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The Iconic City of the Midwest

Illinois is probably best known for Chicago, a world-class city regarded by many as the cultural heart of the USA. Renowned museums, stunning architecture, Michelin-starred restaurants – Chicago has it all. But what surprises visitors the most is the 40-plus kilometers of ocean-like beachfront just steps from downtown and shopping. Just beyond the city lies Chicagoland, a metro area known for its unique attractions such as Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structures and exotic gardens. Some of the biggest and best malls in the USA also call the area home. Many are taking shopping to a whole new level with beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces that go on for as far as the eye can see.


Explore an All-American State

If you’re looking for true Americana through and through, there’s no better way to relive the USA’s golden age than along its most legendary highway, Route 66. Illinois’ iconic stretch features classic diners, drive-in theaters and quirky roadside attractions. And in Springfield, you’re never far from landmarks and monuments dedicated to Abraham Lincoln’s life. The 16th president’s legacy marked the beginning of a long history of presidents who called Illinois home, including Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.


Enjoy River Towns and Riveting Nature

The Mississippi River defines the entire western side of Illinois. If it’s the great wide-open outdoors you’re looking for, then you must explore Great Rivers Country. Charming river towns, steamboats, sprawling vineyards and quaint bed and breakfasts are just a few discoveries that await. This remarkable region is also home to Lewis and Clark’s historic point of departure, the Shawnee National Forest and the appropriately named Garden of the Gods. Be sure to spend some time exploring the distinctive towns you’ll find here, where the local culture includes unique shops and attractions, as well as farm-to-table dining and craft breweries and distilleries.


Illinois Made

Meet the artisans, small-batch brewers, distillers, vintners and farmers that make Illinois thrive. Tour their studios and production houses, sample their hand-crafted treats and browse their shops for truly local experiences. From tantalizing takes on gourmet popcorn and groundbreaking espresso drinks to art, furniture and jewelry created from salvaged materials or polished stone, you’re bound to discover foods, drinks and souvenirs unlike anything else you’ve experienced.

Fun Fact

Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier
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The first Ferris wheel made its debut in Chicago at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Today, Chicago's Navy Pier hosts a brand new, all-season Centennial Wheel.

The Ledge on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower
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The Willis Tower is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 110 stories high. It's home to the famous "Ledge" in the Chicago Skydeck, an enclosed glass balcony located on the 103rd floor.

A live jazz performance in Chicago's The Green Room lounge
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According to local legend, the term "jazz" was coined in Chicago in 1914 by Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa.

Must see places

Waiting for a free concert at Millennium Park

Millennium Park

Chicago’s standout urban park packs many features and attractions into its 10 hectares, including public art, gardens, an ice rink, events and free concerts at Pritzker Pavilion. Get a photo in front of the famous Cloud Gate structure, AKA “The Bean.”

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Route 66, the most famous road in all of the USA

Route 66

Kilometer for kilometer you can discover more of Route 66 – the USA’s iconic Mother Road – in Illinois than anywhere else. Start in Chicago, where the road begins, and chart a course that takes you past kitschy roadside exhibits, diners, drive-ins, statues, landmarks and monuments.

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Inside the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

Illinois' Frank Lloyd Wright Trail

A self-guided architectural adventure featuring 13 Wright-designed buildings, open to the public for tours. This includes two UNESCO World Heritage sites — the Frederick C. Robie House and Unity Temple.

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An architectural cruise on the Chicago River

Chicago Architecture Cruise

One of the best ways to wrap your eyes around the city’s historic skyline (and downtown) is to take a cruise along the Chicago River, which puts its iconic buildings front and center. Enjoy a narrated architecture tour from the open-air boat deck as knowledgeable guides reveal the colorful history and design behind the city’s most emblematic structures.

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Exploring the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Springfield hosts many Lincoln attractions, among them the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Lincoln Tomb and War Memorials. Visit one of the most substantial presidential libraries in the country to learn about the 16th President’s life and legacy.

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Shopping the Magnificent Mile

The Magnificent Mile

Stroll down this famed mile (also known as Michigan Avenue) to seize some of the city’s best shopping, dining and entertainment, as well as to see its best-known skyscrapers such as the John Hancock Building and its 360 CHICAGO observatory.

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Starved Rock’s stunning formations

Starved Rock State Park

Cherished for its sweeping canyons and dizzying waterfalls, Utica’s Starved Rock State Park is the perfect place for outdoor recreation year-round. Hike scenic areas, go fishing and boating, or glide through the snow on a snowmobile or cross-country skis. A number of historic places make their home here as well.

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Galena’s picturesque Main Street

Main Street Galena

Experience a classic American Main Street set in a historic town and surrounded by forested hills. The curved thoroughfare hosts 125 shops, galleries, restaurants and bars and is accessible by walking, trolley and – for the brave – a ghost tour. Visit historic sites and eclectic local businesses as you stroll this 19th century red-brick road.

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A lush waterfall in Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford

Anderson Japanese Gardens

Spend a day at this serene refuge in Rockford, where streams, meandering lanes, waterfalls, a tea house and Japanese-style gardens inspire quiet reflection and relaxation.

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A Jeep driving Illinois' Great River Road

Great River Road

Discover Illinois by way of another of the USA’s most iconic highways. Running along the state’s western border and nearly always within view of the Mississippi River, the Great River Road takes visitors past dramatic rock bluffs and historic attractions, as well as through small towns that offer one-of-a-kind museums and picturesque streets.

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Explore Illinois destinations

Cruising down Route 66 in Illinois
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Explore Illinois destinations