Across Illinois, communities of all sizes offer unique lifestyles and opportunities. From the city streets of Chicago (the third-largest city in the U.S.) to the rural farm fields in downstate Illinois, there is no shortage of places to happily call home. A diverse state, Illinois is proud to welcome newcomers from all walks of life and backgrounds.
Here are five fantastic reasons to join the 12 million people who already know life is better in the Land of Lincoln.
Affordability: Illinois’ cost of living index is 93.4, making it more affordable than the national average. According to Zillow, the average home value in Illinois is approximately $233,000. Some of the most affordable cities to live in the state, according to Livability.com, are Bloomington, DeKalb, Naperville, Belleville and Springfield.
Arts, History & Culture: Internationally celebrated, Chicago has a wealth of arts and culture. The city is well-known for its many museums and art galleries, theaters and music venues. But, beyond the city lights, the entire state is steeped in history and culture. Historically significant communities across the state have impacted everything from westward expansion to national politics to religion.
Culinary Capital: Chicago — the food capital of the US — offers an abundance of flavors and experiences sure to delight even the most sophisticated of pallets. Of course, the city’s famous deep-dish pizza and legendary street food scene have inspired generations.
Located in the heart of the country’s meatpacking district, the city is home to an awe-inspiring number of steakhouses serving delicious grass-fed and dry-aged steaks. In addition, a new breed of micro and craft breweries are cropping up all over the city, offering everything from dark stouts to IPAs.
Education: Illinois is home to more than 200 higher education institutions and is a magnet for the brightest minds in the country. The state is home to several top-ranked universities ranging from computer science and engineering to agribusiness and health care. Some of the highest-ranking schools in the state include the University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and more. In fact, the University of Illinois graduates more engineers each year than MIT, Stanford and Caltech combined.
Outdoor Adventure: Across the state, Illinois offers a large variety of outdoor recreation. The Shawnee National Forest — and its crowning glory, the Garden of the Gods — offers more than 400 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Even in the metro area of Chicago, it’s easy to find parks, hiking trails, riverways for paddling and more. Cycling enthusiasts love Illinois for its many rail trails, including the 606 in Chicago, Tunnel Hill State Trail from Harrisburg to Karnak, and Rock Island Trail State Park from Alta to Toulon.
Savannah King is managing editor of custom content for Conway Inc. She is an award-winning journalist and previously wrote for The Times in Gainesville, Ga. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives near Atlanta.