Illinois is home to a number of energetic cities, Chicago being the state’s main city. These sizable urban areas attract tourists and visitors because of their cuisine, cultural offerings, and architectural diversity. But this Midwestern state also boasts a lot of quaint little communities that are well worth a visit. The picturesque and distinctive vistas of these quaint little towns encapsulate the essence of the state’s allure. Discover ten little towns in Illinois that you should not miss by reading on.
The National Register of Historic Places has the town of Woodstock listed. It is also a Preserve America Community, as certified by the White House, and a Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. With so many stores and retail spaces, Historic Woodstock Square exudes a distinct and nostalgic vibe.
This McHenry County village offers a plethora of art experiences, including galleries and stores for daytime exploring, as well as artisan products, leather goods, and pottery. In addition, a wide variety of eateries, pubs, and clubs are available for nocturnal entertainment. Groundhog Days, an annual celebration honouring the town’s part in the 1992 Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day, and the Lighting of the Square, which starts on Thanksgiving weekend, are two other exciting yearly events held in Woodstock.
Galena is a charming little town with lots of things to do both inside and outside. Visitors can row, kayak, or fish on the scenic Galena River, also called the Fever River. There are a tonne of historic sites to see in this town that is a must-see.
There are several boutiques and shops featuring the creations of local artists in addition to the numerous restaurants. Tourists have two options for exploring the town: they either take a leisurely journey on the tram or choose to take in the amazing view from inside a hot air balloon! There is something for everyone in the lovely village of Galena.
Originally planned as a railway suburb, Elmhurst developed to include numerous urban facilities. Among the attractions that entice people to Elmhurst are the Wilder Park Conservatory, Elmhurst Art Museum, Lizardro Museum of Lapidary Art, and Elmhurst College. Another distinctive feature of the area is Mt. Emblem Cemetery, which spans 90 acres and features stunning landscapes, a private lake, and a recognisable windmill.
4. Mt. Carmel
Situated near the Indiana border, Mt. Carmel is a charming blend of parks, golf courses, lush farmland, local businesses, and restaurants. It is situated along the Wabash River. The Wabash River is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts to go kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. It passes through the neighbouring Beall Woods State Park, an ideal location for a picnic or a walk on one of its paths.
Visitors can sample the produce and wine produced locally in the town at the farmers’ markets and Homestead Vineyards. There are plenty of cultural attractions in Mount Carmel. A glimpse into Mt. Carmel’s cultural past can be had in the tourist centre and museums.
The town of Nauvoo is rich in history, much of it derived from its Mormon foundation. Artworks and artefacts at the Joseph Smith Historic Site reflect the story of the early Latter-Day Saint movement in Nauvoo. Nauvoo’s rich history is also presented in several museums. A thriving art scene also provides a range of trips, one of which being a tour of a vineyard that has been going strong since 1851.
The Fox River flows through the picturesque town of Geneva. The Frank Lloyd Wright house Fabyan Villa and Japanese Gardens, which is included on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the area’s most distinctive features. It’s not Geneva’s only striking sight, either. Boutiques, vineyards, breweries, and restaurants catering to all palates can be found in Geneva’s historic downtown. While there are outdoor activities available in the lovely parks and trails, there are also inside options available in the arts and cultural sector.
Rockton, an authentic Midwestern community, is located in one of Winnebago County, Illinois’s northernmost townships. Discover the history of the town while taking a leisurely holiday in Rockton, which boasts a picturesque central shopping centre and a pastoral periphery. The 208 historic structures in this little town, many of which are in the Greek Revival style, serve as a reminder to tourists of the area’s pre-Civil War history.
Across the Mississippi River from Clinton, Iowa, in Whiteside County, Illinois, is where you’ll find Fulton. This charming little village with Dutch roots is a must-see. By visiting the yearly Dutch Days Festival or taking a tour of the Dutch windmill, De Immigrant, located on the city’s dike, visitors can get a taste of this rich history. The Martin House Museum, Heritage Canyon, and the breathtaking Mississippi River view are just a few of the other nearby attractions.
Twenty-three miles east of St. Louis, Missouri, is Lebanon. The Visitors Centre, located on St. Louis Street, commonly known as “The Brick Street,” is a historic shopping centre where visitors may view old photos of the town and find out about upcoming activities.A walking route, tennis courts, basketball courts, pavilions, and sports fields may all be found on the 58 acres of verdant, wooded Horner Park. This is also the home of Illinois’s oldest Methodist college, McKendree University.
10. Long Grove
Long Grove, the oldest historic district in Illinois, is the ideal fusion of small-town charm and extensive history. The town’s layout aims to protect the surrounding natural environment as well as the ancient buildings. But this quaint little community is not what it first appears to be. In addition, Long Grove offers excellent dining options, shopping, and a lively nightlife. It’s a small town in Illinois that you might wish to include on your trip schedule.
Highlights of the Must-Visit Small Towns in Illinois: