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25 Best Things to Do in Illinois & Places to Visit

25 Best Things to Do in Illinois & Places to Visit

Illinois is one of the most exciting Midwestern states, home to the Windy City of Chicago, and Lake Michigan, as well as a rich history and breathtaking landscapes. From museums to iconic landmarks, natural parks, and camping getaways, there’s something for everyone in Illinois.

Chicago is easily the best city to visit in Illinois on your first visit. It’s home to the iconic Cloud Gate at Millennium Park, the Chicago River, the Mag Mile, and much more. However, smaller cities in Illinois, such as its capital, Springfield, have much to offer for tourists and locals alike.

If you need to travel to Illinois with children, consider booking accommodations ahead of time at grand and spacious hotels such as The Peninsula Chicago. You should also book your theme park tickets ahead of time, such as those for Six Flags Great America, and explore weather conditions before your trip.

Illinois experiences snow, rain, sunshine, and wind, making this one of the best states to explore and experience. Pack your snow gear and your best jacket, or dress to impress when hitting the nightlife scene in Chicago. Get ready to explore one of the best states in America and plan your next memorable trip with the family.

Chicago Architecture River Cruise
1. Chicago Architecture River Cruise Top Recommendation

This boat tour takes you down the Chicago River to see some of the city's most iconic buildings. Your knowledgeable guide will provide commentary as you float past over 40 landmarks, including Navy Pier, the Wrigley Building, and the John Hancock Building. You'll also get great views of the East Bank Club, the old Post Office Building, and Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower).

New Orleans Evening Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez
2. New Orleans: Evening Jazz Cruise on the Steamboat Natchez

This is the only surviving authentic steamboat in New Orleans, and it's a perfect way to relax and enjoy the city's atmosphere. The Dukes Trio will provide smooth jazz as you cruise down the Mississippi River for 2 hours. You can choose to sit indoors or outdoors, and there are climate-controlled indoor areas if you prefer. Either way, you'll have a great view of the river and the city. The outdoor decks are also perfect for taking a tour of all levels of the boat.

St Louis 75 Minute City Trolley Tour
3. St Louis: 75-Minute City Trolley Tour

Let your expert local guide take you back in time and fill you in on all the need-to-know historical details about this colorful city. From the 1800s to present day, you'll learn about how St. Louis came to be and what makes it so special. You'll see all the iconic landmarks that make this city great, like the Anheuser Busch brewery, Busch Stadium, the 630-foot tall Gateway Arch, and more. Plus, you'll get to experience some of the best that St. Louis has to offer, like the St. Louis Zoo, Science Center and Museums, Blueberry Hill, and Laclede's Landing.

TLDR

  • Most significant landmark – Cloud Gate Chicago
  • Best park – Starved Rock State Park
  • Best free activity – Chicago Cultural Center
  • Best activity for kids – Six Flags Great America
  • Best activity for adults – Willis Tower Sky Deck
  • Best food – Milly’s Pizza in the Pan
  • Best nightlife – The Loop Chicago
  • Best all-around accommodation – The Peninsula Chicago

Best Things to Do in Illinois & Places to Visit

1. Visit Millennium Park and Cloud Gate

Millennium Park and Cloud Gate

Address: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602

No trip to Illinois is complete without visiting Millennium Park and Cloud Gate in Chicago, Illinois. This waterfront park provides breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyline. It is also home to the iconic “Bean,” also known as Cloud Gate, which is the perfect opportunity for your best photo op during your trip.

Millenium Park has various other attractions, including the Crown Fountain, art installations, and events. It is also within walking distance of various other attractions, such as the Chicago Cultural Center and Art Institute of Chicago, one of the largest art museums in the country. The Park is even home to the Lurie Garden, a small, peaceful getaway in the middle of the busy city.

