Best places to live in Illinois

Written by:
March 31, 2021
realtor.com

Best places to live in Illinois

What do you look for in an ideal town? Proximity to trails, lakes, and beaches? How about top-ranked schools for your children? Would you like a professional or college sports team nearby, or do you prefer museums and art walks?

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Illinois using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from realtor.com.

On the list, there’s a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

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#25. Wheaton

- Population: 53,270
- Median home value: $358,000 (73% own)
- Median rent: $1,419 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $103,376
- Top public schools: Glenbard West High School (A+), Wheaton Warrenville South High School (A+), Wheaton North High School (A+)
- Top private schools: St. Francis High School (A+), St. Michael Catholic School (unavailable), Clapham School (unavailable)

- Pictured: 2S406 Seneca Dr, Wheaton ($2.7 million, 6 bedrooms)
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#24. Willowbrook

- Population: 8,673
- Median home value: $254,700 (79% own)
- Median rent: $1,585 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $76,997
- Top public schools: Hinsdale Central High School (A+), Hinsdale South High School (A+), Elm Elementary School (A+)
- Top private schools: Willowbrook KinderCare (unavailable)

- Pictured: 6403 S Garfield Ave, Burr Ridge ($2.2 million, 5 bedrooms)
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#23. Riverwoods

- Population: 3,618
- Median home value: $714,500 (97% own)
- Median rent: $2,539 (3% rent)
- Median household income: $207,188
- Top public schools: Adlai E. Stevenson High School (A+), Glenbrook North High School (A+), Deerfield High School (A+)

- Pictured: 720 Thornmeadow Rd, Riverwoods ($1.5 million, 5 bedrooms)
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#22. Winnetka

- Population: 12,428
- Median home value: $1,091,700 (90% own)
- Median rent: $1,628 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $250,001
- Top public schools: New Trier Township High School (A+), The Joseph Sears School (A+), Marie Murphy School (A)
- Top private schools: The School of Saints Faith, Hope & Charity (unavailable)

- Pictured: 84 Indian Hill Rd, Winnetka ($6.4 million, 7 bedrooms)
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#21. Leland Grove

- Population: 1,406
- Median home value: $222,700 (95% own)
- Median rent: $1,518 (5% rent)
- Median household income: $108,947
- Top public schools: Springfield High School (A), Iles Elementary School (A-), Lincoln Magnet School (B+)

- Pictured: 2002 S Wiggins Ave, Springfield ($739,000, 5 bedrooms)
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#20. Kildeer

- Population: 4,024
- Median home value: $631,500 (100% own)
- Median rent: $961 (0% rent)
- Median household income: $211,063
- Top public schools: Adlai E. Stevenson High School (A+), Lake Zurich High School (A+), Woodlawn Middle School (A)

- Pictured: 22396 N Greenmeadow Dr, Kildeer ($1.4 million, 6 bedrooms)
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#19. La Grange

- Population: 15,545
- Median home value: $501,700 (83% own)
- Median rent: $1,183 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $123,965
- Top public schools: Lyons Township High School (A+), Park Junior High School (A), Forest Road Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: St. Francis Xavier School (unavailable), St. Cletus Elementary School (unavailable), St. John's Lutheran School (unavailable)

- Pictured: 1040 S Edgewood Ln, La Grange ($2.0 million, 6 bedrooms)
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#18. Lincolnshire

- Population: 7,572
- Median home value: $508,700 (84% own)
- Median rent: $2,791 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $116,316
- Top public schools: Adlai E. Stevenson High School (A+), Deerfield High School (A+), Bannockburn School (A+)

- Pictured: 306 Briarwood Ln, Lincolnshire ($1.7 million, 5 bedrooms)
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#17. Lisle

- Population: 23,431
- Median home value: $356,900 (58% own)
- Median rent: $1,279 (42% rent)
- Median household income: $90,588
- Top public schools: Naperville Central High School (A+), Naperville North High School (A+), Wheaton Warrenville South High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Benet Academy (A+), St. Joan of Arc (unavailable), Giant Steps Illinois (unavailable)

- Pictured: Red Oak Ln Lot 1, Lisle ($2.7 million, 4 bedrooms)
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#16. Northbrook

- Population: 33,343
- Median home value: $534,800 (86% own)
- Median rent: $2,056 (14% rent)
- Median household income: $124,863
- Top public schools: New Trier Township High School (A+), Glenbrook South High School (A+), Glenbrook North High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Countryside Day School (A), Solomon Schechter Day School (A), St. Norbert School (unavailable)

- Pictured: 1602-16 Braeside Ln, Northbrook ($6.5 million, 6 bedrooms)
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#15. Inverness

- Population: 7,633
- Median home value: $628,700 (97% own)
- Median rent: $3,250 (3% rent)
- Median household income: $192,576
- Top public schools: William Fremd High School (A+), Barrington High School (A+), Barbara B. Rose Elementary School (A+)
- Top private schools: Holy Family Catholic Academy (A-)

- Pictured: 55 New Abbey Dr, Inverness ($2.5 million, 5 bedrooms)
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#14. Glencoe

- Population: 8,888
- Median home value: $953,700 (95% own)
- Median rent: $1,574 (5% rent)
- Median household income: $248,851
- Top public schools: New Trier Township High School (A+), Glenbrook North High School (A+), Middlefork Primary School (A+)
- Top private schools: North Shore Country Day School (A+)

- Pictured: 443 Sheridan Rd, Glencoe ($18.0 million, 9 bedrooms)
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#13. Libertyville

