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Grayslake, Illinois downtown
Downtown Grayslake, Illinois

Grayslake is a village in Lake County in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is located in the Chicago metropolitan area, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Chicago's downtown, 14 miles (23 km) west of Lake Michigan, and 15 miles (24 km) south of the Wisconsin border. The village's population at the 2010 census was 20,957.

Grayslake is home to the College of Lake County, Grayslake Central High School, Grayslake North High School, the University Center of Lake County and the Lake County Fairgrounds. There are tentative plans to develop a lifestyle shopping center on the previous location of the Lake County Fairgrounds. At the south end of Grayslake, there are plans for a 640-acre (260 ha) development containing light industry, office space and residential space.


Early history

In 1840, Massachusetts-born William M. Gray settled along the then-unnamed Grays Lake. Other farmers trickled into the area in 1840s. Gray moved to Waukegan in 1845.

In 1880, the Wisconsin Central Railroad built a line from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, to Chicago which passed by the east side of Grays Lake. In 1886, the railroad built a station there, naming it Grayslake. The village incorporated in 1895.


Grayslake is located at 42°20′54″N 88°1′57″W / 42.34833°N 88.0325°W / 42.34833; -88.0325 (42.348271, -88.032428), in central Lake County. Neighboring communities include Libertyville, Mundelein, Round Lake Park, Hainesville, Round Lake Beach, Lindenhurst, Third Lake, Gages Lake and Wildwood. Grayslake is predominantly within the boundaries of Avon Township, with a small portion in Fremont Township.

According to the 2010 census, Grayslake has a total area of 10.078 square miles (26.10 km2), of which 9.87 square miles (25.56 km2) (or 97.94%) is land and 0.208 square miles (0.54 km2) (or 2.06%) is water.


Grays Lake, the village's largest lake, is located in the center of the village and is bounded by Route 120, Lake Street, Harvey Avenue, and Alleghany Road.

Places to Live

Prairie Crossing. Prairie Crossing is a widely acclaimed conservation community in Grayslake, Illinois. The community was designed to combine the preservation of open land, easy commuting by rail, and responsible development practices. It is now considered a national example of how to plan our communities to enhance the environment and support a better way of life. On nice summer days the smell of the landfill smothers Prairie Crossing with it's stench.

Major streets

  • US 45.svg U.S. Route 45
  • Illinois 83.svg Barron Boulevard/Ivanhoe Road
  • Illinois 120.svg Belvidere Road
  • Illinois 137.svg Buckley Road
  • Washington Street
  • Center Street
  • Alleghany Road
  • Midlothian Road
  • Peterson Road
  • Lake Street
  • Atkinson Road
  • Casey Road


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 416
1910 603 45.0%
1920 736 22.1%
1930 1,120 52.2%
1940 1,182 5.5%
1950 1,970 66.7%
1960 3,762 91.0%
1970 4,907 30.4%
1980 5,260 7.2%
1990 7,388 40.5%
2000 18,506 150.5%
2010 20,957 13.2%
Est. 2015 20,915 −0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the special census of 2003, there were 20,330 people, 6,503 households, and 4,948 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,969.2 people per square mile (760.1/km²). There were 6,642 housing units at an average density of 706.8 per square mile (272.8/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 91.00% White, 1.58% African American, 0.19% Native American, 4.23% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.70% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.97% of the population.

There were 6,503 households out of which 48.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.3% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.9% were non-families. 18.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.31.

In the village, the population was spread out with 33.1% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 40.4% from 25 to 44, 16.3% from 45 to 64, and 4.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.4 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the village was $87,901, and the median income for a family was $100,746. Males had a median income of $60,857 versus $37,839 for females. The per capita income for the village was $28,898. About 2.4% of families and 3.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.7% of those under age 18 and 3.2% of those age 65 or over.

As of the 2010 US Census, there were 20,957 people residing in the village. The racial makeup of the village was 83.73% White, 3.3% African American, 0.25% Native American, 6.75% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.42% from other races, and 2.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.84% of the population.


Grayslake has a station on Metra's Milwaukee District/North Line which provides service between Fox Lake and Chicago's Union Station. It also has another station on Metra's North Central Service which provides rail service Monday - Friday between Antioch and Union Station with a stop at O'Hare Airport. There are also a few Pace bus routes through the town.

Four main traffic routes pass though Grayslake (Rte 120, Rte 45, Rte 83 and Washington Street) contributing to heavy traffic congestion during morning and afternoon rush hours.

