Cities Journal

Top 13 Small Cities in Illinois

arlington heights-flickr-Wonderlane
Photo credit: Wonderlane / Flickr

2. Arlington Heights

The Village of Arlington Heights officially calls itself the “City of Good Neighbors”. The suburb began as the Town of Dunton, named after the Yankee stonecutter who founded it in the 1880’s, and the addition of a train depot later turned it into a hub for local farmers who needed to transport their goods.

Today, that station still generates plenty of economic opportunity: according to the Village, it’s actually the busiest stop on the Northwest Metra commuter rail line.

While easy access to the city makes Arlington Heights attractive for young professionals and career commuters, it’s also a family-friendly community with plenty of options for its younger residents. Kids Adventure Hunts allow kids and their parents to explore the downtown district by following clues and completing challenges; a photographic hunt is one option, while a historical hunt takes young adventurers back into their hometown’s history.

Parents will also enjoy the town’s emphasis on safety, and a recent headline in the Chicago Tribune showed just how seriously the city takes its duty to its residents, detailing its police department’s recent survey to determine community satisfaction with their services.

The Village Government’s entertainment options include the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, where musical and theatrical productions are produced every week, and the six-screen Arlington Theatres. According to the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, popular community-wide athletic events include Got2Run, a downtown race to benefit educational charities, and a Memorial Day 5k and 10k at Miner School.

Meanwhile, North Park School displays elaborate holiday light work every winter. According to the Library Journal, Arlington Heights also has one of America’s Star Libraries. Every year since 2008, the Arlington Heights Memorial Library has earned a five-star rating and a place on the publication’s annual index of outstanding public libraries. The public institution even created its own take on Pinterest.

The library’s “Home Sweet Home” website encourages residents to contribute their own stories and images about life in Arlington Heights, giving the library a way to preserve this moment in time for future generations of history buffs.

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