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The Midwest’s number-one attraction is the place in Chicago for lakefront fun. Take an exhilarating ride on the sky-high Ferris wheel, board a sightseeing or dinner cruise boat, and see a live performance at the outdoor Skyline Stage or acclaimed Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Dine at one of Navy Pier’s many boardwalk restaurants and browse the unique shops and stands (a great place to pick up a souvenir).
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
This museum is one of the most-visited presidential museums in the nation where visitors can experience the entire Lincoln story under one roof, from Abe's humble beginnings in an Indiana log cabin to his days as president in the White House. Be dazzled by two special effects theaters featuring historical ghosts and a Civil War battlefield, life-like vignettes that depict important moments in the president’s life, and artifacts that range from Lincoln’s stovepipe hat to an original copy of the Gettysburg Address.
Timber Ridge Outpost & Cabins
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 treehouse. Each of the units, including the treehouse, is equipped with a bathroom, kitchenette, heating and air conditioning.
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.
Broadway in Chicago
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.
Lincoln's Ghost Walks - Legends and Lore
Take a 90-minute nighttime tour of sites throughout Springfield that are linked to spirited stories about Lincoln’s life and death. Founder Garret Moffett based the tour partly on local lore about Lincoln’s visions and dreams, as well as on reported ghost sightings.
The Morton Arboretum
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. A perfect place to visit this fall.
Odyssey Lunch/Dinner/Champagne Cruises
Step aboard Odyssey and enjoy a two or three-hour escape to the signature elegance and total entertainment experience only a luxury cruising vessel can provide. Creative appetizers, entrees and desserts prepared fresh onboard daily. Award-winning wines. Dancing to live music. And unmatched skyline views.
Tall Ship Windy
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.
Festival of the Vine
Geneva restaurants create an array of specialties under an outdoor tent at the “Flavor Fare” partnered with wine and live musical entertainment. The Fall Harvest Market offers food and floral demos, unique displays plus Kid’s Patch activities. An arts and crafts show, flower market, horse-drawn carriage rides and several exceptional wine tasting and dinner events also take place around the historic downtown.
Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field
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.
Chestnut Mountain Resort
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.
Celebration River Cruises
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.
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.
Tara Point Inn and Cottages
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.
Nouveau Wine Weekend
Downtown Galena comes alive with the release of Galena Cellars Vineyard and Winery's Nouveau Wine. A traditional French stew, paired with Nouveau wine is served at most local restaurants, followed by horse-drawn wagon deliveries down Main Street. Take your choice of various downtown locations for one of the afternoon wine and cheese parties or plan to celebrate with all of them.
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa
At Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa go golfing on one of four championship courses, horseback riding along hilly wooded trails, boating on the sapphire waters of Lake Galena, or soaring over the countryside in a hot air balloon with Galena on the Fly. Relax in the luxury of the resort’s Stonedrift Spa with a pampering massage. Eagle Ridge offers a wide variety of lodging that ranges from traditional inn rooms to golf villas and distinctive homes.
Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary
Tour Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary. Animal lovers can learn about, pet, hold and feel some of the 350 rescued animals, comprised of 30 different species. All income supports the rescued animals. Critter Camp is a non-profit, tax exempt, charitable, volunteer operated, no-kill facility that does not buy, breed, sell or exploit any animal.Personally guided tours are available seven days a week year round for up to six people per tour, but all tours are by appointment.
CITY: German Valley
Magnificent full-service inn celebrating more than 30 years of hospitality. Featuring elite amenities, dining and spa services in a romantic setting overlooking the Mississippi River.
Eagle Watching at Starved Rock State Park
You don’t have to travel north to see these majestic birds of prey. Thousands of eagles migrate south from Canada during the winter and Illinois is one of the homes of the greatest population of wintering bald eagles. The Starved Rock Lodge in Utica offers a “Bald Eagle Trolley Tour” in January and February on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Viewing birds from the Veranda at the Starved Rock Lodge is good as well. Dress warmly though. This great viewing spot is right outside the doors of the Great Room. If you’d like some exercise, take a hike on one of the trails at the Starved Rock State Park. One trail begins right at the Veranda. For a birds eye view, hike to the top of the Rock. Another popular event is "Eagle Watch Weekend" with activites both at the Starved Rock Lodge and the Illinois Waterway Visitors Center.
