No matter where you go in Illinois, you’ll always find something exciting to do. The Prairie State boasts some of the hottest tourist attractions in the entire country, and with something available for everyone, you and your whole family will be able to have a blast on your trip to Illinois. Stunning state parks, fascinating historic sites, and delicious dining destinations are just a few highlights of Illinois. Here are eighteen of the state’s best tourist attractions and destinations you don’t want to miss out on.
One: Chicago Harbor Lighthouse
Located on the Chicago River, the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse is fully automated and functional. It’s considered a city landmark, and it’s a favorite subject for tourist photography.
Two: Inspiration Point
Head to the Shawnee Forest for a hike that ends with a lush, green view.
This college town is two cities in one, and it boasts a remarkable campus.
Check out Abraham Lincoln’s home and the Dana-Thomas house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright while visiting the Illinois capital city.
Five: Starved Rock State Park
Camp and hike in the state’s best park. Starved Rock is famous for its scenery and hiking trails, and it’s considered a National Historic Landmark.
Six: Chicago Loop
Head to the center of downtown Chicago to get a look at the city’s iconic theater.
Seven: Sacred Heart Church
You don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate the beauty of Peoria’s Sacred Heart Church.
Eight: Annoyance Theatre & Bar
Enjoy some adult humor and knock back a few drinks while you watch improv take center stage.
Nine: Dowling House
You can visit this former trading post while you are in Galena.
Ten: Mermet Springs
If you want to visit an underwater petting zoo or see a sunken airplane, head to Mermet Springs.
Eleven: The Signature Room at The 95th
This room in the John Hancock Center is the best place to enjoy a glass of wine with a view of the city.
Twelve: Chicago Botanical Garden
Over two million plants thrive at the Botanical Garden in Chicago. Pay a visit to the gardens for a special event or come and admire the beautiful bonsai trees.
Thirteen: Anderson Japanese Gardens
Experience peace and admire the intentional, meticulous design of the Gardens before heading to lunch at the onsite restaurant, Fresco.
Fourteen: Matthiessen State Park
Recharge your batteries as you explore Matthiessen’s 2,000 acres of remarkable scenery. It’s one of Illinois’ best state parks, and you can admire both waterfalls on your visit.
Named after the lead that was once mined here, Galena is a perfect blend of old and new waiting to be explored.
Sixteen: Garden of the Gods
Hit the Observation Trail and admire the interesting rock formations at Garden of the Gods State Park.
Seventeen: Morton Arboretum
Take a lesson in natural science and admire the beauty of the 4,000 species of flora in the Morton Arboretum.
Eighteen: Hyde Park
Formerly home to the Obamas and known for its architectural beauty, Hyde Park is an excellent place to take a stroll while you’re visiting Chicago.