The beautiful town of Long Grove, Illinois.

12 Best Places to Live in Illinois in 2024

With every opportunity that arises, many people seek to enhance their quality of life by relocating to an environment that supports their well-being. As we move into 2024, it may seem like the ideal time for some to find a new neighborhood, city, or state to call home. If you're considering Illinois, you'll be pleased to learn that the Prairie State is one of the most appealing destinations in America. Known for its stunning natural landscapes, diverse cultures, thriving economy, and abundant job opportunities, Illinois offers all the necessary elements for a comfortable life.

In contrast to the bustling, fast-paced cities, the state's small, laid-back towns offer some of the best living environments in Illinois. These areas boast a lower cost of living, reduced crime rates, strong community bonds, and numerous green spaces, ensuring a higher quality of life for newcomers. Whether you're a single, young professional, a family person, or a retiree, these areas represent some of the finest places to settle in the Land of Lincoln.


Exterior of Memorial Building in Hinsdale, Illinois.
Exterior of Memorial Building in Hinsdale, Illinois.

Located in the western suburbs of Chicago, Hinsdale provides a safe haven away from the city's busier streets. The town is enriched with several parklands and green spaces, including Hinsdale Veeck Park and Peirce Park, offering ample opportunities for nature appreciation and outdoor activities. The vibrant arts scene features many quaint galleries, such as the esteemed Acquisitions of Fine Art, where visitors can discover a unique collection of classical art. The Hinsdale History Museum plays a crucial role in preserving the town's rich history, inviting newcomers to explore the heritage and values of the community.

Its proximity to Chicago ensures easy access to all the essential amenities of a major city. However, Hinsdale is among the state's most expensive communities, with a median home price of $1.5 million, reflecting its desirability and quality of life.


The beautiful landscape of Northbrook, Illinois.
The beautiful landscape of Northbrook, Illinois.

This Cook County village attracts residents with its beautiful nature centers, suburban feel, strong sense of community, and safety. Outdoor recreation is plentiful, with activities such as fishing and wildlife viewing in Potawatomi Woods, and hiking and picnicking in Wood Oaks Green Park. Northbrook Court offers modern shopping and dining experiences, while the weekly Northbrook Farmers Market fosters a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Located about half an hour from Chicago, Northbrook offers a balance between small-town charm and big-city conveniences. Despite its many advantages, the median home cost in Northbrook is relatively affordable at $550,000, making it an attractive option for many homebuyers.


Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois.
Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois.

Nestled in DuPage County and home to about 23,000 people, Lisle is a gem within the Chicago Metropolitan Area, offering easy access to the city's unparalleled amenities. Despite its proximity to urban life, Lisle retains a quaint, small-town ambiance, highlighted by its splendid natural areas, particularly the Morton Arboretum. Spanning 1,700 acres, the arboretum invites locals to enjoy tranquil nature trails and idyllic picnic spots amidst a peaceful setting. For those intrigued by local history, the Museums at Lisle Station Park provide insightful indoor exploration opportunities. Remarkably, Lisle stands out as one of the more affordable suburbs of Chicago, with the median home price at $389,900, just slightly above the state average.


Downtown Glencoe, Minnesota.
Downtown Glencoe, Minnesota. Image credit: Jon Platek via Wikimedia Commons.

Glencoe may appear unassuming due to its small population of fewer than 10,000 residents, but this picturesque lakefront village is full of surprises, boasting world-class attractions. The Chicago Botanic Garden is a standout, sprawling across 380 acres and featuring five distinct natural habitats and 27 gardens. It remains a popular destination throughout the year. The village offers a variety of lake-related recreational activities, including swimming and sunbathing at Glencoe Beach and kayaking and fishing in the Skokie Lagoons.

The cultural life in Glencoe thrives with numerous art centers, and the Writers Theater, in particular, is renowned for its compelling plays and live performances. However, living in Glencoe comes with a high price tag, as the median home cost is about $2.5 million.


A street corner in Plainfield, Illinois.
A street corner in Plainfield, Illinois, via Susan Newcomb /

Plainfield, with its tranquil ambiance, is an ideal locale for families. Despite having fewer than 50,000 residents, it epitomizes the essence of small-town charm while ensuring access to the urban conveniences of downtown Chicago. The town's picturesque natural landscape includes the Lake Renwick Heron Rookery Nature Preserve, a prime location for observing migratory birds. It also boasts various family-friendly attractions, such as The Wandering Dragon Game & Puzzle Shop and Twisted Pin bowling alley. The DuPage River, meandering through Plainfield, offers exciting water activities, including tubing adventures with Plainfield River Tubing. The housing market is relatively accessible, with an average home price of $461,000.


Overlooking The Glen in Glenview, Illinois.
Overlooking The Glen in Glenview, Illinois.

