Visit Illinois: 11 Best Tourist Destinations in Illinois (2023)
To experience the American Midwest, you need to head on over to Illinois. It is the land of Lincoln which consists of modern cities and also rural farmland. It is the third-largest city in the country and is a major centre for sports and culture. The shores of Lake Michigan is the place to sit back and relax, and you can also visit small villages which have a significant history. The state capital, Springfield, is the hometown of Abraham Lincoln and so much more.
Visit Illinois: 11 Best Tourist Destinations in Illinois
Here we have curated the list of best places to visit when you are in Illinois:
Springfield is the state capital of Illinois and is known to be the hometown of the great American President Abraham Lincoln. It is one of the best tourist destinations in Illinois. Most of the tourism in this town is focused on President Abraham Lincoln, and the history buffs can visit the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Lincoln’s tomb.
Another famous area of interest is the Dana-Thomas house which is the complete example of the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Springfield is also a stop on the famous Route 66, and there are many retro diners along the way.
The Oak Ridge Cemetery is one of the most visited cemeteries in the world where Abraham Lincoln and most of his family was laid to rest.
The city of Chicago in Illinois is the third-largest city in the United States of America and has a plethora of opportunities for fun. The Parkland in Chicago is an essential feature of the city which has over 570 parks of which the centrepiece is the Lincoln Park which spans over 1200 acres. It is one of the best tourist destinations in Illinois.
Chicago is also a major sports centre as they house two famous major league baseball teams and also has teams in the NFL, NHL and the NBA. The Chicago Symphony is a place of art and culture where there is a collection of visual art.
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest Institutes in the country and is known to house plenty of famous artwork.
The second-largest city in the state of Illinois in the city of Rockford. It is often termed as ‘The Forest City’ because of its vast expanse of forestry spanning over 20,000 acres. Four rivers run through the city of Rockford, and also there are many golf courses here. Boaters and campers will love the Pock Cut State Park for its incredible lakes and hiking trails
The Burpee Museum of Natural history is a fantastic museum which holds an entire T-Rex skeleton.
Galena is the destination in Illinois for history lovers. There are few cities in the state of Illinois which is as impressive as the city of Galena. The city of Galena is often called the City That Time Forgot and is situated on the banks of the River Mississippi. Back in the 19th century, the city of Galena was major porn and now is mostly a tourist destination of Illinois.
Taking a stroll down Main Street is the best way to explore the city, and you can see many mom and pop stores that were built as back as in the 19th century. There also is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Galena river, which makes it a great place to click photographs. The home of the former President of America Ulysses S. Grant who lived in Galena during the time of the Civil War.
5. Willis Tower Skydeck
The Willis Tower Skydeck in Illinois stands at about 1353 feet above the ground and is situated on the 103rd floor. You can see up to 50 miles over four states and even the Michigan Lake. The Skydeck’s ledge glass floor gives tourists the courage to look straight down and experience the thrill of seeing the view down.
The 360 Chicago is also an excellent spot to admire the city and is located on the John Hancock building. Tourists will be able to experience the glass-walled observation deck and see the view from what is called the “Tilt” where you can see a tip down a 1000 feet above the magnificent mile.
6. Millennium Park and Cloud Gate
The Millennium Park is located at the downtown of Chicago and is a part of the more massive Grant Park. Cloud Gate is at the centre of the park and is a 110-ton polished steel structure which is a beauty to watch. Inspired by the liquid mercury, the curved surfaces reflect the Chicago skyline, and also the tourists can see their reflections on the sculpture.
The Millennium park also houses the Crown Fountain, which is a modern interpretation of the gargoyles that depict the images of Chicago citizens. The Lurie Garden is also located here which can be accessed free of charge. The park is centrally located and thus is easily found to the top tourist shopping destinations in Illinois as well.
7. The Magnificent Mile in Chicago
The magnificent mile is a portion of Michigan Avenue which is best to take a walk down. Here it is the best place for shopping as it is the best in Chicago. The shops can range from an everyday store to high-end boutiques. The John Hancock Building, the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Towers and in line on the magnificent mile in Chicago. This area is just a few blocks away from the Michigan Lake and the very popular Navy Pier.
8. Navy Pier
In Illinois, along the Chicago waterfront, the Navy Pier is a destination for all kinds of tourists as it has Museums, restaurants, stores, movie theatres and the whole lot. The best part is the giant Ferris wheel and the Children’s museum, which are all part of the attraction.
It is a year-round centre of entertainment and has festivals and concerts held here now and then.
9. Starved Rock State Park
This is located in the banks of the river Illinois. It is about 100 miles from the city of Chicago in Illinois. This means that there are a lot of visitors to the area as well as out of town travellers. The Starved Rock State Park in Illinois contains many canyons made of sandstone and is formed due to the melting of glaciers. The famous canyons here are the Wildcat Canyon and the French Canyon. There are even waterfalls here which makes it a sight to behold. The best view you can get here is from Lover’s Leap overlook. Hiking is an everyday activity at the Starved Rock State Park, and as you hike you can be on the lookout for wild animals like deers and also migrating birds.
10. Anderson Japanese Gardens
The Anderson Japanese gardens in Illinois is a garden that spans over 10 acres in Rockford and is a fabulous retreat with many cascading waterfalls, ponds and streams rock formations, a tea house, winding lanes and a guest house built in the sukiya style most authentically and genuinely. The place is the best area to sit back and relax and enjoy some peace of mind as it is artfully decorated to be a place of introspection, reflection and contemplation in Illinois.
11. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
This area is known to be the largest prehistoric settlement north of Mexico and also includes the most significant concentrations of mounds. There are in total about 120, 100-foot monks mounds at the centre. This area was occupied by the Mississippian civilization in the early 700-1400 AD and had its peak at over AD1100 with over 10,000 to 20,000 inhabitants. The Cahokia Mounds is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is very famous for its artefacts, dioramas and life-size village recreations.
Illinois is a brilliant place to visit, no matter what your tastes are. The state of Illinois has spots for history buffs, for theatre buffs, for hiking enthusiasts, for archaeology enthusiasts, you name it, you can enjoy it in Illinois. The state is well known for its friendly and happy to go community of people which will give you a warm and friendly welcome. Being one of the largest cities in North America, Chicago in Illinois is one of the prime spots for tourists to have some fun.