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The Best Places to Live in Illinois in 2024

By Alex Moretti


Updated on

The US have so many amazing places that you need to see for yourself to believe, but while most states have a lot of things to offer, none have as much diversity as Illinois.

Regardless of whether you’re talking about its cities or its people, Illinois definitely features some of the most unique sights you’ll ever see in the country.

Commonly referred to as the heartland of America or the Land of Lincoln, Illinois has earned itself the reputation as one of the worst run states, and while that may be true, that doesn’t take away from the cities’ beauty and most importantly the friendliness of the people.

It used to be one of the economic powerhouses of the US, but this aforementioned poor governance has hurt the state’s economy quite a lot, halving it by now. Even so though, the state still manages to keep itself afloat, being the fifth-largest state economy by GDP, which is no simple feat.

While there is quite a troubling unemployment rate, Illinois is still keeping itself above ground thanks to its economical prowess.

Best places to live in Chicago
Photo by Pedro Lastra / unsplash.com

On top of that, Illinois also has some of the best schools in the country, and let’s not forget about the fact that this is also the home of 45 of the 500 Fortune 500 companies out there.

But, with all of that being said, is Illinois worth moving into? You’d be surprised by just how many amazing places you can move into in Illinois, which is why we decided to give you a brief rundown of the 20 best places that we believe you won’t be disappointed by.

As always, if you happen to live in a place that wasn’t featured on this list that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth checking out, quite the contrary actually. Every place is beautiful in its own way.

But we won’t mention Chicago as a whole here, we’ll only look at its best neighborhoods or suburbs. So let’s not dwindle around any longer and instead just hop right into our first pick of the day:

20. Mount Prospect

Mount Prospect, Illinois

This Chicago suburb serves as the home of well over 55,000 residents, with its most popular attraction definitely being its public library, the Randhurst Village and the home of Jennifer Morrison.

Many people write off Mount Prospect as a potential relocation suburb because it is not the most well-equipped place in the state, but what these people fail to realize is the fact that Mount Prospect is also one of the safest places in Illinois as a whole.

As always when it comes to Illinois, the public schools are amazing, and not only that but the community itself is very diverse, and let’s not forget about the public system here either which just comes alive during later hours.

19. Hinsdale

Hinsdale, Illinois
Photo by Hinsdale, IL / Facebook.com

While Mount Prospect does have the safety feature on lock, Hinsdale is no pushover either as it also features exceptionally low crime rates as well.

On top of that it also has some of the best schools in the state, a lot of employment opportunities, and we can’t even begin to describe just how many amenities the residents have in store for them.

As such, Hinsdale is one of the most sought-after places to move in Illinois lately, so if you want to grab a house here you may want to hurry up because the prices are steadily growing as we speak.

18. Northbrook

Northbrook, Illinois
Photo by Village of Northbrook, Illinois / Facebook.com

If you’d rather live your life in a more rural area though you can always give the quaint village of Northbrook a try, as it does have some of the most serene and peaceful sceneries, alongside some amazing historical architecture that we just can’t get enough of.

The public schools here are great, which already makes this a great option for families, and let’s not forget about the low crime rates and unemployment rates that it has.

While the cost of living is nothing to scoff at, we would still argue that it is one of the more affordable places on this list for now.

17. Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights, Illinois

Arlington Heights is one of the best places to call home in Chicago, and that’s made all the more apparent by the fact that 76,000 people currently live here.

The average home here costs around $320,600 or so, and so if you want to buy yourself your dream home and you don’t have the budget for some of the other options on our list, you may want to consider Arlington Heights.

The public school system is definitely solid; it’s not the best around but it will still do, if you’re just thinking about school as an afterthought.

The crime rate is a bit on the higher side which is never fun to hear, but it more than makes up for it with the general vibe of the place.

16. Lisle

Lisle, Illinois

Part of the Chicago metropolitan area, Lisle is pretty much just a jack of all trades, a place that does everything well enough, but doesn’t excel in anything either.

If you are looking for consistency, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place, and while that in itself may sound amazing, just keep in mind that the cost of living here is undeniably higher than in most other places.

Regardless, if you are on the lookout for a suburb that actually feels like a suburb, you may want to consider moving in Lisle, because it’ll more than serve its purpose and we can guarantee that much.

