Check any of the "best places to live" lists, and you'll see Naperville hovering near the top. It oozes Mayberry small-town charm – even though it's one of Illinois' biggest cities and a tech industry hub. It's also just 30 miles from Chicago, so there's a world-class city within easy reach.
Naperville's downtown is where the action is. Main Street and the surrounding blocks mix modern and old-time buildings, chain and indie shops, pubs and blues clubs. For a post-retail respite, the brick Riverwalk meanders under covered bridges and past gurgling fountains. Centennial Beach makes a fine pit stop for a swim in the old stone quarry. Or climb 16 stories to the top of Moser Tower, which holds a rare, six-octave carillon that peals throughout the day.
The DuPage Children's Museum engages young minds with whisper tubes and bubble makers. Naper Settlement recreates the town as it was when founded in 1831. Costumed villagers inhabit the fort, blacksmith shop and Victorian mansion, proving Naperville had it going on from the get-go.