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While the City of Ottawa is located on Interstate 80 in the middle of north central Illinois and just 90 miles west of downtown Chicago, downtown Ottawa is more difficult to find. The best way to find downtown Ottawa from Interstate 80 is to exit I-80 at Illinois Route 23 and then travel south on Route 23 down into the Illinois Valley for about two miles. There, nestled between the Illinois and Fox Rivers, you will find historic downtown Ottawa.