• Woodstock's antiquity and preservation landed it on the National Register of Historic Places and All-America City list.
  • The median single family home in Woodstock costs $249,132, according to Altos Research.
  • Woodstock offers numerous festivals throughout the year, including Summer Band Concerts, HarvestFest, Groundhog Days and the Lighting of the Square.

Not to be confused with the ‘60s festival, Woodstock is a Chicagoland town located about 60 miles northwest of the city that holds Hollywood notoriety. As the backdrop in film “Groundhog Day”, its fans likely noticed the numerous pieces of Victorian architecture and picturesque city center that make Woodstock such a unique suburban setting – on and off the screen.

Woodstock, IL

Groundhog Day house at 344 Fremont St. / Flickr user dfirecop

As stunning and detailed as it may be, real estate is moderately priced in Woodstock. According to Altos Research, the median single family home costs $249,132, with an average 166 days on the market per listing. Altos’ data reveals buyers have a large scope of options, with just under 300 properties currently on the market.

The overall market reads secure with few distressed homes, as reported in RealtyTrac’s foreclosure trends. Within McHenry County, Woodstock’s foreclosure rate is relatively low, at one in 1,015 properties – or .09 percent.

Woodstock is home to slightly over 25,000 people, according to U.S. Census population estimates for 2015, with the homeownership rate hovering around 64 percent. The median household income nears the national norm, according to Census data, at $57,583 per year.

Bygone but not forgotten

Originally named Centerville for the city’s midpoint position in McHenry County, Woodstock was officially renamed and incorporated in 1852. From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, the town acted as a Chicagoland staple for dairy farming and typewriter manufacturing.

Although numerous fires devastated many historic wood buildings, city officials have done an outstanding job of preserving and restoring the Gothic style architecture from years past.

Woodstock, IL

Woodstock Opera House / Flickr user Jimmy Emerson

The Old McHenry Courthouse and Woodstock Opera House – the latter of which became a career-launching point for Orson Welles and Paul Newman – secured a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Woodstock was designated an All-America City in 1964 by the National Civic League. In 1982, the entire downtown area was given landmark status as the Woodstock Square Historic District.

Things to do in Woodstock

Today, the Opera House remains a local and national favorite for professional theatre, dance, art and music shows, including the Midwest Mozart Festival held during the summer. Although currently undergoing restorations, the courthouse is another resident pick with outdoor seating, an art gallery and music studio.

Boutique shopping and dining is arguably the focal point of Woodstock Square, filled with independent outlets offering classic American fare, leather goods, books, antiques and handmade pottery.

Living up to its name, festivals are a fixture within Woodstock’s culture. Summer Band Concerts, HarvestFest, Groundhog Days and the Lighting of the Square are some of the charming seasonal gatherings locals love.

The city’s treasured, producer-only farmer’s market runs twice a week from May through October. Visitors can find everything from food to flowers, all fresh and locally-grown.

Because of its pastoral surroundings, Woodstock is prime for autumn festivities, including apple picking, pumpkin patch strolling and cider drinking – making now an opportune time to visit this Prairie State gem.

Email Jennifer Riner

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