Illinois is a beautiful state bordered by Indiana on one side and the Mississippi on the other. It boasts some vibrant cities as well as beautiful natural landscapes that you can visit but it often gets overlooked. If you can’t afford a vacation abroad this year and you’re looking for somewhere closer to home, head over to Illinois and check out some of these amazing places.
While there are some great areas of natural beauty in the state, you should still check out Chicago, especially if you’ve never been there before. The Windy City is a cultural hub packed full of amazing art, film, and theatre. It’s also home to some brilliant sports teams. The Art Institute of Chicago boasts a huge collection of over 300,000 pieces. They also host regular lectures and specialist exhibitions all year around so if you’re at all interested in art, it’s an absolute must. You should also head over to Millenium Park, a hub of great architecture and some brilliant pieces of public art including the world famous sculpture, The Bean.
The museum of Science and Industry is the largest science museum in the western hemisphere with great exhibits including Apollo 8, the craft that landed the first men on the moon. There are plenty of interactive exhibits as well so it’s great for a family day out.
If you want to do some shopping while you’re there, Michigan Avenue has all sorts on offer. This high end shopping district has pretty much anything you can think of buying, as well as some brilliant coffee shops and restaurants to eat in at the end of the day.
Once you’ve done Chicago, you should head outside of the city to visit some of the beautiful natural wonders that Illinois has to offer. Burden Falls in Shawnee National Forest is one of the most popular destinations for people that want to see nature. It’s not the biggest of waterfalls but it attracts some great wildlife, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers, and the surrounding scenery is truly beautiful.
Matthiessen State Park
This incredible state park is named after Frederick William Matthiessen, a famous businessman and philanthropist from the local area. Situated near the city of Oglesby, the state park is another of the amazing natural wonders in Illinois. Here you’ll find unusual rock formations, dense forests and quaint little streams. Again, the place attracts a lot of incredible wildlife, most notably the whitetail deer. There is an Eagle sanctuary nearby so there’s always the chance that you might catch a glimpse of one of these majestic creatures circling above. As well as the beautiful scenery and wildlife in the state park, there are also some great picnic spots where you can stop for lunch. The best one is probably Dells Area which has a great kids playground, making it ideal for family trips.
Illinois is a great state with some brilliant cities and beautiful countryside areas so if you haven’t been before, you should definitely add it to your bucket list.