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Explore the dramatic rock formations, cliffs and trails of the most visited site in the Shawnee National Forest. Millions of years in the making, the Garden of the Gods provides spectacular views unlike anywhere in the Midwest. See Camel Rock, Anvil Rock, Devil's Smoke Stack and other magnificent rock formations in this hiker’s and photographer’s wonderland.
The Shawnee National Forest is famed for its awesome Garden of the Gods, and is home to the Rim Rock Recreational Trail (the forest has a system of 403 miles of equestrian/hiking trails). Hikers are greeted by magnificent jutting walls of rock covered with emerald-green moss, and paths that meander through canyons under the forest canopy. Nestled between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the stunning Shawnee National Forest landscape features rolling hills, lakes, creeks and rugged bluffs. If you’re into climbing than a must-see is Jackson Falls, located near the town of Ozark in the Hidden Springs Ranger District in Shawnee National Forest. The climb takes place on 60 feet of sandstone cliffs and boulders that include numerous freestanding towers.
Anderson Japanese Gardens has been named one of the highest quality Japanese gardens in North America by Sukiya Living Magazine since 2004. Inspired by calm and tranquility, this 12 acre award winning landscape is comprised of koi-filled ponds, winding paths, gentle streams, cascading waterfalls, raked gravel gardens, beautifully trained pines, and more. Master craftsmanship and 16th century traditional architecture is found throughout the garden.
Nestled in the beautiful hills of the Shawnee National Forest, Timber Ridge offers something for everyone, from families and honeymooners to outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy some Southern hospitality while staying in a real log cabin or one-of-a-kind tree house. Each of the units, including the tree house, is equipped with a bathroom, kitchenette, heating and air conditioning. Physical Location: Karbers Ridge, IL 62955 GPS: 37°33’52.18?N 88°20’17.03?W
Rolling agricultural fields, reclaimed strip mines, ravines, rocky streams and wooded bluffs dominate the northern half of the Tunnel Hill State Trail. With 47.8 miles (one-way) of crushed gravel surface, extended inclines and dark tunnels, this trail is a difficult one, but one not to pass up, as long as you’re up for the challenge. The southern half of the trail explodes with scenery that includes bottomland woods, ponds, streams and marshes. The trail, which winds through seven towns, even touches upon a handful of ghost towns that faded into the landscape after the trains here stopped running.
In the heart of the city you’ll find a state-of-the-art park designed for the new millennium. Discover the reflective Cloud Gate sculpture, the multimedia Crown Fountain and the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, all with Chicago’s stunning architecture as a backdrop. The park is also host to many free cultural programs, concerts and family activities. Plus, there's alfresco dining in the summer and an ice skating rink in the winter.
Spectacular woodlands and sheer sandstone walls create a challenge for rock climbing and rappelling, as well as hiking. Outdoor lovers will also find horseback riding, a lookout tower, cabins and a swimming pool. Dine at historic Giant City Lodge, known for its homemade fried chicken dinner. Two different locations in Giant City State Park near Carbondale give you climbing options. A trail behind the picnic shelter takes you to a set of steep bluffs known as Shelter #1 near the Makanda entrance; another climbing area of the park includes the steep sandstone cliffs in Devil's Standtable. Plan to bring all of your own equipment since no permanent anchors are allowed. Ropes are permitted in both areas. After rainstorms, the wet sandstone gets really slippery. Use caution when grabbing for ledges as copperhead snakes warm themselves on the rocks during sunny days.
Kayak through canyons of skyscrapers and architectural wonders, or explore the waters just off beautiful Lake Michigan. Kayak Chicago is Chicago’s premier full-service outfitter, offering a variety of tours with certified instructors and guides. It’s a truly unique way to experience the urban landscape.
Canyons, streams, prairie and forest combine to delight visitors at Matthiessen State Park. Located in central LaSalle County, approximately four miles south of Utica and three miles east of Oglesby, Matthiessen is a paradise for those interested in geology as well as recreation. Visitors can expect to see beautiful rock formations in addition to unusual and abundant vegetation and wildlife. All of this, along with park and picnic facilities make Matthiessen State Park a popular choice for a special outing.
There's more than 200 beautifully landscaped acres to explore at Brookfield Zoo. Highlights include dolphin shows at Seven Seas, ape encounters at Tropic World and the chance for kids to dress up and play veterinarian at the Hamill Family Play Zoo. The zoo also offers an old-fashioned carousel and a wide variety of shopping and dining options.
