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Since 1921, The Virginia Theater has been a landmark in the business district of Champaign and in the history of the region. For 75 years, the 1,525 seat theater has offered entertainment as a vaudeville house, legitimate theater, and movie house. The historic theater plays host to Roger Ebert’s Ebertfest Film Festival every spring.
Spring Valley Nature Center/ Volkening Heritage Farm
135 acres, natural history museum, handicapped-accessible trails, 1880's living history farm and pioneer cooking demos. Cost for some programs.
Livingston County Courthouse
Located on the square in downtown Ponitac, the courthouse was built in 1875 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Abraham Lincoln tried some of his earlier cases here.
Downtown park on the banks of the Rock River. Site of several Native American "Effigy Mounds," which have been preserved.
Historic Fischer Theatre, owned by the Vermilion Heritage Foundation, was built as the Grand Opera House in 1884. From Lillian Russell to silent movies, this theater provided entertainment to the community until it's closing in 1982. As work continues toward the goal of complete restoration, the lobby is used for many public events. The theater also houses the "Stage Presents The Fischer Gift Shop" where you will find creations by local artists and artisans, as well as products highlighting the area's famous stage, movie and vocal artists.
The final debate of Stephan A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln took place in front of Alton's city hall at the corner of Broadway and Market Streets. The senatorial debate drew national attention along with more that 6,000 visitors. Life-like statues of the two statesmen keep the famous series of debates in 1858 frozen forever in time.
Bishop Hill State Historic Site
Four historically significant buildings are owned by the State of Illinois and are maintained as part of the Bishop Hill State Historic Site. These architectural treasures are the two-story Colony Church (1850), the three-story Colony Hotel (1852-ca. 1860), the Boys Dormitory (ca. 1850), and the Colony Barn (mid-1850s) that has been relocated behind the Hotel. In addition, the central village park contains a reconstructed gazebo and war monuments. On the south edge of the village, stands a new brick Museum to house a comprehensive collection of paintings by colonist and self-taught artist, Olof Krans (1838-1916). Hours and days of operation change with the season. Please call to confirm your visit.
CITY: Bishop Hill
Chicago Private Tours
Provides tours in nine languages. Each tour comes with a chauffeur, expert guide, and luxury vehicle. Group tours available.
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.
Downtown Jacksonville Walldog Murals
Completed in the Summer of 2006, these 10 murals depicting historic Jacksonville scenes and events were handpainted by more than 50 sign painters and graphic artists from as far away as Scotland and New Zealand.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Architect Frank Gehry designed this spectacular outdoor concert venue in Millennium Park that is home to the Grant Park Music Festival, along with other free concerts and events.
National Lampoon's Vacation - Buckingham Fountain
In this wacky comedy a Chicago family takes a hysterical road trip across country to reach a theme park on the West Coast. Illinois scenes include Buckingham Fountain in downtown Chicago's Grant Park (seen spouting its famous cascades of water in the background as the family leaves Chicago) and the Poplar Street Bridge that spans the Mississippi River in East St. Louis (where the family gets lost).
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.
Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition
Abraham Lincoln spent 30 years in Central Illinois, where he raised his family and pursued his passion for the law and politics. Today, the 42 counties of the state's Central region have been designated as the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, which is managed by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition. The group is responsible for preserving the history and heritage of Lincoln’s Illinois, and offers information on historic sites and suggested tours.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple
Unity Temple, Frank Lloyd Wright's modern masterpiece, celebrated the centennial of its dedication in 2009. Unity Temple is an icon of modern architecture and a destination for tens of thousands of visitors each year, and is famous for its brilliant use of light and space. One of the most complex and exciting buildings in 20th century architecture, it was Wright's first public commission and is the only surviving public building from his golden Prairie period. Available for your extraordinary special event.
