Who wouldn't want to live in the “Happiest Place in the U.S.”?
With a population of more than 175,000 people, the greater twin-cities region of Bloomington-Normal offers a vibrant urban experience defined by friendly Midwestern hospitality. Here are just a few of the best reasons to consider a move to this thriving Central Illinois destination.
Location, location, location
Three major expressways run through Bloomington-Normal, not to mention Historic Route 66, providing quick access to Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis. Plus, the Central Illinois Regional Airport, the second busiest Amtrak station in the state, and the Connect Transit bus service that runs between Uptown Normal and Downtown Bloomington make it easy to get anywhere you want to go.
There's something for everyone to enjoy
A melting pot of historic attractions, art and architecture, a buzzy food scene, local microbreweries, entertainment and performing arts venues, indoor and outdoor shopping malls, strong school systems and family-friendly amenities, Bloomington-Normal attracts students, young professionals, families and empty nesters alike. The welcoming area is a place where everyone can enjoy life to the fullest in a safe and secure atmosphere.
“There’s not one culture here,” says Patrick Hoban, CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council. “You get a college-town feel in Uptown Normal. Then if you head a little bit east, you'll find retail row, and downtown Bloomington has a vibe all its own.”
Exciting career opportunities
Home to the State Farm Insurance corporate headquarters, a Rivian electric vehicle manufacturing plant, a Ferrero candy production facility, several universities, health care systems and many other employers, Bloomington-Normal presents lots of opportunities to secure a highly desirable job with good pay and benefits.
Low cost of living
Bloomington-Normal has a 17% lower cost of living than the national average. And in comparison to nearby Chicago and other larger metros, Bloomington-Normal boasts bigger homes at half the price with an affordable average cost of $173,400 and a range of housing choices that includes apartments, condos, student rentals and single-family residences.
Top-tier colleges and universities
Bloomington-Normal proudly claims three top-tier higher institutions of learning — Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University and Heartland Community College — earning the region the No. 3 spot amid a ranking of 50 Best Small College Towns in the country.
Live big in a small town. Residents can enjoy their fair share of restaurants, breweries, music venues, festivals and family activities. With more than 2,500 acres of regional park space and 12 golf courses across McLean County, Bloomington-Normal invites locals and visitors to come outside and play. The 45-mile Constitution Trail serves as a twin-cities connector with an easy-to-navigate paved surface to accommodate walking, hiking, jogging and biking.
It's the perfect home base
With so much going on, Bloomington-Normal proposes an appealing home base for graduating college students, employees moving into the cities from surrounding rural communities and former residents who might be considering a return to the area.
Hoban, who calls himself a “boomerang,” happily headed back to his former Central Illinois stomping grounds for work several years ago after a stint in the Chicago suburbs.
“It’s pretty laid-back here, but there’s so much more than you might expect,” he says. “I love the people, and the positive ‘anything is possible’ attitude.”
To learn more about what makes Bloomington-Normal a great place to live, work and play, go to lifemultiplied.org.