There are plenty of amazing places to live in Illinois, and maybe one of these top spots will strike your fancy. Whether you're attracted to the cultural epicenter of the Midwest that is Chicago, a small Midwestern town lifestyle, the amazing farmer's markets or the state's industry, there are plenty of amazing best places to live in Illinois.
Located in America's heartland, the Midwest, Illinois is a mostly landlocked state, bordered by Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana and Kentucky. The state does border Lake Michigan on the northeast corner and the Mighty Mississippi runs down the western border of the state, creating major shipping routes. Chicago is the most populated city in Illinois and the third most populous city in the United States. The state's capital is Springfield, which is a mecca for Lincoln buffs.
Illinois is primarily a flat, agricultural state, and driving across it you will see lots of farm fields and forests. Southern Illinois offers more dynamic landscapes, with rolling hills, swamplands and the sprawling Shawnee National Forest. While Illinois has no natural lakes, it does have many rivers for water sports, and many old river towns along the Mississippi in particular have a lot of charm. Illinois' climate varies throughout the year and even wildly day-to-day, though in general the state has hot, humid summers and cold winters.
Illinois is the very image of the Midwest, with hardworking, "Midwestern Nice" people calling the state home. While largely agricultural (roughly eighty percent of the state's land) and speckled with small farm towns, there are centers of busting urban culture in both the Chicagoland area as well as Champaign-Urbana, where the main University of Illinois campus is located, Peoria and Springfield. Parts of southwestern Illinois along the Mississippi River are also considered part of the St. Louis metropolitan area. The countryside, where much of the nation's corn, soybeans and pumpkins are grown, has a lot of Midwestern charm. The cost of living in Illinois is slightly higher than the national average but it is far from the priciest state, especially in cities and towns outside the Chicagoland area. To compensate for this, Illinois also has a higher average income than most other states.
The state has plenty of amenities to offer its residents and nearly countless things to do, whether you want to spend a day at the Brookfield Zoo, see a Cubs or Bears game, visit one of the many museums across the state, go to a pumpkin patch or orchard, have a night out at the theater or go fishing or camping. Illinois boasts several beautiful parks, including Starved Rock State Park and its canyons, waterfalls and rock formations that can be found nowhere else in the Midwest and Shawnee National Forest with its own stunning rock formations. The state is also rich in history and historical sites, particularly surrounding President Abraham Lincoln, who gave the state its slogan: "Land of Lincoln."
With loads of great places to live, it might be difficult to decide where in Illinois you would like to end up. We've helped you out by compiling a list of our top best places to live in Illinois. You can further customize your list by specifying your search radius, population size, home/rent budget and what metrics (amenities, crime, cost of living, education, employment, housing, weather) are most important to you.