Illinois Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Illinois

7.7 /10
Lincoln Park is one of the best residential neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois. It features vintage townhomes that offer single family and apartment-style living. The streets are tree-lined and many houses even boast a small yard. Parking is difficult though. If you don't have a residential parking permit, you may find yourself circling the blocks for quite some time, looking for a parking space.

In addition to its residential charm, Lincoln Park is host to numerous Chicago attractions. The best known are the Lincoln Park Zoo, North Avenue Beach, and the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

Lincoln Park Zoo is open year-round and has free admission. Between this and their high-quality exhibits, the zoo attracts upwards of 3 million visitors a year. It is best to visit in the morning before the crowds grow too large. The zoo was first opened in 1868, and has been continuously committed to providing Chicagoans and visitors with a unique wildlife experience... read more arrow
7.6 /10
Legoland Discovery Center is located in Schaumberg, Illinois about 30 miles northwest of Chicago just off I-90/94W. This is just one of Legoland's locations, however. Other Discovery Centers can be found in Germany and Legoland theme parks are in California, the UK, Denmark, and Germany. One day admission to Legoland Discovery Center in Chicago is $14 for adults and $10 for children, if you book online. The Discovery Center is open all year round, though hours change slightly during the summer months, so check on their website before you plan your trip.

Legoland Discovery Center is full of amazing activities and displays. Almost everything you see is built out of Legos! There is Miniland, a miniature downtown Chicago built entirely out of Legos. Jungle Adventure is an interactive trek through a jungle full of Lego-built flora and fauna. There are many interactive areas for children to play and learn... read more arrow
7.4 /10
The Fabyan Dutch Windmill is one of the best examples of authentic Dutch windmills in the entire United States. Located along Fox River Trail in Geneva, Illinois, this working windmill was built between the years 1850 and 1860 by a German craftsman named Louis Blackhaus using wood and other materials that were shipped from the Netherlands to the United States.

In 1914, the windmill was purchase for an amount of $8,000 by Colonel George Fabyan, after whom the windmill was named after. The windmill was then dismantled and carefully reconstructed piece by piece to Fabyan's estate in Riverbank, now known as the Fabyan Forest Preserve. Over time, the windmill underwent some major renovations for it to continue on running in top condition using only the power of the wind as its main source of energy.

Today, the Fabyan Dutch Windmill is currently listed in America's National Register of Historical Places... read more arrow
7.4 /10
Located along River Drive in Moline, Illinois, the John Deere Pavilion was created to serve as a venue to celebrate the past, the present and the future of the agricultural industry. The beginnings of the pavilion can be traced as far back as 160 years ago when John Deere first invented and developed his first ever self-scouring plow. The success of Deere's self-scouring plow invention, and the company that was established shortly thereafter, has been recognized to be one of the primary factors for changing the course of the history of the Midwestern community.

Since its opening back in 1997, the John Deere Pavilion has attracted over one and a half million locals and tourists from all over the United States and in other parts of the world. As such, the John Deere Pavilion has not only been recognized as premiere attraction of the Quad Cities. It has also been hailed as one of the top five tourist attractions in the state of Illinois... read more arrow
7.3 /10
Located on the corners of Michigan and Monroe Avenues in downtown Chicago, Illinois, the Art Institute of Chicago was founded back in 1879 to serve as a museum and an arts school. The museum is home to thousands of different art works and artifacts which have been categorized into different collections to celebrate the beauty and glory of different works of art throughout the centuries. The exquisite artifacts and art works that have made the Art Institute of Chicago its home have drawn many art students form its arts school that could be seen in different sections of the museum sketching their own interpretation of selected artworks.

The Art Institute of Chicago is a great place to spend an educational weekend with your family. The Ryan Education Center in the museum hosts a variety of fun and interactive activities for families, children and teenagers. One of the special programs offered here is the Mini Masters program which is designed for children between 3 and 5 years old... read more arrow
7.3 /10
The city of Chicago, Illinois, is one that is lined with skyscrapers. One of the most famous of these skyscrapers is the John Hancock Center. Dubbed simply as "Big John" by the locals, the John Hancock Center was completed in 1969 and stands 100 stories tall. It is known for its distinct X-shaped braces that serve as the decoration of the fa├žade of the building as well. These braces allowed the engineers to construct the John Hancock Center in such a way that it would withstand the powerful wind forces that blow about in the Windy City.

