The city of DeKalb and its surrounding DeKalb County communities provide a familiar place to live and study for most NIU students. Reflections of cities, suburbs and farm country all are here.
Much of DeKalb County remains rural, still home to miles of cornfields along two-lane roads with occasional stop signs.
But DeKalb (population 44,030), Sycamore (population 17,519) and the bustling highway that connects them (Route 23) are the sites of exciting commercial and residential growth reminiscent of the suburbs. The boom of new retailers and restaurants offers shopping and dining for almost any taste, and the heart of Route 23 is home to the county’s modern health care corridor.
Meanwhile, the downtown areas of DeKalb and Sycamore offer homegrown shops and eateries that cater to a more eclectic crowd. Each town also hosts its own festival during the fall semester: DeKalb Corn Fest attracts more than 50,000 visitors during the last weekend in August, and the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival provides family-oriented Halloween fun in late October.
High school pigskin lovers also have DeKalb on their minds: NIU will host the Illinois High School Association state football finals in odd-numbered years beginning in 2013 and running through 2021.