Senior Living
Living in the Land of Lincoln: Retirement communities in Illinois

Living in the Land of Lincoln: Retirement communities in Illinois

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Retirement communities in Illinois

Illinois is known for its rich history, vibrant cities, picturesque landscapes, and cultural attractions. From the bustling city life of Chicago to the tranquil beauty of the Shawnee National Forest, the state offers a variety of experiences for retirees to enjoy. We’ll highlight some of the notable regions and cities in Illinois that are home to exceptional retirement communities. 

Join us as we embark on a virtual journey through the retirement communities in Illinois, where you’ll discover the possibilities and opportunities that await you in this diverse and welcoming state! 

What are the pros and cons of retiring in Illinois? 

Like any other location, retiring in Illinois has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of retiring in Illinois: 

Pros of Retiring in Illinois 

Cons of Retiring in Illinois 

1. Cultural and recreational opportunities: Illinois offers a diverse range of cultural attractions, museums, theaters, and natural beauty, including the Great Lakes and the Shawnee National Forest. 

1. High cost of living: Illinois has a relatively high cost of living compared to the national average, especially in major cities like Chicago. 

2. Public transportation: Illinois has an extensive public transportation system, particularly in the Chicago metropolitan area, making it convenient for retirees to get around without owning a car. 

2. Harsh winters: Illinois experiences cold and snowy winters, which may be challenging for older adults who are sensitive to extreme weather conditions. 

3. Vibrant city life: Chicago, the largest city in Illinois, offers a vibrant urban environment with diverse dining options, entertainment venues, and a bustling social scene. 

3. Pension concerns: Illinois faces significant pension funding challenges, which may impact the long-term financial stability of the state and its ability to provide public services. 

4. Access to amenities: Illinois provides a wide range of amenities for retirees, including shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and recreational facilities. 

4. Political and fiscal instability: The state has faced political and fiscal challenges in recent years, which may lead to policy uncertainties and potential budget issues that could impact retirees. 

5. University and educational opportunities: Illinois is home to several prestigious universities and colleges, offering opportunities for lifelong learning and engaging in academic pursuits. 

5. Crowded urban areas: Illinois’ major cities can be densely populated, leading to traffic congestion and higher noise levels, which may not be desirable for retirees seeking peace and tranquility. 

What are the best places to live in Illinois? 

Illinois offers several great places to live, depending on your preferences and lifestyle. Here are some of the top cities and towns known for their livability and amenities: 

1. Chicago 

As the largest city in Illinois, Chicago offers a vibrant urban lifestyle with a diverse range of cultural attractions, dining options, and entertainment venues. It has a bustling downtown area, beautiful lakefront, and numerous neighborhoods to explore. 

2. Naperville 

Located in the western suburbs of Chicago, Naperville consistently ranks among the best places to live in the United States. It boasts excellent schools, low crime rates, well-maintained parks, and a charming downtown area with shops and restaurants. 

3. Evanston 

Situated just north of Chicago, Evanston is known for its beautiful lakefront, tree-lined streets, and historic homes. It is home to Northwestern University, adding to its cultural and intellectual vibrancy. Evanston offers a mix of urban amenities and a quieter residential feel. 

4. Springfield 

As the capital of Illinois, Springfield is rich in history and offers a more relaxed pace of life compared to larger cities. It is home to many historic sites and museums, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Springfield also has affordable housing options and a strong sense of community. 

5. Champaign-Urbana 

Located in central Illinois, the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana are known for their lively college atmosphere, with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign being a prominent institution. The area offers a vibrant arts and cultural scene, affordable housing, and a range of recreational opportunities. 

6. Rockford 

Situated in northern Illinois, Rockford is the third-largest city in the state. It offers a lower cost of living compared to Chicago and a variety of parks, gardens, and outdoor recreational activities. Rockford also has a thriving arts scene and hosts numerous festivals throughout the year. 

Fun things to do in Illinois for retirees 

Illinois offers a wide range of activities and attractions that retirees can enjoy. Here are some fun things to do in Illinois for retirees: 

1. Explore Chicago 

Visit the vibrant city of Chicago and enjoy its world-class museums like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry. Take a stroll along the Navy Pier, enjoy the beautiful architecture, catch a show at the theater, or dine at one of the many excellent restaurants. 

2. Discover the Historic Route 66 

Illinois is home to a significant portion of the iconic Route 66. Take a road trip along this historic highway, visit charming small towns, and experience the nostalgia of a bygone era. 

3. Enjoy Nature in Starved Rock State Park 

Located in Utica, Starved Rock State Park offers stunning views of canyons, waterfalls, and lush greenery. Explore the numerous hiking trails, go birdwatching, or have a picnic amidst the natural beauty. 