Currently, the John Hancock Center is one of the many multifunctional skyscrapers that dot the Chicago skyline. It is home to 48 floors of apartments, 29 floors of office spaces, a hotel, swimming pool, a television and radio station, an ice skating rink, and numerous shops and boutiques... read more arrow
7.3 /10
Originally established as the city's Public Library, the Chicago Cultural Center was built in 1897. Its designed was inspired by the neo-classical style of the World's Columbian Exposition which was held four years earlier. The Chicago Cultural Center is considered to be one of the most expensive buildings ever constructed. At the time of when it was built, the Chicago Cultural Center's construction was pegged at $2 Million. The interior of the building are crafted using the highest quality marble, hardwood, stained-glass, polished brass and glass mosaics.

The main showstopper of the building is its stained glass dome which is valued at $35 Million. Measuring 38 feet across, the stained glass dome located at the southern end of the building is the largest Tiffany stained glass dome in the world. Recently the Tiffany dome underwent some much needed renovation and restoration back in 2007 and was completed a year after... read more arrow
7.3 /10
Wrigley Field is the second oldest baseball stadium in the United States. Home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, Wrigley Field was established back in 1914 under the name of Weeghman Park, after Charles H. Weeghman who was once the owner of the property where the Wrigley Field now stands. The name was changed to Wrigley Field in 1926 in honor of William Wrigley, Jr. who was the owner of the Chicago Cubs. The baseball stadium had become the site of some of the most historic moments in baseball history. One of the most memorable historical moments happened during the 1932 World Series where Babe Ruth pointed to a bleacher before hitting a homerun for the Chicago Cubs and sending the baseball flying towards the same bleachers he initially pointed.

Today, Wrigley Field stands as one of the most beautiful ball parks in the country and has become one of the most popular tourist destinations for travelers visiting the city of Chicago, Illinois... read more arrow
7.3 /10
Millennium Park stands between Michigan Ave. and the waterfront in the heart of Chicago. For many, this park is also Chicago's heart. It represents over twenty-five years of lobbying by the philanthropic community and its eventual collaboration with the City of Chicago to construct. Now, Millennium Park is a major Chicago landmark.

Visitors to Millennium Park will enjoy the wide, grassy spaces and the modern sculptures and design. Many Chicagoans find the park a relaxing place to picnic, read, play Frisbee, or listen to music.

Arguably, the most iconic image of Millennium Park is Anish Kapoor's enormous Cloud Gate sculpture. However, ask a native for directions to the Cloud Gate sculpture and he'll give you a funny look. In Chicago this reflective, organic, and interactive art work is known as The Bean... read more arrow
7.3 /10
At the heart of the Millennium Park in downtown Chicago, you will find Cloud Gate which is now becoming one of the most popular attractions in the city today. Created by a British artist named Anish Kapoor, the Cloud Gate sculpture got its name from the fact that 80% of the entire sculpture reflects the Chicago skyline. Made out of pure stainless steel plates craftily arranged to provide its seamless look, the Cloud Gate sculpture was unveiled in July 2004. It measures 66 feet long, 35 feet wide and weight 110 tons.

The Cloud Gate sculpture is known among the locals as "The Bean" due to its bean-like shape. Some locals have also called it the "Electric Kidney Bean." What enthralls locals and tourists alike is the fact that this sculpture is extremely interactive. Viewers of the Cloud Gate sculpture get their own unique experience from simply viewing this sculpture that gives an impression of a drop of mercury that has been suspended in time and space... read more arrow
7.3 /10
Brookfield Zoo is located in Brookfield, Illinois, just 15 miles southeast of Chicago off of Interstate 55. It is open daily throughout the year, though the hours change on a seasonal basis, so be sure to check their website before planning your trip. General admission is $12 for adults and $8 for seniors and children. Special exhibits may cost extra.

The Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Zoological Society that runs it are committed to educating visitors of all ages about animals and animal conservation. One way they do that is by creating thematic exhibits that highlight the animals of a particular habitat. For example, the Fragile Desert exhibit highlights meerkats, caracals, bat-eared foxes, and other animals that inhabit the fringes of the Sahara Desert in North Africa. Other thematic exhibits include the Living Coast (the shores of Chile and Peru), Habitat Africa! - The Savannah and Salt Creek Wilderness (animals indigenous to Illinois)... read more arrow
7.3 /10
Take a step back in the past by visiting the Amish Country of Central Illinois. This area is especially defined by the towns of Arthur, Arcola, Sullivan and Tarscola.... read more arrow
7.3 /10
The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio is located just ten miles west of the >Chicago Loop in Oak Park, Illinois. It is easily accessible from downtown Chicago by both car and public transportation. Seven different tours are available of Wright's Home and the surrounding historic district. Check out the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust's website for more information on how to purchase tickets.