Explore the beautiful events and attractions of Millenium Park and the iconic Cloud Gate. When you’re ready to visit the area in person, book a reservation at the beautiful hotel The Peninsula Chicago. It is a winner of six critics awards and is a 5-star hotel perfect for a lovely date or for the family. Explore the city of Chicago and come home to a breathtaking view, gym equipment, indoor pools, and much more at The Peninsula Chicago.

2. Visit the Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago Art Institute entrance and lion sculpture

Address: 111 S Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the best world-class museums right in the heart of Illinois. For fans of the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, you might recognize this historic museum as the home of the famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, made entirely of dots and breathtaking in person.

This is just one of many artworks on permanent display at the Art Institute of Chicago. Rotating exhibits and collections also include cultural artifacts, such as African Art work and Renaissance art.

For those who want to look at some of the best-curated art in the world, look no further than this museum. One of the top Illinois attractions, the museum is known for its superb handling and restoration of art, making it a great stop to introduce children to the art world.

Book a reservation at the Silversmith Hotel if you’re visiting Illinois and putting the Art Institute on your “must-do” list. This hotel is only four minutes from the Art Institute of Chicago! Its chic designs, friendly staff, and cozy suites are also beloved.

Keep in mind that this museum is fairly busy, with visitors coming from around the world to explore its exhibits and permanent collections. Book your reservation now, so you can be ready for a day of exploring in Chicago.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Rockford, Illinois

3. Visit the Field Museum

Field Museum

Address: 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605

The Field Museum is another excellent stop on your tour through Chicago, Illinois. The Field Museum is home to dinosaur bones, Native American Art, special events, and the hall of gems that displays some of the rarest minerals and crystals in the world.

The Field Museum is expansive, with a nature walk that explores the evolution of man through time. It is also home to rotating extremely rare exhibits, such as the terra cotta warriors from China.

This is one of the best Illinois attractions to get your fill of wonder, excitement, and awe. There’s also an on-site restaurant. For children, the Field Museum also offers a Crown Family play lab, where children can explore the wonders of anthropology and feel like real-life archaeologists. View the Museum’s special events, and buy your tickets today so you and your children can explore the very best historical and archeological discoveries.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Bloomington, Illinois

4. Party at the Chicago Loop

Chicago Loop

Address: 701 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605

You’ll never have more fun than at the Chicago Loop. The Loop is the official downtown Chicago, and its boundaries extend from the Chicago River to Ida B. Wells Drive and Lake Michigan on the East. The Loop is home to various nightclubs and bars for you and your date to enjoy.

There’s something for everyone at the Chicago Loop, whether it’s a chic lounge, bars, breweries, late-night eateries, or fun dancing. Some of the best bars in the Loop include the Commons Club, Cindy’s, and the Elephant and Castle Pub and Restaurant. The Loop also includes nightclubs such as the Ace Bounce, a self-described Fight Club, and the Cerise. You can also take in views of the Chicago skyline through rooftop bar AIRE.

Best of all, everything is within walking distance or only a short Uber or Lyft drive away. When partying at the Loop, stay nearby at one of the fabulous 5-star or 4-star hotels. Hotel Wacker is a choice place to lay your head.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Schaumburg, Illinois

5. Eat Deep Dish Pizza at Milly’s Pizza in the Pan

Milly's Pizza in the Pan, Chicago Deep Dish

Address: 1005 W Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640

Illinois is famous for Chicago but also for its love of deep-dish pizza. Although Milly’s Pizza in the Pan began in 2020, its made a name for itself as being the best place to eat deep-dish pizza in Illinois. Imagine a pizza full of cheese, meats, and veggies, and that’s what you get with Milly’s Pizza in the Pan.

The pizza restaurant has a fun menu with pizzas such as “Craigslist.org,” “Clickbait,” or “Untitled #1.” While the names of the pizzas might be quirky, there’s no denying that the taste is spectacular. Many visitors flock to Milly’s Pizza in the Pan to taste its quality. Its owners named Milly’s Pizza in the Pan after their beloved grandmother, who valued high-quality ingredients over flare.

