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Princeton, Illinois

Experience the best in western Illinois

Wide open spaces, exciting places

Imagine a place with two downtowns and no traffic. A small town that’s a popular antiquing retreat for big-city folks. An area famous for its pastoral Red Covered Bridge, but with easy access to the big-city lights.

Welcome to Princeton.

With a population of 7,600, Princeton is the seat of Bureau County, which is ranked among the top 25 rural areas in the United States. Located on Interstate 80, a.k.a. “America’s Main Street,” Princeton is just an hour away from Peoria and the Quad Cities, two hours from Chicago. It’s also on an Amtrak line.


Recreation opportunities abound, from Starved Rock State Park in the east to the Mississippi River Valley in the west. The city park system boasts almost 200 acres of green space, plus 50,000 square feet of indoor space with a gym, pool, track, weight room and more.

The west-central Illinois region also offers:

  • High quality of life with a lower cost of living
  • Strong community school systems and an array of higher education choices
  • Hunting, fishing, bicycling, hiking, canoeing and more
  • A trove of big-time small-town festivals
  • World-class health care with OSF HealthCare hospitals in Princeton, Kewanee, Galesburg and Monmouth

Learn more about Princeton. Photo credits: Tom Gill and TouringCyclist.

Note: Business hours and activities may have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please call ahead or check websites for up-to-date info.

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