10 Best Places to Visit in Illinois

When you think of Illinois, what comes to mind? The Windy City, of course! But there is so much more to this Midwestern state than just Chicago. From small towns to big cities and everything in between, Illinois has something for everyone. Here are the 10 best places to visit in Illinois, whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation: 1. Chicago 2. Springfield 3. Peoria 4. Rockford 5. Champaign-Urbana 6. Bloomington-Normal 7. Decatur 8. Carbondale 9. Quad Cities 10. Metro East


If you're looking for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation destination, Illinois has plenty to offer. From the bustling city of Chicago to the smaller towns and villages dotting the state, there's something for everyone in Illinois. Here are some of the best places to visit in Illinois:

– Chicago: Of course, no list of Illinois destinations would be complete without including the Windy City. Chicago is home to world-class museums, Michelin-starred restaurants, and iconic architecture. Spend a few days exploring all that this city has to offer!

– Springfield: Springfield is the state capital of Illinois, and it's also where you'll find Abraham Lincoln's home. This city is rich in history and culture, and there are plenty of things to see and do here.

– Rockford: If you're looking for a more low-key destination, Rockford might be right up your alley. This city is known for its friendly Midwestern charm, and there are plenty of great shops and restaurants to explore.

– Champaign-Urbana: The Champaign-Urbana area is home to the University of Illinois, making it a great place to visit if you're interested in college towns. There's also plenty of nightlife and cultural activities to enjoy in this vibrant community.


Springfield is the capital of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County. The city's population was 116,250 at the 2010 U.S. census, making it the state's sixth most populous city. It is the largest city in central Illinois. As of 2013, the city's population was estimated to have increased to 117,006, with just over 211,700 residents living in the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sangamon County and adjacent Menard County.


Rockford is the third largest city in Illinois and is located on the Rock River. The city is home to a variety of businesses, including many in the manufacturing industry. Rockford is also home to several museums, including the Burpee Museum of Natural History and the Discovery Center Museum. The city has a variety of parks and recreation areas, as well as a number of golf courses.


Peoria is the largest city on the Illinois River and the county seat of Peoria County, Illinois, United States. The population was 115,007 at the 2010 census, making it the state's seventh-largest city. It is the principal city of the Peoria metropolitan area as well as a part of one of the largest combined statistical areas in the Midwestern United States.

Peoria is one of many cities located along what is known as Interstate 74 or “The Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway”. The highway runs East-West through Central Illinois and contains several other notable cities such as Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana.

Peoria's history begins with French explorers in 1680, who discovered the Illinois River while searching for the Mississippi River. The area was first settled by Europeans in 1691 by Robert de LaSalle. He had claimed all territory in Illinois for France. Peoria was named after the Peoria tribe, who had setback French settlement attempts earlier. The name “Peoria” comes from an Algonquin word meaning “prairie fire.”


Champaign-Urbana is home to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the top public universities in the country. The university's campus is spread out across the twin cities, and there's plenty to do in both Champaign and Urbana.

In Champaign, you can explore the Krannert Art Museum, catch a show at the Virginia Theatre, or shop and dine in Downtown Champaign. Urbana is home to the beautiful Crystal Lake Park, perfect for a picnic or a hike, as well as the Orpheum Children's Science Museum.

And of course, no visit to Champaign-Urbana would be complete without cheering on the Fighting Illini at a basketball game or tailgating at Memorial Stadium before a football game. Go Illini!


Galena is a small city located in the northwest corner of Illinois. The city is best known for its lead mining history, and for being the home of Ulysses S. Grant. Today, Galena is a popular tourist destination, with many visitors coming to enjoy the city's riverfront setting, shops, and restaurants.


Nauvoo, Illinois is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in American history. This small town was once home to the Latter Day Saint movement, led by Joseph Smith. Today, Nauvoo is a popular tourist destination for its well-preserved historic buildings and beautiful riverfront setting.

Visitors to Nauvoo can tour the historic homes of Joseph Smith and other early Mormon leaders, visit the Nauvoo Temple, and learn about the Latter Day Saint movement at the Nauvoo Visitor's Center. The town also hosts a variety of annual events, including the Nauvoo Pageant, which tells the story of Joseph Smith and early Mormonism through live musical performances.

Shawnee National Forest

Shawnee National Forest is one of the best places to visit in Illinois. The forest offers a variety of activities for visitors, including hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing, and horseback riding. There are also several scenic drives that wind through the forest.

The Shawnee National Forest is located in southern Illinois and covers more than 280,000 acres. The Forest is home to a variety of plant and animal life, including bald eagles, ospreys, red-tailed hawks, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, bobcats, and coyotes.

Visitors to the Shawnee National Forest can take advantage of its many amenities. The Forest has more than 500 miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding. There are also several campgrounds throughout the forest that offer a variety of accommodations.

In addition to its natural beauty, the Shawnee National Forest is also home to a number of historical and cultural sites. These include the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, which commemorates the forced removal of Native Americans from their homelands in the 1830s; Cedar Glen Nature Preserve, which is home to a number of rare plants; and Garden of the Gods Recreation Area, which features a number of unique rock formations.

Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Illinois. Situated on the banks of the Illinois River, this state park is home to a number of sandstone cliffs and canyons. Hiking and camping are popular activities at Starved Rock State Park, and there are a number of trails that wind through the park's scenery. In addition to its natural beauty, the park also features a number of historic sites, including a Native American village and the remains of a French fort.


The best way to experience all Illinois has to offer is by visiting some of its most popular tourist destinations. From the hustle and bustle of Chicago to the picturesque views of Shawnee National Forest, there's something for everyone in Illinois. So whether you're a native or just passing through, be sure to check out some of these great places during your next visit.