will verify there is a fee paid for the occupied spaces by using a program that is connected with the pay station, so be sure to enter the correct space number.
Overnight Parking in the Central Business District
Overnight parking is allowed only in designated areas and requires payment of a daily fee or a CBD Parking Permit. Please note, when parking overnight or long-term and paying a daily fee, you must pay for parking by phone or online. When paying at the pay station, your daily fee is paid only until midnight. When paid by phone or online, the parking fee is paid for 24 hours and you may pre-pay up to seven days. See designated overnight areas on the CBD Parking Map. Parking is not allowed from 3:00am - 5:00am anywhere other than designated overnight areas, unless permission is obtained from the police (Non-Emergency 847.234.2601).
*The Oakwood parking lot will not have an electronic pay station in place, so payment of parking must be made by placing $3 in bills or coins into the pay slot that corresponds with the space number. Please note: daily parking tokens are no longer accepted as payment for daily fee parking. Unused tokens can be returned to the Finance Department at the Municipal Services Building for refund (800 N Field Dr, 8:00am - 4:30pm, Mon-Fri).
Central Business District "CBD" Annual Parking Permits
Annual CBD parking permit hang tags are valid from May 1 through April 30. The yearly fee for a resident is $313, non-resident fee is $700, and CBD Employee fee is $180. The CBD parking permit may be used in any "CBD Permit Required" areas indicated in pink, in the "Daily Fee/Permit" areas in orange/black, in the "Daily/Overnight with CBD Permit" areas in yellow/black, and in "Daily Fee/Permit/Overnight" areas in yellow on the CBD Parking Map. The CBD annual parking permit can also be used to park at the Telegraph Road Metra Station and at Fort Sheridan lot north of Old Elm Road. The CBD annual parking permit is prorated throughout the year (see schedule below). If permit is lost/stolen, the current price for the permit will apply. Please note the following important information about the CBD annual parking permit:
EXPIRES APRIL 30, 2017
Hang on rear view mirror with the other side facing the windshield.
There is no replacement fee for the hang tag. If this tag is lost or stolen, you will have to pay the current price for a replacement.
The tag is only valid for the time period on the tag. There is no grace period.
Purchase of this hang tag does not guarantee you a parking space. The parking lot spaces will be filled on a first come basis.
The hang tag is valid in the City-owned permit required lots in the CBD, Telegraph Road, and Ft. Sheridan north of Old Elm Rd.
This hang tag is not valid for beach parking.
Central Business District "CBD" ANNUAL PARKING PERMIT PRICING SCHEDULE
Central Business District "CBD" Monthly Parking Permits
CBD parking permits are also available on a monthly basis. The monthly resident fee is $30, non-resident fee is $60, and CBD Employee fee is $20. A CBD monthly permit is valid for a calendar month. A monthly permit must be purchased each month. The following month is available for purchase on the 17th day of each month. Several months cannot be purchased in advance. The CBD parking permit may be used in any "CBD Permit Required" areas indicated in pink, in the "Daily Fee/Permit" areas in orange/black, in the "Daily/Overnight with CBD Permit" areas in yellow/black, and in "Daily Fee/Permit/Overnight" areas in yellow on the CBD Parking Map. A CBD monthly parking permit can also be used to park the Telegraph Road Metra Station and at the Fort Sheridan lot north of Old Elm Road. If a permit is lost or stolen, the current price for the permit will apply.
Central Business District "CBD" Employee Parking Permits
A reduced rate for annual or monthly CBD parking permits is available to employees in the Central Business District. To obtain the reduced rate, the business must first be registered with the Finance Department, and the parking permit(s) must be ordered online with the User ID and PIN provided by the Finance Department, or paid for with a company or business check from the CBD business when purchased at Municipal Services. The fee is $20 per calendar month or $180 per year. The price for the annual permit is prorated throughout the year (see schedule "EMPLOYEE DISCOUNT PRICE" above). If permit is lost/stolen, the current price for the permit will apply. To register your CBD business, or for more information, please call The Finance Department 847.810.3622 or email the finance department.
Telegraph Road Metra Train Station Lot Parking
Daily fee and CBD Annual or monthly permit parking is available at the Telegraph Road Metra train station off Waukegan and Everett (Milwaukee District/North Line - Union Station to Fox Lake). To pay for parking, locate a pay station on the east side of the depot, enter your space number and insert your payment ($3.00 cash, or $3.25 with credit or debit card). Please take your receipt and retain for your records. No change or refunds will be given. Daily fee parking can also be paid by phone at 877.727.5004, or by the ParkMobile Phone Application (click here for a detailed brochure). The ParkMobile App requires a one-time entry of credit card information. After registering a credit card, payment is made by simply entering your space number and the Zone number "851". The fee that will be charged when paying by phone or using the App will be $3.62. The App allows users to avoid having to physically make payment at the pay station. Parking lot patrol will verify there is a fee paid for the occupied spaces by using a program that is connected with the pay station, so be sure to enter the correct space number.
Overnight Parking at the Telegraph Road Metra Train Station
Overnight parking is allowed in Lot A only and requires payment of a daily fee or a CBD Parking Permit. Please note, when parking overnight or long-term and paying a daily fee, you must pay for parking by phone or online. When paying at the pay station, your daily fee is paid only until midnight. When paid by phone or online, the parking fee is paid for 24 hours and you may pre-pay up to seven days. Parking is not allowed from 3:00am - 5:00am anywhere other than Lot A, unless permission is obtained from the police (Non-Emergency 847.234.2601).
Parking Permits are available for purchase online! Just click on:
Purchase Parking Permit
Please note: Parking permits will arrive via US Mail in 3-5 days from purchase. At the completion of your purchase, a temporary parking permit can be printed and displayed to allow for the processing time when applicable.
For more information click on:
Annual CBD and monthly CBD parking permits are available for purchase online or at the Municipal Services Building, 800 N. Field Drive, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
If you want to dispute a violation that you have received, you should take it to the Public Safety Building, 255 W. Deerpath, and speak with an officer. Parking violations and animal violations should be paid at the Public Safety Building. The hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.