Looking for a jaw dropping, heart racing experience? Try Grafton’s newest attraction – a zip line that affords those brave enough a stunning river view and hours of fun. The nine zip lines total 1.75 miles, which should take approximately two hours to complete. The first of nine zip lines is nicknamed the Baby Bear – the shortest measuring only 300 feet in length. The longest, at 2,000 feet, is the Soaring Eagle, which has breathtaking views during its 250-foot descent. The Deer Hollow (3rd zip) and the Barn Burner (the final zip) are both 1,500 feet. The Limestone Leap (7th zip) is 1,300 feet, the River Run (5th zip) is 1,200 feet, the Gobblers Knob (6th zip) is 1,000 feet and the Road Runner (2nd zip) at 700 feet.
Egyptian Hills Resort is your passport to the Ultimate outdoor family vacation. Whether you are into waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, sport fishing, or pleasure boating; the Lake of Egypt is a boater’s paradise. All within a stone’s throw of your cabin. Within minutes of your cabin, your family can enjoy guided expeditions such as; horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, geo-caching, wildlife photography and many other outdoor activities. Whether planning a single activity or multiple activities for your group, we at Egyptian Hills are your personal concierge in planning your ultimate outdoor family vacation. Whether onsite or through one of our partner guides, all activities are tailored for all ages and experience levels.
Broadway In Chicago presents the hottest shows in Chicago's bustling Downtown Theater District. On the stages of the Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Bank of America Theatre, Auditorium Theatre and Broadway Playhouse, you will discover theater productions direct from Broadway, along with world premieres.
On the bluffs of the Illinois River, this small but charming park is home to an enormous outdoor sculpture. Mounds representing five earthen sculptures molded from Illinois clay, known as Effigy Tumuli, invite visitors to walk around and explore. All five subjects, including a snake, turtle, catfish, frog and insect are native to the Illinois River area. This State Park offers the ideal terrain for the beginner hiker.
At 8,000 acres, Pere Marquette State Park is the largest state park in Illinois. Go hiking on wooded trails, biking along scenic bluffs, fishing and boating on the Illinois River, or horseback riding through the forest. The park is also known for its guided fall color drives and eagle-watching tours in the winter. The rustic stone-and-timber Pere Marquette Lodge makes a great base for exploring the area.
Take a sightseeing or theme cruise on the Spirit of Peoria, an old-fashioned replica of a 19th-century riverboat that docks at the Peoria RiverFront. Join a one- to five-day overnight excursion to Starved Rock State Park or the St. Louis riverfront and be entertained by live ragtime piano and banjo music, as well as a storyteller sharing river lore, while the Spirit of Peoria paddles along the Illinois River. Stay the night at Starved Rock Lodge and see a show by a Mark Twain interpreter who brings the iconic author to life.
The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail features 12 award-winning wineries located along a 25-mile scenic drive along highway 127 and highway 51 in the Shawnee National Forest. Along the way have a picnic, go on a hike, visit a shop, and stay in a cozy B&B or cabin. Many of the wineries host special events throughout the summer and fall.
The Chicago Botanic Garden opened a little more than 40 years ago as a beautiful place to visit, and it has matured into one of the world's great living museums and conservation science centers. Each year, nearly one million people visit the Garden's 26 gardens and four natural areas, uniquely situated on 385 acres of land on and around nine islands. Six miles of shoreline extend along 81 acres of water, including the Great Basin, North Lake, and Skokie River Corridor. The Garden also has a renowned Bonsai Collection.
Magnificent, 1,700-acre museum of trees and plants from around the world. Hiking trails, paved roads, restaurant, gift shop, open-air tram and handicapped accessible facilities.
The largest man-made lake in Illinois (26,000 acres), is a premier location for outdoor sports. Known to sailors, it is one of the best and most challenging for sailboats. There is also boating, fishing, hunting, bird watching, sand beaches, and camping areas. Hotels, cabins and golf courses make the area a true outdoor lover's playground.
The Tomb is the final resting place of President Lincoln, his wife and three of their four children. It was constructed between 1869-1874 in Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery. Be sure to rub the nose of the bronze Lincoln bust at the entrance, which is said to bring good luck. Dogs are allowed on the site; they are not allowed inside the monument. Dogs must be under their owner's control, leashed, and cleaned up after at all times.