Seadog Speedboat Rides
The largest speedboats in the country, the 70-foot-long, bright yellow Seadog boats carry up to 149 passengers and offer 30-minute speedboat rides along the lakefront. Seadog rides depart from Navy Pier.
Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline
Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline offers 90-minute tours for the whole family that include lake and river cruises, fireworks cruises, canine cruises and night cruises all departing from the landscaped dock on Chicago’s Riverwalk at the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Cruising season May - October.
Quad City Botanical Center
Rock Island's Quad City Botanical Center houses exotic tropical flowers, a 14-foot waterfall and reflecting pools with koi. Seasonal attractions include a butterfly garden and the Garden Train Railway exhibit. The Botanical Center also regularly hosts art exhibitions and special events for families.
CITY: Rock Island
Chicago Premium Outlets, Aurora
Find impressive savings at over 120 designer and name-brand outlet stores, such as Ann Taylor, Armani, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, Elie Tahari, Gap Outlet, J.Crew, Lacoste, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Michael Kors, Theory, Vera Bradley and more. The opening of an additional 80 stores in the Spring of 2015 will make this even more of a Midwest Shopping destination! In Aurora, 37 miles west of Chicago.
Curtis Orchard is an 80-acre apple orchard, pumpkin patch and entertainment farm offers activities for the whole family. Open July 20–December 20, the orchard country store and bakery offer a wide variety of gift and food items, including pies, fritters, apple crisp donuts and award-winning cider. Outdoor activities include seasonal apple and pumpkin picking, kids play structures, a giant slide, several mazes including the corn maze, petting zoo, toddler area, birthday parties and corporate picnics. Weekend activities include outdoor meals, live entertainment, seasonal pony rides, and an orchard wagon.
Discover cute boutiques housed in historic storefronts in downtown Champaign, including antique and consignment shops. Be sure to stop at PACA’s Architectural Salvage Warehouse, where you’ll find everything from vintage stained glass to ceramic tiles.
The Chocolate Shoppe
The Chocolate Shoppe in Utica is where lovers of this rich delicacy flock to. Featuring handmade confections, including world famous chocolate covered bacon; and offering a variety of sea-salted caramels, truffles, fudge, nut clusters, barks toffees, hand-dipped chocolate popcorn, graham crackers, pretzels, chocolate-covered fruits and nuts, and specialty items like chocolate pasta, chocolate balsamic vinegars and more.
Bald Eagle Trolley Tours
In January and February ride the trolley from Starved Rock Lodge to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center for bald eagle viewing and an educational program. Includes lunch during the week and brunch on Sunday in the Main Dining Room.
The Palms Grill Café
The Palms Grill Cafe was a well-known restaurant during the heyday of Route 66. Recently the cafe was revitalized and reopened, and is serving up delicious nostalgia from the fabled Route 66 era. The Palm’s Grill Café has been baking pies and feeding hungry travels and residents for decades. Their pies are so delicious they've even won a few state pie competitions. Saddle up to the counter or take a seat at a table; either way, the pie and coffee with the community atmosphere is enough to make any first-timer feel like a regular. Conveniently located right across the street is the towering Bunyon’s Statue, another one of Route 66’s famous Muffler Man Statues.
This engaging retail experience features the full line of Hershey's products, as well as one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs Be entertained by the singing baker at the bake shoppe, offering cupcakes, cookies and brownies all topped with Hershey's products.
Chicago River Architecture Tour - Wendella Sightseeing Boats
The Chicago River Architecture Tour is a 60-minute journey through the heart of the city. Led by an architectural expert, this in-depth tour traces the history and innovations of urban architecture in Chicago.
