Illinois is known around the world for Chicago. And Chicago’s a great city. There are a lot of great things about living in a city as far as amenities go. But another thing Illinois has going for it are some amazingly charming small towns. We’re counting down ten of the best small towns in Illinois:
Galena is repeatedly described as the best place to visit in the Midwest, whether you want to get away or are on your honeymoon. There is plenty for foodies, including wineries and breweries as well as a culinary school. You can rent a hot air balloon. You can also hike, bike, or rent a kayak and explore this scenic town.
2. Mount Carroll
Mount Carroll is routinely referred to as the New England of the Midwest and it's easy to see why. It is a beautiful, small town to walk (or bike!) around. Interested in the arts? Check out the community playhouse. Spending the night? There is attractive lodging with character you won't find at major chains.
Fulton has strong Dutch roots, evidenced by this authentic Dutch windmill. Each May, the town hosts "Dutch Days," a festival celebrating its Dutch heritage. The downtown is quaint, with some excellent shopping and fine dining opportunities.
Morris is located just 60 miles from Chicago, but has plenty of its own amenities. Its beautiful and historic downtown district is located on the I&M canal. There, you can find many unique shops and great restaurants. There are also many beautiful parks for you to explore.
Greenville is one of Illinois' oldest communities, celebrating its bicentennial this year. It is host to the small Greenville College, with just over 1000 students. The town is also host to some great festivals, including AgapeFest and the Greenville Graffiti Car Show.
Nauvoo was named by Joseph Smith, and so the Mormon influence here is very prominent. It's a great place to visit if you are a history buff. Go on one of the many tours to explore historic buildings. There are also British and Nauvoo pageants that will truly transport you back to the old days of Nauvoo. It's fun for the whole family.
Sycamore has a quaint downtown with tons of offerings. But even more interesting is the Sycamore Historic District, a region of 200 architecturally interesting homes that has made its way into the National Register of Historic Places. Make sure to check out the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival, held annually.
You might recognize Woodstock from its appearance in movies like Groundhog Day and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The town was hugely influential to Orson Welles, a famous resident. There is an opera house and also tons of live music to choose from.
Lebanon is really appreciated for its historic downtown, with quaint shops such as the ones pictured here. Homer Park is a huge draw, with 58 beautiful acres to explore. Fan of the arts? Check out the community playhouse.
Elsah is a river town that looks largely like it did back in the day. This makes it a great place for architecture buffs, who can go on a tour and explore some historic homes. It's also a fantastic place to observe bald eagles.
Nothing is better than a small Illinois town. You can live for cheap, meet friendly people, and become involved in a strong community. What’s not to love?