Illinois Logo


Top Places To Live In Illinois Outside Of Greater Chicago

As we continue our weekly analysis of the housing market in Illinois let's take a look at the suburban areas. As we have talked about previously the suburbs are great place to live, especially if you are part of a growing family with an itch for nesting. The cold weather and the reputation of "The Windy City" aside, people love living here and many local towns make the yearly best of lists outside of Chicago.

1. Carol Stream:

Ranked in the top fifty of CNN/Money's best places to live for several years running Carol Stream is a hot spot for families. Beautiful, award winning parks, great places to work, cool recreational activities and very good schools are among the highlights for this town. Carol Stream has a little bit of everything for families which is a plus. Close enough to commute to Chicago, the city also has a great economic base helps the city strive and succeed in these tough times.

2. Glen Ellyn:

Glen Ellyn is typical of many of the commuter based towns outside of Chicago. A nice place to work with a decent travel time and transit structure to the city. A wonderful community of civic minded people. The quaint burg in the northeast corner of the state is known for lovely lakes and parkland and is also the place where John Belushi cut his teeth on comedy at The College of Dupage. If working in the big town and going home for peace and tranquility is for, you this may be your home sweet home.

3. Naperville:

One of the gem cities in the northeast corner of the state, Naperville routinely finds itself as one of the most desirable addresses in the the country let alone the state. With a medium sized city feel, but one of the pockets of both affluence and industry in the state, Naperville has it all. As one of the seats of higher education in the state, there are many great institutions to choose from in addition to cultural draws and an an award winning public library system.

4. South Elgin:

A town that prides itself on "small-town roots and big town ideas" South Elgin is a great little place to live. Always ranking high in quality of life, job, homes and safety, you can see why it is such a draw for families. Only 40 miles to downtown Chicago it is one of the top commuter cities in the state. With the revitalized downtown area and its consistently lovely parks and outdoors activities it the perfect place for the working family that wants it all.

5. Oak Lawn:

One of the coolest suburbs of Chicago is Oak Lawn, which is highlighted by it's up and coming status and proximity to the city. Fabulous parks, great new developments in the infrastructure and terrific healthcare and education opportunities abound. Founded just over 100 years ago, it has a touch of the old with the style and vibrancy of new blood that a modern city needs. You also have to love a town that doesn't take itself too seriously in the great tradition of the Mid-West.

6. Orland Park:

Orland Park is known for it's namesake parkland, aquatic center, ice skating rink and other outdoors activities. Tons of golf courses, nature trails, museums and other family friendly things to do stand out for this great burg outside of Chicago. Tops in transportation access, community and education it is routinely named as one of the best places to live in the US, the town still exudes a reasonable amount of charm despite the accolades. All this and blues guitar legend Buddy Guy still makes his home there!

7. Oak Park:

The home of high culture just outside of Chicago is a great place to live, work and play. Oak Park often earns high marks for diversity, quality of life and stability. It has great schools and it's proximity to downtown, accessible by many arms of public transit make it a clear choice as a commuter town. Being that the town has been home to many residents in the world of the arts, there are many school programs and endowments promoting this aspect of education that is shrinking in many other places in the country.

Honorable mentions:

Hickory Hills


Western Springs


As you can see the areas outside of Greater Chicago have no shortage of fine towns you might like to call your home someday. Read our short list and if you love your town and we missed it, let us know!

Share this:


Leave a comment:

* Login in order to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join for Free

Become an Expert Contributor

Have some knowledge to share, and want easy and effective exposure to our audience? Get your articles or guides featured on Illinois Homes today! Learn more about being an expert contributor.

Learn More