The Fish Market - A Loading Dock Guest House
This upscale cottage was designed with comfort and fun in mind. Perfect for families or singles, the Guest House sleeps up to 6 with one king size bed and four twin size bunks. A full kitchen and large living room makes for a most relaxing stay. Two televisions and wireless internet access keep you in touch. The Guest House is small-pet friendly with a fenced-in side garden.
Prairie Fruits Farm
Prairie Fruit farms is a farm-to-table experience located in Champaign, IL that celebrates eating locally and sustainably. Working with Culinary Institute of America trained chefs they create multi-course meals using only the freshest local ingredients. Many of the vegetables and fruits come from the farm, as well as the milk, eggs and cheeses. You can even take farm tours and learn how they harvest the crops and milk their large herd of sheep for the creation of cheeses and milk. Perfect for kids of all ages.
Tuscan Hills Winery
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.
Enjoy a relaxing retreat at Sara's Sanctuary. Every retreat offers a different health and wellness experience, which includes therapeutic massage, aromatherapy, yoga or meditation, reflexology and Reiki. Each session has a limit of eight participants and four sleeping rooms.
Christmas with the Lincolns
Where did the Lincoln boys hang their stockings for Santa to fill? What might have been in those stockings? What Christmas goodies were on Lincoln's table? Discover how the Lincolns celebrated he holidays by taking a tour through the Lincoln Home.
Bald Eagle Watching in the Cache River Wetlands
The Cache River Wetlands offers great opportunities for eagle watching, as well as spotting other birds. The Cache River Wetland Center provides resource and identification materials to help you spot eagles and other birds in the area and along the rivers. They will provide maps and directions to the viewing station for the nest just off Illinois Route 37 off Perks road and south of the visitor's center.
“Ciao” on delicious Italian food and delight in a grand parade. There will be midway rides and games, live music, a bocce tournament, a grape stomp, a pasta cook-off, a kids pet and bike parade, a road race and an art contest.
Arthur Amish Country Information Center
This visitor's center offers maps and information on the entire Amish area, including the 150 Amish craft shops that dot the countryside surrounding the village of Arthur.
The Chocolatier, Inc.
The Chocolatier, Inc. in Downtown Bloomington specializes in fine chocolates and candies. Stop in and pick out the perfect treat!
Chanute Air Museum
The Chanute Air Museum celebrates the 76 year legacy of the former Chanute Air Force base and the development Illinois aviation. The Museum showcases over 30 aircraft, including a rare P-51H Mustang and XB-47 Stratojet, while exhibits include "Life at Chanute" and "The 99th Pursuit Squadron: From Rantoul to Ramitelli and Beyond." Bus parking and a gift shop are available.
Cheif Keokuk Campground
The Chief Keokuk Campground features 70 pads with electrical hook-ups for trailers, plus 25 tent sites (All camping Class B/E). There is a shower building on site. A sanitary dump station is near the camping area. A primitive cabin, Chief Tecumseh, is also available. The cabin is located on a slope overlooking Johnson Lake. A fire grill, table and BBQ grill are provided outside. A full size bed, two sets of bunk beds, a table and benches are provided inside. The cabin has heat and air conditioning as well as two ceiling fans. Reservations can be made, for dates between May 1st and November 1st, at ReserveAmerica.com for the campgrounds and cabin.
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is located primarily in Williamson County, with small extensions into eastern Jackson and northeastern Union counties of southern Illinois. At almost 44,000 acres and with three lakes, Crab Orchard, Little Grassy, and Devils Kitchen, endless opportunities abound for watching wildlife, hiking nature trails, photography, swimming, fishing from the bank or by boat, and hunting. Four seasonally operational campgrounds are open from April-October and offer full hook-up, water, electric, or non-electric sites. Refuge staff and volunteers at the visitor center welcome visitors and sightseers 7 days a week from 8am-4:30pm. Visitor activities such as guided hikes, bald eagle tours, and monthly F.U.N. programs help connect families with the diversity of flora and fauna that southern Illinois has to offer. The Refuge provides many opportunities for wildlife-dependent outdoor recreation for the nature lover in us all.
