With my visit to Waukegan on Thursday, I have now been able to see all five of Chicago's satellite cities. All five are connected by commuter rail to Chicago (about 35 miles away from the Loop), and were historically their own metropolitan areas before Chicagoland engulfed them in the latter half of the 20th century.
Indeed, the Chicago satellite cities are very different--but very similar--places. All have a population hovering around 100,000 (with Aurora being by far the largest) and several historic neighborhoods of 19th-century vintage, as well as a significant industrial past.
So, which of these five do you prefer, and why?
I'm going to post my own preference: Aurora. The largest of the satellites has some extremely attractive old neighborhoods (especially on the west side), the best use of the river, and a Mexican presence in the downtown that gives it a certain vibrancy.