360 Chicago's (formerly John Hancock Observatory) epic new attraction that will forever change the way visitors see Chicago. TILT debuts in the spring of 2014, providing the ultimate window to the Windy City. A one-of-a-kind experience, TILT is an enclosed, glass and steel moveable platform that holds up to eight visitors per cycle. Once safely situated inside, the platform slowly tilts outward to an adventurous angle, generating downward-facing views of Chicago – from one thousand feet above The Magnificent Mile®. TILT gives thrill-seekers an exciting and safe way to take in unsurpassable views of the city, from a never-before-seen angle. Check website for opening dates and hours.
The Nest at Palisades Cabins offer secluded luxury cabins designed to provide charm, quiet luxury and romance. We’re located on a wooded acreage high above the Mississippi River minutes from Savanna, the Palisades State Park and an easy 20 minute drive to Galena.
Based on the book Haunted Alton by Troy Taylor, Alton Hauntings Tours offers an entertaining and spine-tingling trip into the unknown, taking visitors to the most authentic haunted places in Alton. Uncover the eerie folklore, ghostly tales and documented haunted spots on a three-hour walking tour of the city’s most haunted sites. Visitors will see sites that have become nationally known, like the old Alton penitentiary, First Unitarian Church, Enos Sanitarium and many others. The tours have been proven to be popular with ghost enthusiasts and history buffs alike, and nowhere else can you learn as much about the real, haunted history of Alton. Walking tours and bus tours are offered during two touring seasons – Spring & Summer and the Haunted Fall Season. Private tours are also available for groups of 20 or more. Reservations must be made in advance for all tours.
On the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, Rustle Hill winery features an amphitheater bandstand for live music, great wines and beers, restaurant and cabins for rent.
Illinois' only United Nations World Heritage Site. This 2,200-acre site preserves the central section of the largest prehistoric Indian city north of Mexico. An Interpretive Center presents a coherent account of this sophisticated prehistoric culture. Climb Monk's Mound, see the film and life-size village. Don't miss annual events that focus on Native American culture.
Ski along scenic slopes at Galena's Chestnut Mountain Resort, perched high above the Mississippi River. Rated by Ski Magazine as one of the top ski resorts in the Midwest, Chestnut Mountain goes all out with a snowboarding park and night skiing. Stay at the rustic 120-room lodge, which has three restaurants, including the fine-dining Sunset Grille. There are fun non-skiing activities in the summer as well, including boat cruises on the Mississippi Explorer and the exhilarating Alpine Slide, which speeds 2,000 feet down a hillside. Or try the new Segway Mountain Adventure Tours, a three-mile guided ride through rolling terrain.
At the pinnacle of Chicago's famed Magnificent Mile, Water Tower Place is Chicago's premier shopping destination. Its stunning eight-level atrium features more than 100 of your favorite stores and restaurants plus a mix of distinctive specialty shops and boutiques. It offers a unique, high-energy urban shopping experience you simply won't find anywhere else in the city. In short, Water Tower Place is the place to shop.
Chicago’s 26 miles of lakefront and beaches are free and open to residents and visitors alike. In fact, they were foremost in Daniel Burham’s plan to make Chicago’s lakefront and beaches always open and unobstructed for the public to enjoy. And to this day, you can see that his vision is still alive and well, from the joggers and volleyball players to the swimmers and sail boaters who take to the lakefront every day. Of course, admission is free.
Experience Illinois wine at Galena Cellars and celebrate a 30 year tradition of family winemaking. Located just a short drive from downtown Galena, Galena Cellars Vineyard--A Lawlor Family Winery--provides an escape to the country and a breathtaking view. Enjoy wine tasting, from your choice of 40 different varietals, while relaxing on the comfortable wrap-around deck of the charming farmhouse turned Tasting Room, and learn how the twenty-two varieties of grapes grown in the rich soil and unique terroir found there go from vine to award-winning wine. Meet winemaker Christine Lawlor and chat with the knowledgeable and friendly tour guides as you tour the state-of-the-art facility and partake in a sensory program designed to help you fully experience wine tasting with all of your senses. In love with the vineyard? Stay a little longer at the Vineyard Suite or Country Farmhouse. Or imagine celebrating your special day in this scenic setting. Special arrangements are gladly catered to for engagements, showers, weddings, family reunions, meetings and group tours. The vineyard is open daily May through October and weekends or Saturdays only November through March. Special events at the vineyard include Wine Lovers’ Weekend in March, Fall Harvest and Art Festival in September, and Nouveau Wine Weekend in November. Honored with more than 1,000 awards from competitions throughout the world, the Lawlor Family looks forward to raising a glass with you and sharing their passion for Illinois wine.