Glenview, a vibrant community in Cook County, stands out as one of Chicago's premier suburbs, offering an ideal blend of amenities for a high quality of life. With its expansive parklands, efficient transportation network, and a plethora of shopping and dining options, it's an attractive choice for those considering relocation. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the green spaces and open areas such as The Grove and Gallery Park, which boast miles of hiking trails that invite residents to enjoy the surrounding natural beauty. The Glen Town Center caters to all shopping needs, featuring a variety of stores, restaurants, and entertainment options. The Glenview History Center, among other museums, offers insights into the town's rich heritage. Given its many attractions, Glenview's popularity is understandable, reflected in a median housing price of $720,000.

Buffalo Grove

Old wooden house, a historical landmark, in Buffalo Grove.
Old wooden house, a historical landmark, in Buffalo Grove.

Buffalo Grove ranks consistently high among the best places to live in Illinois, thanks to its impressive array of amenities. Families will find ample recreational opportunities for children at places like Willow Stream Park and Buffalo SkatePark. The Raupp Museum, dedicated to the town's history, showcases a vast collection of photographs, archives, and artifacts. For leisure activities, Bowlero Buffalo Grove provides a venue for bowling enthusiasts. Despite its proximity to downtown Chicago, located just 34 miles away, Buffalo Grove remains surprisingly affordable, with a median home price of around $400,000.

Long Grove

Historical Long Grove Town view in Illinois State
Historical Long Grove Town view in Illinois State

Nestled in Lake County, the quaint village of Long Grove is celebrated for its rich history, picturesque natural settings, and tight-knit community. The historic downtown area, with its cobblestone streets and antique buildings, houses a diverse array of restaurants, pubs, antique shops, and ice cream parlors. For those seeking tranquility, the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve offers secluded hiking and biking trails, picnic spots, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Families will enjoy attractions such as the unique Sock Monkey Museum and Ma & Pa’s Candy. While not the most affordable, with a median housing cost of $924,500, Long Grove promises a rewarding lifestyle for its residents.

Western Springs

Western Spring's First Congregational Church is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
Western Spring's First Congregational Church is also on the National Register of Historic Places, By MrHarman - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

In Western Springs, a charming village in Cook County, community spirit is paramount, contributing to its reputation as one of the safest places to live. The village attracts new residents with its stunning outdoor spaces, including the adventure-filled Bemis Woods South and the exhilarating Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park. The Western Springs French Market is a hub for community interaction, offering artisanal cheeses, chocolates, and other local delights. The Theater of Western Springs is a focal point for family entertainment, presenting plays that appeal to both children and adults. With such a vibrant community and abundant recreational opportunities, it's no wonder the median housing cost in Western Springs is $875,000.


A windmill in Elmhurst, Illinois.
A windmill in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Nestled in DuPage County and hosting Elmhurst University, this suburban community is renowned for its excellent educational system, making it an attractive option for young families. The university enhances Elmhurst's cultural scene, with institutions like the Elmhurst Art Museum offering impressive collections of modern and contemporary art. The town also features a wealth of recreational options, with parks and trails such as Wilder Park and Berens Park providing ample outdoor activities.

The Elmhurst Farmers Market is a hub for community engagement, offering a space for residents to socialize and support local vendors, thereby strengthening community bonds. Although the average home price in Elmhurst is $785,000, the quality of life and proximity to Chicago's amenities justify the cost.

Lake Forest

Lake Forest City Hall
Lake Forest City Hall

For those drawn to lakefront living with a serene atmosphere and close community bonds, Lake Forest, situated along Lake Michigan in Lake County, is an idyllic choice. It boasts extensive outdoor recreational options within the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve and Mellody Farm Nature Preserve. The town's vibrant performing arts scene, including the Citadel Theater and Gorton Center, ensures a year-round calendar of entertainment with plays, musicals, and concerts.

Market Square offers a convenient shopping solution, reducing the need to travel to Chicago for groceries, home goods, apparel, and more. The price for homes in Lake Forest is steep, averaging around $1.5 million, reflecting its exclusive lakefront lifestyle and community amenities.

Oak Brook

Oakbrook Center Mall during the Summer in Oak Brook Illinois
Oakbrook Center Mall during the Summer in Oak Brook, Illinois

Oak Brook, a delightful community in DuPage County, stands out with its comprehensive range of amenities, despite its modest population of 8,000. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the peaceful Dean Nature Sanctuary, showcasing diverse ecosystems. Shoppers have access to luxury and retail therapy at Oakbrook Center, while gourmets can indulge in fine dining at Pinstripes. Art lovers are treated to exquisite collections at the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, which displays intricate jewelry, gemstones, and carved gems. The median home price in Oak Brook is $825,000, offering a blend of luxury and suburban tranquility.

The Takeaway

As you consider relocating in 2024, these destinations in Illinois should be at the top of your list. Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, caters to ambitious professionals, expanding families, and retirees alike, offering locales with flourishing economies, safe environments, and a plethora of recreational and cultural activities to match varied preferences. Whether you're seeking connectivity to a major city, the charm of small-town life, serene natural landscapes, or attractions of global renown, Illinois presents an array of options to find your ideal living situation.

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. 12 Best Places to Live in Illinois in 2024

More in Places