Best Places to Live in Illinois

Newcomers: Here Are the Best Places to Live in Illinois

Whether you call it ‘the Prairie State’ or the ‘Land of Lincoln,’ one thing is for sure, you’ll be just as undecided when it comes to choosing where to live in the state.

Illinois has plenty of amazing places you can call home, from quaint towns and laidback suburbs to bustling cities. Depending on where you choose to settle, you’ll have a unique living experience.

Whether you seek a quiet life in rural Illinois or a fast-paced one in a city like Chicago, you’ll certainly find what you’re looking for.

On that note, let’s explore some of the best places to live in Illinois.


Joliet is a city in northeastern Illinois nestled around 45 miles southwest of Chicago. It may not be popular, but it’s an incredible place to live, especially if you want a laidback suburban life and still enjoy proximity to a major city.

The city has a rich history and is known for its entertainment opportunities. On your visit, check out the Rialto Square Theatre, try out the casinos, shop at the Cinemark Louis Mall, or catch a baseball game at Joliet Slammers.

If you love the outdoors, you’ll appreciate how spread out Joliet is. You’ll enjoy scenic attractions like Forest Preserve District, I&M Canal Trail, Old Plank Road Trail, and Spring Creek Greenway Trail.

For a small city, Joliet has a lot to offer regarding dining, recreational activities, entertainment, and family-friendly living.


For people who prefer ultra-modern cities, Chicago is an obvious choice. It’s the state’s economic hub and the third-most populous mega city in the nation after New York and Los Angeles.

As the most popular city in the Midwest, Chicago maintains its reputation as a world-class city with excellent amenities and attractions.

Life in Chicago is similar to other major cities in the nation, fast-paced with a diverse cultural scene. Expect a high cost of living typical of bustling cities, but it also has a thriving economy with many career opportunities.

Chicago is the center of the progressive Illinois culture. You can tell by the urban lifestyle.

For instance, marijuana is legal in the state, but most dispensaries are concentrated within the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin region.

Learn more about dispensaries and legal access to marijuana on Veriheal.

Overall, life in Chicago is ideal for both professionals and families.

Oak Park

Oak Park, Cook County, definitely flies under the radar, but it’s an amazing place to settle, particularly for families and retirees.

The suburb stands out in terms of excellent schools and good security. It has a low crime rate, with violent crimes reported to be 28% lower than the state average in 2019.

One of the top advantages of living in Oak Park is that it’s a Chicago suburb, with about a 10-mile distance from downtown Chicago. You can work in the city and cut down on living costs by commuting to and from Oak Park.

With over 52,000 residents, the village is thriving. Schools are some of the top-performing in the state. Families will also love the parks, playgrounds, and dining options available.


Evanston ranks pretty high among beautiful towns to call home in Illinois. Located in Cook County, the picturesque town sits along Lake Michigan, about 15 miles north of Chicago.

The vibrant downtown and a more urban atmosphere have made entertainment opportunities, dining options, and shopping outlets readily available.

Excellent schools, particularly Northwestern University, are major factors that make the town desirable.


Springfield is at the heart of Illinois, and as the state capital, it comes with many perks other than just having historical significance.

The city has a population of over 100,000, contributing to its cultural diversity. You’ll interact with people from all walks of life daily.

As a major city in the state, Springfield has a remarkably low cost of living compared to Chicago. It’s also below the national average.

Springfield is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an affordable city with a slower pace of life and many of the conveniences of modern cities, like great schools, fun nightlife, vibrant culture, and entertainment nooks.


The Prairie State is a land of variety in terms of natural attractions and life experiences. There are many wonderful places to live, each offering a unique appeal. Regardless of your preferences, you’ll find your ideal spot in Illinois.

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