The lighter side of real estate

These Are The 10 Most Boring Places In Illinois

Think that Illinois is all farm fields and yawn-inducing villages? When it comes to these places, you might be right.

Laura Allan

112 articles, 1 comments

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Illinois can be a hub of excitement, thrills, even fascinating historic landmarks. Chicago is a great place to party, and Rockford certainly knows how to rock. Truly, The Prairie State can be a great place to have fun. Note that we said “can” be.

That’s right, Illinois is home to some real snoozers too, and the Movoto Real Estate Blog isn’t afraid to point them out. We’ve looked over the most exciting places in the state, and now we decided to have a little light-hearted fun and skewer the 10 most boring spots. Those terribly dreary places were:

1. Village of New Lenox
2. City of Rolling Meadows
3. Calumet City
4. Village of Lake in the Hills
5. Village of Huntley
6. Village of Bolingbrook (tie)
6. Village of Hanover Park (tie)
8. Village of Oswego
9. Village of Vernon Hills
10. Village of Streamwood

That’s a whole lot of villages, but are you really surprised? Sleepy little places may be great to relax, retire, or raise families, but if you’re an adrenaline junkie high on the variety that is the spice of life, villages probably don’t attract your eye.

So, how did these places attract our eye while we were ranking the most tedious spots? It was by the numbers, and while that sounds pretty dull we’ll do our best to stay interesting as go over our methodology.

How We Created This Ranking

We looked at most interesting places before, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to look at the most boring. In fact, we used the exact same methods, just in reverse. We took a list of the 100 most populated places in America and ranked them in six different categories, using data from Areavibes, Yelp, and the U.S. Census (2010). Those six criteria were:

  • Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
  • Live music venues per capita
  • Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
  • Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
  • Percentage of restaurants that are fast food (the lower the better)
  • Percentage of young residents ages 20 to 34 (the higher the better)

Once we had rankings for each place in each category, with scores closer to one being exciting, we averaged those rankings together into a Big Deal Score for each location. The place with the the score closest to 100 became our most boring Illinois spot.

Now, please keep in mind before you start getting angry and ranty, we’re just having some fun here. We’re not saying these places suck, and we’re not saying that people there suck.

In fact, we happen to know some of these places are amazing for raising families, retiring, and taking it easy. This is just a bit of good-natured fun about places that wouldn’t know fun if it bit them on… okay, we’ll leave the cattiness to these next sections.

1. New Lenox

New Lenox, IL

Source: Flickr user Eric Allix Rogers

With a name like New Lenox, you might expect everything to be new, shiney, hip, and lively, but that’s not so with this place. I’m not going to be as harsh here as Urban Dictionary was, but the numbers really did indicate that this was not the place to find thrills. While that can make a place pretty classy, a low 17 percent of the population falling between the ages of 18 and 35 doesn’t exactly make for an exciting spot.

Just take a look at the nightlife and music venue options. Both ranked at the very bottom of the list. It also doesn’t help that there was a ton of very boring fast food restaurants here and almost no unique and fun eateries per capita. We’ll admit, this place actually did ok as far as active life ranking, where it placed 30th, but you can only jog and work out for so long before you’re craving something else to do.

Unfortunately, you’re not going to find anything new in New Lenox. Sorry.

2. Rolling Meadows

Rolling Meadows, IL

Source: Flickr user bibliogrrl

Okay, that name might sound peaceful and nice, but peaceful and nice is also pretty darn boring, and this place certainly lives up to its name. No real nightlife, no real active life options, and few interesting restaurants to eat at. We guess you could go out and relax in a rolling meadow somewhere, but the most exciting thing that would probably happen to you is a sunburn.

But good news, guys, if you want to drive for an hour, you can go hit Chicago for some actual excitement. Enjoy racking up the extra miles on your cars.

One of the most exciting things this place can say is that they were home to actor Gary Cole. Now, we love “Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law” as much as the next guy, but that’s hardly lofty bragging rights.

3. Calumet City

Calumet City, IL

Source: Flickr user Eric Allix Rogers

Once upon a time, during prohibition, Calumet City was one happening little place. Bootleggers, illegal nightclubs, gambling, and more thrived here. Even the notorious Al Capone owned a getaway home in the city. Knowing all that, we gotta ask: what happened?

