Are you searching for the Best Places to Visit in Illinois? Are you thinking of a trip to the South and wondering what to explore in Illinois? We’ve got you covered.
Illinois is the best place to visit the American Midwest. The Land of Lincoln has a thriving population as well as rural farmland. Relax on the shores of Lake Michigan and take a tour of small villages rich in history. Illinois is home to Abraham Lincoln, the Windy City, and many other attractions. Here’s a list of the top places in Illinois.
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The place is also a popular tourist destination throughout the year. Illinois is home to many major sports, and it is also a cultural hub. It is therefore essential to explore all of the top places in Illinois.
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Shawnee National Forest
Shawnee National Forest is one of the Best Places to Visit in Illinois. Explore Illinois’s natural wonders with Shawnee National Forest.
The Park covers 280,000 acres in Southern Illinois, between the Mississippi River and Ohio Rivers. It comprises forests, rugged bluffs and rocks, sparkling lakes, thundering falls, sandstone rock formations, and other unusual geological features.
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Shawnee’s main attraction is the Garden of the Gods. Here you can admire stunning rock formations from breathtaking vantage points.
Enjoy the stunning scenery and then hike the 160-mile River to River Trail. This trail will take you through forests, hills, cliffs, and wetlands. You’ll also see beautiful Cedar Lake and Jackson Falls. Cave in Rock lets you get up close and personal with the local fauna and flora.
Action-seekers can place their money on thrilling adventures at the Park, which offers many exciting options such as kayaking and fishing, cycling, ziplining, swimming or horseback riding, camping, or canoeing.
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Chicago is, without a doubt, the most visited destination in Illinois and the Midwestern United States. Although this large city has much to do, most of the best places are in the Loop. The reflective sculpture, The Bean, can be found in Millennium Park. The Chicago Institute of Art is also located in the Loop, arguably the best art museum in the country.
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Chicago’s skyline and architecture are world-famous. A walking tour will show you landmarks like the Aon Center, Chase Tower, and the Federal Center (built by Mies van der Rohe).
Holy Name Cathedral
Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago’s only cathedral, is one of the most important Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States. Every week thousands of people visit the cathedral from all around the globe. The rich history makes it worth the effort. The site where Hymie Weiss, a member of the North Side Gang, was killed, is located across the street.
A significant fire in the church’s interior and roof were caused by the damage from the fire a few years back. Chicago Crime and Mob Tour visits Holy Name Cathedral on the popular tourist tour. Visitors can learn about Chicago’s most notorious criminals.
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Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park is located on the banks of the Illinois River. It is located less than 100 miles away from Chicago. This means the park receives many city visitors and travelers from out of town. Starved Rock State Park features sandstone canyons formed by glacier melting.
Wildcat Canyon and French Canyon have waterfalls. Starved Rock State Park is a beautiful place to hike. The trail leading to the Lover’s Leap Overlook offers the park’s best views. Be on the lookout to spot migrating birds and deer as you hike.
Willis Tower Skydeck
Willis Tower Skydeck is one of the Best Places to Visit in Illinois. Tourists can see 50 miles from the Willis Tower Skydeck. This includes four states and Lake Michigan. The Skydeck is located at 1,353 feet above the ground on the 103rd Floor. The glass floor of The Ledge extends from the side to allow brave visitors to see straight down.
Another spot to enjoy the city’s skyline is Chicago. It’s located in the John Hancock Building. Tourists can enjoy the observation deck with glass walls or the view from the tilt, a glass enclosure that allows you to look down at 1,000ft above the Magnificent Mile.
Anderson Japanese Gardens
Anderson Japanese Gardens is a Japanese garden on 10 acres in Rockford. It features waterfalls, streams, rock formations, and winding lanes. This is the perfect place to take a break from all the sightseeing and relax. You can contemplate and reflect on the area’s design with benches and the other regions.
Hoichi Kurisu was a well-known landscape designer from Japan. He has also designed many other gardens in the United States, including the Portland Japanese Gardens.
Fresco is the hotel’s restaurant and serves delicious breakfast and lunch. This is a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee while you soak up the peaceful atmosphere.
One of Illinois’ most distinctive tourist spots is the Leaning Tower of Niles. The building is a half-size reproduction of Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa. Although the tower is a great photo spot, it needs extensive repairs.
The Leaning Tower of Niles, which features four fountains and a 30-foot swimming pool, is a must-see for anyone who visits the village. It also hosts the annual open-air Leaning Tower Concert Series in summer.
Pisa’s tower has been leaning more throughout the years, but the Leaning Tower of Niles remains stable thanks to concrete anchorage. The Leaning Tower made Niles a sister city of Pisa in the 1990s.
Lincoln’s Tomb is managed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and is home to Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America, his wife Mary, three of their four children, and the final resting spot of Mary Lincoln.
It was built in 1874 and is located in Oak Ridge Cemetery. It is the second most-visited cemetery in the country.
The bronze bust depicting Mr. Lincoln is located at the entrance. You can either rub his nose to get lucky or leave a dollar and make a wish.
Due to design and construction defects, the Tomb was significantly restored in 1900-1901 and again in 1930-1931.
The first restoration, in 1876, saw thieves attempt to steal Lincoln’s body. This led to the transfer of President Lincoln’s remains under the floor of the burial chamber.
The Lincoln Tomb was made a National Historic Landmark in 1960. In 1966 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Enjoy the beauty of the outdoors at Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens. The Botanic Gardens is home to prairies, wetlands, and woodlands, as well as gardens and a 10-acre Lake Katherine.
This natural sanctuary covers 85 acres and is a perfect spot to learn about nature and celebrate milestones in a natural setting.
You can walk the 1-mile Lake Loop Trail around the lake to explore the native flora and marvel at the manufactured waterfall that is 30 feet tall and 300 feet long, nestled between rock formations.
Lake Katherine is unsuitable for swimming, fishing, hunting, or littering.
There are many wildlife opportunities at the preserve, including 14 types of butterflies and moths and 16 types of damselflies and dragonflies.
This small Illinois town has the perfect combination of history and adventure. Anderson Japanese Gardens offers a unique setting, while Rockford Art Museum has many masterpieces of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Kids can also explore Discovery Center Museum’s Discovery Center Museum. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens is the third-largest Illinois conservatory.
The Burpee Museum of Natural History has fossils and life-sized models of fully restored dinosaur bones. The permanent Windows to Wilderness hands-on exhibit will make you see the Rock River Valley through new eyes.
The Midway Village Museum covers Rockford history. You can also enjoy a spectacular performance at Coronado Performing Arts Center. Rock Cut State Park has campsites and trails ideal for snowshoeing, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
All destinations are awesome! According to my opinion, Chicago is the best to start. I hope you have enjoyed our list of Best Places to Visit in Illinois.
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