Noted in Midwest Living magazine as "a riverside retreat for the romantic," Tara Point Inn is known for its incredible accommodations and breathtaking views of the Mississippi River. Atop the palisades bluffs above Grafton, visitors can choose either the main inn or a secluded cozy cabin escape to what some call the most pleasantly memorable getaway experiences in the Midwest.
Navy Pier's resident 148-foot, four-masted schooner pays tribute to the Great Lakes' rich maritime heritage during a variety of cruises each day.
A nature lover's dream, Rim Rock offers cabins with all the amenities in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest, adjacent to the popular Rim Rock Recreational Trail and Garden of the Gods. Rim Rock's is within short driving distance of all Southern Illinois has to offer, and features its own private hiking trail on its 77-acre site.
Located in downtown Champaign, Blind Pig brews its own craft beers. With its beautiful wood interior, casks full of local brews and friendly locals, this bar is a must-see. When the weather is nice, venture outside and enjoy the large outdoor beer garden.
Central Illinois lake with over 11,000 water acres and 172 miles of shoreline. Lake Shelbyville has 5 federal campgrounds, and 2 state campgrounds with over 1,000 campsites from tent camping up to full hookup. There are several recreational areas with picnic areas and pavilions and 2 wildlife management areas. Three public beaches are available for swimming on the lake. The lake also hosts many launching ramps that are available for boats, and 3 marinas on the lake. Many hiking trails also encompass the lake such as the General Dacey which also includes fitness stations, the Chief Illini trail and others.
We operate Chicago’s premier Hop On Hop Off ® city sightseeing tours in the classic red & green Trolleys and fun-filled Double Decker buses. We also offer private group transportation for special events such as weddings, parties, and corporate outings. For 19 years the Hop On Hop Off® sightseeing tour has been the gold standard for entertaining and informative tours. Covering 13 miles and 14 stops, the Signature Tour is an eye-popping adventure through the heart of Chicago, giving you the option of Hopping On and Off at your choice of stops to visit the hottest retail, cultural, and family attractions. Summer tours include neighborhood tours and night tours.
Azoosment Park at Santa's Village is an amusement park/petting zoo. Unlimited pony rides and amusement rides with one paid admission.
The North Pole has moved to Central Illinois. Try your luck at the 6+ acre corn maze, the Grand Prix style race track, pick a pumpkin or a Christmas tree (depending on season), stop by the fascinating gift shop and, of course, see the reindeer!
Anchoring the eastern end of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, our winery offers you "The Romance of Italy in the Hills of Southern Illinois". We are open year-round, 7 days a week, to provide great Illinois wine. Please join us for wine tasting, a variety of hearty sandwiches, soups, pizzas, and snacks, as well as wine-alternatives such as beer and non-alcoholic beverages. Come enjoy our large indoor seating area and two beautiful outdoor terraces that overlook our vineyard and the rolling countryside.
Located near the town of Ozark in the Shawnee National Forest, Jackson Falls offers arguably the best rock climbing in southern Illinois. There are roughly 60 climbing areas along the sandstone bluffs and freestanding boulders, each with multiple named routes on them. There are over 500 named routes in all. Most of the routes are 50-60 feet in height. The whole area sits in a very scenic glen. Most of the routes at Jackson Falls are sport routes, though there are a number of traditional routes, and a few areas suitable for setting up a top-rope. There are also many excellent bouldering opportunities here.
One of the most storied teams in all of sports, if not MLB, the Chicago Cubs located on the North side of Chicago call the friendly confines of Wrigley Field home since 1916. Come for a game, for the crowd, for the history of being in an historic ballpark. Sit out in the bleachers and watch the Cubs as they try to break the longest championship drought in professional sports.
Relax, reflect and unwind in this private guest house that is a turn-of-the-century cottage completely restored with modern amenities. Located high above the confluence of the Mississippi & Illinois Rivers, it offers a quiet retreat with a spectacular view, yet it is only one block from village shops, marina, restaurants, bike trails and the scenic byway.
With more than 200 manufacturer and retail outlet stores offering up to 70% off, serious shoppers flock to Gurnee Mills. The diverse variety of stores includes Bass Pro Shops, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Nike Factory Store, Gap, Last Call by Neiman Marcus and Levi's. Dining options include Rainforest Cafe or a quick bite at one of the two food courts. Non-shoppers can check out Rink Side Sports and Entertainment Center for ice skating, arcade games and laser tag, or catch a movie at Gurnee Marcus Cinema.