When you are in Oak Park, make sure to check out other buildings designed for Wright: the Robie House designed in 1908, and Unity Temple designed in 1905.

Frank Lloyd Wright built his home in Oak Park in 1889, and there he lived for the next twenty years with his wife and six children. In 1898 he added a design studio where he developed the Prairie Style of American architecture. Wright stayed in Oak Park until 1909. The Preservation Trust has restored the Wright House to its 1909 condition... read more arrow
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is located in the heart of downtown Springfield, Illinois's state capital. The library and museum are situated within a block of each other. The library is only open on weekdays and is free for public access and research. The museum is open year round. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, and $4 for children. It is preferable to purchase you tickets in advance online.

The mission of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum is to provide its visitors with interactive and informative exhibits. You enter the museum through the gateway and walk into a large central plaza. From there you can walk through historical recreations of scenes from Lincoln's life, starting with his early years in a log cabin and moving all the way up to his time in the White House. All exhibits are accompanied by descriptive plaques... read more arrow
7.3 /10
If you want small town charm, look no further than Shea's Gas Station Museum in Springfield, Illinois. The museum is one of the prime attractions on the first leg of historic Route 66, though the station is actually about a mile west of the famous highway. Travelers might it easier to access Shea's Gas Station Museum by taking the business extension of I-55 and heading toward the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

However you get there, Shea's Gas Museum is a hidden gem of Americana. Bill Shea, a lifelong Texaco gas station owner, has assembled over fifty years worth of gas station and Route 66 memorabilia in his private collection. There are antique gas pumps, a working Champion air compressor, humorous signs, historic photos, and plenty of kitsch. If you're inquisitive and lucky, Bill Shea is often available to answer questions and tell stories about his lifetime selling gas on Route 66... read more arrow
7.3 /10
The Illinois Railway Museum is in Union, Illinois, a town sixty mile northwest of Chicago and thirty miles east of Rockford. It is the largest rail museum in the United States. The Illinois Railway Museum was founded and is still run primarily by volunteers. They have made it their mission to educate the public about the role that railroads have played in both Chicago's history as well as the development of the entire United States. They have done this by preserving electric and steam locomotives on over 1.5 miles of enclosed track and 6 miles of open track in their ever expanding museum.

The idea for the museum was first conceptualized in 1941, when a group of Chicago volunteers wanted to save some historic electric rolling stock. For the next twenty years they collected and preserved select electric locomotives and eventually, in 1964, opened the Illinois Railway Museum on its present site... read more arrow
7.3 /10
This huge cross stands over 100 feet tall, and measures 22 square feet at the base and 16 square feet at its highest point. Overlooking the southern Illinois region and the Mississippi River flood plain, the cross was constructed back in 1963 after a series of successful fundraising efforts made by Wayman R. Presley, a local postal carrier residing in Alto Pass.

While this may have been the case, the story of the Bald Knob Cross goes further back to the late 1930s, when Presley spoke to Rev. William Lirely about using Bald Knob Mountain as a venue to conduct Easter Sunday Services which can be attended by all Christian denominations practiced within the state. Over time, various crosses were established on top of the mountain by pilgrims from these Christian denominations. The Bald Knob Cross was then established at the center of all the crosses to pay homage to the efforts of Presley in providing a venue where all Christian denominations can celebrate Easter Sunday... read more arrow
7.3 /10
Hardy's Reeindeer Ranch is a popular Illinois destination for families and travelers that are wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life and commune with nature and have fun.

The Reindeer Ranch was established back in 1995 when husband and wife Julie and Mark Hardy purchased a couple of reindeers primarily to help them market the different species of evergreens that they grow in their farm, which they have ordered straight from Alaska.

