Top 10 attractions in the state of Illinois

The 12 most popular tourist attractions in Illinois

Illinois’ most famous city, Windy City, is known to sit on the shores of Lake Michigan. It is home to numerous cultural attractions and fantastic buildings designed by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan. The city of Springfield, the state capital, is home to Abraham Lincoln and its many tourist attractions include the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Dana-Thomas House. All around the state, you’ll find interesting things to explore the prehistoric Indian settlement on Cahokia Mound to visit the tranquil Japanese Anderson Gardens in Rockford.

1 Willis Tower Skideck.

From the top of Willis Tower Skydeck, hikers can see up to 50 miles over four states and Lake Michigan. Skydeck stands 1,353 feet above the ground on the 103rd floor, and the Ledge glass floor extends from the side of the building to give the more adventurous visitors a direct look down. Another great place to see the city from above is 360 Chicago, located in the John Hancock Building. Tourists can enjoy the glass-walled observation deck or watch the unique view from “The Tilt,” a glass enclosure that prompts you to look down 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile.

Address: 233 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL

Official website: http://theskydeck.com/

2 Millennium Park and Cloud Gate

Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park

Located in downtown Chicago, Millennium Park is part of the much larger Grant Park . Cloud Gate sits in the center of the park, a 110-ton polished steel sculpture. Inspired by liquid mercury, the curved surface reflects the Chicago skyline and the tourists who walk through its archway. Millennium Park is also home to the Crown Fountain , a unique modern interpretation of the ancient gargoyles that uses projected images of Chicagoans. Lurie Garden is also located in this park, a four-season garden that is open to the public for free. Special events are held in the garden throughout the year, and outdoor concerts are held at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion , The park is centrally located near many of Chicago’s tourist attractions and shopping.

Address: East Randolph East Street, Chicago, Illinois

3 Magnificent Mile in Chicago

The Magnificent Mile in Chicago

A stroll along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, part of Michigan Avenue, is a must for visitors to the windy city. The shopping here is some of the best in Chicago, with everything from casual stores to high-end boutiques. There are also museums, restaurants, hotels and other entertainment options that locals call the Mag Mile. The John Hancock Building, the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower overlook this street, and it’s just a few blocks from Lake Michigan and the famous Navy Pier.

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4 Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum mhowry / photo modified

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, located in Springfield, offers a great opportunity to learn not only about Abraham Lincoln, but also about Illinois history. The facility opened in 2004, but the collections have been going on for more than a century. It is largely a research center containing many significant manuscripts and other materials, although not all of the collections are on public display.

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Address: 112 North Sixth Street, Springfield

Official website: http://www.alplm.org/

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5 Navy Pier.

Located along the Chicago waterfront, the Navy Pier is a great tourist spot with all kinds of things to keep people of all ages entertained. Museums, restaurants, stores, movies and theater are some of the options available. Highlights include the Ferris wheel, the Chicago Children’s Museum, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Crystal Gardens, which offer a tropical retreat even on a winter day. Because of the outdoor nature of some of the attractions, the best time to visit Navy Pier is in the summer, but there are always plenty of things to see and do here year-round.

The address is 600 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

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6 Lincoln Park.

Tiger at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Lincoln Park stretches for six miles along the shore of Lake Michigan and is the largest park in the city. One of its main attractions is Lincoln Park Zoo , one of the oldest zoos in the country. It is home to a wide variety of mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Popular residents include lemurs, two-toed monkeys, African lions, polar bears and the red panda. Lincoln Park Conservatory is nearby, home to exotic tropical plants in four huge greenhouses, including palms, ferns and orchids. The park is also home to the Peggy Neukbert Museum of Nature and the Chicago Historical Museum, as well as a theater, hiking trails and a beach.

