Illinois: All The Must Visit Places In Our Home State (2018) • US Travel • Iva Says

Last modified: September 5, 2018

Things to do in Illinois

Sometimes when you travel the world, coming home can seem a bit anticlimactic. After all, hanging out in your old home state can’t compare to all the fantastic sites you have seen on the road, can it? Well, this isn’t always the case. In fact, if you do a little research, you can generally find some pretty fun things to do right on your doorstep. Something we have done in the post below for Illinois, so read on to find out more. 


The windy city herself

Chicago is most definitely a must see place if you find yourself in Illinois. It’s a massive city on the banks of Lake Michigan, and you will find its streets lined with skyscrapers.

One site in Chicago that you cannot miss is Willis Tower located at 233 South Wacker Drive. The tower itself is a vast glass structure standing at 1,450-foot, and it is genuinely stunning, only to be surpassed by the view you get when standing on the 11th floor.

Although, if you are looking for something little more kitsch then why not head down to the fun and exciting Navy Pier? The pier itself extends 3000 foot into the lake, and there you will find amusement arcades, restaurants, and live music venues to entertain you in the summer months. 

Other things to see in Chicago, of course, include the Millenium Park and the Cloud Gate. The Cloud Gate is the large metal bean found in the Millenium Park. The Cloud Gate is a sculpture made by Sir Anish Kapoor during a competition where he won first place. Tourists walking around the metal bean can see the skyscrapers in a distorted view of the bean, and of themselves as well.

Even though Chicago is known as the “Windy City” and for its harsh winters, remember that Chicago is fun no matter what the season. There are plenty of things to do in Chicago and making the most of the city in winter, which you can read about here.

It’s all about the fun

If you are looking for some thrills and spills, and general fun for kids of all ages then Illinois once again comes up trumps.

First of all, the Six Flags Great America Theme Park is located in Gurnee. Here you will find a great mix of the scarier and more adrenaline filled rides, as well as some more sedate ones for the younger, or not so bold at heart. You can even celebrate Mardi Gras at the park and ride their Hangover Coaster, if you’re not already feeling worse for wear, that is.

Now, the Six Flags Great America Theme Park is not the only place to experience some serious amount of fun either, because in Schaumburg, a suburb of Chicago, you will find the Legoland Discovery Center. Here there are some good times to be had for old and young alike with a laser quest style medieval ride, and Star Wars experience, and even a workshop where you can unleash your own creativity.

You will also find that are plenty of reasonably priced hotels in Schaumburg, Illinois that are very close to the Legoland center. Something that can make your trip a lot easier, and allow to get there early in the morning, before the crowds start to form.

Art, Gardens, and Science

Illinois holds one of the largest and oldest art museums in the United States. The Art Institute of Chicago was founded in 1879. It holds over 300,000 works of arts and has over 30 special exhibitions year round. It’s a widely visited museum that has over a million guests passing annually. 

Chicago’s Botanical Garden is also another not to be missed travel destination. The botanical garden has over 380 acres of greenery, with millions of plants and flowers within its gardens.

For the star lovers, don’t pass up an opportunity to check out the “After Dark” program in the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. The Adler Planetarium is a museum dedicated to astronomy and astrophysics and even offers free general admission to Illinois residents during Illinois Resident Discount Days. 

Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois should be on your bucket list if you love science. Fermilab is a US Department of Energy National Laboratory and here scientists hold the second world’s largest particle accelerator to help them solve the mysteries of the universe. Fermilab is great for children as they always have exhibits and events for the young aspiring scientists. Even if you are not into science, you can always go fishing at Fermilab’s ponds.

Back to nature

Lastly, Illinois is a quite beautiful state with many places you can go to appreciate the great outdoors. If you are a lover of waterfalls, then check out the Waterfall Glen in the Forest Preserve in Darien, Illinois and Starved Rock Park, which has waterfalls in its 14 out of 18 canyons.  Here is a fun fact for you Waterfall Glen is actual a dam. 

Another one of these beautiful natural places in Illinois is the Matthiessen State Park on Route 178.

Your options here are to hike its many trials or try your hand at geocaching, mountain biking, or even archery if you fancy something different. All in the most natural and unspoiled setting that can make you appreciate Illinois all the more, even if it is your home state! 

This is a contributed post that may contain affiliate links.

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