Hardy's Evergreen Acres and Reindeer Ranch is extremely popular among families for its famous corn mazes. Spanning almost 10 acres wide, these corn mazes are designed to provide hours of fun for you and the entire family as you search for six different punch holes scattered throughout the entire maze and finding your way out. For some added thrill and excitement, try conquering the corn maze at night as you light your way only with the flashlights you are carrying. While you are here, make sure that you take part on the Reindeer Tours offered in the ranch... read more arrow
7.2 /10
Soaring at 1,450 feet, Willis Tower (formally Sears Tower) is one of the world's tallest buildings. When you include the twin antenna towers, the building's height is at 1,730 feet. In fact, it owned the title of world's tallest building from the time it was built in 1974 until 1996. Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur has disputed that honor, but still, if you only count height in terms of highest roof, highest occupied floor and highest antenna, Sears Tower is still the tallest building in the face of the earth. This is a must-see when in Chicago, as it affords a jaw-popping view of the city, with a thrilling elevator ride to the top as a bonus.

This building was designed by architect Bruce Graham and engineer Fazlur Khan. Its elegant exteriors are covered with stainless aluminum and glass. Located at 233 South Wacker Drie, Chicago, this is undoubtedly one of the city's top landmarks... read more arrow
7.1 /10
Adler Planetarium is located in Chicago, Illinois, just off Lake Shore Drive next to the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. It is open year-round, but its hours change during the summer. Make sure you check out their website before planning your trip. The price of general admission to the exhibits is $10 for adults and $6 for children. The cost increases depending on the number of shows you want to see. There are also a number of free days throughout the year sponsored by the Charter One Foundation. These days are also listed on the Adler Planetarium website.

The Adler Planetarium features a number of permanent and rotating exhibits and shows. The breadth of topics covered by the exhibits is amazing. One can view early telescopes and sundials, hear stories of the Moon landings, learn more about our solar system and the Milky Way, or look through the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory and see gravitational waves disturbing the surface of our space-time much like ripples on the water of a still pond... read more arrow
McHenry County is located in the U.S. state of Illinois, a part of the area. Long known as a hub of agriculture and recreation it houses a major historic attraction. McHenry County Historical Society and Museum in Union, Illinois was first officially opened to the public back in 1976. Its a historian's delight and comprises of several relics like a 1885 town hall (more famous as Perkins Hall), a 1847 log cabin, and an 1895 one-room school which was used for c.1900 education programs. It also houses a modern 20th Century tourist cabin. A local history research library was added in 1982.The society also acquired Pringle School, situated on River Road. The limestone building is now in the restoration process.

The society not only maintains the county Museum but also makes available traveling exhibits, plaques historic structures and sites, holds useful and informative classrooms and workshops for adults and arranges a great variety of school programs... read more arrow
7 /10
7 /10
7 /10
7 /10
7 /10
7 /10
7 /10
7 /10
7 /10
7 /10
7 /10
7 /10
7 /10
The Farnsworth House is a one-room house made purely out of steel and glass situated at the center of a beautiful meadow situated on the banks of the Fox River in Plano, Illinois. Recognized as one of the important works of 20th century architecture, the Farnsworth Cottage is now under the ownership and care of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and today serves as a house museum. The Farnsworth House has been regarded as a sculptural masterpiece both for its simplicity and its design.

Farnsworth House was built by Mies van der Rohe and is considered to be one of his finest works. The house continues to remain significant for two reasons. The first of which is that it embodies the culmination of the aesthetic experimentation der Rohe utilized for this particular home design. The second significance is that it continues to be a magnificent embodiment of the modernism trend in architectural design which had its root in Europe... read more arrow
6.8 /10
Located just two blocks south from the Millennium Park, the Chicago Architecture Foundation was established right across the Art Institute of Chicago. It is one of the prime tourist destinations for travelers who desire to learn more about the history of a particular city and how it came to be as it is known today. The Chicago Architecture Foundation provides locals and visitors alike a gateway into the deeper understanding of the architecture styles that dominate the city of Chicago in Illinois. One of the highlights of the Chicago Architecture Foundation is the large scale model of the entire downtown Chicago district. This model provides an overview of the different innovative ideas by the people that shaped Chicago into the cosmopolitan city it is known today.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation also offers a total of 85 different tours of the downtown city and its surrounding neighborhood. Each of these tours provides travelers a unique glimpse into the Windy City... read more arrow

* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

You can also rate and vote for your favorite Illinois sightseeing places, famous historical landmarks, and best things to do in Illinois by visiting the individual Illinois attraction pages.