7 Anderson Japanese Gardens

Anderson Japanese Gardens by Ryan Kilpatrick / photo modified

Anderson Japanese Gardens, a 10-acre Japanese garden in Rockford, is a gorgeous retreat with cascading waterfalls, ponds, streams, winding paths, a tea house and a guest house built in an authentic sukiya style. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy tranquility, with benches and artfully designed areas for reflection and contemplation.

Address: 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, IL

Official website: http://www.andersongardens.org/

8 City Park.

Located southwest of Chicago on the Illinois River, this state park features beautiful canyons and waterfalls. A number of hiking trails provide access to some of the most scenic areas, and guided tours are also available for safe and educational tourism. In addition, Starved Rock offers many recreational opportunities, including fishing and boating on the river, picnicking, horseback riding, camping and winter sports. The park takes its name from a band of Illini Indians who were left by their enemies to starve to death on one of the rocks.

Address: 2668 East 875th Road, Oglesby, Illinois

Official website: http://www.starvedrockstatepark.org/

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9 Cahokia State Historical Museum

Cahokia State Historical Museum

Cahokia Mounds is known as the largest prehistoric Indian settlement north of Mexico and includes the largest concentration of mounds. With a total of 120 in the center of which is the 100-foot-high Monk’s Mound. It is the largest prehistoric earthwork in the Americas. The site was occupied from 700-1400 A.D., mostly by the Mississippian culture, covered nearly six square miles, and at its peak around 1100 A.D., may have had 10-20,000 inhabitants. Cahokia is also a National Historic Site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Interpretive Center tells the story of the site and the people who built it with audio-visual presentations, artifacts, graphics and dioramas, including a life-size recreation of the village.

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Location: Collinsville, Illinois

Official website: http://cahokiamounds.org/

10 Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago John Pastor / photo modified

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the city’s leading cultural institutions and is known internationally for its collections. Housed in a late 1800s building, along with other more modern expansions, the institute contains everything from ancient sculpture to post-impressionist painting and many other areas of interest. Permanent collections include African art, medieval and Renaissance arms and armor, contemporary art and textiles.

Address: 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

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11 Dana-Thomas House, Springfield

Dana-Thomas House, Springfield Jeff Hart / photo modified

Built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1902, the Dana-Thomas House represents one of his early, large-scale prairie-style homes and is particularly well-preserved. Today, this 35-room structure, located in Springfield, is a house museum open to visitors with guided tours. Of particular note are the windows and glass doors.

The address is 301 East Lawrence Avenue, Springfield, Ill.

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12 Ulysses S. Grant Home Historic Site in Galena

Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site in Galena Teemu008 / photo modified

The Grant House in Galena was introduced by Ulysses S. Grant in 1865 upon his return from the Civil War. The house was fully restored to the 1860s and contains many of Grant’s personal belongings as well as original furniture. Visitors can tour the house and learn a little about this Civil War hero.

The 13 most beautiful places to visit in Illinois

Illinois, the Land of Lincoln or Prairie State, is popular and known for many reasons. The state has amazing natural wonders to amaze you, as well as many of the things you need for city trips or travel. Take a look at the most beautiful places to visit in Illinois.

Burden Falls.

Source: Alexander Koretsky / shutterstock Burden Falls The Shawnee National Forest is one of America’s most famous natural places, and perhaps the most beautiful sight it has to offer visitors is Burden Falls. Located in Pope County, Burden Falls is very small compared to some of the great waterfalls of the United States, but it is still one of the highest in Illinois. Bird watching and photography are very popular in Burden Falls Wilderness, and hunting and fishing are allowed on the property. The main hiking trail through the woods is 3.5 miles long. Burden Falls itself is a 20-foot waterfall, but the water drops another 80 feet in cascades – watching the falls is a thrilling experience. Illinois, the Land of Lincoln or Prairie State, is popular and known for many reasons. The state has amazing natural wonders to amaze you, as well as many of the things you need for urban travel or travel. Take a look at the most beautiful places to visit in Illinois.

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Burden Falls.