Campbell Airport is a small, privately owned facility southwest of town.

For many years, there has been discussion about extending the Illinois Route 53 expressway north to Grayslake. It would end at another proposed expressway, the Illinois Route 120 bypass that would go from Gurnee to Volo. In a county-wide referendum in April 2009, 76% of voters voted in support of the extension. However, there are still no plans to build those highways anytime soon.

Drinking water supply

The village's water supply comes from the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency (CLCJAWA) in Lake Bluff. CLCJAWA purifies water from Lake Michigan.

Houses of worship

  • Crossroads Church (Non-denominational [1])
  • Faith Church (General Baptist)
  • Maranatha Baptist Church (Independent Fundamental Baptist)
  • St. Gilbert's Catholic Church
  • St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
  • Sure Foundation Church
  • One Heart Community Church
  • Treasure Seekers (Church of God)
  • United Protestant Church (United Methodist, United Church of Christ)
  • Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church (ELCA)
  • Lord of Glory Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod)
  • Grace Community Bible Church (Non-denominational)
  • Living Waters Assembly of God
  • Congregation Or Tikvah (Conservative Judaism)
  • Hindu Mandir of Lake County
  • Chinmaya Mission of Chicago (Hindu)
  • Hope Church (Evangelical Presbyterian Church)
  • The Chapel (Grayslake Campus)
  • Prairie Circle Unitarian Universalist Congregation
  • Wildwood Presbyterian Church
  • Gages Lake Bible Church
  • Hope Presbyterian Church (OPC)
  • Jubilee Community Church (United Methodist)
  • Hispanic Church of God Pentecostal

Recreation and amenities

Grayslake provides fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities in the summer and ice fishing, skating, and hockey in the winter. A favorite pass time of many of high schoolers in the area is vaping in empty parking lots. There are two public golf courses in Grayslake: Carillon, a nine-hole facility run by the Park District, and Brae Loch, a Lake County Forest Preserve course. There are numerous tennis courts run by the Park District, and both high schools feature over eight courts each, open to the public. Most neighborhoods have their own parks with recreational equipment. The Northbrook Sports Club is a private skeet and trap shooting facility, located near Campbell Airport.

On the north side of town is Rollins Savannah, a county forest preserve of 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) with a bird observation deck, trails and walkways through wetlands. Immediately east of the old downtown district is Central Park, which contains many recreational facilities, including:

  • The Esper A. Petersen Foundation Family Aquatic Center, opened in 2000. It features two water slides, recreational and lap swimming facilities.
  • The Daniel Barry Skate park located across from the aquatic facility and next to a community garden.
  • Grayslake Library was moved to a brand new building in 1997. This large facility, in addition to a huge book collection, features meeting rooms and computer/internet resources.
  • Central Park has baseball and softball fields and a football/soccer/lacrosse field with lights for night games, a concession stand, a band shell, a playground with a water feature for small children. There is a bocce court and shuffleboard court, and there is a disc golf course in the woods throughout the entire park. This is all within a walking distance of the Grayslake Senior Center.

Festivals and events

Grayslake Days

Grayslake Days generally takes place in mid-August for two days (Friday and Saturday) in the Municipal Parking Lot off Center Street in downtown Grayslake. This family music festival consists of music and fun activities for the whole family. The booths at the festival range from carnival games, to arts and crafts, beer and local food vendors. In addition, Grayslake days hosts the annual Bike and Pet Parade on the Saturday of the festival, usually from mid-morning to early afternoon. Children will decorate their bikes, and families will put their pets in their best costumes and parade them throughout the downtown area. The festival also hosts the "Grayslake's Got Talent" contest. The final parade of the festival, the Summer Days Parade, generally kicks off on Saturday evening.

Taste of Grayslake

Similar to Grayslake Days, Taste of Grayslake is held in late June (usually the weekend prior to Independence Day) in Grayslake's Central Park. This festival's primary purpose is to showcase all of the local food vendors Grayslake has to offer. In addition, Taste of Grayslake features live entertainment throughout the whole day of the festival. The festival also offers many kid friendly activities for the family including, but not limited to: face painting, balloon animals, various obstacle and climbing courses. The Taste closes with a fireworks show around dusk.

Grayslake Arts Festival

Grayslake's annual Arts Festival has been held for nearly two decades. Taking place in downtown Grayslake on Center Street every June, Grayslake offers arts and crafts from over 70 juried artists, and an art exhibit from the local high schools. In addition to the art, this festival offers entertainment throughout the day, various local food vendors and activities for the children.

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