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Best Attractions in Illinois

Your Complete Guide to 15 Best Attractions in Illinois

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by Travel Expert

Known for its breadth of landscapes and myriad of activities, Illinois is epic in every sense of the word. From Chicago's famous deep-dish pizzas and high-rise buildings, to the wealth of historic landmarks in the picturesque city of Springfield, it offers all that and more.

The Midwest's most populous state is full of wonders - so buckle up, as we take you through 15 of the best attractions in Illinois.

⭐️Discover and have a quick browse around popular Attractions in Illinois.

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1. Attractions in Illinois: Willis Tower, Chicago

Attractions in Illinois: Willis Tower, Chicago

Willis Tower, Chicago

Constructed in 1974, Willis Tower in Chicago was the world's tallest building until 1998. Today, it remains 3rd in the Western Hemisphere, with a whopping 108 stories. 1,450 feet (440m) tall, its rooftop offers stunning views of over 4 cities, and the grand Lake Michigan.

📍Location: 233 South Wacker Drive
🕑Opening hours: 9 am - 10 pm

30 Minute Lake Michigan Speedboat Ride

30 Minute Lake Michigan Speedboat Ride

30 Minute Lake Michigan Speedboat Ride

Experience the roar of the 2000-horsepower engines as you race along Chicago's famous Lake Michigan. The best way to view Chicago is always from the lake!

Itinerary:

  • City Cruises Chicago Navy Pier
  • Grant Park
  • Navy Pier
  • Buckingham Fountain
  • The Magnificent Mile

Pricing:

TicketsPrices
Audlts (Age 13-99)US$39.21
Child (Age 3-12)US$27.31

Private Chicago Architecture Tour

Private Chicago Architecture Tour

Private Chicago Architecture Tour

On our Chicago Architecture Tour, we’ll stop at and discuss:

  • Sears “Willis” Tower
  • The John Hancock Building
  • Gothic gems
  • Magnificent Mile notable locations
  • Historic brownstones
  • The Frank Lloyd Wright homes of Oak Park

Pricing:

TicketsPrices
SUV
(3 to 5 passengers)
US$2,750
Mini Bus
(13 to 24 passengers)
US$1,580
Sedan
(1 to 2 passengers)
US$880
Sprinter
(6 to 12 passengers)
US$1,280
Coach
(25 to 55 passengers)
US$2,750

2. Attractions in Illinois: Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

Attractions in Illinois: Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

One of the most sought-after attractions in Illinois, Art Institute of Chicago has approximately 300,000 pieces of work. This historic building boasts many many galleries, and halls, adorned with intricate paintings, prints and sculptures.
📍Location: 111 South Michigan Avenue
🕑Opening hours: Thu-Fri 1 pm - 8 pm, Sat-Mon 11 am - 6 pm, Tue-Wed Closed

3. Attractions in Illinois: Millennium Park, Chicago

Attractions in Illinois: Millennium Park, Chicago

Millennium Park

Millennium Park in Downtown Chicago is among the biggest attractions in Illinois. It is famous for its ice rinks, theaters, artworks, and lush greenery. It is also home to the iconic Cloud Gate, also known as "The Bean," an Insta-worthy sculpture that reflects the city's breathtaking clouds and skylines.
📍Location: 201 East Randolph Street

4. Attractions in Illinois: Starved Rock State Park, Oglesby

Best Attractions in Illinois: Starved Rock State Park, Oglesby

(Source: Vasu Pendyala/Unsplash)

It is said that Starved Rock State Park got its name when a group of people took refuge on the rock after being abandoned by enemies. Located on the Illinois River, it is now known for its cascading waterfalls and stunning canyons. Hike around 13 miles (21 km) of trails, catch picturesque views, or spend an afternoon camping. There's also horseback riding, and fun-filled winter sports for kids and adults alike.
📍Location: 2668 East 875th Road
🕑Opening hours: 6:20 am - sunset

5. Attractions in Illinois: Navy Pier, Chicago

Best Attractions in Illinois: Navy Pier, Chicago

Navy Pier, Chicago

Navy Pier sprawls up to 3,300 feet (1000m) and is located on the coastline of Chicago. It is known for offering some of the most popular attractions in Illinois, including the captivating Crystal Gardens. Make sure to also explore its variety of restaurants, boutiques, theaters, and age-stained museums.
📍Location: 600 East Grand Avenue

6. Attractions in Illinois: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield

Best Attractions in Illinois: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield

(Source: Jacob Thorson/Unsplash)

You are sure to have an enriching time at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. One of the most well-preserved attractions in Illinois, it features documents and manuscripts that tell you all about the life of President Abraham Lincoln.
📍Location: 112 North Sixth Street
🕑Opening hours: 9 am - 5 pm

7. Attractions in Illinois: Dana Thomas House, Springfield

Best Attractions in Illinois: Dana Thomas House, Springfield

Dana Thomas House, Springfield

(Source: Nathan Walker/Unsplash)

Tucked away in the East Lawrence Avenue of Springfield, Dana Thomas House is a Prairie-style home, built in 1902. Today, it is a museum known for its informative guided tours. It is 12,000 sq feet (1100 sq meters) large with 35 rooms, and complete with intricate designs, and glass windows.
📍Location: 301 East Lawrence Avenue
🕑Opening hours: 9 am - 5 pm

8. Attractions in Illinois: Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago

Best Attractions in Illinois: Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago

Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago

Did you know the Lincoln Park Zoo is the fourth oldest zoo in the United States? Spread across 6 miles (10 km), it is home to a wealth of flora and fauna, including the unique two-toed sloths, red pandas, and African lions. Bike around its impressive vistas, or spend hours basking in the sun, this one will not fail to impress.
📍Location: 2001 North Clark Street
🕑Opening hours: 10 am - 5 pm