Source: Alexander Koretsky / shutterstock Burden Falls The Shawnee National Forest is one of America’s most famous natural places, and perhaps the most beautiful sight it has to offer visitors is Burden Falls. Located in Pope County, Bourdain Falls is very small compared to some of the great waterfalls of the United States, but it is still one of the highest in Illinois. Bird watching and photography are very popular in Burden Falls Wilderness, and hunting and fishing are allowed on the property. The main hiking trail through the woods is 3.5 miles long. Burden Falls itself is a 20-foot waterfall, but the water drops another 80 feet in cascades – watching the falls is a thrilling experience.

Chicago Harbor Lighthouse.

Source: Ralph Brosquare / shutterstock Chicago Harbor Lighthouse The Chicago Harbor Lighthouse is one of Chicago’s most beautiful landmarks. Although it can be seen from the city’s naval pier, a boat tour of the harbor may be the best way to get close to the lighthouse for the perfect photo opportunity. Access to the lighthouse is not currently allowed, as it remains a navigational aid to this day. Nearby parks to the lighthouse include Milton’s Olive Park and Jane Addams Memorial Park, both of which are worth visiting while visiting Illinois. The Lighthouse Observation Deck The Navy Pier itself is a Chicago landmark.

Matthiessen State Park

Source: Nicola Patterson / shutterstock Matthiessen State Park in central Lasalle County is located near Oglesby and Utica. The park is famous for its many unusual and beautiful rock formations, and combines forest, streams and prairie in a way few other parks in Illinois do. Mattissen State Park is named for Frederick William Mattissen, who was a prominent LaSalle industrialist and philanthropist. An abundance of plants and animals can be enjoyed in the park, which has a very large population of white-tailed deer. The park also boasts many terrific picnic areas, the best of which may be in the Dells area, where there is a playground for children to enjoy. Because Mattissen State Park is close to the Plum Island Eagle Sanctuary, white-headed eagles can sometimes be found in the park.

Holy Name Cathedral

Source: Wladzik Krychin / shutterstock Holy Name Cathedral The only cathedral in Chicago, Holy Name Cathedral is among the largest Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States. Thousands of visitors flock to the cathedral from all over the world every week, and the rich history of the place makes it well worth a visit. Across the street from the cathedral, North Side gang member Hymie Weiss was murdered, and a major fire damaged the roof and interior of the church just a few years ago. The Chicago Crime and Gang Tour includes attractions such as Holy Name Cathedral, where visitors can learn all about Chicago’s most notorious criminals on a popular tour.

Gold Rock State Park.

Source: Eddie J. Rodriquez / shutterstock Gold Rock State Park Gold Rock State Park is one of Illinois’ most famous parks, and it may also be the most beautiful in the state. There are many things to see and do in the park. It has a lodge with the largest double-sided fireplace in Illinois. The park, located on the Illinois River bluffs in Lasalle County, is great for all kinds of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and fishing, and the Starved Rock Visitor Center is open year round. The cultural history of Golden Rock State Park goes back thousands of years, making it one of the most historic places in Illinois…

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Galenite

Source: France / Shutterstock Galena Named after Native American minerals, Galena retains its historic appearance to this day, as more than 85 percent of the city is considered a National Historic District. Architecture aficionados should head to the six blocks of Main Street in Galena, where Greek Revival and French Colonial buildings sit side by side. More than a million people visit Galena each year, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Illinois. Among the top tourist attractions are the Old Market House, the Historical Society, and the Museum, and many also venture underground to the Leading Mine at Vinegar Hill. Among Galena’s rich history is the fact that the town was home to no fewer than nine Civil War generals.

