Visitors to Illinois can enjoy a spectacular state that is torn between two different extremes. While the majority of the state’s acreage consists of sprawling fields and small farms hidden within the countryside, most visitors flock to Chicago to enjoy the arts and entertainment that one of the nation’s largest cities has to offer. Illinois found its niche in the post Civil War era, when it grew as a highly industrial state that produced the nation’s steel, packed its meat and manufactured many of its tools. The wide gap between the company owners’ profits and laborers’ wages led to violent labor strikes between 1877 and 1919, which help to spur the development of unions. During the Prohibition Era, Chicago was an epicenter for Al Capone’s political corruption. Since the 1920s, Chicago has built itself up to becoming one of the major arts and cultural epicenters of the Midwest.
As the state’s largest city, travelers flock to Chicago to enjoy the numerous attractions this metropolis has to offer. One of the city’s most popular attractions is the Navy Pier. Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier offers visitors a variety of restaurants, a vintage carousel and Ferris wheel, and the opportunity to take a water taxi to view the spectacular city skyline. Families traveling with children can visit the kid-friendly exhibits at the Chicago Children’s Museum, located on the pier. Visitors who would like to enjoy some of the city’s finest shopping can head over to the Magnificent Mile. This stunning walk is located on Michigan Avenue, spanning between the Chicago River and Lake Shore Drive. Shoppers can indulge in some of the finest specialty shops around while history buffs can catch stunning views historic landmarks such as the Tribune Tower and the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Those who are interested in the arts can head to The Loop to catch a show at the Chicago Theatre, or stroll through Millennium Park en route to the Art Institute of Chicago, which houses more than 300,000 works of contemporary and classic art. Baseball buffs can watch games from two home teams at two different venues: the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field or the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Visitors who find Chicago too busy can head to the smaller state capital, Springfield. History enthusiasts can tour one of the city’s many museums and historic sites, including a number of tributes to the town’s favorite resident: Abraham Lincoln. Although Abe Lincoln only practiced law in Springfield from 1837 to 1861, the town is filled with museums and points of interests dedicated to his name. Guests can stop by the Abraham Lincoln President Library and Museum, visit the Lincoln Tomb, stop by the Lincoln Home National Historic Site or gaze at the Lincoln Family Pew. Musical aficionados can catch an orchestral show at the Illinois Symphony Orchestra venue or watch a performance at the Springfield Theatre Centre. Outdoor enthusiasts can play a round of golf at one of the city’s thirteen local golf courses or hike along one of the many bordering trails. Visitors can tour nearby Lake Springfield via canoe, kayak or paddle boat, or embark on a 38-foot Party Barge for the scenic experience of a lifetime.
Those who don’t want to be city-bound can explore the state’s splendor by heading along the Route 66 Scenic Byway. Numerous small towns speckle the countryside, offering roadside attractions, themed restaurants and museums that might otherwise remain overlooked. The roadside offers everything from historic gas stations to the world’s largest covered wagon. Illinois’ Route 66 highway allows travelers to explore more about America’s heartland and get in touch with some of the country’s most bizarre attractions.
The Raveable guide to Illinois Hotels was created by analyzing the millions of traveler reviews found all over the internet.
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