Our articles often feature some small Illinois towns, but it isn’t often that a town with a population under 600 is dubbed noteworthy. That changes with this list of tiny places! They’re spread throughout the state and all have their own unique charm.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Bartelso (Clinton County)
Locals love to catch a baseball game at Bartelso Park or enjoy a game of bowling at Bartelso Bowling Lanes. Stop by MacJenna's for great home cooking!
Bartelso Bowling Lanes: 912 Carlyle Road, Bartelso
MacJenna's: 501 Carlyle Road, Bartelso
2. Ransom (LaSalle County)
Jerry's Tap is the place to go for a good meal in Ransom. When you're ready to go, head 15 minutes north to fish at LaSalle Lake.
Jerry's Tap: 119 N. Lincoln Street, Ransom
3. Sibley (Ford County)
This tiny town has a lake of its own: Sibley Lake! End your day on the lake at the very accurately-named Down by the Lake Bar.
Down by the Lake Bar: 201 Indiana Street, Sibley
4. Seaton (Mercer County)
Take the kids to the center of town, where there's a playground for them to enjoy. Before you head over, stop in at Wheeler's Cafe for a cup of coffee.
Wheeler's Cafe: 316 3rd Street, Seaton
5. Nebo (Pike County)
This town is well-known amongst hunters, so searching for deer is the main attraction. Gear up for your hunt with some coffee from Bill's Cafe.
Bill's Cafe: 845 Bridge Street, Nebo
6. Sainte Marie (Jasper County)
Visit the Sainte Marie Museum to get your fill of local history. Then, on your way out of town, stop and explore Sam Parr State Park (just 15 minutes away).
Sainte Marie Museum: 213 S. Washington Street, Sainte Marie
Sam Parr State Park: 13225 IL-33, Newton
7. Rock City (Stephenson County)
This may not be the place that inspired the "See Rock City" souvenirs, but it's still a fun little town to visit. On weekends, Rock City Tap is the place to be.
Rock City Tap: 106 Main Street, Rock City
8. Henning (Vermilion County)
Fill-Fill Industries, a food-only aerosol manufacturing plant, keeps many of the town's inhabitants busy at work. You'll need to leave town for dinner, though; drive ten minutes down the road to Merita's Family Restaurant for a good burger.
Merita's Family Restaurant: 715 S. Chicago Street, Rossville
9. Maunie (White County)
Enjoy some time on the Wabash River when you visit this town on the Illinois-Indiana border. Maunie is too small for its own restaurants, so drive over to Carmi for dinner.
10. Karnak (Pulaski County)
Grab a delicious sandwich or a fresh pizza at Our Place Pizza and Deli. Then, stroll down the wooden boardwalk at the nearby Section Eight Woods Nature Preserve.
Our Place Pizza and Deli: 107 Washington Street, Karnak
11. Broughton (Hamilton County)
This town was built for farming! Drive through the corn fields at harvest time to see the local farmers in action.
12. Compton (Lee County)
Play catch at the baseball diamond in Mathesius Park to relive your glory days. Or, visit Jerry's Tap on Wednesday nights for chicken wings!
Jerry's Tap: 770 State Route 251, Compton
13. Camargo (Douglas County)
A Patterson Springs Bed and Breakfast is the place to stay when you're in town. And, for a juicy burger, J & J's Burgers and Beer is a top pick.
A Patterson Springs Bed and Breakfast: 979 N. County Road 1500 East, Camargo
J & J's Burgers & Beer: 1500 US-36, Camargo
Have you heard of any of these towns? What small towns did we miss? Let us know in the comments.