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Welcome to Illinois

Visitors to the Land of Lincoln find themselves inexorably drawn to the bright lights, major attractions and mouthwatering eateries of Chicago, the Prairie State’s largest city. And for good reason. The Windy City is packed with must-see sights, world-class restaurants and some of the best shopping in the country.

Chicago highlights include the Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park, the Willis Tower and the Art Institute of Chicago. Wake up early and in a single day, you can catch a ball game at Wrigley Field, some sun on Lake Michigan and a slice of deep-dish on just about any block in the city.

But Chicago isn’t the be-all and end-all of Illinois. Far from it. Exploring abroad takes you to the likes of sleepy Rockford, historic Springfield (once the home of Abraham Lincoln) and the riverside township of Galena.

In Rockford, the Anderson Japanese Gardens are among the best in the country. In Springfield, visitors can explore a variety of preserved buildings, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. And in Galena (often referred to as “The City That Time Forgot”) you can explore a community that—architecturally—looks much the same as it did in the later decades of the 19th century.



If you’re staying in or around Chicago, the most obvious place to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors is Lake Michigan—at least during the spring and summer months. Winter can get pretty chilly in the Windy City and on the shores of its big backyard pond, but when the sun is up, the lake is a popular place for boating, swimming, fishing, strolling and simply catching some rays.

Further inland, Starved Rock State Park is one of the most popular destinations in the state. Perched on the southern shores of the Illinois River, it’s packed with towering cedars, tumbling waterfalls and miles of secluded hiking trails.

At the extreme southern end of the state, you’ll find Shawnee National Forest, home to the indescribable Garden of the Gods Wilderness. Here, more than 300 million years of erosion have turned the area into a landscape of stunning sandstone rock formations. There are miles of marked hiking trails.