Great Places To Visit in Illinois
Come with me on a journey of the best things to do in Illinois and all the best places to visit
Illinois, located in the United States, is a state filled with incredible attractions and destinations that cater to a wide range of interests. From vibrant cities like Chicago to stunning natural landscapes, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Come with me while will explore the best places to visit in Illinois, providing you with a comprehensive guide to plan your next trip. So pack your bags and get ready to explore the wonders of Illinois!
Mississippi Palisades State Park
Located at the meeting point of the Apple and Mississippi rivers, Mississippi Palisades State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its rugged paths and trails spanning approximately 15 miles, this park offers ample opportunities for hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing. Don’t miss the chance to visit Lookout Point, which provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Additionally, rock-climbing enthusiasts can explore Indian Head and Twin Sister, two famous rock formations in the park.
Shawnee National Forest
For those seeking a tranquil escape into nature, Shawnee National Forest is the perfect destination. Situated in the southwest region of Illinois, this national forest boasts stunning natural beauty. Make sure to visit the Garden of the Gods, a magnificent rock formation that offers a short observation trail and breathtaking views. Jackson Falls is another highlight, known for its picturesque waterfalls. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply want to immerse yourself in nature, Shawnee National Forest won’t disappoint.
Located in the northern part of Illinois, Rockford is a vibrant city that offers a variety of attractions. One must-visit spot in Rockford is the Anderson Japanese Gardens, renowned as one of the best Japanese gardens in the United States. With its ornate bridges, Japanese lanterns, and stunning pagodas, this garden provides a serene and relaxing experience. Don’t miss the chance to explore the Midway Village Museum and the Burpee Museum of Natural History, which offer insights into the local history and natural wonders of Illinois.
Starved Rock State Park
Famous for its picturesque waterfalls, Starved Rock State Park is a must-visit destination in Illinois. The park’s natural beauty attracts visitors from all over the country. Embark on the 13-mile discovery trail, which offers stunning views and a chance to immerse yourself in nature. If you prefer a guided experience, consider booking a tour to make the most of your visit to this enchanting park.
No visit to Illinois is complete without exploring the vibrant city of Chicago. Known as the “Windy City,” Chicago offers a plethora of attractions and activities. One of the must-visit spots is Navy Pier, where you can enjoy retro parks, take a ride on the famous Ferris wheel, and indulge in delicious cuisine. Millennium Park is another iconic destination, featuring the Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as “The Bean.” Additionally, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Art Institute of Chicago, which houses an impressive collection of art and exhibitions.
As part of your Illinois road trip, make sure to stop by Alton. Despite its small size, Alton offers a surprising array of attractions. King’s Pond, Jane Austen’s House Museum, and Alton Gardens are just a few of the highlights worth exploring. Don’t forget to admire the limestone bluffs along the Mississippi River, offering scenic views that will leave you in awe. If you’re looking for a unique souvenir, visit Mississippi Mud Pottery, where you can find locally made pottery crafted with love.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
History buffs will find paradise at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Located on the border with Missouri and the city of St. Louis, this site showcases the archaeological remains of a prehistoric native civilization. With an open area spanning 800 acres, visitors can explore the remains of a once-thriving community. Take a guided tour or stroll through the site at your own pace, and don’t miss the Interpretive Center exhibit gallery, Monks Mound, Grand Plaza, and Mound 72.
As the capital of Illinois, Springfield is a city steeped in history and rich in American heritage. Known as the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, Springfield offers numerous attractions related to the former president. Visit the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the Old State Capitol, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to gain insights into Lincoln’s life and legacy. Immerse yourself in the history of Illinois and explore the various sites dedicated to this influential figure.
Great River Road
If you’re embarking on a road trip in Illinois, be sure to drive along the Great River Road. This scenic route follows the flow of the Mississippi River for over 550 miles along the state’s western edge. Along the way, you’ll encounter charming Midwestern towns such as Alton, Galena, and Grafton, each offering its own unique attractions. Take your time to appreciate the stunning views and immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance of the Great River Road.
Technically a suburb of Chicago, Elmhurst is a hidden gem located in the western part of the city. While passing through, take the opportunity to visit the Elmhurst Art Museum and the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art. These museums showcase impressive collections and offer a glimpse into the world of art and lapidary. For coffee lovers, a visit to Brewpoint Coffee is a must, where you can savor some of the best brews in the area.
With its diverse range of attractions, Illinois offers something for every traveler. From the natural wonders of Shawnee National Forest and Starved Rock State Park to the vibrant city of Chicago and historical sites in Springfield, Illinois is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be explored. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or art lover, you’ll find endless opportunities to create lasting memories in the best places to visit in Illinois. So start planning your trip and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!