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The Midwest’s number-one attraction is the place in Chicago for lakefront fun. 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).
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 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
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.
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 cruise aboard Odyssey lets you see Chicago from a whole new perspective. You’ll enjoy a three-course, locally-sourced menu, upscale DJ entertainment, a sophisticated ambiance and breathtaking skyline views. Cruise with Odyssey for a brunch, lunch, dinner or specialty cruise, or consider Odyssey for your next group event.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Come aboard Seadog Cruises for the most thrilling, unique way to experience the windy city! Seadog offers Lakefront Speedboat Rides, Lake & River Architectural Tours and Extreme Thrill Rides, all of which are perfect for a solo traveler to a group of 110. Chicago’s favorite dog cruises April through October and is available for private charter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lincoln: History to Hollywood
“Lincoln: History to Hollywood,” an exhibition of sets, costumes and props from the Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-winning film “Lincoln,” has opened at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum complex, located in downtown Springfield, Illinois. Items of note in the exhibit include Lincoln’s office set, a vignette of Mary Lincoln’s bedroom, Lincoln’s gloves, Tad Lincoln’s tin soldiers, and the rocking chair where President Lincoln sat with Tad. Most of the furniture pieces in the exhibit are antiques from the Civil War era, not reproductions. The exhibits are on long-term loan from Spielberg and DreamWorks Studio. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum features more than 40,000 square feet of galleries, theatres and historic displays that takes visitors on a journey from Lincoln’s humble beginnings through his Presidency. The “Lincoln: History to Hollywood” exhibit will be located in Union Station, across the street from the presidential museum.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Famous Fossil Vineyard & Winery
The name Famous Fossil was inspired by the many fossils emerging from the earth as grapevines were planted. Sculpted and reshaped over thousands of years, the rolling hills are now home to over 12 varieties of red and white wine grapes. You’ll taste Marquette, Frontenac and St. Croix in our red wines and LaCrescent, Traminette or our blend of Prairie Star, LaCrosse and Brianna in our whites. Looking for a sweet wine? You’ll fall in love with our Blackberry, Red Raspberry and our “pie-in-a-glass” Summer Rhubarb wine. Enjoy a glass of wine in our tasting room and snack on our delicious Sweet & Savory Plate filled with local cheeses, sausage, crackers and more. We’re open year round with events and festivals every month including painting classes with local artists, wagon tours through the vineyard, and our Fossil Fest in August and Garlic Fest in October. Our beautiful Oak Barrel Room overlooking our vineyard is available for parties, showers and meetings. So come see our vineyard, watch wine being made and taste the best of the Midwest at Famous Fossil Winery. Open daily from 11-6. Visit www.famousfossilwinery.com to learn more.
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.
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.
The Chocolatier, Inc.
The Chocolatier is a local candy shop offering a wide range of products they create in store and a variety of your favorite bulk candies.
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.
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.
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
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 en-suite rooms. The Vacation Villas offer multiple arrangements and include private deck space with access to the swimming pool and clubhouse. Free Wi-fi.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Spirit of Peoria Cruises
Enjoy the river by boarding the Spirit of Peoria sightseeing cruise. The cruise will travel the Mississippi River and people will have a chance to enjoy the scenic beauty found here. There are sightseeing, lunch and dinner cruises.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bishop Hill Prairie Arts Center
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.
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.
Jane Addams Recreation Trail
This multi-use 17 mile recreational trail offers beautiful scenery and 21 decked bridges, including a covered bridge in Orangeville, passing wetlands, creeks, woods, prairies, geologic formations and farmland. The trail, named after Jane Addams, is part of the Grand Illinois Trail which traverses northern Illinois from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. Its crushed limestone surface may be used by hikers, bicyclists, snowmobilers, and cross-country skiers. The The tow miles of trail between the Wes Block Trail Access and Illinois 26 is an asphalt paved surface. The final two mile asphalt paved segment from Highway 26 to the Tutty's Crossing Trailhead on the riverfront in historic downtown Freeport will open in summer 2015. This segment crosses the 1885 Van Buren Street Bridge to the Old River School Historic District, the original north entryway into the City, and through historic downtown Freeport offering specialty shops, restaurants, a bicycle shop offering repairs, and more. At Tutty's Crossing, the Jane Addams Trail connects with the Pecatonica Prairie Trail currently under development between Freeport and Rockford. The Jane Addams Trail connects the Wisconsin state line to the Badger Trail which extends to Madison. Access to the trail is available at the West Block Access, 2636 W. Fairview Road, Freeport, at the Richland Creek Trailhead, 101 N. Ewing Street, Orangeville, at Cedarville Road, at Red Oak off of Beaver Road, and by mid-summer at Turry's Crossing in downtown Freeport. Trail Maps are available.