If you’re in Chicago for only a short time, Milly’s Pizza in the Pan is the best place to get high-quality, delicious deep-dish pizza at a sensible price.

Can’t get enough of deep-dish pizza? Book a Chicago Pizza Tour to explore the great flavors of the city. Learn about the iconic making of this pizza, and see for yourself why midwestern locals claim their pizza is the best in the world.

6. Visit Six Flags Great America

Address: 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee, IL 60031

Known as the thrill capital of the world, Six Flags Great America is one of the best theme parks in the United States, boasting countless rides for adults and children alike. The park is also home to 15 death-defying roller coasters that are sure to make you scream in excitement.

The theme park is one of the best tourist attractions for families visiting Illinois with children in tote. There are always events at the park to entertain all members of the family, such as Thrill Fest during the Halloween season.

What sets Six Flags Great America apart from other amusement parks is its wide selection of roller coasters made for thrill seekers. From its Great Drop roller coaster to Goliath, you won’t find a better selection of roller coasters in the Midwest.

Six Flags Great America is also home to Hurricane Harbor, which is a perfect getaway during the hot summer months in Illinois. You can explore water rides and get soaked in its many pools and water slides. Find out more about its exciting roller coasters and eateries on its website, and reserve your tickets ahead of time.

When visiting Six Flags Great America, consider making this a weekend trip and purchasing a pass instead of daily tickets. If you’re looking for a hotel nearby, consider booking one of the many nearby hotels in the Northern Illinois area.

One of the best hotels is the Baymont by Wyndham Mundelein Libertyville Area. This hotel is only 12 miles from Six Flags. Its elegant layout and spacious rooms make it the perfect hotel to stay with the family! Book your reservations now so you can be ready to explore everything Six Flags Great America has to offer.

See Related: Unique Places to Stay in Chicago, Illinois

7. Explore Shawnee National Forest

Shawnee National Forest

Address: Herod, IL 62946

The Shawnee National Forest is one of the best things to do in Illinois for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The forest is considered a national historic landmark, surrounded by oak-hickory trees and wetlands. Shawnee National Forest should be at the top of your list if you’re visiting Illinois and want to get your fill of hiking trails and breathtaking beauty.

For backpackers that want to test their skills, there’s no better place to do so than at the Shawnee National Forest. The forest sits in between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. This is the perfect place for a camping trip with the family, or to go horseback riding with a date. It is also home to many hiking trails, including the River to River trail which spans 160 miles!

We recommend Garden of the Gods or Bay Creek Lake if you want to go day hiking. Garden of the Gods provides stunning views of the surrounding forest. It is also an easy trail to hike, paved with sandstone, and only takes about an hour. There are also plenty of benches for tired travelers to sit down and relax.

Bay Creek Lake is another popular area, home to stunning bass fishing and serene, clean waters. It’s best to look at their website for the latest updates on safety or find the best area to relax, unwind, and listen to the rivers flowing nearby.

8. Visit the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Cahokia Mounds State

Address: 30 Ramey St, Collinsville, IL 62234

The Cahokia Mounds State Historic site is a National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the best things to do in Illinois for history buffs and those who want to learn about America’s ancient history. Cahokia was home to one of the most advanced civilizations north of Mexico. The Mississippians living in the area erected giant structures that are now being rediscovered again.

This national landmark stretches over 2,200 acres and is home to many “mounds.” including 100-foot-high Monks Mound, the largest ancient earthwork in the Americas. The Interpretive Center is currently closed for renovations but the grounds are open from dawn to dusk and are only eight miles from downtown St. Louis near Collinsville, Illinois.

You can explore the mounds and several interpretive and nature trails and also download an app for an augmented reality tour that shows what the site looked like 1000 years ago, or enjoy seasonal guided tours. The mounds are open from dawn to dusk and are only eight miles from downtown St. Louis near Collinsville, Illinois.

