Explore the many faces of Illinois
Illinois’ location - between Iowa, Indiana and Lake Michigan - is why it has such a rich character. Its cities are home to towering skyscrapers, bustling bars and friendly faces, a contrast to the forests, lakes, rivers and gardens that offer the chance to escape from it all. Families have zoos, amusement parks and sporting events to keep younger travellers entertained, but everyone can appreciate the many museums and galleries available to wander around.
The sheer number of outdoor areas found within Illinois’ borders means frequent Illinois holidays give the chance to see something new. Giant City State Park in Makada merges sheer rock faces with canopies of woodland to create a placid place to explore. Head to Alton and cruise the Meeting of the Great Rivers, a 33-mile road that takes you past the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers. At the right time of year the Chicago Botanic Garden is alive with colour and a true living museum. Hanna City is home to the Wildlife Prairie Park, a 2,000-acre zoological park where cougars, black bears, wolves and bison roam.
Enjoying an active stay is made easy in Illinois as sport is big in the midwestern state. You can play golf in Makanda, Peoria, Waukegan and Beach Park or head to the Legends Sportsplex in Bourbonnais for basketball, volleyball, go-karting or climbing. Bolingbrook’s Rocket Ice Arena is suitable for most ages and the place for ice hockey or figure skating. America’s love of NASCAR is clear to see in the state, and you can experience it at Joliet’s Chicagoland Speedway. Year-round excitement is possible at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area, Yorkville which offers fishing and hiking during the summer and sledding during the winter.
The variety of shopping opportunities available aren’t limited to malls and shopping districts such as Scheels in Springfield or Chicago’s ‘Magnificent Mile’. St. Charles’ Kane County Flea Market is held on the first weekend of every month, where you can pick up all manner of interesting mementos. The Green City Market is Chicago’s only year-round farmers’ market and the perfect spot for fresh produce, flowers and more.
From restaurants to its many vineyards, bars, bakeries and microbreweries, Illinois has no shortage of places to eat and drink. Every region has multiple vineyards and wineries for you to find your new favourite variety and take it away. Regional wines and others make it to the state’s seemingly endless list of restaurants that cater for those wanting fine cuisine and others who prefer simple food in a relaxing environment.