The history of Naperville dates back to 1831, when Vermont native Joseph Naper led a group of settlers to the banks of the DuPage River west of Lake Michigan. By the following year, Naper’s Settlement was home to more than 100 people. In 1857, the settlement officially incorporated as the Village of Naperville, with a population of about 2,000 people. By 1890, Naperville had grown large enough to reincorporate as a city.
For more than a century, Naperville was a relatively small rural community. Beginning in the 1960s, the city experienced a surge in population, which continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Today, Naperville is a dynamic community in the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor with a population approaching 150,000, making it the fifth-largest city in Illinois. The city is also home to several highly regarded liberal arts colleges.
The historic core of Naperville is a vibrant, walkable neighborhood home to many world-class restaurants and shops. Parking is free on most major streets during off-peak hours, and the area still maintains a quaint local ambience quite distinct from later suburban development. The Downtown Naperville Alliance, headquartered in the Main Street Promenade, helps locally owned businesses expand their customer base throughout Chicagoland by promoting events in the area.
Members of the Downtown Naperville Alliance include a wide variety of local establishments, ranging from insurance agents to yoga studios. The diversity of business in downtown Naperville makes this area an appealing destination for residents of Cook, DuPage and Will counties.