15. Clarendon Hills

Clarendon Hills, Illinois

Clarendon Hills on the other hand has everything you may ask for and more, including one of the best public-school systems in the state, and an incredibly low crime rate, coupled with very few upsetting incidents ever coming out of it.

On top of all of that, Clarendon Hills earns its keep by having some of the highest income averages, standing at around $105,720 per household.

One thing that you will need to keep in mind however is that Clarendon Hills does have one of those communities in which everyone knows each other, so if you were hoping for a suburb then let’s just say that this isn’t going to be the right place for you.

14. Glencoe

Glencoe, Illinois
Photo by bogdanstepniak / Wikipedia.org

With less than 10,000 current residents here in Glencoe, you may think that it is not all that amazing of a place to live in but you’d be quite mistaken.

Part of Chicago’s North shore, this lovely suburb is known for having amazing public schools, great housing options, a ton of employment opportunities, and low enough crime rates that you’ll never have to worry about your safety or your family’s.

While the cost of living is definitely going to bleed you dry if you’re not careful, and the lack of diversity is a bit of a red flag, everything else about Glencoe is worth looking into.

13. La Grange Park

La Grange Park, Illinois

Featuring one of the lowest crime rates in the state, La Grange Park is definitely worth checking out for its safety alone, if that’s one of your main worries.

But that’s not all that La Grange Park has to offer as it also has a ton of amenities around every corner, including plenty of shops, restaurants, attractions and bars to keep you occupied.

Let’s not forget about the job opportunities around every corner either and of course, the nightlife which is absolutely booming as soon as the sun goes down.

12. Plainfield

Plainfield, Illinois

Plainfield is one of the best options you may have if you are looking for a more laid back place to move into with your family, that’s still pretty close to Chicago’s bustling city center.

This is because more than half of the current households here have children, and considering the fact that there are 44,000 residents calling Plainfield their home, that’s no small number.

The average home is also quite affordable, with the simple two-bedroom house costing about $283,000 or so. That may sound like a lot on first glance but keep in mind the fact that the average income here is also of around $111,521 which is definitely a plus in our book.

11. West Loop

West Loop, Illinois

Currently there are less than 35.000 residents calling West Loop their home, but this number is sure to grow exponentially over the next couple of years as West Loop has already gained quite a reputation around for being one of the best neighborhoods in the state.

No matter what you’re looking for, West Loop has it. Are you on the lookout for restaurants, parks, coffee shops or bars? Just start walking and you’ll come across every one of those within a few minutes or so of walking.

On top of that the community here is very diverse and the cost of living is actually quite reasonable for once.

10. Evanston

Evanston, Illinois

Evanston is pretty amazing because it is easily one of the most unique suburbs in the state. Despite being very urban, it does also give you a small-city vibe which shouldn’t be the case considering the fact that it has well over 75,000 residents in it.

Still, the communities here are very tight-knit together, and if you do want to get any help you can always employ the services of the many young professionals that can be found around every corner here.

9. Loop

Loop, Illinois
Photo by J. Crocker / Wikipedia.org

The best part about Chicago’s trendy Loop is the fact that there is always something to do in it, and we do mean that. It is a perfect example of having every amenity you could ask for, while also having some incredible outdoor activities you can perform in your own spare time when you feel like it.

Health and fitness is a priority here, and the nightlife is just downright awesome once you get into it, because you’ll be bombarded with good times as soon as you make your way through. So if that’s what you’re looking for there’s no place like the Loop.

8. Schaumburg

Schaumburg, Illinois

While Illinois may not be known for its amazing governance, let’s just say that Schaumburg is an exception since it features an amazing public education system and a super low crime rate, with a single case of burglary reported in a suburb that has as many as 132,000 residents in it.

You’re also 30 miles away from Chicago’s busy city center, so you could say you’re still pretty close to all the action.

The cost of living here is quite low too and while homes are not the most affordable places here ever, let’s just say that for a measly $228,700 you could still get yourself a pretty amazing house to move into with your family.

7. Oak Park

Oak Park, Illinois

Oak Park is easily one of the most sought-after places to call home in Illinois, and that is simply because there are no real downsides to living here.

