Home ยป Exploring the Best Tourist Destinations in Illinois: A Guide to Hidden Gems and Must-See Attractions

Exploring the Best Tourist Destinations in Illinois: A Guide to Hidden Gems and Must-See Attractions

by Jim Cooper
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Illinois is a state that offers a diverse range of attractions and activities for travelers. From bustling cities to small towns, scenic parks to cultural landmarks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the top tourist destinations in Illinois, as well as some lesser-known but equally fascinating spots that are worth a visit.

Chicago – The Windy City

One of the most iconic destinations in Illinois is the city of Chicago. Known for its stunning architecture, delicious food, and vibrant culture, Chicago has something to offer every type of traveler. From the famous “Bean” in Millennium Park to the top of the Willis Tower, the city has no shortage of attractions to keep you busy. For those who love to shop, the Magnificent Mile is a must-visit destination, with countless high-end shops and boutiques.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Chicago, there are plenty of options to choose from. The Waldorf Astoria Chicago, The Langham, Chicago, and the Peninsula Chicago are all luxurious options that offer top-notch amenities and unbeatable locations.

Galena – A Charming Small Town

For a more low-key travel experience, the town of Galena is a hidden gem in Illinois. This historic town is located in the northwest corner of the state and is known for its beautiful 19th-century architecture and quaint shops. The town’s Main Street is lined with charming boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries. For outdoor enthusiasts, Galena is also home to several state parks and trails, including the Galena River Trail and Horseshoe Mound Preserve.

The Jail Hill Inn and the Goldmoor Inn are two of the most popular lodging options in Galena. Both are historic properties that offer luxurious amenities and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Springfield – The State Capital

Springfield is another must-visit destination in Illinois, especially for those who are interested in history and politics. The city is home to several important landmarks, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Old State Capitol Building, and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. The city also has several parks and gardens, including the Washington Park Botanical Garden and the Lincoln Memorial Garden.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Springfield, the Inn at 835 and the President Abraham Lincoln Springfield, a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, are both excellent options. Both hotels offer comfortable rooms and easy access to the city’s top attractions.

The Shawnee National Forest – A Natural Wonder

For nature lovers, the Shawnee National Forest is a must-see destination in Illinois. Located in the southern part of the state, the forest covers over 280,000 acres and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, turkey, and black bears. The forest also has several hiking trails and scenic drives, including the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area and the Illinois Ozark Road.

If you’re planning to explore the Shawnee National Forest, there are several lodging options in the nearby town of Carbondale. The Best Western Saluki Inn and the Holiday Inn Carbondale-Conference Center are both comfortable and affordable options that offer easy access to the forest.

Final Thoughts

Illinois is a state that has something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or city life, there’s no shortage of attractions and activities to keep you busy. By exploring some of the top tourist destinations in Illinois, as well as some hidden gems, you’re sure to have an unforgettable travel experience.

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