CITY: Oak Park
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago's architectural showplace for the lively and visual arts. Daily programs and exhibitions covering a wide range of the performing, visual and literary arts are presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affiars. See the world's largest Tiffany stained-glass dome. It was initially built for dual purposes. It was the city's central library and a monument dedicated to the Civil War's Grand Army of the Republic. Since 1977 the building has housed cultural entities that included galleries, an auditorium, and the city's office of cultural affairs. The building architects are Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge.
An eclectic district filled with dining and multi-cultural attractions, Midtown Champaign, with the beautiful Boneyard Creek flowing, connects Downtown and Campustown Champaign.
Housed in the historic Water Tower Water Works, this award-winning, local ensemble has offered dynamic, physical, intellectual theater since 1989. The main stage will allow Lookingglass to reconfigure the stage and audience seating as dictated by the needs of each production, allowing for a maximum capacity of 270 persons, 60 of whom may be seated at the balcony level.
YOU! The Experience
More than just a body, you are a complex blend of your choices, your personality, and your environment. Who you are depends on how you care for yourself and enjoy your life. YOU! The Experience brings these elements together into an interactive exhibit examining and celebrating the experience of life itself. It is one of the first and largest exhibitions to showcase the connection between the human mind, body and spirit in the 21st century. Start exploring the exhibit's fun and fascinating opportunities to explore what it is to be … YOU!
Formerly known as the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane. Come take a tour and hear stories of the history of the hospital, employees and the inmates. See how this nationally recognized historic
Frank Lloyd Wright's B. Harley Bradley House
The B. Harley Bradley House Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1900 The B. Harley Bradley House in Kankakee, Illinois, is widely acknowledged as Wright's first Prairie Style design. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places individually and as part of the Riverview Historic District. Following an extensive restoration, the Bradley House now enjoys the opportunity to be appreciated by architecture fans from around the world. This Prairie Style house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright along with its neighboring home. The houses are acknowledged by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy as Wright's first house designs that ushered in Wright's Prairie Style. The B. Harley Bradley House is open for 1 hour tours.
Historic Town Square & Downtown Carbondale
Twenty-five historic buildings ring Carbondale's nostalgic Town Square. When Daniel Harmon Brush, Carbondale's founding father, filed the original 56-acre plat of Carbondale in 1852, almost 10 acres were left open in the center of town. Today you can shop charming locally owned boutiques here, ranging from bike shops to furniture stores.
Shoppes at Grand Prairie
The Shoppes at Grand Prairie ~ a vibrant, open-air lifestyle center in Peoria ~ is the premier dining and shopping destination for the region. The Shoppes features an exciting blend of retailers and restaurants, along with our anchor stores: Bergner's, DSW, Jillian's and Dick's Sporting Goods. The center is highlighted by an inviting, lushly landscaped outdoor environment that features animal sculptures throughout the center, the nationally acclaimed Holocaust Memorial Button exhibit filled with 11 million buttons, the Caterpillar children's play area, and weekend entertainment.
One of Oak Park's finest showplaces, the 12,000 sq. foot, 1913 mansion is located in the Historic District. Reminiscent of a gracious English country home and surrounded by 2 acres of beautiful gardens, a greenhouse and coach house. It is available for private and corporate event rentals.
CITY: Oak Park
Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
The historic landmark Auditorium Theatre, an architectural masterpiece designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, opened in 1889. The Auditorium, which regularly hosts live performances, is renowned for its amazing acoustics.
Chicago Greeter Service
Explore Chicago with a friendly, knowledgeable Chicago Greeter as your guide! Visitors can register for a free 2-4 hour guided walking tour of a neighborhood or special local interest of their choice. This free service matches an individual, family or small group of friends with one of over 200 enthusiastic volunteer Greeters who love sharing their expertise and passion about the city and all there is to see and do here. For more information, visit http://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/tours/tourism/chicago_greeter_tours.html.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Chicago Shakespeare Theater offers a broad spectrum of theatrical experiences year-round, engaging and entertaining audiences from all walks of life and from around the world. The plays of William Shakespeare form the core of our company's work and Subscription Series, featuring selections from Shakespeare’s 38-play canon complemented by other dramatic works—from traditional classical theater to new classics that resonate with Shakespeare’s timeless insights into the human condition.