2014 Bald Eagle Bus Tours
Guided, four-hour tours of bald eagle, wintering communities. View and learn about the bald eagle's habits, life history, preservation efforts and threats to its future. Reservations required. Bus departs from Stoney Creek Inn.
Anthony Acres Resort
Anthony Acres Resort has picturesque views of Lake Sara. The resort is only five minutes from Effingham, so you can come into town and enjoy some food or shop.
A quiet cove at dawn, where the only sound is the whir of a casting reel and the gentle splash of the fly hitting the water’s surface...that’s Lake Sara. A sunny afternoon slalom skiing behind a powerboat or running along the beach...that’s Lake Sara. A family picnic in the grass at water’s edge or a family reunion, with fried chicken and the works, under one of the pavilions...that’s Lake Sara. Lake Sara is an 800-acre recreational lake nestled into a wooded shoreline, encircled by a winding road. Spend a day, a week, or a season on the shores of Lake Sara. Lake Sara has something for everyone, in every season of the year.
Wonderland in Lights
Each year, the City of Effingham and the Effingham Convention and Visitors Bureau turn Community Park into a winter wonderland! Wonderland in Lights, a drive-through light display, features a variety of lighted holiday scenes including reindeer flying, Santa coming down the chimney and a Nativity scene. We continue to add new lighting displays each year to grow the display. Santa visits the Wonderland in Lights every Saturday to bring special presents to the children. Come drive through the light display and stick around to talk to Santa and listen to your favorite Christmas carols! The Wonderland in Lights is free, but donations are welcome.
Beall Mansion - An Elegant Bed & Breakfast Inn
Indulge yourself at the Beall Mansion, a sumptuous Bed and Breakfast Inn located 12 blocks from the Mississippi River. Designed by Lucas Pfeiffenberger and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this elegant mansion features 18 ionic columns, eleven and a half foot ceilings, crystal chandeliers and marble and bronze statuary throughout. Let us pamper you with sumptuous feather beds, whirlpools for two, 24 hour "all you can eat" chocolate buffet, and optional gourmet breakfast in bed. Free Wi-fi. In room massage, spa, golf and corporate packages available.
Aerie's Cottages & Vacation Villas
At Aerie's, the individual Cottages include jaccuzzi tubs, kitchenettes and private decks. The Lodge, perfect for family gatherings includes a common room, full kitchen and a deck shared by four ensuite rooms. The Vacation Villas offer multiple arrangements and include private deck space with access to the swimming pool and clubhouse. Free Wi-fi.
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
What Lincoln Center is to New Yourk and Kennedy Center is to Washington D.C., Krannert Center is to the Midwest—a magnificent showcase for the performing arts. KCPA is a premier educational and professional performing arts complex and is the setting for over 300 performances each year. A professional laboratory for the University of Illinois dance, theatre, opera and music departments, the Center also hosts internationally famous artists such as Emmy Lou Harris, Herbie Hancock, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Mark Morris Dance Group, and is home to the Champaign-Urbana Symphony and Sinfonia de Camera.
My Garage Museum Collection
Showcasing classic and one-of-a-kind Corvettes and memorabilia, My Garage Museum is a must-see attraction for any car enthusiast. Corvettes on display include Indy pace cars, racing machines, the last C-4 and the first 21st century model.
Combined Lake and River Tour - Wendella Sightseeing Boats
The Combined Lake and River Tour offers a comprehensive overview of Chicago, with breathtaking views of the magnificent skyline and an up-close perspective from the Chicago River.
Famous Fossil Vineyard & Winery
Taste soft reds, crisp whites and luscious fruit wines all make at the winery using the best of Illinois grapes. Watch wine being made and then relax and enjoy a glass of wine in the tasting room or on the deck overlooking the vineyard. The Sweet & Savory Plate of meats, cheeses, fruits and chocolate is available daily for a light lunch or snack. Special events are held throughout the year including vineyard tours, festivals and wine & food pairings and a small private room is available for showers, parties & meetings. To learn more about Famous Fossil wines or upcoming events, visit our website. Open: June thru December: daily: 11 am - 6 pm; January thru May: Wednesday thru Saturday: 11 am - 6 pm; Sunday: Noon - 5 pm.
