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Illinois

United States of America
Chicago which includes street scenes, a city and a skyscraper

The gleaming metropolis of Chicago made Illinois famous, but the state also offers smaller cities, including one with presidential connections, and landscapes covered in rivers and vineyards.

Illinois is known as the “Land of Lincoln,” with the home of Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. president, in Springfield. From that pre-Civil War site, shift to the ultra-modern skyscrapers of Chicago, one of the world’s biggest cities with one of the world’s busiest airports.

Originally a frontier trading post on Lake Michigan, Chicago has become an impressive center for business, art and sports. Take a sailboat ride to see the eclectic skyline stretching along the shores of the lake, see the skyline reflected in the bean-shaped Cloud Gate in Millennium Park or enjoy an evening cruise on the Chicago River surrounded by millions of lights with their mirror images shimmering in the water.

Chicago has more than 100 museums and cultural centers. Visit the Museum of Science and Industry to see the soothing rhythmic motion of the Foucault Pendulum. Attend the Chicago Ballet, Chicago Symphony or comedy at Second City Theater. Walk along the shoreline, main streets and city parks to notice multiple installations of public art.

Travel around the downtown city loop on the “L” elevated train. On Navy Pier, ride the Ferris wheel. Some of the nation’s best professional sports teams are here: the Chicago Bears NFL football, White Sox MLB baseball and Bulls NBA basketball. For shopping, dining and nightlife, visit the Magnificent Mile, a popular retail center for nearly 100 years.

Southwest of Chicago, visit Peoria, known as a city of typical Middle Americans. Stop in a grocery store and you’re likely to see test products from major marketers long before they appear in the rest of the country. Visit the Caterpillar Visitors Center, next to the Peoria River, to learn about the giant construction vehicles manufactured at the Peoria plant since 1925.

In the center of Illinois, see the Capitol building in Springfield. Visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as well as the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, where Lincoln lived for over 20 years before becoming president.

Popular cities in Illinois

Chicago which includes street scenes, a city and a skyscraper
Chicago
Known for Theaters, Museums and Urban
A modern metropolis on the shores of Lake Michigan that’s defined by a love for fine art, baseball and the blues.

Reasons to visit

  • Union Station
  • John G. Shedd Aquarium
  • Navy Pier
Rockford featuring a city and general coastal views
Rockford
Known for Dining, Shopping and Business
Science museums, an arboretum, historic concert halls and a Japanese garden make Rockford an interesting and fun-packed destination in northern Illinois.

Reasons to visit

  • Anderson Japanese Gardens
  • Burpee Museum of Natural History
  • Rockford Art Museum
Springfield which includes a city
Springfield
Known for Museums, Shopping and Universities
As the longtime home of Abraham Lincoln and the capital of Illinois, this city has ample history, culture and entertainment for any visitor.

Reasons to visit

  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
  • Illinois State Capitol
  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Northern Illinois featuring outdoor art
Ottawa
Known for Dining, Shopping and Hiking
The site of the first Lincoln-Douglas debate is also the perfect place to base an adventure into the region’s many state parks, famous for their rock formations.

Reasons to visit

  • Starved Rock State Park
  • Matthiessen State Park
  • Buffalo Rock State Park
Champaign showing signage and heritage elements
Champaign
Known for Dining, Universities and Sports
From barhopping to visiting museums, this college town and Silicon Prairie hub offers plenty to see and do.
Alton featuring a statue or sculpture
Collinsville
Known for Dining, Shopping and Business
Trip time! Discover the sports, university life, and local cuisine in Collinsville.