Chicago Riverwalk in downtown Chicago
Chicago, Route 66 and the Land of Lincoln
Illinois is probably best known for Chicago. The world-class city is regarded as the cultural heart of America. Renowned museums. Stunning Architecture—including the tallest skyscraper in North America. Michelin-starred restaurants. Chicago has them all. But what surprises visitors the most, is the 26 miles of ocean-like beachfront just steps from downtown and Magnificent Mile shopping.
Just beyond the city lies Chicagoland, known for everything from Frank Lloyd Wright’s stunning architecture to exotic Anderson Japanese Gardens. Some of the biggest and best shopping outlets in America also reside here, many taking shopping to a whole new level with beautiful indoor and outdoor malls that seemingly go on for as far as the eye can see.
But if you’re looking for true Americana through and through, there is no better way to relive America’s golden age than along its most legendary highway, Route 66. The historic highway starts in Chicago and continues throughout the state. It is this iconic stretch where classic diners, drive-in theaters and quirky roadside attractions continue to wind their way through history and into the hearts of visitors to this very day. In fact, mile for mile you can discover more of Route 66 in Illinois than anywhere else.
Illinois will always be the Land of Lincoln. With good reason, too. Abraham Lincoln spent the majority of his life in Illinois, fondly referring to it as home. Here, you can discover everything from his log cabin in the historic village of New Salem to his home in Springfield. Plus visit one of the most celebrated presidential museums in the world. Lincoln’s legacy marked the beginning of a long history of presidents, including Grant, Reagan and Obama.
The Mississippi River defines the entire western side of Illinois and if it’s the great wide-open outdoors you’re looking, then you must explore Great Rivers Country. Charming river towns, steamboats, sprawling vineyards, and quaint bed and breakfasts are just of few discoveries that await visitors. This remarkable region is also home to Lewis & Clark’s historic point of departure, the Shawnee National Forest, and the appropriately named Garden of the Gods.
But while Illinois’ attractions characterize the best of the authentic American experience, chances are, if you ask someone who has visited what they remember the most, they will say the warm, friendly people. This hospitality is something that is felt throughout the state and in the people who are waiting to welcome you.