About Princeton, IL

Looking for a change of pace?

You are invited to experience small-town charm, fresh air and safe neighborhoods in a friendly, family-oriented community. Princeton is a rural community with urban flair. Princeton's north and south business districts are on the National Register of Historic Places and offer unique shopping, dining and artistic experiences. It is home to Illinois' largest summer theatre festival, Shakespeare in the Park, a gift to the community. Princeton is the county seat of Bureau County, and the Bureau County Courthouse sits on the only square in the State of Illinois surrounded by homes. Also listed on the National Register is the 1838 Owen Lovejoy Homestead, a famed station on the Underground Railroad. Throughout Princeton and Bureau County, one will encounter year-round festivals, dancing in the streets, 5k runs and one of the best organized bike rides Northwest Illinois has to offer.

Recreation time?

A tremendous amount of activities are available for the outdoor enthusiast. The Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park which runs through Bureau County affords a 104.5 mile recreational trail with hiking, bicycling, equestrian, fishing, hunting and nature opportunities.  Starved Rock State Park is 30 miles to the west of Princeton and offers towering trees, canyons and waterfalls to explore. The Illinois River sits to the south and offers water recreation rich in history, beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife. The Illinois River is a true natural treasure.

Princeton Park District offers 192 acres of parks, with disc golf, tennis courts, outdoor swimming pool, soccer fields and trails. On the west edge of Princeton is the Bureau County Metro Center, a 50,000-square-foot recreation center complete with an indoor swimming pool, racquetball courts, cardio-vascular room and elevated running/walking track above the full-size gymnasium.


Princeton offers four elementary, junior high and high school public school opportunities and a private K-8 school for education. Illinois Valley Community College, located in Oglesby is the second oldest community college in Illinois. Princeton's 28,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art library offers a respite for study or downtime.

Where is Princeton?

Take advantage of the easy access and short drive to great shopping, sporting events and dining of metropolitan areas. Princeton is centrally located two hours southwest of downtown Chicago and just one hour from the Quad Cities, Rockford, Joliet and Peoria. Amtrak train service makes several stops throughout the day heading west from, and east to, Chicago. Serving as county seat, Princeton is positioned at the heart of Bureau County and is an active and growing community. The lifestyle and pace is quiet and relaxing, and you won’t find more gracious and friendly people anywhere.