Summerfield Farm & Zoo
Summerfield Zoo is home to a large variety of exotic animals, ranging from reindeer and monkeys to camels and mountain lions. We are proud to offer an up close and personal animal experience. While at the zoo, enjoy our education and fun animal encounter presentations. Summerfield Zoo is open selected weekends May through November.
Mercury's Urban Adventure Cruise
Immerse yourself in Chicago's rich history with a live commentated, family-friendly 90-minute tour cruising the Chicago River and Lake Michigan aboard Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline. Learn fun facts and hear fascinating tales as you cruise amongst the city's famous architectural giants. Capture incredible photos as only can be experienced from the unique vantage point of the Chicago River, and marvel at incredible skyline views from the expansive waters of Lake Michigan. Cruises depart daily, May through October.
Aalto's Station House Cottages at Irish Hollow
Delivered gourmet breakfast by a wood burning fireplace, hiking trails, relaxing massage, seasonal packages, beautiful gardens, seven-course candlelight dinners, lush furnishings and amenities, all nestled in a gorgeous countryside setting.
Chicago Chocolate Tours
Take a fun, educational guided walking and tasting tour of select chocolate shops along the Magnificent Mile or in the Loop. Learn about the history of chocolate and sample chocolate delights on this tasty tour
Blackhawk War Monument
This monument is located on the site of Kellogg's Grove, an early settlement established in 1827 on a mail route between Peoria and Galena, and now on the National Register of Historic Places. It honors those killed in the Blackhawk War, including in the final Illinois Battle which occurred at this grove in June, 1832. Abraham Lincoln, a member of the Illinois militia, helped bury five of the slain men. The remaining soldiers were originally buried throughout the area at the spots at which they fell. Fifty years after the war, local farmers collected the remains and buried them in one enclosure on top of this hill overlooking the Yellow Creek Valley. The 34-foot high monument was dedicated in 1886.
Ballard Nature Center
Just minutes away from the city but a world away, Ballard Nature Center is home to dozens of species of birds and wildlife. Natural prairie, wetlands, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, ponds and creeks round out the outdoor experience.
19th Century Christmas at Deere-Wiman House & Butterworth Center
Don't miss these two beautifully decorated Deere family mansions during the holiday season. The 19th Century Christmas features the interiors of the homes decorated for the holidays; along with living-history volunteers, Choir performances, Santa Claus, music, and make-and-take activities for the children. These homes once belonged to the John Deere family and are now operated by the William Butterworth Memorial Trust. Open noon to 5 p.m. Free admission.
The Egyptian Theatre hosts film festivals, special movie screenings, and live entertainment events. This theatre is a 1929, fully restored Egyptian Art Deco movie palace and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Egyptian is also available for rentals, tours, weddings, graduations, parties and receptions. Capacity: 1,419 Raised stage with dressing room below; balcony and lobby space.
Discover Green Street and the heart of campus at the University of Illinois. Restaurants, bars, shops, bookstores and more await your presence in this Orange & Blue themed area.
Long Grove Confectionery Co.
Your sweet tooth is sure to be on alert at Long Grove Confectionary Co. Watch homemade fudge getting made as thick layers of sweet goodness fold into large vats. Inhale the sugary goodness of the famed cocoa concoctions as soon as you walk inside. At Long Grove, the old fashioned confectionary is alive and well, and smelling oh so good.
CITY: Buffalo Grove
Galena Halloween Parade
Be a part of the largest Halloween parade in the tri-state area as it marches down Main Street Galena with floats, costumes, and treats for guys and "ghouls" of all ages.
TREC Recreation Trails
The TREC trail system is a public trail designed to create recreational opportunities. The trails provide a great place for visitors to exercise, whether its walking, riding bikes, or roller blading. The mission is to develop a countrywide, multi-use trail system, educate the communities on the benefits of the trails, and promote an active lifestyle by providing recreational activities.
