Illinois offers ample opportunities for dining, exploring, shopping, and entertainment, and Chicago is just the beginning. This diverse state has something for everyone. Historic sites, natural beauty, and bustling city streets make the Prairie State amazing. If you’re planning a trip to Illinois, here are five must-visit places you don’t want to miss.
Illinois Top Five Places to Visit
1. Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock is Illinois’ first state park, and it was established in 1911. The land for the park was purchased in 1835, and the Civilian Conservation Corps worked to develop campsites and hiking trails. Impressive rock formations and stunning waterfalls create breathtaking scenery along Starved Rock’s thirteen miles of trails. Visitors can enjoy hiking, picnicking, and photography while they admire the views. Starved Rock is a National Historic Landmark and one of Illinois’ most popular tourist destinations.
Commonly known as Chambana, the Champaign–Urbana area is one of the best places to visit in Illinois. Chambana is a famous college town, and the border between Champaign and Urbana lies within the University of Illinois campus. Take a tour of the campus, visit the Krannert Art Museum, and stroll around downtown to get a feel for the city. Chambana is only 130 miles away from Chicago, and you’ll find plenty of things do while you’re in this unique area. The Japan House and the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum are also popular attractions in Champaign-Urbana.
Architecture fanatics and history junkies will feel right at home in the capital city of Illinois. Springfield is famous for being the home of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Dana-Thomas House. While you’re in Springfield, be sure to visit the stunning State Capitol building. Springfield is one of America’s most historic cities, and it should definitely be on your Illinois itinerary.
4. Matthiessen State Park
Matthiessen State Park sits on 2,000 acres of land and is known for its relaxing mineral springs. Visitors are sure to see two things on their trip to Matthiessen State Park: two gorgeous waterfalls and plenty of deer. The park offers all the standard recreational opportunities. Picnicking, hiking, and wildlife observation are commonplace here. Pack a lunch and enjoy a peaceful walk to one of the falls before you enjoy your meal with a view.
There are a few historic towns in the United States with the same name, but there’s no town quite like Galena, Illinois. Known as the home of many U.S. generals, Galena’s roots reach back to the pioneer days. The town is beautifully preserved, and although it offers a historic feel, you’ll find Galena to be equal parts contemporary and traditional.