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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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, just across the street from the Palms Grill Café, which features fine fare from The Mother Road’s golden age.
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.
Dana-Thomas House by Frank Lloyd Wright
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.
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.
Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup
The Funk family business of producing pure maple sirup began in Funks Grove in 1824, and business has been going strong ever since. Guided tours of the grounds are offered during the sirup-making season that showcase the Funk family process. Tours for groups of up to 30 must be arranged in advance and depend upon weather conditions. Funks Pure Maple Sirup can be purchased at the store, along with Route 66 memorabilia and other Funks products.
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.
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.