Welcome to Waukegan, Illinois, where big-city amenities and small-town charm blend to form a community that is culturally rich, economically secure and family-friendly.
Centered between the thriving metropolises of Chicago and Milwaukee at the northeast corner of Illinois, near the Wisconsin border, Waukegan is literally “At the Top of Illinois.” The city is special in that it offers a diversity of cultures, religions and ethnic heritages; award-winning schools and parks; easy access to major transportation systems; a vital downtown and a thriving business climate, not to mention some of the most picturesque residential areas in Northern Illinois. Its ideal location, nestled along the western shores of Lake Michigan, attributes to its reputation as an ideal place to live, work and play.
Whether starting a business, relocating your family or just visiting, Waukegan offers a cooperative approach to help you succeed. In August 2003, Waukegan City Council unanimously approved a 1,400-acre downtown and lakefront redevelopment master plan designed to transform the city into a regional hub for retail, recreation, housing and business. The project is one of the largest redevelopments in the Midwest.
The master plan includes 400 acres of prime downtown space and three and a half miles of lakefront with a public beach and full-service marina. The goal is to revive downtown Waukegan as a destination for jobs, housing, entertainment, retail and dining. Immediate improvements include streetscaping, building renovation, new parkland and better access to the lakefront.
Other improvements include the $23 million renovation of the historic Genesee Theatre and new developments on the Waukegan Road corridor. Fountain Square, the former Lakehurst Mall, is being transformed into a $250 million mixed-use development for new retail, dining, and hospitality venues. The area is also home to luxury apartments, six hotel chains as well as many nationally-known retailers and restaurant chains.
The city expects to develop one million additional square feet of retail, hospitality, recreational, educational and cultural facilities over the next two decades.
We invite you to take a closer look at Waukegan and experience its beauty, diversity, and growth first-hand. We guarantee that once you come for a visit, you’ll want to stay for a lifetime.