7 Small Towns In Illinois That Are Full Of Charm And Perfect For A Weekend Escape
The charming small towns of the Prairie State provide a much-needed escape for many people. Whether you’re a city-dweller, reside in a large town, or just need a getaway in a peaceful locale that’s not overrun with tourists, the smaller communities of Illinois are perfect to spend a weekend exploring and relaxing. Take some time for yourself in one of these small towns where life moves at a slower pace but, at the same time, offers numerous things to do and places to explore.
Located in Hancock County, Nauvoo was originally founded by Mormons in the mid-1800s and today has a population of fewer than 1,000 residents. Explore the wonderful living historic district and take advantage of all the fun and mostly FREE things to do here. Take a walking or
to learn about the town's
, explore the shops and restaurants, and take in a show. If you decide to stay overnight, consider the whimsical
Ten Acre Treehouse Village
Nauvoo Log Cabins
In the heart of Illinois' Amish country is Arthur, home to over 2,000 people. A visit here is like taking a step back in time and a place where seeing horse-drawn buggies on the roads is common. The town hosts several events like the Cheese Festival, 4th of July parade, Moultrie-Douglas Fair, and more throughout the year, drawing in crowds from around the state. Seasonally, the First Saturday Arthur Downtown Market and Arthur 3rd Saturday Market Bazaar are held. Explore the town to find hand-crafted Amish furniture and goods at the antique shops and a variety of small stores. There's no other place quite like Arthur!
We can't have a list of charming small towns in Illinois without including Galena. Located in northwestern Illinois, 85 percent of this town is on the National Register of Historic Places and is consistently rated as one of the best small towns in the country. Its thriving downtown is filled with shops, restaurants, a history museum, and historic homes and buildings that are worthy of exploring. The town is home to Grant Park located along the river and a wonderful place to surround yourself with nature and have a view of the downtown in the near distance. There are also many wonderful places to stay overnight like
Jail Hill Inn
Goldmoor Inn & Dining
Although located only an hour away from Chicago, the small town of
seems worlds away. The Town Square is where several events, parades, festivals, and the farmers' market are held throughout the year, but that's only one wonderful aspect of this community. There is a historic movie theater and numerous shops and restaurants that occupy 19th-century buildings. If you decide to spend a weekend here, consider the historic Cherry Tree Inn B&B, a Victorian bed and breakfast that appeared in the movie "Groundhog Day."
5. Bishop Hill
If you are a history buff, make plans to visit Bishop Hill, a well-preserved historic small town that's centuries old. Known as the "Utopia of the Prairie," it is a designated State Historic Site as well as a National Historic Landmark. See around a dozen buildings that were constructed in 1846 that remain in pristine condition today, stroll the streets which will take you back in time, and peruse the museums, antique shops, gift shops, and restaurants. A visit here will give you a sense of why it's known as a utopia.
The idyllic village of Rockton is a hidden gem in Winnebago County and a true Midwestern town that showcases a wonderful quality of life for those who reside here. Shop and eat in its historic downtown and explore the farmland on the outskirts. And make sure to carve out some time to explore the Macktown Living History Museum where you can learn about life in the 1800s.
Are you ready for your weekend getaway to one of these charming small towns in Illinois? What other small towns would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re looking for some weekend road trip ideas, take a look at our
7 Quick Road Trips In Illinois post.
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Address: Nauvoo, IL, USA Address: Arthur, IL, USA Address: Galena, IL 61036, USA Address: Bishop Hill, IL, USA Address: Elmhurst, IL, USA Address: Greenville, IL 62246, USA Address: Woodstock, IL 60098, USA