Illinois

United States of America
Chicago featuring a skyscraper, street scenes and a city

From Lincoln’s home to one of the world’s busiest airports, this state provides history and big-city excitement.

Illinois is known as the “Land of Lincoln,” with the home of Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. president, in Springfield. From that pre-Civil War site, shift to the ultra-modern skyscrapers of Chicago, one of the world’s biggest cities with one of the world’s busiest airports.

Originally a frontier trading post on Lake Michigan, Chicago has become an impressive center for business, art and sports. Take a sailboat ride to see the eclectic skyline stretching along the shores of the lake, see the skyline reflected in the bean-shaped Cloud Gate in Millennium Park or enjoy an evening cruise on the Chicago River surrounded by millions of lights with their mirror images shimmering in the water.

Chicago has more than 100 museums and cultural centers. Visit the Museum of Science and Industry to see the soothing rhythmic motion of the Foucault Pendulum. Attend the Chicago Ballet, Chicago Symphony or comedy at Second City Theater. Walk along the shoreline, main streets and city parks to notice multiple installations of public art.

Travel around the downtown city loop on the “L” elevated train. On Navy Pier, ride the Ferris wheel. Some of the nation’s best professional sports teams are here: the Chicago Bears NFL football, White Sox MLB baseball and Bulls NBA basketball. For shopping, dining and nightlife, visit the Magnificent Mile, a popular retail center for nearly 100 years.

Southwest of Chicago, visit Peoria, known as a city of typical Middle Americans. Stop in a grocery store and you’re likely to see test products from major marketers long before they appear in the rest of the country. Visit the Caterpillar Visitors Center, next to the Peoria River, to learn about the giant construction vehicles manufactured at the Peoria plant since 1925.

In the center of Illinois, see the Capitol building in Springfield. Visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as well as the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, where Lincoln lived for over 20 years before becoming president.

Popular cities in Illinois

Chicago featuring a skyscraper, street scenes and a city
Chicago
Chicago is a modern metropolis on Lake Michigan's shores with a pronounced fondness for art, baseball and blues. Stroll through the museums and parks during the day, and when the sun goes down, take in an evening of live blues in the bustling heart of Downtown Chicago. Or why not experience a lively sporting event and check out the hometown baseball teams, The Cubs and White Sox or the Chicago Bulls basketball team.

Reasons to visit

  • Union Station
  • Navy Pier
  • Soldier Field
Rockford which includes general coastal views and a city
Rockford
Science museums, an arboretum, historic concert halls and a Japanese garden make Rockford an interesting and fun-packed destination in northern Illinois.

Reasons to visit

  • Anderson Japanese Gardens
  • Rockford Art Museum
  • Burpee Museum of Natural History
Springfield featuring a city
Springfield
As the longtime home of Abraham Lincoln and the capital of Illinois, this city has ample history, culture and entertainment for any visitor.

Reasons to visit

  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site
  • Illinois State Capitol
Peoria which includes skyline, a lake or waterhole and a city
Peoria
Stroll along the picturesque Illinois River, through parkland and down tree-lined streets in the oldest European settlement in Illinois.

Reasons to visit

  • Peoria Civic Center
  • Peoria Riverfront Museum
Champaign featuring heritage elements and signage
Champaign
From barhopping to visiting museums, this college town and Silicon Prairie hub offers plenty to see and do.

Reasons to visit

  • Hessel Park
  • Krannert Art Museum
Aurora featuring a city and a river or creek
Aurora
As the location for a zoo, science museum, water park and outlet mall, and a setting for iconic movie Wayne’s World, this city is one of Illinois’ treasures.

Reasons to visit

  • Aurora Regional Fire Museum