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
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
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
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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.
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?