Come out to Camp Lakewood and enjoy the views of Lake Pauline plus all the creature comforts. Camp Lakewood is an RV campground. The sites include cable, WiFi, 30/50 AMP. They also offer a one and two bedroom cabin that is fully furnished and self contained. The newest cabin sleeps five and includes Cable TV. They do offer tent sites as well for those who want to be a little closer to nature.
Alton Museum of History and Art
Winged monsters, explorers, riverboats and a gentle giant. The Alton Museum of History & Art shows the crossroads of American history in Alton. The museum is located in the historic Loomis Hall across from the Wadlow statue. Loomis Hall is the oldest building in the state of Illinois continuously utilized for education. One of the most popular rooms, the Wadlow Room, pays tribute to Alton's "Gentle Giant" and the World's Tallest Man. The Pioneer Room explores the history of Alton from the Lewis & Clark Expedition to the Civil War with exhibits on Elijah Lovejoy, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and the "Alton Route" on the Underground Railroad. Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sunday 1 - 4 p.m.
Cedarhurst Center for the Arts & Mitchell Museum
Exhibitions, a children's gallery, a permanent collection and special events. Grounds include 85 acres sculpture park, nature trails and bird sanctuary. Hosts annual Cedarhurst Craft Fair.
CITY: Mount Vernon
The Chocolate Factory prides itself in offering quality gourmet chocolates in a wide variety of mouth watering flavor, formulated with only the finest ingredients. Our irresistible silky smooth blended chocolates make delicious rich candies for any occasion!
Sleepy Creek Vineyards
Sleepy Creek Vineyards offers more than just great wine. Experience live entertainment, unique shopping, and tastings from local farms. Group tours of the vineyards can be scheduled, and rental space is available for special events including business meetings, parties, and weddings.
Sculpture on the Avenue
Come explore the sculptures that have transformed the City of Effingham's avenues into an art gallery. Over 30 sculptures created by some of the Midwest's best known and unknown sculptors bring life to the streets of Effingham as part of the annual "Sculptures on the Avenues" outdoor exhibition. Sculptures on the Avenues is a self-guided walking tour that begins at City Hall, located at 201 E. Jefferson Ave. From there, the exhibition winds in and out of Downtown Effingham. An informative guide, which facilitates a walking tour, is available at the Effingham Visitors Center or City Hall.
Blackhawk Chocolate Trail
A delicious mixture of cocoa is found every which way along the Blackhawk Chocolate Trail in the four-county area of Northwest Illinois. Enjoy visiting candy stores, bed and breakfasts with special chocolate-themed packages, gift shops and old-fashioned soda fountains.
Underground Railroad Shuttle Tours
Learn about local, Underground Railroad sites on a shuttle tour with J.E. Robinson Tours and the Alton Regional CVB on the last Saturday of each month (10 a.m. to noon). The two-hour guided shuttle tours will stop at some of the sites that were part of the Underground Railroad system including the Old Rock House, Rocky Fork Church and more. Alton’s riverfront location along the Mighty Mississippi played a vital role in helping slaves make connections to the freedom of the northern states. Buried beneath the streets of Alton and Godfrey, remnants of this period in history still exist. For more information on the Underground Railroad shuttle tours or to make advance registrations, please contact the Alton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 258-6645.
Northern Illinois University
Come tour the Northern Illinois University, catch a show preformed by their Theatre or Dance department, or explore one of their Art Galleries. There is much to do on campus including their new Anthropology Museum, an Observatory, the Huskies Den or take in a game! Their Museums are free to visit, some fees may apply for shows or School of Music Concerts. There is never a dull moment on campus!
Chicago's newest and largest cruise ship located at Navy Pier. Cruises are available for group and private charters along Chicago's lakefront for groups of 50 to 400 passengers.
Lagomarcino’s has been creating fine chocolates in Moline since 1908. A family run business, you can’t help but feel the love and dedication to all things sweet in their historic location. This authentic, turn-of-the-century ice cream parlor and confectionery is renowned for homemade chocolates and ice cream. Stop by and get a taste of history for yourself; your life will be a lot sweeter for it.