You can visit their website to find out more about the mounds and plan your trip to this historic site, check for any updates on possible site shutdowns, or other relevant information.

See Related: Best Day Trips From Chicago, Illinois

9. Explore the Chicago Children’s Museum

The Children's Museum at Navy Pier in Chicago

Address: 700 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

If you have little ones that love to explore and can’t get enough of the windy city, we recommend visiting the Chicago Children’s Museum on the Navy Pier for a beautiful trip for the entire family. This Children’s Museum is home to exhibits explicitly made for children of all ages, from toddlers to children over the age of 9.

There are also a variety of exhibits for babies, such as the Pritzker Playspace. Babies need lots of stimulation from sights, sounds, and objects. The Pritzker Playspace is designed to entice and stimulate your baby’s senses, making this the perfect place to help your baby explore their curiosity.

There are many exhibits to choose from, so it’s a good idea to check out their website and find which exhibit excites your children the most! From treehouse trails, to mock science labs, and even a town where children can experience what it’s like running errands as an adult, this is a fun museum where you can spend an entire day with your little one.

Afterward, pay a visit to Navy Pier to see tons of other cool kid-friendly places!

10. Visit the Discovery Center Museum

Discovery Center Museum Rockford

Address: 711 North Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103

The Discovery Center Museum is also a great children’s museum in Illinois. Located in Rockford, Illinois, the museum is home to exhibits perfect for children who want to learn with their hands, explore and create art, and even smash pumpkins during the fall! Wee ones can play at the jungle gym, swing on monkey bars, and dig for dinosaur bones.

This non-profit museum has over 300 hands-on museum galleries for children to explore. It also houses a variety of science-based exhibits, a planetarium, and a color and light exhibit! The museum is also home to the first community-built science park in the United States, known as Rock River Discovery Park! Your child can explore the beauty and fascination of science from custom-built toys and apparatuses. If your child loves science, this is the best museum in Northern Illinois.

Discovery Center Museum is truly one of the best places to inspire learning and create long-lasting memories for you and your child on your vacay.

See Related: Best Museums in the US You Need to Visit

11. Explore Lake Michigan By Steam Boat

Chicago skyline aerial drone view from above

Address: 400 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Lake Michigan is perhaps one of the best attractions in Illinois. This is one of North America’s largest Great Lakes and borders much of Illinois. One of the best ways to explore Lake Michigan is through a steamboat tour! Steamboat tours provide a slow and magical way to explore the surrounding Lake Michigan sites, such as the Chicago skyline.

The sunset tour is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area, and for a good reason. You can feel like you’re drifting back in time, listening to the lake water rush beneath you while looking at the sunset on the Lake. This tour is a great idea for couples, families, and solo travelers who want to relax before returning from their trip to Illinois.

Book your sunset tour as soon as possible since tickets tend to sell out fast. You can take this tour as the sun sets and take in the beautiful lights of the nearby Wrigley Building, Willis Tower, and Hancock Building all at once. Are you planning a date night? Book your tour and then stop by one of the many lounges and nightclubs in the area.

12. Shop at the Navy Pier

Navy Pier Chicago

Address: 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

The Navy Pier is one of the best tourist attractions for newcomers to Chicago. There are ample activities to do here, including a large Ferris wheel attraction, food and dining options, and stores such as IT’SUGAR and Build-a-Bear.

The Navy Pier is also home to the Regional Theatre Tony Award-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater. If you’re looking for one of the best areas to shop and explore the waterfront of Lake Michigan, pick up souvenirs, and shop with the family, the Navy Pier is the best place to do so.

For thrill-seekers, the Navy Pier also houses a large Centennial Wheel that is as iconic as it is exciting to ride. You can even book cruises and tours for the holiday, speedboat tours, and private charters at the Pier. Overall, this is an excellent tourist destination for picking up your favorite souvenirs and stopping for a relaxing day trip.