Nowadays there’s nearly no nightlife, no good music venue options, no real active life beyond a park or two, and few non-fast food restaurants. A strip that once rivaled Las Vegas is now not much more than an industrial park.

Today, one of the sources of pride for residents is a pair of water towers with big smiley faces on them wishing folks a nice day. While that’s actually very sweet and day-brightening, it’s hardly exciting.

4. Lake in the Hills

Lake in the Hills, IL

Source: Flickr user contemplative imaging

You know, let’s try to start with the positives here, and there actually are a few. For one, this village has almost no fast food restaurants, even ranking in the top three for fewest fast food restaurants per capita. The problem was that there were few restaurants in general here, so the place still ranked 96th in the non-fast food restaurant rankings.

The other bit of good news is that this place knows how to do festivals. Air shows, summer concerts, art, etc offer brief moments of fun for locals. However, note that we did say brief. The rest of the year, residents will have a hard time finding anything fun to do considering this place is ranked 95th for active life options.

Beyond that, there’s next to no nightlife, not a very lively young population, and no real claims to fame. Then again, what can you expect from a village that’s only sixty-something years old? Keep trying, guys.

5. Huntley

Huntley, IL

Source: Flickr user CheepShot

Huntley is home to Sun City. That sounds pretty exciting, doesn’t it? Well, until you find out that it’s the largest retirement community in the Midwest. Yeah, that doesn’t bode well for this place’s rankings.

Not surprisingly, this spot doesn’t have much of a young population, with only 11.7 percent of people being between the ages of 18 and 34. That also leads to no real nightlife, no real music venues, and not a lot of unique restaurants to enjoy. What does Huntley have? A mediocre rank for active life options and a special event called The Turkey Testicle Festival. Yay?

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6. Bolingbrook (tie)

Bolingbrook, IL

Source: Flickr user Chad Horwedel

If you’re looking for fun in the sun, things do do, new activities to try, you should definitely look someplace other than Bolingbrook. With little nightlife or music venue options, partiers and concert-goers are likely to find themselves headed to bed before midnight, with their eardrums and vocal chords fully intact.

As far as physical activities, this place really didn’t have much to offer, ranking 86th in active life amenities. They do have golf, but that’s pretty much the most boring sport you can find, especially if you’re a spectator. They also had parks, and you know nothing says “Wow! Excitement!” like parks.

Bolingbrook can say it has an international airport though. Why does that matter? Because it means the most exciting thing about this place is that you can easily get out.

6. Hanover Park (tie)

Hanover Park, IL

Source: Flickr user irishmexi

As we said before, parks don’t exactly inspire thrills unless they’re amusement parks. Unfortunately, Hanover park is nothing like an amusement park. In fact, the active life amenities ranked 92nd, meaning there was nothing active to do around here unless you like libraries and parks.

If you want more than that, you’ll have to make a short trek to nearby Chicago. Yes, that means excitement is close by, but that doesn’t make this place itself is exciting.

And if you thought that would be the worst score for this little village, you’d be wrong. This place had the lowest ranked non-fast food restaurants per capita on our list. Sure, there may be a diamond in the rough here and there, but you’re really going to have to look for it.

We will give credit, this place did rank 39th for music venues which isn’t too bad, and there was a pretty good young population here. But M T Barrels can’t hold up the energy levels all by itself, so this is still a boring spot.

8. Oswego

Oswego, IL

Source: Flickr user math_berk

The most interesting thing about this village is the name, and it shows in the numbers. For starters, this spot did very poorly in young population ranking, music venues per capita, and fast food vs. non-fast food restaurants. So, basically, uniqueness and variety are hardly this city’s spice of choice.

Active life actually was the one area where this village did pretty well, scoring 33rd for that category. However, if you don’t like to take walks, workout, or do some form of dance, this place really doesn’t have much to offer you. And after sundown, forget it. That’s bedtime, not party time for this sleepy little place.

Okay, so they have a very pretty downtown. Maybe that can be some consolation.

9. Vernon Hills

Vernon Hills, IL

Source: Flickr user Daniel Oines

If you’re planning on moving to this village, we hope you like fast food. Why? Because this place has a ton of it. Per capita, this place had the second most fast food on our list, as well as a poor ranking for non-fast food restaurants per capita. Now, we like burgers and all, but that can get pretty boring pretty fast if you don’t have a lot of options. Maybe it’s time to switch over to KFC?