Lewis and Clark State Historic Site
The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site commemorates Camp Dubois, the 1803-1804 winter camp of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. It was at Camp Dubois that members of the Corps of Discovery prepared for their expedition to the Pacific Ocean. The 14,000 square-foot exhibit space contains six galleries that outline the background and history of the Lewis and Clark expedition from its conception to its meaning for today's America. Exhibits are kid-friendly, offering opportunities for hands-on engagement. A "reconstruction" of the winter camp, Camp Dubois, is located on the grounds near the visitor center. Its design reflects 1803 U.S. Army regulations for the construction of military posts. Interpreters are on-site daily in the camp to explain how the men prepared for the journey.
Spirits of Bloomington Historic Ghost Tours
The Spirits of Bloomington Historic Ghost Tours feature guides dressed as President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln who reveal fascinating tales, myths and paranormal accounts of McLean County.
Mayslake Peabody Estate
Tour Mayslake Hall, a Tudor Revival style mansion, formerly owned by coal baron F.S. Peabody. Witness restoration in progress at this nationally registered historic building by renowned architect B. Marshall. Portiuncula Chapel is available for weddings.
CITY: Oak Brook
Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field Tours
Get an insider’s look at this historic American landmark that has enchanted baseball fans for almost a century. Each 90-minute guided tour shows guests the clubhouses, bleachers, press box, dugout, field, and more.
Old State Capitol-Illinois Tourist Information Center
Located in the Old State Capitol where Abraham Lincoln gave his "House Divided" speech. Here you'll find tourism information for the whole state. Many free events and performances throughout the year.
McLean County Museum of History
Founded in 1904, the museum is housed in a magnificent courthouse that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located in downtown Bloomington, the museum reveals the lives of the people who shaped McLean County, including those who encountered and knew Abraham Lincoln.
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 travelers 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.
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.
Paul Bunyon Hotdog Statue
Standing 19 feet tall and clutching a giant hot dog, this Paul Bunyon statue, not “bunyan” purposely spelled with an “o”, is one of Route 66’s mythic Muffler Man Statues. A few of these giants still proudly grace the roadsides of historic Route 66. This one is located in Atlanta, Illinois, just across the street from the Palms Grill Café, which features fine fare from The Mother Road’s golden age.
J.E. Robinson Underground Railroad Tours
In the early 1800s, Alton became a safe haven for slaves escaping from the bonds of slavery. Because of the area's neighboring slave state of Missouri, runaways found refuge in the free land surrounding Alton. The tunnels of the Underground Railroad run deep beneath the streets along the "Alton Route." The area was a major stop along the Underground Railroad, hiding slaves in caves, barns and basements throughout Alton, Otterville and Jerseyville. Hear the slave's tales, feel their fear and learn about Alton's remarkable past on an Underground Railroad Tour. Tours available by appointment only.
DeSoto House Hotel
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.
Dana-Thomas House-AFrank Lloyd Wright Design
One of the best-preserved examples of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie design, this 35-room mansion contains some 100 pieces of original Wright-designed furniture and stunning art glass. Photo copyright Doug Carr, courtesy of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Galena Carriage Co.
Historic carriage rides, dinner rides, "romance and roses" rides. Friday-Saturday evenings, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Seasonal sleigh rides. Reservations recommended.
The Super Museum houses the mythical caped hero from the big green planet. The museum is filled with a $2.5 billion collection spanning 60 years, honoring the most famous hero of all time.
Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier
Hands-on exhibits and daily-changing activities make every visit unique for young children and adults, too. Dig deep into the Dinosaur Expedition, try to stay dry in WaterWays, make a masterpiece in the KraftArtabounds Studio, and climb up to the crow's nest on the Kovler Family Climbing Schooner. Toddlers can have fun in Kids Town and Treehouse Trails.
Chicago Pedway Tour
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.