See Related: Hidden Gems in Old Town Chicago, Illinois

13. Visit Wolff’s Flea Market

Address: 6920 Mannheim Rd, Rosemont, IL 60018

Wolff’s Flea Market isn’t your typical tourist destination, but trust me, that’s all good! Wolff’s Flea Market is home to hundreds of small businesses thrifting their wares and selling hand-made crafts. Visiting Wolff’s Flea Market is one of the best things to do in Illinois to feel like a local and support small businesses.

At Wolff’s Flea Market, you can find a variety of furniture, home and garden decor, and even collectibles for your home. This is one of the best places to shop and explore the best Rosemont, Illinois, has to offer! People flock to Wolff’s Flea Market for the best deals on vintage items, so be warned this could be a crowded area.

Fortunately, it’s well worth the cost and the wait times, thanks to tickets being only $2 for adult admission. Take a peek at their website to plan your visit and look at the many treasures you might find in this bustling outdoor market!

14. Catch a Show at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.com

Address: 800 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60611

If you’re on a date or want to catch a show with your family, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on the Navy Pier will provide you with award-winning acting and beautiful indoor accommodations. Walking into the Chicago Shakespeare Theater is like stepping back in time as you take in the beautiful amber lights and the grand chandeliers that tower over the 510 seats in the house.

This theater is the winner of the Regional Theatre Tony Award and provides shows for 48 weeks out of the year. They are known for producing and putting on amazing shows, including plays based on Shakespeare’s works and contemporary plays such as The Notebook.

If you’re interested in catching a show here, booking your tickets online early is best to choose the best seats in the house and take in the amazing acting from dedicated artists.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Chicago, Illinois

15. Book a Trip to the Willis Tower Sky Deck

View from the glass balcony at 103-storey Sky deck of the Willis Tower in Chicago. Feet on the glass balcony.

Address: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

The Willis Tower Sky Deck is located on downtown Chicago’s 103rd floor of the previously named Sears Tower. It provides some of the most unique views in the world, which are as stunning as they are terrifying for some visitors! That’s because the Willis Tower Sky Deck has all transparent floors, where you can safely stand while seemingly having nothing below you but a drop to the middle of downtown Chicago.

Fortunately, the deck is completely safe to stand on, and tourists flock here from all states when touring Illinois. The Willis Tower Sky Deck is available to visit with limited ticket sales, so get your tickets early online.

If you’d like to explore the sky deck and other major attractions in Chicago, opt for a Chicago City Pass! The City Pass gives you access to major landmarks like the Willis Tower Sky Deck, Shedd Aquarium, and Field Museum.

16. Explore Chicago’s Magnificent Mile

Chicago's Magnificent Mile

Address: North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60610

Walk along this famous stretch and explore the beautiful, high-class shops and eateries on the Magnificent Mile. The Magnificent Mile is a 13-block stretch of Michigan Avenue and is home to many luxury shops such as Nordstrom and Hugo Boss, as well as the John Hancock Center, among many more places. You can also shop at toy stores for your little ones, including the boutique doll store American Girl Place.

Whether you’re in the mood for a steak, wine, clothes shopping, or toy shopping, there’s something for everyone at the Mag Mile. Gourmet food is never too far away, with restaurants such as Eli’s Cheesecake Company and Eataly offering high-quality desserts and snacks during your trip on the Mag Mile. Stop by for cocktails at Terrace 16 or Streeter’s Tavern.

As the heart of Chicago’s culinary scene, the Magnificent Mile is one of the quintessential tourist destinations when visiting Illinois. Shop till you drop and enjoy the best culinary offerings in all of Chicago, right here!

See Related: Strange Foods in America You Should Try

17. Visit the Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center Exterior

Address: 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

The Chicago Cultural Center has one of the most diverse collections of interactive exhibits in Chicago or any other museum in Illinois. You can find a wide range of exhibits including art installations, photography, and retrospectives from artists in the Midwest and Chicago area. Gallery talks can also help teach people about the history of art, and how it relates to contemporary art today.

