Illinois is a Midwestern state bordering Indiana and Mississippi river. The place is fondly called as the Prairie state. When you visit Illinois you will be welcomed by stunning skyscrapers. Illinois is home to many cultural attractions that attract a lot of tourism. There is a range of things that you can do here. From visiting museums to going on treks, we’ve shortlisted top things to do in Illinois.
Top 20 Things To Do In Illinois
There are a lot of touristy things to do in Illinois. But it is practically not possible to do all of them in one trip. So those of you who are confused as to which places to visit in Illinois, we have come to your rescue. Take a look:
- Willis Tower: Explore
- Navy Pier: Take a stroll
- Cloud Gate: Visit the public sculpture
- Art Institute of Chicago: For all art lovers
- Shedd Aquarium: View marine life up close
- Lincoln Park Zoo: Stop by
- Adler Planetarium: Take a walk through history
- Starved Rock State Park: Hike
- Wrigley Field: Take a trip
- Museum of Science and Industry
- Crown Fountain
- Shawnee National Forest: Explore wildlife
- Six Flags Great America: Go on a roller coaster ride
- Chicago Botanic Garden: Stroll
- The Chicago Theater: Watch a vintage film
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum: Visit
- Chicago’s Magnificent Mile: Shopping
- Cahokia Mounds Historic Site: Visit
- Anderson Japanese Gardens: Contemplate
- Chicago Cultural Center: Indulge in art
1. Willis Tower: Explore
Imagine viewing a city from an eagle’s perspective! Sounds exciting right? If this sounds exciting, then you are going to have a great time at the Willis Tower. The tower is not your ordinary tower. It has massive hundred and ten floors. The best part about the place is that it also has an observation deck on the 103rd floor. From here you will get to witness an incredible view of the city. The towers are quite famous, hence there is a rush most of the time. Having said that, the lines move pretty quickly so you don’t have to worry about a long wait time.
2. Navy Pier: Take a stroll
The Navy Pier is famous for its 3300 foot long pier on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The place has a large area dedicated to shops, parks, restaurants, exhibitions and many more attractions. It does look like a fun carnival. The place is a top tourist destination and attracts a lot of tourists from all over the world. The best thing about this place is that it has something for everyone. So if you are visiting with your family, you are going to have a great time here.
3. Cloud Gate: Visit the public sculpture
The Cloud Gate is a public sculpture that has been created by an Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor. It is located at the center of AT&T plaza and Millennium Park. The structure is commonly referred to as the bean due to its shape. You will be surprised to know that the entire structure is made of 168 stainless steel plates that were welded together to form this marvel. The exterior of the sculpture looks very polished and shiny. While you are here, you should click some great pictures because the reflective feature of the sculpture captures some of the best photos.
4. Art Institute of Chicago: For all art lovers
For all the art lovers and enthusiasts, the art institute of Chicago is your paradise. It is one of the oldest and largest museums in the entire United States. The place is home to many iconic works. And due to this it has immense popularity among the tourists. The permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago is known to have more than three lakhs work of art. The building itself can be categorized as a work of art because it is so beautiful! The museum is quite large, and difficult to cover if you want to enjoy each and everything, hence a good idea is spread your visit here into two or three days to get maximum from your visit here.
5. Shedd Aquarium: View marine life up close
To view marine life up close is really a nice experience. Here at Shedd Aquarium which is an indoor aquarium, you will get to view some of the exotic species of marine life. The aquarium is located at the Lake Michigan. Apart from the animals display, you will also find many animal shows that are conducted here. So if you are travelling with kids, they are going to love this place. The ticket might be a little on the pricier side, but it is worth a visit.
6. Lincoln Park Zoo: Stop by
The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the Northern America. The best part about the place is that it is one of the few zoos in the United States that are free admission. So you don’t have to pay a penny for visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo. You should also make sure you see the zoo lights, it is quite popular and equally beautiful. Make sure to visit early to avoid the afternoon crowd.
7. Adler Planetarium: Take a walk through history
The Adler Planetarium is a museum dedicated entirely to astrophysics and astronomy. So as a child if you dreamt of becoming an astronaut, the Adler Planetarium is your means of turning this dream into reality! Here, you will be able to enjoy some of the best high tech sky shows. The dome theater that the planetarium houses is quite large and uses great technology to put up some stunning shows.
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8. Starved Rock State Park: Hike
A vacation is a good time to explore nature and go for hiking. The Starved Rock State Park is a stunning place where you will find nice hiking trails. The place is popular for having steep sandstone canyons that are formed by glacial melt water. The park also has a great variety of wildlife. While you are here you may spot bald eagles, white-tailed deers and many migratory birds.
