The North Shore consists of many affluent suburbs north of Chicago, Illinois, bordering the shores of Lake Michigan. These communities fall within suburban Cook County and Lake County. The North Shore's membership is often a topic of debate, and is sometimes expanded to include other affluent Chicago suburbs which do not border Lake Michigan. However, Evanston, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park, Lake Forest, and Lake Bluff are generally considered to be the core members of the North Shore, as all are affluent communities that border the lake just north of Chicago. Other suburbs such as Glenview, Northbrook, Deerfield, Highwood, Skokie, and Northfield are often considered to be a part of the North Shore, but do not border Lake Michigan.
Today the North Shore remains one of the most affluent and highly educated areas in the United States. Seven of its communities are in the top quintile of U.S. household income, and five of those (Lake Forest, Glencoe, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Highland Park) are in the top 5 percent. From Evanston to Lake Bluff, only Highwood falls below the national median.
The North Shore is also the home of the Ravinia Festival, a historic outdoor music theater in Highland Park, Illinois. The Ravinia Festival, originally conceived as a weekend destination on the CNS&M line, is now a popular destination on the Metra Union Pacific North Line commuter rail, the North Shore Line's former competitor.
The abandoned right-of-way of the North Shore Line still serves Ravinia as the Green Bay Trail, a popular rails-to-trails bicycle path that begins in Wilmette and runs north all the way to the Illinois Beach State Park in Zion.
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