The Illinois River slices a 273-mile long path through the state—its waters lapping along the shores of many cities, including LaSalle, Peru, Peoria and Ottawa to name just a few. It’s in Ottawa where the Illinois River meets Buffalo Rock. Buffalo Rock sits like a sandstone island above the surrounding land and the Illinois River, and offers sweeping views of this famed waterway. Whether you’re kayaking or canoeing, you’ll experience the shear power of the winding river that was carved by glacial melt water in all its seasonal colors, with its various incarnations of forests, wetlands, bluffs and prairies to enjoy.
We have over 16,000 square feet of trampolines including two dodgeball courts, a foam jumping pit, kids zone, and more! Plenty of parking, convenient location. This awesome facility designed for kids from age 4 and up. Jump America is great for adults too. It's a great place for birthdays, parties, day camps, schools, civic and community gatherings and corporate events.
Allerton Park was the private estate of Robert Henry Allerton, who donated it to the University of Illinois in 1946. It features 1,500 acres of woodlands, formal gardens and more than 100 sculptures. The park is open to the public for hiking, picnicking, cross-country skiing and leisurely garden strolls.
The Mississippi Palisades State Park, located near the confluence of the Mississippi and Apple rivers in northwestern Illinois is known for its steep cliffs and interesting rock formations, as well as its beautiful trails that lead you to some of those awe-inspiring giant boulders. One such trail is the Sentinel, clocking at over 1.3 miles it’s the longest trail in the park and leads you smack dab into Sentinel Rock, where you can take a turn at trying to conquer this monolith.
The Chicago Flower & Garden Show brings springtime to winter with its 20 lush gardens, beautiful and fragrant flowers, trees and other plants allowing “newbie” gardeners and experts alike to experience the latest the industry has to offer. Top garden builders create fresh designs, while nationally-known presenters teach visitors how to get that professional garden look. It's all happening at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show. Be among the first to see new plant varieties for 2017 and experience the newly-redesigned Navy Pier. Enjoy art, free kids activities, wine tastings, cooking demos from noted chefs, and a shopper's paradise of garden gadgets, jewelry, and more. Special rates available for groups.
A unique, 2,000-acre zoological park which is home to wolves, bison, waterfowl, black bear, elk, cougar, otter, and others. You will enjoy the park's spectacular natural settings, butterfly garden, wildflowers, lakes and restored prairies.
Every day for 12 weeks this summer, you’ll be able to take a step back in time as you participate in a whole array of living history performances and programs that will both delight and educate about the Springfield Abraham Lincoln knew and loved for most of his life. From Civil War encampments to White House kitchen chats with Mr. Lincoln himself, there’s something for everyone. Some events may have a fee.
This annual reenactment of late-1700s Illinois life on the frontier prairie features blanket traders, merchants, military units, fife and drum corps, and period-style food from more than 20 vendors. The encampment offers military drills, mock battles, along with story telling and children's activities.
The Adler Planetarium—America’s First Planetarium—is more than a museum; it is a laboratory, a classroom, and a community exploring the Universe together. The Adler offers interactive exhibitions, live planetarium shows, hands-on, minds-on STEM education programs, and world-class collections.
Located in the heart of Illinois' Amish country, The Great Pumpkin Patch is a working farm that features beautiful gardens, including a spectacular collection of more than 5,000 mums, and offers its heirloom seeds for sale. Known for its more than 300 varieties of rare pumpkins, squash and gourds from around the globe that are grown right on the farm and displayed in its Great Pumpkin Patch from mid-September through October 31 every year. The on-site Homestead Bakery sells made-from-scratch goodies such as pies and angel food cake during spring, summer and fall.
This 500-acre park offers vast formal gardens, picnic grounds, a top-ranked public golf course and two museums: Robert R. McCormick Museum and First Division Museum. Enjoy a wide variety of programs and events throughout the year, such as festivals, lectures, concerts and workshops.
Hop aboard the family-owned Celebration Belle riverboat that cruises the mighty Mississippi River. Operating April through October, the 800-passenger riverboat offers a variety of cruises, ranging from sightseeing tours to theme cruises such as Big Band and fall foliage, captain's dinner and dance cruises, and overnight excursions.
Tanger Outlet Center offers a big city shopping experience without the big-city hassle. Brand-name stores at great prices including Coach, JCrew, UnderArmor, and Chico’s - over 40 brand name outlets! Check out our monthly special events, coupons and sales. Tanger Outlet Center is conveniently located off of I-57, exit 212 in Tuscola. Locations nearby include Champaign and Amish Country.
The I&M Canal Trail offers 61 miles of picturesque hiking and biking trails that follow the historic route of the I&M Canal from Channahon to LaSalle. The Trail also boasts Illinois’ longest continuous snowmobile trail, and is a favored route for cross-country skiers.
