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The 20 Best Places to Live in Illinois


Also known as the Prairie State, Illinois borders the Mississippi River and Indiana. There are many urban areas, including the state’s capital Chicago, but there is also plenty of rolling hills, wetlands, farmland, and forests. Like in any state, there are some areas that are better to live in than others. Some of the factors that people consider when deciding where to live often include the schools, the cost of housing, the amenities, the cost of living, the crime rates, and employment opportunities. Of course, which of these factors are important will vary from one person to the next depending on their stage of life and the type of lifestyle they want to live. Here are 20 of the best places to live in Illinois.

20. Hinsdale

Area Vibes says that Hinsdale is one of the best places to live in Illinois because of the exceptionally low crime rates, which makes it a safe place to live. There are also excellent schools, great employment opportunities, and a wide range of amenities for the convenience of residents. Due to the many benefits of this area, it has become a desirable place to live and this has driven up the house prices and the cost of living.

19. Northbrook

A quaint village close to the North Shore of Chicago, Northbrook is known for its stunning scenery and its historical architecture. The village is home to some of the top public schools in the state, so it is an attractive option for families. It has some of the lowest crime rates and unemployment rates in Illinois, so it is a safe place to live that offers excellent career opportunities. Although the cost of living is high in this community, so is the average income.

18. Lisle

Other than the high cost of living, there are very few negatives to living in Lisle, which is a suburb of Chicago with a population of just over 23 thousand. The area predominantly has a suburban feel, although some parts have an urban vibe. Residents enjoy living in this area because of the many leisure activities, the fantastic amenities, the low crime rates, and the diversity of the community. There are outstanding public schools that attract families to the area.

17. Glencoe

Glencoe has a population of under 10 thousand, and it is a suburb of Chicago. The positive elements of this location are the public schools, the housing options, the family lifestyle, the low crime rates, employment opportunities, and the range of leisure activities. Glencoe’s downsides are the cost of living and the lack of diversity in the community.

16. La Grange Park

La Grange Park has been given a high livability score by Area Vibes. The main benefit of living in this area is that it has one of the lowest crime rates in Illinois, so it is a very safe place to live. Another sector in which it scores highly is amenities, as there are plenty of shops, bars, restaurants, attractions, and leisure facilities in the area. This means that there is an element of convenience to living in La Grange Park and many features that promote a positive lifestyle. Those who want to live somewhere that there is plenty of job opportunities should also consider living here as unemployment is low. La Grange Park ahs a population under 14 thousand.

15. West Loop

With a population of just under 34 thousand, West Loop is a larger neighborhood of Chicago in Cook County. The area has a dense urban feel with lots of shops, bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and parks. This is a place to live for people who want everything they need right on their doorstep and who want to get out and about in the evenings. It boasts a diverse community, various living options, and a reasonable cost of living

14. Loop

What people love most about living in Loop is that there is always something going on in the area. It has a vibrant nightlife, lots of health and fitness facilities, and excellent outdoor activities. This means it is a popular area with people who enjoy a busy lifestyle. Commuting is also easy, the community is diverse, and there is a good range of housing options.

13. Vernon Hills

This Chicago suburb has a lot going for it if you are considering places to live in Illinois. The only downside to the area is the high cost of living, but this is the price you pay to live somewhere with so many benefits. The crime rates are low, the community is diverse, there are good housing options, plenty of job opportunities, and it is a commutable area. It is great for families because of the range of activities and excellent schools.

12. Indian Head Park

Indian Head Park is a Chicago suburb that is home to fewer than four thousand residents. Niche says that the area attracts families, retirees, and young professionals alike as the area has so many positive features and scores highly in almost every sector. It is a safe place to live that has a diverse community and excellent schools. Employment is high and the area is very commutable. Residents can enjoy a great lifestyle thanks to the outdoor activities, the health and fitness facilities, and the vibrant nightlife. The house prices and cost of living are low compared to many of the other best areas to live in Illinois.

11. Oak Park

Oak Park is a popular place to live amongst those who want to have easy access to everything that Chicago has to offer but do not want to live amongst the hustle and bustle of the third-largest city in the United States. The proximity to Chicago is just one of the many advantages of choosing to live in this area. It has ample amenities, excellent schools, low crime, and great job opportunities. Although the cost of living is high, this is expected in an area that is so desirable and is close to the state’s capital.

