A story circulated on Facebook that Illinois was one of the worst places to retire. I disagree. No, Illinois doesn’t have Florida’s warm weather. But there are great reasons to retire in Illinois: strong communities, low costs of living, and great cultural and educational opportunities. Here are ten great places to retire to.
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:
Galena is a gorgeous, small town, that is great for all ages. But it makes for a great retirement home if you are at that state. With all of its natural beauty, there are plenty of outdoor activities for you to stay active and healthy. You will really appreciate the beautiful homes, in the French Colonial and Victorian styles. Spend the afternoon window shopping in the quaint downtown.
Peoria might be the perfect place to call home, with its location right on the magnificent Illinois River. The population has swelled, with around 370,000 people in the area. Still, the town maintains its intimate feel. Local colleges provide many free cultural and educational opportunities. You could spend all day on Grandview Drive, taking in the Illinois River bluff.
Bolingbrook is a great place to retire because of its proximity to Chicago, its ample shopping opportunities, and appreciating property values. Still, it is not as well-known as Naperville, and so it is more affordable to get housing. If you do choose to get a small, part-time job, there are ample opportunities for that as well. If you're a golfer, you will love spending time at the Clubhouse. There are also plenty of free activities like concerts and picnics that keep the community together.
Champaign-Urbana is a college town, but outside of downtown Champaign and campus, it is pretty peaceful. You get the best of both worlds, because you have the opportunity to attend free lectures and events at the university. But you are not stuck dealing with a bunch of college kids, either. The cost of living is reasonable, and it's a great place to lay down roots if you appreciate culture and serenity.
Morris has appeared on a few lists as one of the best places to retire in Illinois. The big reason is the strong community and friendly people. There are tons of activities to get involved in, for seniors and others alike. Transportation for seniors also aids in making this one of the better places to retire. The cost of living isn't outrageous, either, and lower taxes make it affordable for the long-term.
At just under 20,000 people, Marion is a small Illinois town where it is not expensive to own or rent. The town has some great places to shop and eat. It seems like the only drawback to Marion is lower job rates, but, since you're retired, that is a non-issue.
As you can see from the town sign, Olney is famous for those white squirrels. But retired people also find this a great place to call home. There are tons of parks to explore and spot those squirrels. The town is small, with just under 10,000 people. Down here, winters aren't too bad and summers are fairly mild. Crime is low.
At 40,000 residents, Galesburg is a nice sized town located in Western Illinois. The town is really big on railroads, and they have Railroad Days every June. Homes here are fairly inexpensive, and history buffs will really like the town. There are lots of ties to Lincoln, Reagan, and Carl Sandburg. The folks who frequent the mom-and-pop shops are friendly.
There are no mountains or jungles in this Peru, but it still sure is a great place to visit and maybe even live. Families have lived in Peru for generations, so there definitely is an established, interconnected feel to the town. And you will be welcomed right into the fold. There are plenty of places to stay in shape, including the YMCA and an outdoor athletic complex at the high school that is free to the public. Peru is also very close to several other cities, so if you are looking to try a different restaurant or shop, a five minute car ride will get you there.
If cost of living is a major factor for you, Litchfield might be your best bet, with low housing costs. The Ariston Cafe, pictured here, is a popular place to stop in. It was on Old Route 66 and was moved here. You also can check out a movie at the drive-in, over at the SkyView Theater. The community is great, and is safe.