Best Places to Live in Illinois

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Best places to live in Illinois.

Illinois is a midwestern state with many cities and landscapes to keep residents entertained. The 21st state is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be this way! With a rich history and a growing economic center, Illinois should be on your list.

Also known as the Prairie State, Illinois is home to the third-largest city in the country, sprawling suburbs, and rural communities. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it here in Illinois.

Do you know where the best places to live in Illinois are? We’re here to help you deduce which Illinois area is best for you! Keep reading to learn more about the best places to settle and why.


We’re starting the best places to live in Illinois with the state’s largest city – Chicago. With a population of 2.5 million people, this city provides an exciting buzz and a fast-paced city feel. If you’re interested in a business-oriented life or many entertainment options, the Windy City might be for you.

With more than 200 different neighborhoods, you can live as close or far from the city as you want. However, popular options for newbies include Logan Square and Bucktown. One of the most popular areas is the Downtown Area, as you’re close to music, sports, businesses, and great food.

When it comes to food, residents enjoy a wide range of cuisines thanks to the diverse culture in the city. Must-try Chicago classics include famous deep-dish pizzas, steaks, Chicago barbecues, and pizza puffs.

Many move to Chicago to explore the numerous economic opportunities in the city. Wi-Fi is well-connected here, and residents enjoy fast internet from Xfinity, AT&T, and Spectrum. The closest airport for work and travel is the O’Hare International Airport.

This city area experiences all four seasons, including bitterly cold winters. Don’t let the snowy months put you off, though. This city is warm and humid in the summer, allowing you to relax and enjoy the sun.

Generally, the cost of living is higher than the US average, but the further you live from the city center, the lower the prices go. Opting for a place in the Downtown area will cost more than a suburb, but you will be compensated with shorter travel times!

For an unforgettable city experience and endless entertainment options, pick Chicago.


Not interested in big city life? Illinois offers quaint towns too!

One of the best places to live in Illinois is Galena, a small town northwest of the state. What sets Galena apart from other towns is its 19th-century buildings and vintage atmosphere. The town is also on the banks of the Galena River, which joins the Mississippi further down the route.

Galena is popular for families and retirees, thanks to its peaceful pace of life. Also, many tourists visit Galena throughout the year to marvel at its impressive streets and explore its Civil War history. If you like museums, there are many to explore here.

The primary industry here is tourism, but there is a range of local businesses to join. If you’re looking to work remotely, Galena provides fast internet from Viasat, T-Mobile, and HughesNet, ensuring you’re always connected.

Like Chicago, Galena experiences pleasant and warm summers but fiercely cold winters. If you’re used to the snow, you’ll be fine here. However, if you’ve never lived in a cold place, stock up on jumpers! If you want a warm holiday, the closest airport is the Dubuque Regional Airport, 23 miles away in Iowa.

A key perk of living in Galena is the town’s low cost of living. Living expenses in Galena are below most of Illinois and the US average. This is ideal for families and retirees alike, allowing them to enjoy a pleasant town and highly rated schools for a low cost.

Galena is a famous historic town with a quaint atmosphere and an affordable lifestyle.


Though Naperville is part of the Chicago region, it’s a popular suburb for families and professionals. This is one of the best places to live in Illinois if you want the small-town feel while also being close to the Windy City.

Located on the DuPage River, Naperville was once a mill town. Today, this sprawling suburb has a population of approximately 147,700 and offers its own thriving local economy. Whether you want to work with a small business or a Fortune 500 company, Naperville provides various opportunities. Wi-Fi is also strong here, allowing remote workers to enjoy the suburb without faulty connections.

Alongside great work options, Naperville also provides a range of entertainment and amenities. With community events, open parks, and museums for children, all demographics can enjoy Naperville. Residents unwind after work in local bars and restaurants, and the favorite local cuisine is American-inspired – perfect for barbeque lovers!

Naperville receives 28.7 inches of snow each year, as the suburb is only 30 miles from Chicago. If you want to take a quick vacation, the closest airport is O’Hare International Airport. Other options include Chicago Midway Airport and Milwaukee Airport. Transport within the city is primarily by car, but residents can use the two Metra stations to get to Chicago or Aurora.

Living in Naperville is safe, and the quality of living is high, but this comes at a price. Naperville is 44% more expensive than the US average. But, with close proximity to the city and a range of education options and businesses, it’s easy to see why so many live here.

For a comfortable suburban life with close city links, explore Naperville.

The Bottom Line

Which Illinois area is calling your name? The best places to live in Illinois are suited to all needs. From exciting city life to a peaceful suburban home, we hope you find the perfect home for you in this state!


Dan McCabe
Dan McCabe

Long time remote worker with the dream of enabling everyone to join the remote workforce. Owner and Editor of

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