Take a drive out to the orchards and buy in-season strawberries, peaches and apples. Flamm's Fruits & Cream Stand offers treats like homemade strawberry shortcake, cobblers, apple dumplings and pies.
Fall: festival with haunted house, corn maze, farm animals, and more. Spring/Summer: large selection of annuals, perennials, vegetable plants, trees, shrubs, aquatic plants, roses, planters, and gourmet food items. Admission is free - cost for some activities.
Starved Rock State Park has a beautiful East Hike that offers canyons galore, each with slightly different shapes, sizes and colorings. At 6.4 miles of dirt terrain, this hike is moderately difficult. Cool, shady and overgrown with ferns, the canyons offer a plethora of trees and flowering plants—a true delight to explore. You’ll also encounter scenic overlooks 100 feet above the Illinois River. The real crowd pleasers at Starved Rock are the numerous sandstone canyons that were carved deep into the bedrock as upland streams drained into the Illinois River. Some noted canyons of worth to explore are Kaskaskia Canyon, Ottawa Canyon and Hennepin Canyon Overlook.
At Arlington International, we aim to make every day of the season special by combining the excitement of thoroughbred racing, gorgeous grounds and fantastic food to create a winning track experience for our guests! Whether you're looking for a fun and exciting day out with friends and family, a casual and charming afternoon at the races, or a sophisticated and stylish get-together, Arlington International offers an extraordinary experience for everyone! Live racing and entertainment from May through September or find a full calendar of race dates and events at arlingtonpark.com.
The Starved Rock State Park Visitors Center has several interactive displays, free videos on the park, hiking maps, and more. Trailheads Concessions & Gifts, also located here, is a great place to buy gifts, souvenirs, and snacks (fresh fudge, too)! The Visitor Center and Trailheads are open year-round.
Chicago Music Tour, Inc. specializes in guided bus tours of Chicago music history, including jazz, rock, blues, classical & soul. Tours feature a soundtrack of songs for each sight or stop. Open since 2011, the tours have received widespread acclaim. Tours include the Chicago Bound Blues Tour, Chicago Rocks 1980-2005, The Chicago Music Tour, Raised in Chicago Jazz Tour, Michigan Avenue Serenade Soul Tour, & Chicago Rock Stars tour. Tours run on weekends, but are available for private events.
This historic boardwalk dates back to the 1890s. Today it offers galleries featuring quality handcrafts created by local artisans and a country store.
From kayaking and biking to scooter rentals, Fever River Outfitters has everything you need to add a little adventure to your Galena getaway. The staff here knows the area well and offers excursions that take care of every detail—whether you’re kayaking to an island picnic or taking a scooter to a vineyard for an afternoon wine tasting. Want to explore on your own? Simply rent or purchase outdoor gear and set off on your own adventure along the many biking paths, waterways and winding roads of this scenic part of northwest Illinois.
The Castle is a premiere architectural delight atop a forested bluff in the area of the Shawnee National Forest. Accommodations for up to three acquainted couples. The Castle has a sunken tub and is a great 'outdoors' experience.
Visitors can enjoy a dazzling music, light and water show at the Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain, one of the largest fountains in the world. Located at Columbus Drive, shows runs from dusk to 11pm every hour and lasts for 20 minutes. Operates April through mid-October.
Named "Best Restaurant in America," Alinea is a four-star restaurant with hypermodern dishes created by Chef Grant Achatz, who was named Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation. Alinea is known for its tasting menu, where every ingredient is a thoughtfully considered culinary delight that provides for a truly out-of-this-world experience.
DuPage County, Chicago's Western Suburbs - Check out the Lombard Park District's award-winning aquatic facility! State-of-the-art amenities are endless and include a 140,000-gallon leisure pool, bowl slide, zero-depth pool, bubble bench, lap pool, drop slide and much, much more!
Skyline View Cabins invite you to Southern Illinois to enjoy the most beautiful view in the area. From your cabin front porch, you can see the rolling hills of the Shawnee National Forest, Bald Knob Cross and lots of wildlife. In the Winter and early Spring there are 20 acres of hillside woods to tromp through, The property joins the Quetil Walking Trail, into Alto Pass. Both cabins have vaulted ceilings in the living room, kitchen and bedrooms, with real fireplaces, satellite TV and DVD player. Cabins come furnished with leather look sofas, chairs with ottomans, and a dining table that seats 4 people. Local art has been used to decorate both of the cabins.