Kennekuk County Park
The 3000 acre park includes a seven mile backpack trail among its 15 miles of trail system. Boats and canoes are available for rental in season, and seven lakes are available for fishing. Hunting of pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, dove, waterfowl, goose, mushrooms, turkey, and deer is permitted (Illinois and Vermilion County Conservation District regulations apply).
My Just Desserts
Follow the lead of the locals in Alton and order dessert first, at My Just Desserts, as fresh-baked favorites like the Tollhouse brownies and Mrs. Ledbetter’s chocolate pie sell out early. Every morning 9 to 13 pie varieties are baked fresh. You’ll swear you stepped back in time when you enter this unique establishment, from the squeak in the hardwood floors to the Mason jar glasses.
Cuneo Mansion and Gardens
The opulent Cuneo Museum and Gardens, located on 75 acres and dotted with formal gardens and statuary was the perfect setting for the wedding scenes in "My Best Friend's Wedding." The gazebo where the best friends were caught kissing was built specifically for the film, but Cuneo's owners liked it so much they decided to keep it permanently. Take a guided tour through the historic Mediterranean-style Cuneo mansion to see Renaissance artworks and lavish European furnishings.
CITY: Vernon Hills
Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park
The Hennepin Canal State Park, a 104-mile linear park, is a rustic, historic, educational, and recreational jewel spanning five counties and includes the entire width of Henry County with access points in Annawan, Atkinson, Geneseo, and Colona. It offers an up-close look at a fascinating piece of transportation history. It is popular with bicyclists who ride from town to town exploring the history, dining, lodging, and entertainment possibilities as they travel. The canal multi-purpose recreational trail is a portion of the American Discovery Trail, a 6,800-mile coast-to-coast trail devoted to non-motorized use. It is also part of the Grand Illinois Trail, a 535-mile loop through northern Illinois. The tree-lined park is a refuge with prairie restorations and wetlands slicing through corn and soybean farmland. Home to diverse flora and fauna, it has become a favorite for bird watchers and prairie enthusiasts. It offers numerous year-round opportunities to boat, hike, bike, fish, ride horseback, snowmobile, ice skate, and cross-country ski. Explore Henry County’s jewel – the Hennepin Canal. In wintertime experience the longest snowmobile trail in the state -- 91 miles on the tow path. You can use the ice at your own risk, but pay heed to the locks, bridges and culverts where the ice likely is thinner than the rest of the canal. Bring your blades, skating along the canal is free! Keep in mind the rule is there must be 4" of snow and 6" of frost on canal for route to be open. Call the Visitor Center for automated message.
Bishop Hill Prairie Arts Center & Colony Pottery
Enjoy watching the potter in an open air studio creating artwork on the potter's wheel. The center also features rug, broom, weaving and spinning artisans.
CITY: Bishop Hill
Green Tree Inn Bed & Breakfast
Come home to Green Tree Inn where you can enjoy all the comforts of home and more. Let us pamper you while you enjoy the peacefulness of the quaint village often referred to as the “town that time forgot”. Green Tree Inn is located right off the Great River Road between Alton and Grafton. Take advantage of all the local activities and then come back to the Inn to relax, refresh and rejuvenate. All rooms have private bathrooms with shower/tub combo. Take advantage of our screened in porch, fire pit in the garden or fireplace in our great room to relax and unwind. The Inn is great in all seasons. Free Wi-Fi is available. Bicycles are available for our guests to take a leisurely ride around the village or on one of the local bike trails. This is a non-smoking facility
Fever River Railroad
For model railroad aficionados -- and everyone else who ever enjoyed model trains -- this model railroad is something to see. The Fever River Railroad is a 120X24-foot HO scale model of a hypothetical railroad running from Duluth, Minnesota to St. Louis, Missouri. This fully operational model railroad has detailed scenery, rail yards, factories, and interchanges with many other railroads. The model railroad allows for the operation of multiple trains along railroad right-of-way that portrays typical towns along the Duluth to St. Louis route. The Fever River Railroad is an ongoing project with upgrades to the layout and scenery that provides an exciting model railroad experience. A collection of railroad memorabilia and pictures, many from the surrounding area, are on display throughout the facility. The Stephenson Society of Model Trainmen, who operate the railroad, host an open house twice a year, and visitors are welcome at other times by appointment.
