Ottawa, IL, is a small city that has a lively downtown. Ottawa was incorporated in 1853 and is best known for being home to the John Hossack House, a campout station utilized during the Underground Railroad. The city of Ottawa has a few different nicknames ranging from “Radium City” to “The Friendly City,” The Town of Two Rivers,” “The City On Sand,” and “The Town of Stovepipe Hats.” Living in Ottawa, IL, is one of the best choices you can make thanks to the low crime, family-friendly community, and ease of planting your roots.
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Where Is Ottawa?
Ottawa Illinois is part of LaSalle County and is located near the Fox and Illinois Rivers. Ottawa has a public bus through the North Central Area Transit (NCAT). A few nearby cities are Chicago, Rockford, Peoria, Pontiac, and Bloomington. When it comes to the closest big city to Ottawa, it’s Chicago–from Ottawa to Chicago, it’s 84 miles.
Ottawa Population & Demographics
The Ottawa population is currently 18,719, with a population density of 1,277.1 people per square mile. Since 2010, Ottawa has decreased by 49 residents.
Demographics of Ottawa:
- 83% White, 9% Hispanic, 1% Asian, 3% Biracial, 5% African American
- Gender Breakdown: 53% female and 47% male
- 2.2% Foreign-Born Population
- Median Household Income: $61,083 which is lower than the state median household income of $72,563
- Median Age: 40 years old
- Educational Attainment: 91.1% of the residents graduated from high school, and 22.2% have received their Bachelor’s degree
Maria Kanellis, Russell Lee, and Kim Howard Johnson are just three of the many well-known residents who are from Ottawa.
The total crime rate in Ottawa, IL, is 334 per 100k people, which is 85.8% LOWER than the national average. The violent crime rate is 111 per 100k people, which is 71.4% lower than the national average, and the property crime rate is 222 per 100k people, which is 88.7% lower than the national average, making Ottawa a VERY safe place to live.
Within the Ottawa Police Department, there are 36 sworn officers, but there’s a total of 52 employees who work hard to serve and protect the community of Ottawa, IL.
Cost of Living in Ottawa
Ottawa, IL, is a very affordable place to live. With the cost of living in Ottawa being 21.6% lower than the national average, you can have a little more flexibility with your budget than if you lived in a big city like Chicago. The Economic Policy Institute recommends that a family of four make $79,616.
Typical Ottawa Living Expenses
- Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: $25.00
- Domestic Beer (1 pint draught): $3.50
- Oranges (1 pound): $4.00
- Bananas (1 pound): $1.00
- Milk (regular, 1 gallon): $3.30
- Bread (1 loaf): $3.00
- Apples (1 pound): $1.00
- Average Cost of Gasoline Per Gallon: $5.69
- Fitness Club (Per Month, 1 Adult): $75.00
- Average Ottawa Utilities Per Month: $307
The median sale price for homes in Ottawa is $174,500. If you’re planning on purchasing a house, there are plenty of great houses for sale in Ottawa IL. Now, if you’re on a budget, don’t worry because here’s the breakdown of real estate prices based on the property type:
- Single-Family: $174,500
- Townhouse: $170,000
- Condo: $310,000
Based on the information above, a townhouse would be the cheapest Ottawa real estate to buy. Purchasing a piece of real estate in Ottawa isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. The average rent in Ottawa is around $1,175 for a one bedroom apartment.
Neighborhoods in Ottawa | Where to Live in Ottawa
South Ottawa | Family-Friendly Suburb
South Ottawa is a suburban area in the south part of the city, and the median sale price for a home is $175,506. Most of the homes have 2-3 bedrooms, but there are also studios available for purchase. These homes are on the older side, with most of the houses getting built between 1940-1969, but it’s still a great area to settle down.
Heritage Harbor Resort Housing | Waterfront Houses
If you’re looking for resort-style living, look no further because Harbor Life has everything you want and more. With waterfront properties, a marina for your boat right outside, and cottages, these homes are perfect for living year-round or purchasing as an investment property.
Ottawa Weather & Climate
The climate in Ottawa, IL, is a Midwestern humid continental climate (Dfa). The spring and summer months are warm, humid, and wet. And the average temperature during these months ranges from the low-60s to the mid-80s. During the fall and winter months, the climate is cloudy, snowy, and cold, with the temperature ranging between the low-30s to the low-60s. Depending on where you’re coming from, the Ottawa weather can take some getting used to during the winter.