It’s theoretically a village in Cook County, adjacent to Chicago, but it features a whopping 54,000 residents within its suburban borders. The amenities here are bountiful and while the cost of living may be higher, it is still generally affordable for the most part.

Last but not least, we should also mention the public schools here, which are totally amazing, and the crime rate is low enough to never have to worry about any problems whatsoever.

6. Gurnee

Gurnee, Illinois

With a total population of 30,500 people, Gurnee really earns its spot on our list by having one of the largest shopping malls in the whole state in here.

Not only that but it also has a ton of amenities for you to visit in your spare time, and while the cost of living may not be the most affordable, the price per average home of $250,000 definitely more than makes up for that.

Your family’s safety is guaranteed here too, considering the fact that it has some very highly rated public schools, alongside some incredible job opportunities that you shouldn’t miss out on anytime soon.

5. Glenview

Glenview, Illinois

Glenview is very close to being one of our favorite places to live in Illinois and for good reason too. The main priority of the area has always been education, as here is where you will find the third highest high school graduation rate in the state.

On top of that, the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Illinois, and moving here is sure to benefit you if you are a fan of living a healthy and fit life, thanks to the dozens of fitness centers around.

The average home is definitely more expensive than we’d like it to be, standing at $473,600 or so, but if you prefer it, you could instead just rent out your dream home for as little as $1,713 per month.

4. Greektown

Greektown, Illinois

With less than 5,000 residents currently inhabiting it, Greektown really is a slice of heaven on Earth as it is one of the best suburbs in the state.

The cost of living here is surprisingly low, and while it may be a bit on the smaller side, it has a very active nightlife alongside a ton of restaurants, coffee shops and places to visit with your friends and family.

3. Naperville

Naperville, Illinois
Photo by Water Street – Downtown Naperville, IL / Facebook.com

Naperville is often times referred to as one of the wealthiest cities in the Midwest, and we can’t really argue against that since its 150,000 residents have a whopping yearly income of around $109,468 per household.

That alone is amazing, but when you consider the fact that the average home costs around $379,000, you definitely have yourself a match made in heaven here.

It is definitely one of the best places for you to live in if you prefer to live a finer life, although the cost of living is also up there too.

2. Buffalo Grove

Buffalo Grove, Il

Buffalo Grove has just above 42,000 residents currently living here, and as far as we can tell, it is one of the most consistently high ranked places to live in in all of Illinois.

The crime rates are astonishingly low, and as far as the public education systems are concerned, it is a national treasure of a suburb and we don’t say that often.

The employment rates are also really high, and while the cost of living and the home prices are a bit steep, you can’t argue with the quality of life that Buffalo Grove offers either.

1. Springfield

Springfield, IL
Photo by Éovart Caçeir / wikipedia.org

Often times referred to as the capital of Illinois, Springfield is home for around 115,000 people that all attest to the fact that this is the best place to live in the Prairie state.

The average home here is more than affordable, with a good house costing as little as $120,400. Rent wise you are looking at prices that could start from $732, and let’s not forget about the fact that more than 17,000 of the people here hold state government jobs, which is always a nice thing to see.

Everything about Springfield is thriving, including its nightlife and attraction, and we won’t even get into the dozens of amenities that you will never grow bored of while living here.


Best Places to Live in Illinois
Photo by Sawyer Bengtson / unsplash.com

Again, we have not mentioned the plethora of other amazing places that Illinois has to offer, and especially we didn’t mention Chicago by itself, because it’s too big of a city to cover, with numerous pros and cons, but that shouldn’t stop you from moving into any of its suburbs we’ve listed here or any other places from this state.

While Illinois definitely gets a bit of a bad rep due to its higher than national average crime rates and its home prices fluctuation from affordable to absolutely mind boggling, let’s just say that if you look hard enough you’ll definitely get your hands on a really amazing slice of heaven in no time.

For more interesting places to live in, check out Illinois’s neighboring states: Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

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About Alex Moretti

Adventure junkie, content creator and storyteller, Alex left his nine-to-five career lifestyle to become a full time world traveler. He started his journey to the unknown 5 years ago and visited more than 30 countries and 400 cities ever since. Learn more about Placeaholic's Editorial Process.

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