9. Wrigley Field: Take a trip to the oldest basketball fields
The Wrigley Field is one of the world’s oldest baseball fields. All those who are used to seeing matches on their television screen will get a chance to see the field first hand. The field has ivy covered walls and manual scoreboard. The aforementioned features gives the place a retro charm. The atmosphere of the place is quite energizing and is worth a visit.
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10. Museum of Science and Industry: Take a walk through history
The Museum of Science and Industry is a huge place and has a lot of different exhibits. It is a fun and interactive museum that has something for all age groups. It is a great place to visit with family where you can spend your entire day. Make sure to stop by early to avoid the afternoon crowd.
11. Crown Fountain: Look at art
The Crown Fountain is located at the Millennium Park. It is an interactive public art and video sculpture. The fountain is a great fun for kids and adults alike. The faces on the screen change periodically and are known to feature people of all race and genders. The fountain looks even prettier during the night time. For getting the best experience, you should visit the place during the spring and summer time.
12. Shawnee National Forest: Explore wildlife
The Shawnee National Forest is a great place to experience wilderness at its best. The forest has a garden that features ancient sandstone cliffs and formations. You will even spot a lot of bald eagles here. The place is quite beautiful and you will witness some stunning views and waterfalls while you are here. The trails are also good and you can plan a fun day out with your family here at Shawnee National Forest.
13. Six Flags Great America: Go on a roller coaster ride
Amusement parks are great fun for all age groups. There are so many things to do and experience at an amusement park. The Six Flags Great America amusement park in USA is known to have more than hundred rides and attractions. The place also has about sixteen roller coasters. You can visit the place with your family and try out these thrilling and excitement packed rides. The park also has a water park.
14. Chicago Botanic Garden: Stroll
If you are a nature lover and like to explore, then you are going to love the Chicago Botanic Garden. The place has about three eighty five acres of lands and has an extensive variety of plants and flowers. The place also has beautiful landscaped gardens which indeed are quite stunning to look at. You should visit the place to admire the different plant varieties that the place houses.
15. The Chicago Theater: Watch a vintage film
Often in Hollywood movies, we come across vintage theaters showing art films. The Chicago theater is your chance to visit a French style theater. The Chicago theater is a place where you can watch musical and comedy acts. The interior of the theater is indeed stunning. This is not your usual movie viewing experience. Hence, you should definitely give this place a visit.
16. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum: Visit
The first thing that comes into mind when you hear Illinois is Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the USA. A whole museum and library are dedicated after one of the most influential men in the history of the USA. This should be your reason to visit this museum in Springfield. It will be like turning the pages of History books, only this will be much better. The museum houses a lot of artifacts from the past 100 years, however, only a few of them are available for public viewing.
17. Chicago’s Magnificent Mile: Shopping
If you enjoy shopping, then you should check out the Magnificent Mile in the windy city. Even if you do not enjoy shopping, you should still visit this happening street in Chicago because such is the vibe. From high-end boutiques to street shop,s you will find everything on Magnificent Mile. apart from that, you will also find a selection of museums, restaurants, and entertainment options.
18. Cahokia Mounds Historic Site: Visit
How can you not visit the largest heritage site in the USA on your trip? Cahokia used to be a settlement of Native Americans during 700-1400 AD. You will be mesmerized to find mounds, some of which are 100-ft tall. There used to live 20,000 occupants at that time, higher than London’s population in 1200 AD. If you want to know more about the fascinating history of Cahokia, you may visit the on-site museum where you will find artefacts and informational videos.
19. Anderson Japanese Gardens
Visit the beautiful Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford that will stupefy your senses with its picturesque waterfalls, koi ponds, and unique rock formations. The settings of these gardens are so tranquil and peaceful. You will find an authentic sukiya style guest house and tea room where you can relax and unwind. It is a perfect spot in Illinois for meditation and contemplation.
20. Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago has lots to offer in terms of art and theatre. Where will you find it? At Chicago Cultural Center. Every day there is an event being held in the block-long building. If one day it is a live music concert, another day you will find the screening of foreign films. So, if you are the kind of person to whom appeals such activities, then you may check events and Chicago Cultural Center and attend the event.
Chalking a list of things to do in Illinois involves a lot of thinking and planning. You have to keep in mind everyone’s interests and then accordingly choose the sites that you are going to visit. We hope that this list comes in handy and helps you in deciding the locations that you would want to visit in Illinois on your trip to USA.
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