1. Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, 2. Springfield Park, 3. Horseshoe Mound Preserve, 4. Starved Rock State Park, 5. Cahokia Mounds, 6. Shawnee National Forest, 7. Lincoln's New Salem, 8. Mississippi Palisades State Park, 9. Caterpillar Visitors Center, 10. Anderson Japanese Gardens. Illinois is the place to go if you want to experience the American Midwest. Rural farms and bustling towns coexist in the Land of Lincoln. On the Lake Michigan coastline, you may unwind while touring little towns that are rich in history. Abraham Lincoln, the Windy City, and a lot more things may be found in Illinois. Here is an overview of the Best Places To Visit in Illinois.
- Chicago Harbor Lighthouse
- Springfield Park
- Horseshoe Mound Preserve
- Starved Rock State Park
- Cahokia Mounds
- Shawnee National Forest
- Lincoln’s New Salem
- Mississippi Palisades State Park
- Caterpillar Visitors Center
- Anderson Japanese Gardens
Chicago Harbor Lighthouse
East of Navy Pier and the mouth of the Chicago River, near the southernmost point of the northern breakwater defending Chicago Harbor, sits the automated operating Chicago Harbor Lighthouse. The multi-level structure, which is surrounded with rip rap, consists of a concrete foundation, two red-roofed structures, a tapering white cylinder in the middle, a parapet, and the light itself.
Although this tower is higher, the design is “unique… akin to that of the offshore sparkplug towers.” It “bears some similarity” to the Rock of Ages Light at Isle Royale on Lake Superior, which is its contemporary, save from the alterations performed at the time of the transfer.
On July 19, 1984, the lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and on April 9, 2003, it was named a Chicago Landmark. Since there is no local organization dedicated to the preservation of lighthouses in Chicago, this light has benefited the most from preservation efforts. Pierhead lights in Illinois and Indiana, however, could someday require protection against destruction. From Navy Pier, particularly towards the end, you may get a nice view of the lighthouse. Boats, notably the several tour boats in the vicinity, offer better views.
Google rating: 4.8/5.0
Location: Chicago Harbor, US
Springfield Park, which is one of the Best Places To Visit in Illinois,is a green space in the London borough of Hackney’s Upper Clapton. Another feature is the Spring Hill Recreation Ground, which is located just next to the park to the north. Together with the Recreation Ground, which is also under the control of the local government, they make up a continuous public open area.
A café is still operating out of one of the three private homes whose grounds made up Springfield Park in 1905. It’s a neighborhood nature preserve. The park spans 14.73 hectares (36.4 acres) and dips from a high point on Stamford Hill’s edge to the River Lee Navigation’s towpath.
Springfield park is a sizable basin for narrow boats that is situated on the other side of the river or navigation to the park. The Hackney Rugby Club’s Spring Hill Recreation Ground and the Lea Rowing Club are also close to the park. Views of Walthamstow Marshes, Epping Forest, and Walthamstow are possible from the park’s higher land.
Google rating: 4.6/5.0
Location: 301 Eastdale Ave, Springfield, IL 62703, US
Phone: +1 217-753-6212
Horseshoe Mound Preserve
The almost 200-acre Horseshoe Mound, which serves as the eastern entrance to the ancient city of Galena, provides the general public with access to one of northern Illinois’ most picturesque locations.
To reach to the summit, you had to ride a steep, narrow path. It offered lovely views of the countryside and prairie wildflowers. You may view the Mississippi River from the route. There wasn’t much shade, and the trail wasn’t truly through any forests. There is lots of accessible parking as well. There are several, highly informative forums detailing the region. There are a few paths, one of which goes east and extremely slowly.
Google rating: 4.7/5.0
Location: 1679 N Blackjack Rd, Galena, IL 61036, US
Phone: +1 815-858-9100
Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park is one of the Best Places To Visit in Illinois. There is nothing else like Starved Rock State Park in all of Illinois! In the spring and following a lot of rain, amazing seasonal waterfalls are active. The Illinois River provides fishing, boating, breathtaking vistas, and wonderful places to unwind, and there are 13 miles of paths to explore.
Starved Rock State Park is situated on the Illinois River’s banks. Given that the park is just around 100 miles from Chicago, both locals and out-of-towners frequently visit for the day. Sandstone canyons at Starved Rock State Park were created by glacial melting.
Even some of the canyons feature waterfalls, particularly Wildcat Canyon and French Canyon. The finest view in the park is reachable by a route that leads to the Lover’s Leap Overlook, and hiking is a terrific way to explore Starved Rock State Park. Be alert for wildlife and migratory birds as you trek.
Location: 2678 E 875th Rd, Oglesby, IL 61348, US
Phone: +1 815-667-4726
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Park is located just outside of St. Louis, on the other side of the state line. American Indians who lived there more than 800 years ago built the intriguing Cahokia Mounds. It is thought that the mounds represent the biggest pre-Columbian metropolis north of Mexico.
69 mounds are still standing, and they are currently covered in grass. Monks Mound, the tallest of these mounds at more than 100 feet, is the biggest. Woodhenge, a sizable circle made of 48 wooden posts that corresponds with the solar calendar and is strikingly similar to Stonehenge in England, is another fascinating feature of Cahokia.