On the bright side, this place had lots of active life options. scoring a respectable 25th in that area. So after you’re done loading up on greasy food, you can go work it off at a gym or dance studio.

Still, that score wasn’t enough to save this place on our overall list. There weren’t a lot of young people, there was not much music or nightlife either. So unless you like jogging, shopping, or eating the same old fast food all the time, this isn’t the place for you.

10. Streamwood

Streamwood, IL

Source: Flickr user Eric Allix Rogers

Have you noticed that a lot of places in our top 10 have very sleepy peaceful sounding names? We wonder if that’s a coincidence.

Because this village was only the 10th most boring, it did have a few high points. The young population at least existed, and their music venue ranking wasn’t the worst. But, of course, where there are high points there are low points, and this place had a ton.

We hope you’re not looking for variety when you eat out, because this place hasn’t got any. And if you’re looking to party it up in the evening, forget it. You’d probably be more entertained staying home and watching a reality show about someplace more interesting, which is pretty much every place in the nation.

Where To Be Wary (Of Falling Asleep) In The Prairie State

Some people really do want peace and quiet. Retirees, people who want to get away from humanity for whatever reason, and those who love to relax might find these top 10 exactly what they’re looking for. To those people, kudos, you’ve found your soulmates.

For the rest of us, though, it might be more fun to read the dictionary than live in any of these places. Face it, these top 10 might as well all be called Snoresville. They might not be bad places, they might even be friendly and nice… but thrilling and exciting they are not.

Of course, we don’t expect you to agree with us on everything, and we’re sure we’ll see you in the comments. After all, how exciting would life be if we agreed all the time, right?

Most Boring Places In Illinois

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posted on: June 12, 2014
[views], 30 comments


  1. Zoe

    Hanover Park can be very exciting. Grab some popcorn and watch the gang fights.

  2. Linda Colby

    Sorry if you equate safe and peaceful with boring. There are biking trails and walking trails and a fun village square, but if all you care about is drinking, then please stay away.

  3. Richard Wetter

    Linda, don’t be so butt hurt. Did you even read the criteria used to create the ranking?

  4. Nix

    Really The Village of Granville il or Standard didn’t make it? The places on this list I have been to and Granville is definitely worse, the nearest pharmacy and fast food place is 15 to 20 minutes away

  5. Jeff

    Hanover park also has the nice smelling sewage plant

  6. Hp

    Something tells me that the person who wrote this has unever been outside of chicagoland.

  7. ron

    you obviously have been in Granville for many years. There’s a pharmacy just across the street from the medical clinic and McDonald’s and subway are only 6 miles away in Spring Valley – It doesn’t take 15 minutes unless you’re riding your mule. 3 bars in Granville 2 restaurants in town.

  8. mglz

    I am thoroughly irate that my community was not on the list. No, not really. Like others tho I am curious what standards you used to form your list of towns before even factoring in all the boring stuff. The village of philo has less population than your candidates, one resturant, no fast food and no venues for anything 🙂 and we arent even the smallest community in champaign county!

  9. just my opinion

    I don’t want it to be lively. Boring is wonderful. I can go out and sit in my yard on a warm summer night and listen to the peaceful sound of quiet. I lived in Tinley Park for 12 years….I moved from there because it got so over populated with stores and people game the reason I moved to New Lenox. And personally, I hate the Wal-Mart, good will, and new construction going up…it’s bringing in a lot of riff raff that I don’t care to see. I like my safe little town. New Lenox needs to stay as it is.

  10. Maryanne

    Woo Hoo! This must mean there is no where in Southern Illinois that is boring. So come and visit us if you want to have a really great time in Illinois.

  11. phyllis

    What about Naperville. It is pretty exciting and a college town

  12. Patricia Stenta

    So glad you said this article was in good fun…actually a waste of time because anyone with imagination no matter what age can find or create their own “good times” on a regular basis, no matter where they live~!!!~

  13. Sharon

    Hanover Park is just bad. Hampshire… now that’s boring! Two years out there was too much.