Hungry Rock Canyons

Source: Jason Patrick Ross / shutterstock Gold Rock State Park The canyons at Starved Rock State Park are one of the main attractions of this beautiful place. Its 2,630 acres offer 18 canyons to explore, and visitors can also hike the 13 miles of trail around the park. Wildcat Canyon Bridge is one of the most stunning sites in the park and was named one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois by the Illinois Bureau of Tourism in 2007. with French, LaSalle, Ottawa and St. Louis Canyons the best places to go to see the falls. Spring is probably the best time of year to visit the canyons in Starved Rock State Park, but it’s also worth checking out the wonderful array of colors on display in the fall.

Grosse Pointe Lighthouse

Source: Eugene Moerman / shutterstock Grosse Pointe Lighthouse The beautiful Grosse Pointe Lighthouse is one of Illinois’ most beautiful buildings, but it’s also on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a National Historic Landmark. The Grosse Point Lighthouse site is also famous for the fact that it is widely believed that Jacques Marquette’s father landed in 1674 when he came to visit Indian tribes, but there is no hard evidence of this. While the lighthouse grounds are open to the public for free year-round, tours are available depending on weather conditions. To reach the top of the tower, visitors must climb the 141 steps to the top of the lighthouse…

Chicago Riverwalk

Source: Page Light Studios / shutterstock Chicago Riverwalk Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s idea is that the Chicago River is one of the most important tourist destinations in all of Illinois in coming years. The heart of the Riverwalk is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza, which is dedicated to the memory of those who gave their lives fighting in the wars. Floating gardens, a bridge and fishing piers are all done to complement the Chicago waterfront. The Riverwalk is worth a visit at any time of day or year, with stunning architecture illuminated at night to make it a special place to walk. The River Theatre, Cove and Swim Hole are some of the highlights of the Riverwalk, which features a zero-depth fountain, as well as many restaurants, shopping plazas and public spaces…

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Shawnee National Forest

Source: Anthony Heflin / Shutterstock Shawnee National Forest Shawnee National Forest, the largest public land area in Illinois, encompasses approximately 280,000 acres of land. As the only national forest in Illinois, Shawnee attracts many people who want to enjoy special places, such as the stunning Cedar Lake that can be found south of Carbondale. There are 10 research natural areas within the forest, as well as four heritage sites that are on the National Register of Historic Places. As far as places to get in touch with the natural world, there are few better places in Illinois than Shawnee.

Rockford

Source: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock Rockford, Illinois Rockford, the third largest city in Illinois, is often called Forest City for its 20,000 acres of green space, and it is also home to a number of important cultural sites. The oldest music club in the country is in Rockford, the Mendelssohn Club, and other places to visit include the Anderson Japanese Gardens, Tinker Swiss Cottage and the Clem Arboretum. A visit to the Jane T-Rex, found at the Burpee Museum of Natural History, is a must for anyone visiting Rockford, while Midway Village and the Museum Center are also worth the time. Families will also enjoy spending a day at Magic Waters, which is conveniently located near Interstate 90/39…

Falling Tower.

Source: Thomas Barratt / Shutterstock The Falling Tower, Niles, Illinois The Niles Falling Tower is one of the most distinctive tourist spots in Illinois, with the construction of a half replica of Italy’s famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. A great place for photography, the tower is currently in need of major renovations but remains popular. The Leaning Tower of Niles has four fountains and a 30-foot pool. It is a must for anyone visiting the village, where the annual Leaning Tower open-air concert series is held in the summer. While the Leaning Tower of Pisa has tilted more and more over the years, the Leaning Tower of Pisa rests on concrete to keep it stable. In the 1990s, Niles became twinned with Pisa as a result of the presence of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Central Illinois.

Source: Eddie J. Rodriquez / shutterstock Central Illinois Away from the bustling cities of Rockford and Chicago, exploring Central Illinois is a great way to discover what kind of state it is. Consisting mostly of flat prairies, Central Illinois is one of the most tranquil places in the entire country. Artificial lakes such as Lake Shelbyville and Lake Springfield can be found in Central Illinois, where there are a number of important historic sites associated with President Abraham Lincoln, such as the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. The magnificent Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge is worth a visit for nature lovers.

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