The site is available to the public, managed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Division, and funded by the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society. It is the biggest prehistoric earthen building in the Americas north of Mexico. The Cahokia Mounds were chosen as one of the Illinois 200 Great Places by the American Institute of Architects Illinois component in honor of the 2018 bicentennial of the state of Illinois.
Location: Collinsville, IL, US
Phone: +1 618-346-5160
Opening hour: Thursday to Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm.
Shawnee National Forest
The Shawnee National Forest is a US National Forest that may be found in Southern Illinois’ Ozark and Shawnee Hills. operated under U.S.D.A. The largest publicly owned piece of property in the state of Illinois is the Shawnee National Forest. It is considered one of the Best Places To Visit in Illinois.
Visit Shawnee National Forest to heed the call of the great outdoors. This national forest, which may be found in the state’s southernmost region, was formerly entirely covered by the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Thanks to the millions of years of ice sheet melting, the Shawnee National Forest is currently ideal for hiking, camping, swimming, and photography.
The Garden of the Gods, a magnificent rock structure that you might remember from the Illinois quarter, is Shawnee’s main draw. The Garden of the Gods is surrounded by a brief observation trail, which enables visitors to easily appreciate its beauty from all directions.
Location: Herod, IL 62946, US
Phone: +1 800-699-6637
Lincoln’s New Salem
Abraham Lincoln is without a doubt one of the most significant American Presidents. Visit Lincoln’s New Salem to honor the great man whether you are an expert on American history or a lover of his administration. The original New Salem, which was located in Illinois and is now a national landmark, is exactly replicated in this building. Abraham Lincoln resided there from 1831 to 1837.
23 open structures in Lincoln’s New Salem are available for tours. Many of them are log cabins, and many of them have one or more guides inside who are dressed historically. This is a great method to gain a sense of Lincoln’s involvement in Illinois because the furnishings, clothing, and even the horses are historically correct.
The area is now known as Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site and has 23 structures, most of which are log homes, as well as costumed interpreters who depict the time when Lincoln lived there. The cabins, stores, and enterprises are outfitted with antique furniture, decor, and tools, many of which were sourced from local farms and houses.
Location: 15588 History Ln, Petersburg, IL 62675, US
Phone: +1 217-632-4000
Mississippi Palisades State Park
A National Natural Landmark in Carroll County, Illinois, Mississippi Palisades State Park is situated close to the community of Savanna. It is a portion of the Mississippi Palisades that has been partially preserved. The Driftless Area in far northwest Illinois is home to several caverns and sizable cliffs along the Mississippi River at the mouth of the Apple River.
The Mississippi Palisades State Park, which lies in northwest Illinois close to the junction of the Mississippi and Apple rivers, is well-known for its high cliffs, intriguing rock formations, and lovely pathways that take you to some of those impressive huge boulders. One such route is the Sentinel, which is the longest in the park at almost 1.3 miles and takes you right up to Sentinel Rock, where you may try to scale this monolith.
Location: 16327A IL-84, Savanna, IL 61074, US
Phone: +1 815-273-2731
Caterpillar Visitors Center
Not your typical museum, this one! A simulated journey in the bed of a huge, two-and-a-half storey Cat 797F Mining Truck welcomes you to the site. Discover how two businesses merged to become Caterpillar, which was built on the principles of innovation and customer attention.
As you create your own Cat machine, let your inner engineer go. To experience firsthand what it’s like to drive machinery the way the operators do, test your abilities on a simulator. A tour isn’t complete without getting into a track-type tractor. A fascinating look at the business, the products, and the people that make sustainable growth possible throughout the globe can be found at the Caterpillar Visitors Center.
It’s all right here on Peoria’s picturesque riverbank, from the humble beginnings of the first tractor to the company’s current leadership in constructing infrastructure and powering the world. Visitors of all ages will be entertained and engaged by the interactive exhibits and displays you’ll discover. Spend an afternoon or an hour. All of it is up to you. In the Caterpillar Heritage Gallery, think back on the past while taking a trip through time.
Location: 110 SW Washington St, Peoria, IL 61602, US
Phone: +1 309-675-0606
Anderson Japanese Gardens
The Anderson Japanese Gardens are located near Rockford, the third-largest city in the state. This location is often regarded as the greatest Japanese garden in the country, and it is indeed a fantastic spot to spend the day. The seasonal gardens, which are only accessible from May to October, are immaculately kept.
A stunning work of art is created by the landscape, which includes more than simply plants but also precisely and systematically built natural water features, bridges, pagodas, and lanterns. Get a map at the visitor center, and don’t forget to take pictures on the Cypress Bridge that leads to the Garden of Reflection.
From a single person’s idea to provide a distinctive facility for the Rockford area into a well-known public garden across the world. The Gardens have earned a reputation as one of the greatest Japanese gardens in the world because to the founder’s founding principles of genuine design, top-notch craftsmanship, and world-class care.
Location: 318 Spring Creek Rd, Rockford, IL 61107, US
Phone: +1 815-229-9390