Crystal Lake IL - Quiet Gay Lifestyle in a Pretty Commuter Town

Crystal Lake is a charming, pastoral town in the northeastern part of Illinois that is named after gorgeous Crystal Lake. It is located about 45 miles northwest of Chicago. Many people who live here commute to Chicago and then live here to enjoy the natural surroundings. Crystal Lake is also the largest lake anywhere near the Chicago metropolitan area. You might still hear this area referred to as Nunda. Crystal Lake actually absorbed the community of Nunda in 1914. 

Originally, the main industry in Crystal Lake, was the harvesting and shipping of ice to Chicago. It was also home to the American Terra Cotta Tile and Ceramic Company just north of the lake. A lot of the glazed terra cotta that you see decorating the homes in Crystal Lake is from this factory.

An architectural centerpiece of the community is the Dole Mansion. Built of brick and black walnut in 1860, this historic home is connected to a huge community center that is enjoyed by residents.  The population of over 40,743 also has a famous historic road called Ringling Road along which sits scores of very large mansions built in Victorian styles.  The small downtown is going through some extensive revitalization and the area known as Raue Center has a few specialty shops and businesses.  The city also boasts an annual jazz festival.

This is a primarily suburban area so you do need a car to get around.  There is also no designated “gayborhood” so it is best to consult with a Crystal Lake realtor that knows the gay scene to find the best area for you to live in. The area is basically divided into six separate subdivisions that are slowly adjoining, through rapid development, with the communities of Prairie Grove and Bull Valley to the north.

One of the perks of living here is that it is near many parks and recreation areas including the 140 acre Veteran Acres Park that has a Nature Center, Rotary Center, tennis courts, softball fields and ice skating ponds.

One of the nicest areas to live in here is called “ringside of the lake.”  This description comprises the neighborhoods known as West End, North Shore and Vista. The homes here tend to older, eclectic and one-of-a-kind.  South of this area is more suburban and dedicated to family homes and the traditional mid-west lifestyle.  It is nice to live on the lake because of the extremely hot summers.

The Metra Rail Union Pacific Northwest Line makes it easier for residents of Crystal Lake to travel to Chicago.  LGBTQ residents have access to the exciting gay nightlife and Pride events held in nearby Chicago as well.

The average listing price for homes for sale in Crystal Lake was $294,309 for the week ending October 16.  Compared to a year ago the median home sales price has increased 28.6%.  There are also short sales to be had, as there are 509 homes here in the process of foreclosure.

For more information about the city of  Crystal Lake visit the official city Chamber of Commerce website at