Nicknamed the “Prairie State”, Chicago sprawls between the banks of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and the waters of Lake Michigan. It’s home to lively cities that include Springfield and Chicago, as well as vast tracts of rolling farmland and wildlife-rich wetlands.
Things to do in Illinois
Pre-columbian sites, presidential homes and designer shopping districts - Illinois boasts a diversity of attractions.
Sightsee in Chicago. Nicknamed the “Windy City”, Chicago is known for its striking architecture, with the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower and the 442-metre-high Willis Tower among its highlights. Browse the designer boutiques that line the Magnificent Mile or get your Impressionist fix at the Art Institute of Chicago before delving into the world of science at the Field Museum.
Visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. In the state capital of Springfield is this landmark museum, which celebrates the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and the history of Illinois. See life-size dioramas of the former president’s childhood home and the original, hand-written Gettysburg Address, then learn about the events that unfolded in Illinois during the Civil War.
Take a step back in time at the Cahokia Mounds. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site preserves what was once the largest pre-Columbian city north of Mexico. Interpretive signs detail the dozens of man-made mounds that remain while the on-site museum focuses on the area’s Indigenous peoples.
Explore the former home of Ulysses S. Grant. In the far north-west of Illinois is the village of Galena, which is home to the Ulysses S Grant Home State Historic Site. This Italianate mansion was gifted to the former president on his return from serving in the Civil War and has been restored to its 1860s appearance, with personal belongings and period furnishings on display.
Getting around Illinois
O'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport both serve Chicago and smaller regional airports are dotted throughout Illinois. Amtrak rail services and long-distance buses also serve the state while having your own vehicle gives you greater freedom to explore Illinois.