  14. Julie

    Clearly the list isn’t based on the “100 most populated places in America” like it says in the article, or even the top 100 in Illinois. I’m not disputing that New Lenox is the most boring place in the state–far from it–but it would be nice if the description of the methodology was at least accurate.

  15. Corey Cather

    Oswego is cool!

  16. Chris

    Pitiful list. I suspect the person who put this together has never visited the region. It is put together via data but is not a complete picture at all. Plus, their criteria is pretty shallow, valuing nightlife over most everyting else. The Chicago suburbs are so close together that they blend together. What happened to the rest of the state?

  17. Molly

    I think I’m honored to have my hometown named. After all, don’t the more “exciting” places also have more violence, more depressed people, more homeless, welfare, and waayyy more dirty? I’ll take sleepy Oswego to live in, since I only have to drive a few minutes to get to those so-called exciting towns!

  18. chris

    why are they all in the collar counties? downstate has some amazingly boring places that would beat any of these

  19. joe

    I see my town is 14, Belvidere. Its not a boring town, it just sucks. I wonder who did this survey? They must RARELY get more than an hour from Chicago. Most of these towns are within an hours drive! Those towns in the Southern part of the state must really be tearing it up with all those farm land hoe downs and so on.

  20. KFM

    According to these guys, you can only have “fun” if you’re a young single adult living in a crowded, dirty, noisy city who is only interested in drinking, dancing, and drugs. All the rest of us are out of luck, because we apparently don’t know how to make our own fun or travel to the so-called “fun” areas. Pretty shallow. I’ll take my little village any day.

  21. jeannie

    You think those towns are boring – compared to Belvidere, IL the above listed are hopp’n hubs for fun!

    The food choices – we have Burger King, McD’s (2), Taco Bell, Sonic, Arby’s and Culver, Tom and Jerry’s and Subway for “fast food”. Seven pizza places (none that great), 9 Mexican restaurants, 1 Applebees (not a fan) and 2 family style restaurants – the only place to eat and have a beer is at 3 Mexican, Pizza Hut (YUCK!!) and Applebees there’s nowhere to have a nice meal and a beer or glass of wine. No sports bars, no upscale bars, NOTHING to do and no place to take visitors!

    The local bowling alley is the best thing going – nice people, decent bar food and big TVs Now that’s a town I call boring!

  22. Mark

    My mother-in-law is from Minier. A quiet little place with one grocery store (that doesnt know what cilantro is), one bar, one diner (where the men sit on one side of the room and the women on the other), one florist and a small library. They do have a lot of churches and corn fileds. But the people are friendly and I got to see fireflies for the first time.

  23. Mike

    Many of these villages on the most boring list have very low crime rates.

  24. Ivy

    I dont think those towns are that boring compaired to herscher and such. We are more down south in Kankakee. And we travel to those towns to get out of the boring towns. But kankakee isnt even that boring. Idt this person knows what they are talking about…

  25. Small Towns Rock

    It takes a very conceited person to create a list of “boring towns” based upon your own subjective criteria. Much of what Movoto considers to be ‘boring’, I find to be very pleasant living conditions. Perhaps the reason these towns don’t have the amenities the author considers interesting, is that the people living in those places have more innate ability to entertain themselves than the author has.

  26. Marsh

    Maybe a more appropriate title would be
    “… Most Boring in Chicago”.

  27. Norma

    Just got back from a night in the city. Almost got run over by a taxi, scammed by a guy selling shoe polish, and had my eardrums blown out at The Wit bar after enjoying my overpriced cocktail. Nice place to visit…..wouldn’t want to live there. Give me a garden, deer, wonderful neighbors WHO TALK TO YOU, for everyday living. I love my boring town.

  28. steve shay

    While the top 10 are definitely not exciting towns, some further down this list including Oak Park, Park Ridge, and Berwyn are only 15-minutes by car or train to downtown Chicago.


    Your pictures are as incorrect as your story.

  30. James

    I understand that the majority of the state’s population lives in and around the city, and I’m sure some of the suburbs are more boring than others. That said, I live in Ottawa, and there really isn’t much to do here unless you’re a real bar aficionado and/or own a boat. Sure, we have a few decent restaurants, and we’re right off of I-80; if it wasn’t for the affordable rent, I’d move elsewhere…


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