This is one of the best cultural centers to help educate yourself and your family on the important evolution of architecture in Chicago. The stained glass ceiling inside of the Cultural Center is also breathtaking, comprised of highly valuable Tiffany glass. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and is reason enough to pay a visit to the Chicago Cultural Center.

Best of all, the Chicago Cultural Center is completely free to enter!

18. Hike at Starved Rock State Park and Illinois River

Starved Rock State Park view in Illinois of USA

Address: 2668 East 873 Road, Oglesby, IL 61348

Starved Rock State Park was recently named the number one attraction in Illinois and is also a National historic landmark. This park is home to over 13 miles of trails and 18 steep canyons made of sandstone. This remote park sits on the edge of the Illinois River and provides ample accommodations and beautiful trails.

During the heavy rainfall seasons, you can explore the many waterfalls that fall elegantly into the canyons at Starved Rock State Park. The great thing about this park is that it also provides lodging and high-quality amenities, such as lodging accommodations and cabin accommodations.

There are also various other activities to do here besides hiking, including boat cruises and trolley tours, and even wine tasting for two. For those that want to hike but are afraid of steep trails, Starved Rock State Park provides easy trails that are color-coded with ample signs to keep you on the trail!

See Related: Best Hiking Trails in America

19. Explore Matthiessen State Park

Giant's Bathtub In Early Autumn - Matthiessen State Park

Address: 2500 IL-178, Oglesby, IL 61348

Matthiessen State Park is located just south of Starved Rock State Park and is well worth the trek. This park has various picnic areas and is surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife. Exposed sandstone and rock formations make this park a treat for geology lovers. This park is also open during hunting season for squirrels, coyotes, doves, and more.

Easy trails that are heavily paved make this one of the best areas for a day trip to explore nature, and for a day hike. Matthiessen State Park is also home to a 9-mile loop of multi-use trails, so you can enjoy trekking the area on horseback or on your mountain bike.

Dogs are also allowed in the park, provided they remain on a leash. With so much to do at Matthiessen State Park, it’s a good idea to visit their website for updates on activities or park closures.

20. Visit Lincoln Park Zoo

Male Lion. Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago, IL.

Address: 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the most well-established zoos in the United States. It boasts a wide collection of animals for children and family members to visit and is dedicated to the conservation of animals and the precious ecosystem.

Some of the many majestic animals on display include African lions, polar bears, African penguins, camels, rhinos, and even Madagascar hissing cockroaches! You can also explore a wide variety of plants and gardens with the entire family on a grand day out at this terrific zoo!

See Related: Best Things to do on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile

21. Visit the Shedd Aquarium

Chicagos Shedd Aquarium on the shore of Lake Michigan, Illinois, USA

Address: 1200 S DuSable Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60605

Whether you’re visiting Illinois solo or have a family in tote, nothing is more relaxing than exploring the beautiful sea creatures and seascapes at the Shedd Aquarium. This aquarium is within walking distance to other major attractions such as the Field Museum. It is also home to various animals, including beluga whales, sharks, and octopuses.

Visiting the Shedd Aquarium is a must for all Illinois travelers. Its immersive design allows you to feel surrounded by beautiful water. Everywhere you turn, there’s a sea creature waiting to be discovered. There are also family programs available for youth, teens, and adults alike.

22. Visit Blaum Bros. Distilling Company

Address: 9380 US Hwy 20 W, Galena, IL 61036

The Blaum Bros. Distilling Company is a hidden gem located in the heart of Galena, Illinois. This is the perfect place to visit for those interested in hand-crafted, high-quality cocktails and spirits. You can explore the process of creating some of the finest Bourbon, Rye, Voda, and Gin in the Midwest.