10. Western Springs

The Two main reasons why Western Springs is such a great place to live are the housing and education, says Home Snacks. There are highly-rated schools and the housing is both diverse and affordable. Other positives of this village in Cook County are the job opportunities, the low crime rates, and the range of local amenities. It is also a good place to live in terms of the reasonable cost of living. Commuting is the one downfall of this village as the transport links are not a good as some of the more populated areas of Illinois.

9. Wilmette

Located in New Trier Township in Cook County, Wilmette has a population of just over 23 thousand, says Home Snacks. It is considered one of the best areas in Illinois to raise a family as it has some of the best public schools in the state. There are also great employment opportunities, affordable and diverse housing, and lots of amenities. The cost of living is reasonable compared to many other of the nice areas in Illinois, and it is a safe place to live as crime rates are low. The downside to this area is that commuting is difficult as the transport links are not as good as in most other areas.

8. Evanston

Located in Cook County, Evanston is a large town that is home to around 76 thousand people. It has an urban feel with an exciting nightlife, and lots of restaurants, bars, and amenities. The community is diverse because this location is well-suited to many different groups. Families are attracted to the area because of the excellent schools, the many outdoor spaces, and the activities that are geared towards family life. Young professionals opt to live in this area because of employment opportunities and easy commuting. House prices are reasonable and housing options are diverse. However, the cost of living is relatively high.

7. Greektown

With a population of less than five thousand, Greektown is one of the smaller neighborhoods in Chicago. Despite the small size, the area has a dense, urban feel. Young people enjoy living in the area as the cost of living is reasonable, the nightlife is amazing, and there are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops for dining out or meeting up with friends. Although the area can offer families a good lifestyle, they will need to travel out of the area for good schools. Greektown has a diverse community and there are leisure activities to suit all tastes.

6. Bannockburn

This is one of the top places in Illinois to raise a family, as the area’s positive all lend themselves to an enjoyable family lifestyle. The public schools are excellent, there are many family-oriented activities, the outdoor spaces are lovely and the crime rates are almost non-existent. Young professionals also favor this neighborhood as there are many employment opportunities, the nightlife is lively, and commuting is easy. The cost of living is the only negative factor.

5. Naperville

The Crazy Tourist describes Naperville as being one of the wealthiest towns not only in Illinois but also in the entire Midwest. The cost of living in this area is high, and the average house price is more than double the national average. This means that people who live here are affluent and enjoy an upscale lifestyle. If you can afford to live in this area, you will have access to its 130 parks and sports complexes. It is worth noting that this is one of the safest cities to live not only in Illinois but also in the United States. Employment opportunities are good, especially for those working in engineering, electronics, science, and technology fields.

4. Printers Row

A charming and historic neighborhood, Printers Row is an area in Chicago with a population of under nine thousand. Although there are many amenities that are good for family life in the area, it is not a location with good public schools. Therefore, it is best suited to young professionals as there is an exciting nightlife vibe, lots of activities and amenities, easy commuting, and a diverse community. The housing options are good, the crime rates are below average, and the cost of living is reasonable.

3. Long Grove

Long Grove is a suburb of Chicago with a population of around eight thousand residents. This area is popular amongst families thanks to the great public schools, the leisure activities for families, and the nice outdoor spaces. Other good points of this area include very low crime rates, great nightlife, a diverse community, and good housing options. The cost of living is reasonable, and the area has a range of health and fitness facilities. The one downside to the area is that it is not great for those who need to commute.

2. Buffalo Grove

A small suburb in Lake County, Buffalo Grove has a population of just under 42 thousand residents. Not only does this location consistently rank as one of the best places to live in Illinois, but it has repeatedly made it onto the lists of the best places to live in the United States. The crime rates in this town are very low, and it boasts one of the best public education systems in the country. Employment rates in the area are high compared to the state average. The downsides are the cost of living and the house prices, but this is the compromise you make to live in one of the most desirable locations in Illinois.

1. Clarendon Hills

According to Niche, Clarendon Hills is the best place to live in Illinois as it scores highly in every category. Therefore, it will suit various groups of people. It offers a good lifestyle for families and there are highly-rated schools in the area. The crime rates are low, job opportunities are excellent, and commuting is easy. Both the community and the housing options are diverse, and it has a lower cost of living than many of the other best places in Illinois. Clarendon Hills can also offer a good standard of living in terms of the amenities and leisure activities available.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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