4. Visit Abraham Lincoln’s Home 

Head to Springfield and tour the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Learn about the life and legacy of the 16th President of the United States. 

5. Wine Tasting in Galena 

The charming town of Galena is known for its wineries. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon sampling local wine, exploring vineyards, and taking in the scenic countryside. 

6. Relax on Lake Michigan 

If you enjoy water activities, spend time on Lake Michigan. Take a boat tour, go fishing, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun. 

7. Attend Cultural Festivals 

Illinois hosts numerous cultural festivals throughout the year. From music and art festivals to food and heritage celebrations, there’s always something happening. Check local event listings to see what’s going on during your visit. 

8. Explore the Shawnee National Forest 

Located in southern Illinois, the Shawnee National Forest offers opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife spotting. Visit Garden of the Gods to see unique rock formations and stunning vistas. 

9. Take a Riverboat Cruise 

Enjoy a scenic riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River or the Illinois River. It’s a relaxing way to take in the picturesque landscapes and learn about the region’s history. 

10. Visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architecture 

Illinois is home to several Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings, including the famous Robie House and Unity Temple. Architecture enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunity to explore these iconic structures. 

Best retirement communities in Illinois 

In Illinois, there are several retirement communities that are highly regarded. Here are some of the best retirement communities in Illinois: 

1. Primrose Retirement Community of Decatur 

Primrose Retirement Community of Decatur: Located in Decatur, Primrose offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care services. The community provides a range of amenities and activities to promote an active and fulfilling lifestyle for its residents. 

2. Clarendale of Algonquin 

Situated in Algonquin, Clarendale offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care options. The community features spacious apartments, dining options, wellness programs, and a variety of social activities. 

3. Overlook Village Senior Living 

Located in Moline, Overlook Village offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care services. The community provides a supportive environment, personalized care plans, and a range of amenities to enhance the well-being of its residents. 

4. Village Woods Assisted and Retirement Living 

Situated in Crete, Village Woods offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care options. The community features a welcoming atmosphere, beautiful grounds, and a variety of recreational activities and services. 

6. Asbury Village 

Located in Coffeen, Asbury Village is a retirement community that offers independent living options. The community provides a range of amenities, including fitness facilities, dining options, and organized social activities. 

7. Villas of Holly Brook Assisted Living: Morton 

Morton: Situated in Morton, Villas of Holly Brook offers assisted living services. The community focuses on personalized care, engaging activities, and a comfortable living environment for its residents. 

8. Brookdale Glen Ellyn 

Located in Glen Ellyn, Brookdale offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care options. The community provides various services and amenities, including restaurant-style dining, wellness programs, and a range of social activities.

What are the best hospitals in Illinois? 

Illinois has several renowned hospitals known for their exceptional medical care, advanced technologies, and renowned medical professionals. Here are the 10 best hospitals in Illinois: 

  1. Northwestern Memorial Hospital 
  2. Rush University Medical Center 
  3. University of Chicago Medical Center 
  4. Advocate Christ Medical Center 
  5. Loyola University Medical Center 
  6. Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago 
  7. Advocate Lutheran General Hospital 
  8. NorthShore University HealthSystem 
  9. OSF Saint Francis Medical Center 
  10. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 

Final thoughts 

In conclusion, retirement communities in Illinois are known for their warm and welcoming atmosphere, which fosters a strong sense of community and belonging. Residents can engage in a wide range of activities, explore cultural attractions, and connect with like-minded individuals who share their interests. 

So, embark on your retirement journey in Illinois and discover the possibilities that await you in this remarkable state! 


  • How much money do you need to retire in Illinois?

The specific amount of money necessary for retirement in Illinois can differ significantly based on individual circumstances, including one’s lifestyle, healthcare requirements, housing decisions, and personal preferences. To enjoy a comfortable retirement in Illinois at present, it is generally advised to have around $1.1 million, which aligns with the average required amount across the country. 

  • Do retirees pay state taxes in Illinois?

Retirees in Illinois are subject to state taxes. But it’s important to note that Illinois does not tax any retirement incomes, including Social Security benefits, pensions, IRA, and 401(k) distributions. Additionally, Illinois does not have an estate tax or an inheritance tax, which can be advantageous for retirees planning their estates. 

  • What are the cheapest places to live in Illinois? 

While affordability is subjective and can be influenced by individual circumstances, here are some of the cheapest places to live in Illinois: 

  1. Danville 
  2. Decatur 
  3. Quincy 
  4. Carbondale 
  5. Belleville 
  • What is the retirement age in Illinois? 

The full retirement age in Illinois for Social Security benefits is 66, with a gradual increase for those born after 1954. Individuals can start receiving reduced benefits as early as age 62. Retirement ages for other retirement plans may vary. 

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