Joliet is a city in northeast Illinois, about 40 miles southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County and has a population of 147,861 (2015 Census estimate). The city property occupies about 63 square miles with an average elevation of 614 feet. The downtown is situated on the Des Plaines River.
Historians believe that at the time of its settlement in 1833, the city took its name as “Juliet,” inspired by the name of Canadian Louis Jolliet, an early explorer in the area. Twelve years later, residents officially changed the name to “Joliet.” Cornelius Cohenhoven Van Horne was a driving force in the city’s chartering in 1852, and the Van Horne Bridge is named in his honor.
Joliet’s climate is classified as hot summer humid continental. You’ll find average high temps in the low to mid-80s during the summer and average low temps in the upper teens during the winter. The city sees about 121 days a year with precipitation and an annual total of 36 inches.
Joliet is known as the “Crossroads of Mid-America.” Interstate highways 80 and 95 intersect here, as do U.S. highways 66, 30, 52, and 6. Joliet’s location on the Des Plaines River makes it an important port for trade via the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Chicago’s Metra commuter rail terminates at Joliet’s Union Station, and PACE provides bus service daily, except Sunday. The nearest airport is Joliet Regional; Chicago O’Hare is approximately 50 minutes to the north.
Cost of Living in Joliet
The cost of living in Joliet is comparable to the average for all cities in the U.S. However, expect to get more bang for your buck in housing. Taxes are a little stiff—you’ll pay 8.25 percent in sales tax and 3.75 percent of your income to Illinois. How far will your earnings go in Joliet? Use the resources below to know.
Students in Joliet are served primarily by two public school systems: Joliet Public Schools District 86 and Joliet Township High School District 204. There are three high schools: Joliet Central (public), Joliet West (public), and Joliet Catholic Academy (private). Post-secondary education is available at Joliet Junior College and the University of St. Francis. In addition, there are 91 other colleges within 50 miles of Joliet.
Two hospitals—Silver Cross Hospital and Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center—are located in Joliet. U.S. News & World Report rates Presence Saint Joseph as high-performing in COPD and Heart Failure. There are another 76 hospitals located within 30 miles of Joliet.
Joliet Real Estate
Per the most recent U.S. Census, Joliet has 50,843 housing units with an average occupancy of 3.2 persons per household. The median value of owner-occupied houses is $163,900 and the owner-occupancy rate is 70.9 percent. Median selected monthly owner costs with a mortgage are $1,653 (without a mortgage $587). The median gross rent is $912.
Two Hampton Inns in Joliet (one each on I-55 and I-80) provide nice amenities with convenient highway access for about $150 per night. For a more economical stay, consider the Quality Inn & Suites or Econo Lodge. Both are rated two stars and provide free Wi-Fi and free breakfast.
You’ll find good eating in Joliet. The Potbelly Sandwich shop features four kinds of soup every day, tasty made-to-order sandwiches, and live music during lunch. For American dishes, put a trip to Truth Restaurant on your radar. They also have an extensive wine list to complement your meal. For comfort food, nothing compares to noodles and dumplings. You’ll find plenty to choose from at Hot Pan (plus lots of craft beers to wash them down).
Things to Do in Joliet
There’s plenty to see and do in Joliet, whether for just a couple of hours or an entire day. If you enjoy the vroom and zoom of racing, check out the schedule at the Chicagoland Speedway, the biggest sporting venue in the state. Or, for a quieter respite from daily living, visit Pilcher Park, 630 acres of natural beauty. While you’re there, stop in at Nature Center and the Bird Haven Greenhouse & Conservatory. For a good primer on Joliet’s storied background, visit the Joliet Area Historical Museum.