Lyon Farm & Village
Features 15 historic buildings that trace the history of Kendall County plus an 1819 Chicago Burlington & Quincy caboose, a fully-stocked general store, an 1840s schoolhouse, town hall, a working blacksmith shop, the Plano Train Depot, (c. 1850s) and Yorkville Firehouse (c. 1888).
Lake Sara Pavilions
Two different locations on Lake Sara. The pavilions offer a chance to host a meeting on the lake. The two outdoor facilities are perfect for receptions and parties with plenty of outdoor space. It also features a large open room, kitchen area, boat dock and outdoor decks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Indulge your decadence in the heart of historic downtown Galena. With well over 200 flavors of Swiss, German, French, Belgian, Venezuelan and domestic chocolates – Chocolate’ is the destination all chocolate lovers must experience.
Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure
You’ve seen them race, now drive in real stock cars that have been used in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. At the Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure, you can drive around Chicagoland Speedway at speeds over 170 mph. Or you can choose the Ride-Along to experience the thrill of NASCAR racing like never before as a professional driver thunders you around the track. In 2014, the Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure will be at Chicagoland Speedway June 14-15 and August 16-17. See their site for more details.
Northern Illinois University "NIU" Convocation Center
Northern Illinois University's 10,000 seat Convocation Center is a $36 million multipurpose facility that hosts a variety of events such as concerts, family shows, theatrical productions, commencement ceremonies, job fairs, trade shows and NIU Huskie Division I athletic events (basketball, volleyball, track, gymnastics and wrestling). The NIU Convocation Center hosts 200+ events per year.
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
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.
Richard Petty Driving Experience
Experience NASCAR racing firsthand at Chicagoland Speedway in an “adrenaline pumping thrill of a lifetime.” Suit up and get behind the wheel of a real stock car as you drive 155 mph around the track, or ride shotgun and feel the rumble of 600 horses as you motor down the same asphalt driven by NASCAR drivers. In 2014, the Richard Petty Driving Experience will be at Chicagoland Speedway May 16-18, July 25-27, and September 19-21. See their site for more details.
Rusty Wallace Driving Experience
No matter what your need for speed, you’ll find it at the Rusty Wallace Driving Experience. You can get your basic adrenaline rush from the “Taste of Speed” racing experience at Chicagoland Speedway. Or ramp things up with the “Advance Racing” option that puts you behind the wheel of a race car powered by a TRD engine—the same one used in Rusty Wallace’s Nationwide cars. In 2014, the Rusty Wallace Driving Experience will be at Chicagoland Speedway April 26-27, May 24-26, June 20-22, August 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, and October 18, 19, 25, 26. See their site for more details.
Inn at 835
Springfield's only Nationallly Landmarked Inn... The Inn offers 13 guest rooms plus six extended stay suites, all with attached private bathes, internet, Wi-Fi, voicemail, wake-up calls and individual thermostatic room controls. Enjoy the Inn's amenities during your stay; a full Midwestern breakfast, local and national newspapers, and free off street parking. During your visit you will be within walking distance to most historic sites, all of the downtown and public transportation.
Vermilion County War Museum
The Vermilion County War Museum, housed in a former Carnegie Library, contains over 25,000 artifacts and memorabilia ranging from the Revolutionary War to Operation Iraqi Freedom. The museum enjoys a steady stream of both U.S. and foreign visitors who appreciate the ever-increasing collections of artifacts and research materials.
At Kinnikinnick Farm, you’ll sleep in tents and feed off the land as you experience life in a more relaxed environment. This is a 30-acre organic market farm that sells organic produce to some of Chicago’s best chefs and restaurants and direct to the public at the Evanston and the Chicago Green City Farmers Markets. In addition to organic vegetables, the farm produces eggs, raises chickens, and is the home for a small herd of sheep, hogs, 6 dogs, a rabbit named Bandit, and Shelly, the family’s Nubian milk goat.