The best cities and towns in a state are always debatable, and to be considered the heart of a state is always sweet and while again it is also debatable is still fun to see which towns get a spotlight.

When someone says Illinois many think of Chicago, but some sources like Only In Your State think of small towns. Seven small towns were recently selected for the heart of the state.


Seven Towns That Are The Heart Of Illinois 

We used data and rankings from Only In Your State, and to get our lis

  • Mackinaw, Illinois

Illinois is a small town near Peoria Illinois known as a “dry” town for over 80 years. Fun fact... after prohibition ended in 1933, the sale of alcohol was prohibited in Mackinaw all the way until 2013, thanks to this history it has become a popular spot and part of Illinois.

  • Macomb, Illinois

This spot has historical roots going back to 1855 when the Northern Cross Railroad turned this small town into a bustling destination. Home to Western Illinois University,  Macomb isn't the smallest of towns, but it is a charming town that blends the youthful exuberance of a college town with a rich history dating back to the 1800s.

  • Maeystown, Illinois

This spot is unique in that the whole town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While it has a long history, the town didn’t take off until Jacob Maeys arrived and built a sawmill and a town store, its roots date all the way back to 1782 when an American Revolution soldier staked claim to 100 acres. J

  • Madison, Illinois

This is home to the eastern edge of the historic Chain of Rocks Bridge on Chouteau Island. Needless to say, this spot has a major iconic bridge (A lot of towns do too, I know) The Chain of Rocks Bridge was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

  • Princeton, Illinois

Known for its beauty... and bridges. The historical preservation around Princeton doesn’t stop there: In addition to a classic, old-timey main street, the town is also home to the Lovejoy Homestead, a stop on the Underground Railroad that will reopen for tours after the pandemic is officially over.

  • Galena, Illinois

Wow! Who would have seen that one coming... From a great history, a lot of beauty and of course great shopping. It makes sense why this spot is on here.

  • Ottawa

This spot looks absolutely amazing, and beautiful. Studded with well-maintained Victorian homes (and with the requisite charming downtown you’d expect on this list), Ottawa puts its own twist on the small-town experience with an abundance of modern murals to mix the old with the new. 

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