The average rainfall in Ottawa is 30.4 inches per year. When it comes to snowfall, the average inches per year in Ottawa is 11.6.
In Illinois, a few of the most common natural disasters that occur throughout the year include tornados, blizzards, winter storms, and flooding. If you’re interested in visiting Ottawa, the best time to go is between June and September because it is the tourist season.
Things to Do in Ottawa
In Ottawa, IL, there is only one main shopping mall, which is Ottawa Plaza. While there aren’t a lot of shopping centers, there are plenty of storefronts, like Ottawa Warehouse Bargains, Hibbett Sports, Goodwill, and Cato Fashions. Here are other things to do in Ottawa!
As the first debate area of Abraham Lincoln and Douglas back in 1858, this local Ottawa park is a dog-friendly space filled with plenty of trails and green space.
101 E Lafayette St, Ottawa, IL 61350, (815) 433-0161
Buffalo Rock State Park
As a state park in Ottawa, Buffalo Rock State Park has 290 acres of trails, picnic spots, and campsites, Buffalo Rock is perfect for hiking and spending the day as a family.
1300 N 27th Rd, Ottawa, IL 61350, (815) 433-2220
The Ottawa Historical Museum is the space dedicated to showing the history of the years of items from the Camp Fire Girls, Girl Scouts, and the Boy Scouts.
1100 Canal St, Ottawa, IL 61350, (815) 431-9353
Additional places to visit in Ottawa
With 525 acres spread over 17 parks, the Ottawa Parks and Recreation Department manages the variety of parks and their amenities. When it comes to community events, there are plenty of them to choose from on the Ottawa event calendar!
Ottawa Restaurants IL
When trying to decide on a place to move to, the food scene is often considered before making a final decision. Here are the best restaurants in Ottawa, IL!
With a variety of weekly specials, like Wine Down Wednesday and Sip & Slurp Thursday, to delicious coastal foods that utilize fresh ingredients, The Beach House has everything you’re looking for in a seafood restaurant in Ottawa.
700 La Salle St, Ottawa, IL 61350, (815) 313-5553
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Whether you’re craving sushi, a burger, or both, the Burger And Sushi House has everything you’re looking for in a local restaurant because there’s something for everyone. They have signature cocktails and drinks, one-of-a-kind sushi rolls, burgers, mac and cheese, and items for kids as well.
1012 La Salle St, Ottawa, IL 61350, (815) 434-2274
R Grotto Ristorante is a local Italian restaurant that’s been in Ottawa since 2000. They are best known for their high-quality deep-dish pizza and always using fresh ingredients–making them a great Ottawa IL pizza place!
710 La Salle St, Ottawa, IL 61350 (815) 431-1100
Jobs in Ottawa
According to Payscale, the average salary in Ottawa is $56,000, and the average hourly rate is $16.69. Popular occupations within the city of Ottawa include Loan Officer, CNA, and Bookkeeper, while the top industries in Ottawa are agriculture, manufacturing, retail, and wholesale. The top employers in Ottawa are ADM, Ottawa Dental Laboratory, Kohl’s, and Tyson Fresh Meats.
For K-8th, the school district for Ottawa is the Ottawa Elementary School District (OESD), and for high school, everyone goes to Ottawa Township High School. When it comes to a few schools in Ottawa, they have Jefferson Elementary School, one of the top schools in the district, and Shepherd Middle School.
While there aren’t many colleges in Ottawa, there are plenty of top colleges near Ottawa Illinois are Aurora University, Northern Illinois University, and Wheaton College, which is one of the top liberal arts colleges within the United States. Overall, these colleges are perfect if you want to stay close to home while getting a higher education.
And if you’re trying to find a spot to study for an upcoming test, check out a book, or work remotely, the local library for Ottawa is part of the Reddick Public Library District.
Ottawa Statistics & Information
- Ottawa County: LaSalle
- Ottawa Area: 14.7 square miles
- Ottawa Zip Code: 61350
- Ottawa Area Codes: (815) and (779)
- Ottawa Elevation: 472 feet above sea level
- Ottawa Time Zone: Central Standard Time (CST)
- The Closest Airport: The closest airport to Ottawa is the Central Illinois Regional Airport Bloomington-Normal (BMI), which is 65 miles away
Map of Ottawa
Explore more restaurants, shops, places to explore, and amenities with this map of Ottawa Illinois!
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