Chicago Towns Named Among U.S. Best

August 20, 2011

A list of the 100 best small places in the country to live was released this week, and four Chicago suburbs made the list.


The town of Oswego has been named one of the best small places to live in America.

Money magazine chose the 100 towns on the Best Places to Live list because they exhibit qualities that American families care about most: Safe streets, great job opportunities, top-notch schools, economic strength, plenty to do, good weather and more.

The four Chicago towns that made the list and what the magazine had to say about each of them:

49. Carol Stream: “This town was not, as many believe, named for a local waterway. Jay Stream, who founded the town in the 1950s, named it after his daughter. (Carol Stream is still around, occasionally participating in town parades.) An award-winning park district, which maintains some 460 acres of land, organizes a host of activities in this diverse bedroom community an hour west of Chicago. Among its offerings is the Coral Cove Water Park, know for its tall tube waterslides. Many homes here are fairly new, constructed between the mid-‘80s and 2000.”

54. Glen Ellyn: “Known as the ‘Village of Volunteers,’ this suburb 35 minutes from Chicago is full of civic pride. Residents dedicate time to local government committees and family events, such as cardboard boat races at one of the town’s 31 parks. Other recreation opportunities include a lake and a golf course. While some residents work in education — at local schools or in the community college in town — most hop the commuter train to the big city. Thanks to that easy access, homes here aren’t cheap.

58. Oswego: “This community surrounded by cornfields an hour west of Chicago has managed to more than double in size over the last decade, due in part to unusually strong job growth. Recreational opportunities also bring people here: The Fox River runs through the middle of town, and canoeing, kayaking, and fishing are popular. The jump in population has meant a greater focus on infrastructure development; many local schools have recently built additions. Next up: widening the streets.”

98. South Elgin: “Everyone knows everyone by first name in this historic town 40 miles west of Chicago. South Elgin’s small-town charm comes from a close-knit community and a long history — it was established in 1897. A big draw is the Fox River, where anglers can often be seen wading waist-deep. In the last decade, South Elgin’s award-winning parks and recreation department, and a healthy economy driven by small businesses, have attracted new developments to the area — and with them, new big-box stores and restaurants.”

To see Money’s entire list of America’s best small towns, visit

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