Nestled in the Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois, sits Alto Vineyards, the region’s oldest, most award-winning winery. Founded in 1988 by Guy Renzaglia, Alto introduced a new industry to the area, starting a movement that has altered its landscape. Today, Alto Vineyards shares the region with 11 other wineries along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, in the state’s first federally recognized grape-growing region, known as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). While continuing to produce some of Illinois’ finest wine, Alto opened a new tasting room in Champaign, IL, and began distributing throughout the state and surrounding regions. Celebrating 25 years in business in 2013, Alto constructed a new, modern tasting room next to the vineyard in Alto Pass. Resting atop the new facility lies an outdoor deck for customers to take in the view on one of southern Illinois’ oldest vineyards – a truly breathtaking sight that exemplifies the beauty of the Shawnee National Forest and Illinois wine country. We invite you to visit our winery and tasting rooms to experience the tradition of Alto Vineyards.
Recognized as an architectural masterpiece, Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House is located in Hyde Park on the University of Chicago campus. The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust offers guided tours of this quintessential Prairie-style home, which the American Institute of Architects named one of the 10 most significant buildings of the 20th century.
Halloween fun awaits families at Brookfield Zoo’s annual Boo! at the Zoo celebration. The popular daytime event, presented by Fisher-Price, features a Costume Parade, Costume Showcase, professional pumpkin-carving demonstrations, not-so-scary games and activities, special animal Zoo Chats, and haunted hayrides. For more information, visit www.CZS.org or call (708) 688-8000.
The ritzy North Michigan Avenue shopping district boasts a dizzying array of stores, including Nordstrom, H&M, Tiffany, Chanel and the flagship Crate & Barrel store. Upscale shopping centers include Water Tower Place and The 900 Shops. In just eight blocks, you can shop at over 420 exclusive stores and boutiques, enjoy fine dining at over 200 restaurants and discover unsurpassed hospitality at over 50 hotels.
Journey through time to the age of Chivalry and Knighthood. Feast upon a sumptuous banquet and cheer your own knight to victory in the tournament of games.
Stay the night at the DeSoto House Hotel on Galena’s Main Street, which dates back to 1855 and is Illinois’ oldest operating hotel. The DeSoto has hosted such notable guests as Abraham Lincoln (who spoke from a hotel balcony to the assembled crowd below) and served as the presidential campaign headquarters for Ulysses S. Grant. The hotel features 55 Victorian-style guest rooms, three restaurants and boutiques.
The Chicago History Museum is a major museum and research center for Chicago and American history. From permanent galleries to special exhibitions and exciting programs, people of all ages are able to experience the past and better understand the present. Please call for museum hours, pricing and exhibitions.
Starved Rock State Park West Hike offers a decidedly different set of attractions than its eastern counterpart. On this hike you’ll encounter a series of overlooks from wooded bluffs and rocky cliffs high above the Illinois River. This 2.9-mile hike varies in difficulty due to the large amount of stairs that need climbing. The dominant feature of Starved Rock can be found on this hike, via a narrow bluff that runs 4-miles along the south branch of the Illinois River. The park’s namesake towers 125 feet above the river, offering commanding views of the nearby islands and river. Some notable excursions include, French Canyon, Wildcat Canyon and Pontiac Canyon with sweeping views of the Illinois River.
The Belle of the Rock paddle boat tours are located at historic Starved Rock state park in Utica, Illinois (just 80 miles west of Chicago). In addition to the river tours, we provide canoes and kayaks. Call us today at 815-434-9200 to make your reservation.
The Chicago Pedway Tour will lead you through the Pedway, the backdrop for an amusing and enlightening tour of some of the hot-spots (or a least warm-spots) of downtown Chicago. The tour focuses on interesting anecdotes and tales about some of the great buildings downtown, but it’s also a study of the city underneath the city. The Pedway is a strange and wonderful place and adds so much to the city’s personality. These are great tours for Chicagoans who want to learn more about the city and for tourists who want a full Chicago experience without ever going outside. The tour is 90 minutes and is $20. Monday/Thursday/Saturday at 10:30 am. Please note: the start location for the Monday and Thursday tour is at 40 W. Lake St. in the “Gallery of Shops.” The start location for the Saturday tour is at start at Block 37 – 108 N. State St.