It’s worth noting the Blaum Bros. Distilling Company also offers $12 tours where children are also welcome with a paid ticket. You can also enter the tour for free if you can prove your name is Gus with two forms of ID! The Blaum Bros. Distilling Company is truly one of the best tourist spots in Illinois to explore the craft of distilling spirits and tasting the best of the Midwest.

See Related: Chicago vs Detroit: What’s Better to Visit?

23. Take a Trip to the Anderson Japanese Gardens

Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford Illinois

Address: 318 Spring Creek Rd, Rockford, IL 61107

The 12-acre Anderson Japanese Gardens provide a heavenly oasis in the middle of Rockford, Illinois. The sprawling garden is home to architecturally accurate and beautiful Japanese-style tea houses, where you can dine with loved ones and take in the beauty of the surrounding pools and gardens.

Due to its expert craftsmanship and maintenance, the garden is hailed as one of the world’s most renowned Japanese gardens. The garden layout was done by designer Hoichi Kurisu, who stopped at nothing to bring the beauty of Japan to Illinois.

Visit the Anderson Japanese Gardens and experience awe-inspiring beauty during your next Illinois visit. You can also take architectural tours or even hold a truly magical wedding here!

24. Visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield

Address: 212 N. Sixth St., Springfield, IL 62701

Located in the capital of Illinois, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is one of the most visited presidential libraries and one of the most significant in history. This museum documents the life of President Abraham Lincoln, as well as the history of the Civil War. Many artifacts on display highlight Lincoln’s life and provide an insight into the world during the death knell of slavery in America.

Down the street is the Oak Ridge Cemetery which houses the Lincoln Tomb, where Abraham Lincoln, his wife, and all but one of their children lie, as well as the graves of other prominent Illinois figures.

Pay a visit, and view the many collections on display that pay tribute to one of America’s finest presidents. Explore artifacts, manuscripts, and books that can help you understand the significance of Lincoln and his legacy on your Illinois vacation.

See Related: Where to Stay in Chicago: Best Areas & Neighborhoods

25. Visit the Frederick C. Robie House and the Dana Thomas House

Frederick C. Robie House
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Address: 5757 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Address: 301 E Lawrence Ave, Springfield, IL 62703

Pioneer architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Frederick C. Robie House, and it is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is one of Wright’s most beautiful houses that showcases stunning early 20th Century design, and is a favorite among art historians and contemporary architects alike.

If you’re in the capital of Illinois, you can also stop by the Dana Thomas House, which is another creation of Frank Lloyd Wright and was constructed for socialite Dana Thomas. The furniture and even the glass and windows all have a purpose, making this a beautiful site for all visitors to explore the work of Wright and how it influenced modern architecture.

FAQ

What is the best thing to do with kids in Illinois?

The best thing to do with kids in Gurnee, Illinois is to take them on a visit to Six Flags Great America, one of the most popular theme parks in the United States. You can also visit the Discovery Center in Rockford, Illinois, and the Children’s Museum in Chicago, Illinois to provide a fun, educational experience and help satisfy your child’s curiosity.

What are some fun things to do in Illinois?

Besides Six Flags, exploring the Art Institute of Chicago is one of the most fun things to do in Illinois. The Loop in Chicago is also a fun getaway for adults who want to drink and have fun exploring Chicago’s nightlife. 

What are some things to do in Illinois when it’s raining?

If you’re stuck in Illinois when it’s raining, visit the Chicago Cultural Center or the Willis Sky Deck to escape the rain. Enjoy a relaxing day learning about the history and impact of Chicago’s art scene, or look at the crowd below you as the rain tumbles down.

What are the best tourist attractions in Illinois?

Starved Rock State Park is the number one tourist attraction in Illinois and is a favorite among hikers, families, and camping enthusiasts. If you don’t want to go hiking, you can also visit the Frederick C. Robie House, which is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most important architectural structures of modern times.

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