Autumn Drive in McHenry County
Welcome to a different kind of fall festival! Spend a leisurely day with family and friends on a real country road. Fourteen family farms in rural McHenry County, Illinois are open to the public for three days the third weekend in October. Each stop along the way offers a unique country experience. There are antiques, arts & crafts, pumpkins, and many surprises to discover along the way. Follow us on Facebook - facebook.com/autumndrive
Mt. Vernon Market
Mt. Vernon Market is located at the former armory building in downtown Mt. Vernon and features farmers markets, flea markets, vendor fairs, trade shows, entertainment, and other events throughout the year.
CITY: Mount Vernon
Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse
Discover the beautifully restored, historic Vaudeville-Era Dinner Playhouse. Circa '21 services up exciting musical productions with dinner. Even your wait staff are part of the pre-show! Watch your waiter dance, and sing before each show begins. Matinee performances are also available. Check website for current show schedule.
Little Cubs Field
This replica of Chicago's historic Wrigley Field is complete with ivy, bricks, box seats, dirt and sod from the real Wrigley Field, plus a replica scoreborad and entry sign. It is open for exploring at no cost or is available for rental for birthday parties, picnics, corporate events and more. Rental fees are $45 per hour or $90 for two hours.Reservations may be made at our website.
Kokopelli Golf Club
This 18-hole course, designed by renowned golf architect Steve Smyers, was named by Travel + Leisure as one of "America's 100 Best Courses for $100 or Less." Kokopelli offers a full-service pro shop, professionals who offer personal golf instruction and an eight-acre practice facility. This course has a restaurant, lounge, and banquet facilities available.
Bald Eagle Days Environmental Fair
Don't miss the Bald Eagle Days Environmental Fair and Wildlife Art Show at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island, Illinois. The show is heralded as the largest event in the Midwest dedicated to the United States' national symbol of freedom. The three-day event includes live eagle, hawk, owl and vulture flying demonstrations along with educational programs and over 200 fun and informative exhibits.
CITY: Rock Island
Alton Hauntings Tours
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.
Heritage Prairie Farm
Farm dinners at Heritage Prairie Farm, in Elburn have been a tradition since 2007. All farm dinners include a welcome cocktail upon arrival to the farm with butler-passed appetizers, and live acoustic music. For dinner, an upscale five-course meal, introduced by the chef himself, is served family-style in a charming atmosphere, regardless of the season. Get an inside look at how the farm operates from one of their knowledgeable staff with a private tour of the farm.
The Pie Pantry
The Pie Pantry offers a great selection of soups, salads, and burgers, and of course delicious pies, by the slice or as a whole.
Stang Arts Studio & Gallery
Stang Arts Studio & Gallery features art classes for both children and adults, along with holding various events throughout the year. The artist, Jamie Stang, also specializes in "paint parties." These parties are great for a group, as they feature great food, drinks, music and art. Jamie helps visitors discover their inner-artist while relaxing in a chic studio-style atmosphere. Check out her gallery while you're there too.
Play set in Dusseldorf, Germany on 1910, Louis Maske inadvertnetly drops her ill-fitting drawers in the middle of town square during a parade to honor the king.
Martin Ranch Bed & Breakfast
Newly constructed French Country style home located on 100 acres featuring equine hotel, nature trails, and fishing pond. The outdoors is as enchanting and as lively as it is indisde. Each of the 4 guest rooms is tastefully decorated.
NASCAR Racing Experience
You can’t get much closer to the real thing than this. At the NASCAR Racing Experience, you’ll drive a race car that’s been driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and other NASCAR drivers. You’ll get a true NASCAR driving experience: There’s no pace car to follow. Passing is allowed. And you’ll have in-car Racing Electronics radio communications. In 2014, the NASCAR Racing Experience will be at Chicagoland Speedway May 9-10, July 4, 5, 11, 12, and August 29-30. See their site for more details.