Introduction to Normal, Illinois

The Illinois town of Normal, located in McLean County, was originally known as North Bloomington before its incorporation in 1865. The derivation of the town's name came from the term used to describe the type of school being set up in the town around that time. The general name for all schools designated as teacher’s colleges was a "normal" school, and this is what the new state university (and later the town itself) was called upon its opening in the town in 1861. In later years, this school would no longer be a teachers-training college but would instead become a multipurpose university and would come to be known as Illinois State University.

Normal is adjacent to the city of Bloomington and the two are often linked together as the "Twin Cities." The town is also situated 133 miles southwest of Chicago, to which it is connected by Interstate-55. Other nearby cities are Peoria (38 miles to the west) and Champaign (53 miles to the southeast). The town is also serviced by Interstates 39 and 74. Normal is home to Illinois State University, and Illinois Wesleyan University is in neighboring Bloomington.

Area Attractions in and around Normal

The downtown area of Normal was recently made the home of the new Children's Discovery Museum, featuring three floors of unique hands-on exhibits. The district is also home to the historic and non-profit Normal Theater, a 1937 theater restored in Art Deco motif showing classic and independent films. Other attractions in the Normal-Bloomington area include:

  • Challenger Learning Center at Prairie Aviation Museum: Offers an interactive simulated space science experience for students and the general public
  • Fairview Family Aquatic Center: Features multiple water slides
  • Grady’s Family Fun Park: Bloomington-Normal’s only amusement park with kiddie rides, mini-golf, batting cages, bumper boats, and go-carts
  • Evergreen Cemetery: Buried here are McLean County natives Adlai Stevenson I (Vice-President for Grover Cleveland) and Adlai Stevenson II (former Governor of Illinois, Ambassador to the United Nations and two-time Democratic candidate for the United States Presidency)
  • Illinois State University Planetarium
  • Miller Park Zoo
  • Timber Pointe Outdoor Center
  • Upper Limits Indoor Rock Climbing Gym
  • Pepsi Ice Center
  • David Davis Mansion State Historic Site
  • McLean County Museum of History
  • Miller Park Pavilion & War Memorial
  • Community Players Theatre
  • Heartland Theatre
  • Illinois Shakespeare Festival
  • Prairie Fire Theater

Collegiate sports fans can follow their sport locally with the Illinois State University Redbirds, a Division I athletic program. The Redbirds football team competes in the Gateway Football Conference while most of the other Redbird teams compete in the Missouri Valley Conference. At one time, Illinois State fielded teams nicknamed the Cardinals, but a local sports editor changed the nickname to Redbirds to avoid confusion with the St. Louis Cardinals in newspaper headlines.

Fans of Minor League Baseball can enjoy games played locally by the Bloomington Soy Sox, an independent team which plays in the Upper Mississippi Baseball League (UMBL). For the price of a drive lasting only a little longer than two hours, fans can find major league action galore in the city of Chicago, home to the following teams:

  • Football: NFL's Chicago Bears
  • Baseball (MLB): Chicago Cubs (National League) and Chicago White Sox (American League)
  • Basketball (Men): NBA's Chicago Bulls
  • Basketball (Women): WNBA's Chicago Sky
  • Hockey: NHL's Chicago Blackhawks
  • Lacrosse: MLL's Chicago Machine
  • Soccer: MLS's Chicago Fire
  • Arena Football: AFL's Chicago Rush
  • ABA (American Basketball Association) Basketball: Chicago Rockstars


Total Population 54,488
Male Share of the Population 47.3%
Female Share of the Population 52.7%
Senior Citizens 8.7%
Employed Population 16+ 29,107
Age of the Population 24


% of people married 35%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 50.4%
Median Earnings25+ $40,911
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $25,662
Median Earnings With High School Degree $28,008


Median Family Income $85,643
% Above Poverty Level 76.2%
% Below Poverty Level 23.8%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 17 minutes
% Working from Home 3.9%
% Walking and Biking to Work 9%
% Using Public Transportation 3%


People Living Alone 29.5%
Median Gross Rent $827
Median House Value $162,300


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 19.9%
US/American 0%
English 8.5%
Irish 15%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Normal Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 2 miles N of Bloomington, Illinois (center to center)
Nearest Large City 116 miles SW of Chicago, Illinois
County McLean
Metro Area Bloomington - Normal
Standard Zip Codes 61761
Company Zip Codes 61790
Phone Area Codes 309
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 40.514
Longitude -88.99

Normal Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station NORMAL
Distance 0.5 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 31 F
Apr Temp 40 to 61 F
Jul Temp 65 to 86 F
Oct Temp 42 to 65 F
Annual Precip 37.4 inches
Station CHENOA
Distance 20.9 miles
Jan Temp 15 to 32 F
Apr Temp 40 to 63 F
Jul Temp 64 to 86 F
Oct Temp 43 to 66 F
Annual Precip 34.6 inches
Station MINONK
Distance 27.9 miles
Jan Temp 13 to 30 F
Apr Temp 38 to 62 F
Jul Temp 62 to 86 F
Oct Temp 41 to 66 F
Annual Precip 37.2 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Normal, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

College Hills Mall (61761)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Bloomington 78,206 $82,026
Carlock 613 $61,875
Danvers 1,204 $79,018
Downs 972 $81,923

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Normal Public Libraries

Normal P.l.
Normal, Illinois
(309) 452-1757

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More Information for Librarians

Normal Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
(309) 454-1400
Emergency Service: Yes

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Normal High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

3900 E RAAB RD
Serves 1,585 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.1

Serves 1,412 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 16

A Non-traditional School
Serves 619 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 14.4

Normal Colleges

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Additional Details
Normal Colleges
Normal colleges and trade schools.
Study Online in Normal
Historic Normal


Soldiers' orphans' home between 1890 and 1901

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Soldiers' orphans' home between 1890 and 1901

Normal school at Normal between 1890 and 1901

Track to be straightened between 1900 and 1905

Additional Resources
Info for Normal Government Officials

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