Spooky Sights & Scary Stays in Illinois

When darkness falls across Illinois, it’s prime time for ghost sightings and paranormal stories.


Illinois is home to many oddities and curiosities. Organized tours of some of the state’s most famous haunts share stories of paranormal occurrences, strange deaths, dark energy and ghost sightings. Some of the tours involve humor and cocktails, but others are focused on supernatural scares. Not to mention, there are tons of ghostly attractions and haunted hotels spread throughout every region. Here are some of the haunted offerings you can enjoy this season. We hope you aren’t afraid of the dark.

Ghost Tours

Experience supernatural adventure with a dash of history.

Free Tours By Foot, Chicago

Popular stops on this name-your-own-price tour include the Congress Hotel and “Death Alley” near the former Iroquois Theatre (weekends through October).

Matthew’s Haunted Pub Crawl, Galena

Sip spirits among the spirits (March to October, every day; Fridays and Saturdays the rest of the year).

Spirits & Spirits, Galena

This year-round tour goes to three locations where there had been “mortuary preparation." The ticket includes three specialty drinks and ends on Galena’s Restaurant Row.

Mineral Springs Hotel, Alton

Managers Dave and Donna Nunnally give guided tours of the defunct hotel (now revitalized as a shopping venue with their store, It’s Raining Zen, and the Soul Asylum Museum) with known spirits Lou Harwood and Pearl Sans.

Amelia’s Galena Ghost Tours, Galena

Both shuttle and walking tours take patrons to the most haunted places (year-round). 

Lincoln’s Ghost Walk: Legends And Lore, Springfield

Go on a 10-block walking tour with bizarre stories at various Lincoln-related locations, discussing his life and death (through September, weekends only in October).

Old Joliet Prison Tour, Joliet

Take a self-guided walking tour during the day (through mid-November).

Ghostly Gatherings

Get together with other fans of spine-tingling specters throughout the haunting season at these attractions.

Ghost Story Train, South Elgin

Hop a creepy trolley down to the haunted forest preserve for an evening of family-friendly ghost stories (October 7, 14, and 21).

Six Flags Kids Boo Fest, Gurnee

During the day, it’s slightly spooky fun! Families can take a spin on roller coasters, enjoy a hay maze and get treats on a trail (select days, September 16–October 29).

Six Flags Fright Fest, Gurnee

As the sun sets and the moon rises, be ready to shriek: haunted houses, heart-pounding roller coasters and spine-chilling shows (select nights, September 16–October 29).

Curiosity Museum, Alton

More than 80 eerie exhibits are housed at Alton’s former Historic Museum of Torture Devices. Hours are limited to noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Scary Stays

If you’re unafraid of things that go bump in the night, check into these hotels known for notorious guests and paranormal happenings.

Congress Plaza Hotel, Chicago

You’ll be in infamous company when you overnight here, where notable villains like Al Capone and America’s first serial killer, Dr. H.H. Holmes, were guests. Capone’s ghost is rumored to roam the halls, along with Peg Leg Johnny, a hobo ghost with a penchant for causing electrical disruptions.

The Drake Hotel, Chicago

Take your chances on the 10th floor, where the “Lady in Red,” a woman who leapt from a window in 1920, has been said to wander the floor. In celebration of Halloween, the hotel offers a Palm Court Spooky Afternoon Tea with devilish delights (October 5–31).

The DeSoto House, Galena

You may see a “Lady in Black”  disappear into the wall. And don’t be surprised if items unexpectedly move.

Hotel Baker, St. Charles

Moaning noises have been heard from the top floor of this boutique hotel. Other notable past guests include John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford.

Hotel Kaskaskia, La Salle

Phantom footsteps and an elevator door that randomly opens are a couple of the reported mysterious happenings.

Ruebel Hotel, Grafton

A young girl from the 1800s named Abigail has been heard walking in the hallways.

The Rose Hotel, Elizabethtown

The reflection of a former servant named Tote has been spotted in mirrors.

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