Winter reveals the magic of the holidays along with a whole new way to enjoy the outdoors. In Illinois, that means experiencing festivals awash in holiday lights. Grabbing the skis and heading for powdered slopes and trails. Or welcoming back thousands of bald eagles that make their winter home here.
As the holidays approach, Illinois is set aglow with millions of twinkling lights. From the Magnificent Mile to Galena’s historic Main Street, these holiday beacons welcome visitors with everything from dazzling parades to charming postcard settings.
The moving waters of the Mississippi River attract bald eagles here by the thousands from November through February. During their stay, the eagles take on celebrity status as local towns host festivals and tours in their honor. It’s a rare chance to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
Winter is an open invitation to schuss, shred or glide your way through the Illinois terrain. Around the state you’ll find plenty of ski runs and snowboard parks, along with cross-country trails through forests transformed into winter wonderlands.
The holidays are a great excuse to do some serious shopping. In Illinois that means browsing upscale boulevards all decked out for the holidays, finding bargains at sprawling outlet malls and discovering one-of-a-kind gems at seasonal festivals.