Old State Capitol State Historic Site
The Old State Capitol is a reconstruction of Illinois' fifth statehouse, the first to be located in Springfield. It is here that Lincoln practiced law, served as a legislator and gave his famed House Divided speech on slavery in 1858. The building served as the seat of state government and a center of Illinois political life from 1839-1876. The current State Capitol Building is the center of state government, where visitors can watch Illinois politics in action when the legislature is in session.
The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge
Built in 1927, Old Chain of Rocks was the fifth bridge to cross the Mississippi River, which shortened the distance between St. Louis, Missouri, and Edwardsville, Illinois by 15 miles.
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.
Here I Have Lived Exhibits
View over 40 outdoor interpretive exhibits placed throughout the downtown area to experience Springfield as Abraham Lincoln knew it. Each exhibit is intended to capture a moment in time for Lincoln and how he was affected by the people, places and events he encountered in his hometown. Each story is accompanied by graphics or photographs and a medallion that is symbolic of that particular story. Visitors are encouraged to collect rubbings of each medallion.
Black Hawk State Historic Site
Wonderful for families, friends for outdoor recreation. Additionally, the Watch Tower Lodge has hosted thousands of wedding receptions and offers a lovely setting in the beautiful historic park. This wooded, steeply rolling 208-acre tract, borders the Rock River in the city of Rock Island. Prehistoric Indians and 19th-Century settlers made homes here, but the area is most closely identified with the Sauk nation and its great warrior, Black Hawk. Voted one of the "7 Wonders of Illinois," this pristine park offers beautiful trails for hiking and walking only. Picnic areas are also available. While at the park be sure to visit the Watch Tower Lodge that houses a large reception area and the John Hauberg Indian Museum. The museum features Sauk and Meskwaki Native American Indian artifacts and displays depicting the four seasons and life of these tribes. A new exhibit tells the story of the Sauk and Meskwaki—how they came to live in the Quad City area, why they no longer live here, and, as the piece de resistance, a four-by-eight-foot scale model of the city of Saukenuk one of the largest Native American Indian settlements in the United States.
CITY: Rock Island
Apple River Fort State Historic Site
Apple River Fort State Historic Site, located in Elizabeth, Illinois, is the site of one of the battles fought during the Black Hawk War. Black Hawk and his 200 warriors attacked the hastily erected fort on June 24, 1832. His story and that of the early settlers are told.
Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co.
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.
Visit Superman Square in Metropolis to have your picture taken with the 15-foot-tall statue of the Man of Steel. A statue of Lois Lane is located nearby. Across the street is the Super Museum, showcasing rare Superman memorabilia and selling superhero souvenirs.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
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.
Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive
The Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive Associates invite you to come to Fulton County, Illinois and enjoy the natural wonders of the Spoon River Valley. Spoon River has carved a wide scenic valley through Fulton County as it flows from London Mills to the south and east where it joins the Illinois River near the southeastern corner of the county. The Spoon River became nationally known from the work of Edgar Lee Masters, author of the noted Spoon River Anthology. Come on out the first two full weekends in October. There are over one hundred miles of scenic routes on the Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive to be enjoyed on this driving tour with beautiful fall colors. There will be food, arts, crafts, entertainment and flea market. Visit 17 villages and historic sites!
Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site
Step back in time and explore historic New Salem just as Lincoln knew it. This meticulously reconstructed 1830s village is where Lincoln lived as a young adult, studied law and began politics. Everything from the people to the blacksmith’s workshop gives visitors a glimpse into what pioneer life was really like when young, burly Abe was throwing down his axe.
Museum of Science and Industry
A world of discovery awaits at the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. Explore more than 800 exhibits, including the legendary U-505, a German submarine captured on the high seas during World War II; take off on a Boeing 727 airplane for a simulated cross-country flight; descend down a mineshaft for a tour of a realistic coal mine; and witness robots at work in a toy factory. Take a seat at the museum’s Omnimax Theater and watch awesome 3D flicks on a giant screen.
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).