Bike Tour of Chicago's Lakefront Neighborhoods

Bike Tour of Chicago's Lakefront Neighborhoods

Bike Tour of Chicago's Lakefront Neighborhoods

Itinerary:

  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • The Magnificent Mile
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Lake Michigan
  • North Avenue Beach
  • Lakefront Trail

Pricing:

TicketsPrices
Adults
(Age 12-99)
US$54.99
Infant
(Age 3 and under)
US$9.99
Youth
(Age 4-11)
US$34.99

9. Attractions in Illinois: Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago

Best Attractions in Illinois: Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago

Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago

As the name suggests, Chicago Riverwalk runs along the Chicago River, and boasts some of the most stunning views of the city's skyline. Needless to say, a boat ride here is a must. It is also worth noting that the areas around Wacker Drive, the Franklin-Orleans Street Bridge, and the Wells Street Bridge make for amazing photo-ops.
📍Location: Riverwalk
🕑Opening hours: Most of Riverwalk is open from 6 am to 11 pm

45-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour from Magnificent Mile⛵️

Itinerary:

  • Chicago River
  • Chicago Riverwalk
  • Michigan Avenue Bridge
  • Wrigley Building
  • Merchandise Mart
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago
  • Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower
  • Marina City

Pricing:

TicketsPrices
Adult
(Age 13-100)
US$25
Child
(Age 4-12)
US$10

10. Attractions in Illinois: St. Regis Hotel, Chicago

Best Attractions in Illinois:St. Regis Hotel, Chicago

(Source: Pedro Lastra /Unsplash)

St. Regis Chicago is one of the newest additions to this "Windy City's" skyline, and among the most luxurious attractions in Illinois. Resembling something of an undulating matchstick, it is the world's tallest building designed by a female architect. Located near Lakeshore East, it offers a panorama of views, and state-of-the-art facilities.
📍Location: 363 East Wacker Drive
🕑Opening hours: 10 am - 5 pm

11. Attractions in Illinois: Illinois Beach State Park, Zion

Best Attractions in Illinois: Illinois Beach State Park, Zion

Illinois Beach State Park, Zion

(Source: Dylan LaPierre /Unsplash)

Stretched 6.5 miles (10 km) along the shores of Lake Michigan, Illinois Beach State Park is a great option for fishing, boating, or simply basking in the sun. It also offers charming swimming and camping spots, along with a myriad of landscapes.
📍Location: 1 Lake Front Drive
🕑Opening hours: 8 am - 8 pm

12. Attractions in Illinois: Wrigley Field, Chicago

Best Attractions in Illinois: Wrigley Field, Chicago

Wrigley Field, Chicago

(Source: Blake Guidry /Unsplash)

Wrigley Field is tucked away in the north of Chicago, and is one of the coolest attractions in Illinois. A Major League Baseball Stadium, it is the home of the Chicago Cubs, and was built in 1914 as Weeghman Park.
📍Location: 1060 West Addison Street
🕑Opening hours: Check official website

13. Attractions in Illinois: Magnificent Mile, Chicago

Best Attractions in Illinois: Magnificent Mile, Chicago

Magnificent Mile, Chicago

(source link)

Magnificent Mile, also called "Mag Mile" by locals, is located within the teeming neighborhood of Michigan Avenue. One of the most premier attractions in Illinois, it is a treasure trove of swanky hotels, and upscale restaurants. With its variety of luxury stores and high-end boutiques, you'll also find the latest shopping trends of the city.
📍Location: 625 North Michigan Avenue

Recommended hotels near Magnificent Mile:

14. Attractions in Illinois: Brookfield Zoo, Chicago

Best Attractions in Illinois: Brookfield Zoo, Chicago

Brookfield Zoo, Chicago

(Source: Nakolay Tchaouchev /Unsplash)

Spend hours at Brookfield Zoo, which is located in the Brookfield suburb of Chicago. It is sprawled over 215 acres, and is home to approx. 450 species. Keep a special eye out for giraffes, zebras, polar bears, and dolphins on your visit here.
📍Location: 8400 West 31st Street
🕑Opening hours: 10 am - 5pm

15. Attractions in Illinois: Cantigny Park, Wheaton

Cantigny Park, Wheaton

Source: Trip moments

One of the most popular attractions in Illinois, Cantigny Park is the ‘it' place for outdoor fun. It is spread across 500 acres, and is set 30 miles (50 km) west of Chicago. While you can always visit the park for some morning sun, it is also a hotspot for picnics, parties, and weddings.
📍Location: 1S151 Winfield Road
🕑Opening hours: 7 am - sunset

To make your trip a little more exquisite, stay at our recommended hotels in Illinois:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the number 1 attraction in Illinois?

    With 108 floors, and stunning views of the city, Willis Tower in Chicago is one of the most iconic attractions in Illinois. Equally breath-taking is the Chicago Riverwalk — teeming with boat rides and impressive landscapes.


  • What is the number 1 attraction in Chicago?

    Set on the coastline of Chicago, Navy Pier boasts 50 acres of entertainment. Explore lush gardens, trendy restaurants, upscale shopping centers, and some of the most exciting concert venues.


  • Is there anything cool in Illinois?

    Indulge in retail therapy at Chicago's famous Magnificent Mile, check-in to the city's luxurious St Regis Hotel, or hike through the cascading waterfalls of Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby.


  • What can couples do in Illinois?

    A boat ride on the Chicago River is a big yes, as is strolling around the Navy Pier. Set up a picnic in the charming Millennial Park, or soak in impressive views of the skyline from Willis Tower.


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