attractions to visit in illinois

10 Best Attractions to Visit in Illinois

The American Midwest, Illinois, is one great state in the USA worth visiting. This state has beautiful places to explore, from big cities to rural farmlands. You can reconcile your bond with nature in the realm of Shawnee National Forest and learn about history in Galena. 360 Chicago is where you should go for stunning views of the city from great heights. Before it gets overwhelming for you, let us learn about the best attractions in Illinois one by one. 

Attractions to Visit in Illinois

Let’s look at the details of all these attractions to visit in Illinois!

1- Anderson Japanese Gardens

Anderson Japanese Gardens are located in the 3rd largest city in Illinois, Rockford. This stunning, vibrant, and gorgeous park is rich with nature and greenery. Though not officially, this place serves the best Japanese gardens in the USA. The seasonal gardens are open to the public only from May to October. Do not skip this landscape if your tour dates are somewhere during these months.

It does not only have different kinds of plants but also pagodas, water features, bridges, and lanterns. All things have been placed in such an attractive and organized manner that you will love this collection of gardens.


anderson japanese gardens


2- Tunnel Hill State Trail

Tunnel Hill State Trail is situated at the southern corner of the state. It is quite underrated. This trail is spread over 5 miles, moving through tunnels, mines, and agricultural land. If you are an adventurous person, this trail will serve you the best.

You can do various things like jogging, cycling, biking, or walking. As you will cover distances on the trail, you will come across magnificent streams, ravines, bluffs, and other magical forms of nature. If you have enough time, start from the Town of Vienna, and cover the whole trail.

3- Shawnee National Forest

Shawnee National Forest is near the southernmost corner of the state. You can spend one great outdoor adventure day in this forest. A few decades ago, this national forest used to be covered with Laurentide Ice Sheet. Then the sheet melted some millions of years ago, and Illinois got a nice outdoor place for daytime activities.

You can join many groups, from hiking groups to camping, photography, and swimming. The Garden of Gods is the highlight of Shawnee. It is a beautiful rock that is recognizable from the Illinois quarter. You can get on the observation trail that borders this stunning garden for grand views and better reflection.

4- Galena

If you love history and are always up to explore more, Galena is calling you. It is also called The City That Time Forgot. Residing the banks of the Mississippi River, Galena’s major part of the economy comes from tourism. The Galena River is the highlight of the city.

To best explore the city, you can visit Main Street, where many shops, cafes, and restaurants are situated. Many buildings in this street were built in the 19th century. When you are in Galena, do not forget to visit the place which was the home of former President Ulysses S. Grant before the Civil War.

5- Willis Tower Skydeck

Willis Tower Skydeck gives tourists an astonishing view of four states and Lake Michigan. Standing on the deck, you can see up to 50 miles. The height of this deck is 1,353 feet from the ground and is located on the 103rd floor. If you are not scared of heights, going on the extended ledge’s glass floor will let you see the view straight down.

6- 360 Chicago

360 Chicago is situated in the John Hancock Building. It is a great observation deck, giving tourists views of the city from great heights. The glass walls and the Tilt feature will allow you to enjoy views of the Magnificent Mile from around 1,000 feet in height.


360 chicago


7- Magnificent Mile in Chicago

Magnificent Mile is not only worth enjoying from the heights of 360 Chicago; you should also take a stroll around. It is the best place to shop Illinois special products and to explore the culture in the purest form.

There are several shops, expensive boutiques, cafes, restaurants, museums, and other types of entertainment options. The Wrigley Building and the Tribute Tower are the highlights of this place.

8- Navy Pier

No matter what age group you belong to, Navy Pier is the place to be for everyone. Situated at Chicago’s waterfront, Navy Pier is full of entertainment and cultural exploration opportunities for all curious tourists.

Dedicate some hours enjoying art in the museums, eating delicious foods at vintage cafes, enjoying theater, and shopping from cheap as well as expensive boutiques.

The Ferris Wheel, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and the Chicago Children’s Museum are the points you should not miss out on when in Navy Pier. Though you can visit it all year round, the best time is the summer season because there are many outdoor attractions.

9- Starved Rock State Park

It is near the southwest of Chicago, along the Illinois River. The stunning canyons and the beautiful waterfalls make this place worth visiting. For its unique appearance, the park is included in the Register of National Historic Landmarks list. Joining the hiking groups for a great adventure on the 13-mile-long trail of this park would be a great way to explore this place.

Moreover, you can ride horseback, camp, picnic, go fishing as well as boating. The recreational activities happening in this place will let you have the best of the best days here.


starved rock state park


10- Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago made its name globally for its art collections. Its building was built back in the 1800s. It is home to ancient sculptures, post-impressionist paintings, and many exciting and historic art pieces. You will view African art, Renaissance arms, and much more here.

The Bottom Line!

The rich culture, friendly native citizens, forests, parks, markets, theaters, museums, everything in Illinois is unique and astonishing. Chicago is the most popular city, but you do not want to miss small towns such as Galena. Now, when you are planning your trip to Illinois, you must first look at the Subtle Flight!


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