Tuscan Hills Winery, recently opened in 2011, is on Historic Hills Drive, directly behind the Harley Barn. This winery is located on eight picturesque acres which helps bring an Old World Tuscan feel to the heart of Effingham. The owners are focused on creating elegant, approachable, and perfectly balanced wines of the highest quality. Wine tastings, along with space available for reservations makes this a must stop for group tours. Tuscan Hills Winery wants you to "Come as our guest, but leave as our friends." We welcome you to plan your next event at Tuscan Hills Winery - whether it's a beautiful wedding in our vineyard or book the space for your next meeting.
Hot air balloon rides sunrise and sunset daily. Reservations required. Gift certificates available. Groups welcome. Call for pricing and information.
Kite Hill's B&B is located on a 30-acre estate with a five-acre vineyard, all surrounding Kite Hill Lake. Start your day with a full three-course breakfast followed by a stroll through the vineyards or around the lake. After a full day of Southern Illinois activities, enjoy a complimentary wine tasting at the winery.
Located in the heart of the mid-west in Monroe Center, Illinois, just a 20 minute drive south from Rockford, a quiet, majestic dwelling sits among the trees that seclude Kilbuck Creek from sight of even its closest neighbors. This secluded sanctuary in the wilderness could be the location of your upcoming wedding, family reunion, church or business retreat or romantic getaway.
Established in 1915, this free zoo is open daily, year round. Exhibits include bald eagles, wolves, mountain lions, foxes, otters, elk, goats, llamas, turkeys and peacocks.
Bring your family out to our 65 acre site for a day of fall fun! Open from mid-August through November, enjoy the horse drawn hay rides, kid's activity area with a barn, bale pile, tractor cab and more. Pick your own apples or stop in the store and visit the bakery for apple donuts, pies, caramel apples, fresh baked bread and fudge. Jonamac Orchard is your family's fall tradition.
The Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower is dedicated to the duo's history-making journey, and serves as a gateway to the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway. The Corps of Discovery voyage began here on May 14, 1804, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Take the elevator up to the top of the 180-foot-tall tower, where you’ll step out to panoramic views of the swirling river waters (the view is particularly stunning at sunset). On platforms located at 50, 100 and 150 feet visitors learn about the early days of Hartford, as well as Lewis and Clark's journey.
ACM Tours is a full service, receptive tour guide company with many special services available at no additional cost. We literally open the door to fabulous Illinois Amish Country! We are ready to assist you with meals, attractions, lodging and step on guide service. We have available trained, professional, local step-on guides who are well versed in the history, customs and folklore of this most unique part of Illinois.
Dolphins soar, belugas dance and penguins parade in Fantasea, the aquatic show at Shedd Aquarium. The marine mammal presentations showcase the natural talents and learned skills of the animals—and their trainers.
The Aquatic Zoo Waterpark is fun for all ages. The facility features two 30-ft. tall slides; one 112-ft. body slide; one 266-ft. dual rider tube slide; two diving boards; a children's splash pad; interactive voice and light features; lazy river; zero depth entry leisure pool and concessions.
The Blue Man Group features three enigmatic bald and blue characters who take the audience through a multi-sensory experience that combines theatre, percussive music, art, science and vaudeville into a form of entertainment that is like nothing else.
The world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) performs at the grand Symphony Center on Michigan Avenue in the Loop. The CSO is led by Music Director Riccardo Muti, and often collaborates with some of the biggest names in classical music. In the summer, the CSO takes up residence at the outdoor Ravinia Festival in north suburban Highland Park. Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg as photographer for CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
The oldest and largest continuously operating winery in Illinois producing more than 50 varietals and 25,000 cases of award-winning wines each year. Come in for a tour and tasting to experience the finest vintages, gourmet cuisine, and luxurious lodging. Tasting room and gift shop open daily. Complimentary tours on weekends. Gift shop featuring wine-related items, specialty gift baskets, glassware, and elegant home decor. Visit our website for events throughout the year including our renowned Oktoberfest.
The avenue's most fashionable address features an unprecedented shopping experience at Bloomingdale's flagship store, along with 70 fine shops and restaurants. Enjoy six levels of spectacular shopping at retailers like Coach, Gucci, Maxmara, and Mark Shale.
This beautiful 715-acre state park with a 40-acre lake derives its name from a combination of the town of Lena and the Latin work for water, aqua. Lake Le-Aqua-Na offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities including more than 10 miles of mult-use trails. The large tracts of wooded land include oak, hickory, walnut and pine trees. Woodland flowers are on display, especially in the spring and early summer, and wildlife is abundant. There is boating, fishing, a children's fishing pond, swimming, picnic and playground areas, shelters, trails for mountain biking, hiking and cross-country skiing, equestrian trails, sledding, hunting and camping.