- Population: 20,382
- Median home value: $447,900 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,313 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $134,110
- Top public schools: Vernon Hills High School (A+), Libertyville High School (A+), Grayslake Central High School (A+)
- Top private schools: St. Joseph Elementary School (unavailable), A Village Green Montessori (unavailable), Alta Vista Montessori School (unavailable)

- Pictured: 31780 N Almond Rd, Libertyville ($4.9 million, 7 bedrooms)
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#12. La Grange Park

- Population: 13,395
- Median home value: $361,500 (72% own)
- Median rent: $1,172 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $105,783
- Top public schools: Lyons Township High School (A+), Riverside Brookfield Township High School (A), Park Junior High School (A)
- Top private schools: Nazareth Academy (A)

- Pictured: 630 N Spring Ave, La Grange Park ($899,000, 5 bedrooms)
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#11. Wilmette

- Population: 27,247
- Median home value: $707,800 (87% own)
- Median rent: $1,484 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $164,681
- Top public schools: New Trier Township High School (A+), Glenbrook South High School (A+), Niles North High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Loyola Academy (A+), Regina Dominican High School (A), Baker Demonstration School (A-)

- Pictured: 84 Indian Hill Rd, Winnetka ($6.4 million, 7 bedrooms)
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#10. Vernon Hills

- Population: 26,343
- Median home value: $348,900 (64% own)
- Median rent: $1,609 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $104,199
- Top public schools: Adlai E. Stevenson High School (A+), Vernon Hills High School (A+), Libertyville High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Montessori Music Academy (unavailable), CDW At Play Child Care Center (unavailable), Phillip Road KinderCare (unavailable)

- Pictured: 1812 N Lake Charles Dr, Vernon Hills ($1.2 million, 4 bedrooms)
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#9. Hinsdale

- Population: 17,710
- Median home value: $884,700 (86% own)
- Median rent: $1,879 (14% rent)
- Median household income: $203,368
- Top public schools: Hinsdale Central High School (A+), Lyons Township High School (A+), Hinsdale South High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Hinsdale Adventist Academy (A), St. Isaac Jogues Elementary School (unavailable), Vine Academy (unavailable)

- Pictured: 219 E 1st St, Hinsdale ($7.0 million, 5 bedrooms)
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#8. Oak Park

- Population: 52,233
- Median home value: $387,300 (59% own)
- Median rent: $1,175 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $94,646
- Top public schools: Oak Park & River Forest High School (A+), Longfellow Elementary School (A), Horace Mann Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Fenwick High School (A+), St. Giles School (A-), Ascension Elementary School (unavailable)

- Pictured: 215 N Elmwood Ave, Oak Park ($1.7 million, 8 bedrooms)
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#7. Bannockburn

- Population: 1,244
- Median home value: $971,200 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,065 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $117,917
- Top public schools: Adlai E. Stevenson High School (A+), Lake Forest High School (A+), Deerfield High School (A+)

- Pictured: 2500 Telegraph Rd, Bannockburn ($4.0 million, 5 bedrooms)
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#6. Western Springs

- Population: 13,272
- Median home value: $609,900 (96% own)
- Median rent: $2,009 (4% rent)
- Median household income: $174,760
- Top public schools: Hinsdale Central High School (A+), Lyons Township High School (A+), Hinsdale Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: St. John of the Cross Parish School (unavailable), Montessori School of West Springs (unavailable), Sunflower Montessori School (unavailable)

- Pictured: 4736 Grand Ave, Western Springs ($2.5 million, 6 bedrooms)
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#5. Evanston

- Population: 74,587
- Median home value: $391,400 (56% own)
- Median rent: $1,376 (44% rent)
- Median household income: $78,904
- Top public schools: New Trier Township High School (A+), Evanston Township High School (A+), Niles North High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Beacon Academy (A+), Roycemore School (A+), Chiaravalle Montessori (unavailable)

- Pictured: 1622 Forest Pl, Evanston ($4.2 million, 6 bedrooms)
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#4. Naperville

- Population: 147,501
- Median home value: $416,700 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,516 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $125,926
- Top public schools: Neuqua Valley High School (A+), Naperville Central High School (A+), Metea Valley High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Naperville Christian Academy (A), St. Raphael Catholic School (A+), Ss. Peter & Paul School (unavailable)

- Pictured: 1112 Shamrock Ct, Naperville ($10.5 million, 7 bedrooms)
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#3. Buffalo Grove

- Population: 41,062
- Median home value: $332,300 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,643 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $115,951
- Top public schools: Adlai E. Stevenson High School (A+), Deerfield High School (A+), Buffalo Grove High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Saint Mary School (unavailable), Buffalo Grove Montessori School (unavailable), KinderCare Learning Center (unavailable)

- Pictured: 465 Blue Ash Dr, Buffalo Grove ($815,000, 4 bedrooms)
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#2. Long Grove

- Population: 7,963
- Median home value: $648,700 (98% own)
- Median rent: $3,250 (2% rent)
- Median household income: $214,073
- Top public schools: Adlai E. Stevenson High School (A+), Vernon Hills High School (A+), Lake Zurich High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Montessori School of Long Grove (unavailable), The Grove Montessori School (unavailable), Primrose School of Long Grove (unavailable)

- Pictured: 3149 Cuba Rd, Long Grove ($3.3 million, 5 bedrooms)
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#1. Clarendon Hills

- Population: 8,716
- Median home value: $506,400 (84% own)
- Median rent: $978 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $111,958
- Top public schools: Hinsdale Central High School (A+), Westmont High School (A), Walker School (A)
- Top private schools: Seton Montessori School (unavailable)

- Pictured: 234 S Prospect Ave, Clarendon Hills ($1.7 million, 6 bedrooms)

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