Did you know that in 2019, 120 million people visited the state of Illinois, increasing leisure tourism up by 6%?
If you’re doing some vacation planning, be sure to put an Illinois vacation on your list because a trip to Illinois can work for all seasons, and you’ll never run out of things to do.
You can visit the iconic Millennium Park and splash around the fountain during the summer months, or stop for a slice of that famous Chicago-style pizza to warm your soul in on those cold winter days.
Do you want to know more? Then keep reading this guide to learn about five things you need to check out on your Illinois vacation.
1. Scottish Rite Theatre
When you’re visiting Illinois, make sure you don’t miss out on the Scottish Rite Theatre. First built in 1925, this theatre is a landmark in Peoria, Illinois, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building was initially built to serve as the home for the Valley of Peoria Scottish Rite, a local chapter of Freemasonry. This fraternal organization peaked membership in the 60s and 70s, but as membership declined, paying for building maintenance became more difficult.
Sold in 2019 to Kim Blickenstaff, it’s undergone significant renovations to its auditorium, orchestra pit, and historic wood carvings. You can visit the theatre for public concerts, shows, education, dance, or rent it for private events. Check out their website at scottishritepeoria.com to see everything they have to offer!
2. Millennium Park
Millennium Park is a public park in Chicago that opened in 2004 and is one of the most iconic things to do in Illinois. During the warm summer days, you can enjoy a zen moment in the beautiful Lurie Garden. And in the winter you can go figure skating under the stars.
You’ll also find film programs, live outdoor music, and artworks such as the Millenium Monument and Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate.
3. Museum of Science and Industry
Your Illinois trip planning can’t be complete without visiting the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. This spectacular museum is the largest science museum in the entire Western Hemisphere, opening in 1933.
With over 2,000 exhibits to learn about, you’ll never be bored at the Museum of Science and Industry. You can even find a World War II German submarine, a Wright Flyer replica, or check out a 40-foot water vapor tornado.
4. Navy Pier
Make sure you don’t miss visiting the Navy Pier, one of the most famous places in the midwest! The Navy Pier is a beautiful boardwalk that runs along the shores of Lake Michigan, and it’s jam-packed with things to do.
The famous Ferris wheel will light up your night along with art shows, cruises, mazes, and much more. You’ll also find plenty of dining, shopping, amusement park rides, and Crystal Gardens, an indoor botanical garden.
Cave-In-Rock is a village in southern Illinois known for its famous tourist attraction: a cave carved out of a rock by the side of the river. But this isn’t just an ordinary cave; it’s a cave with history.
The cave used to be a place where pirates launched attacks on boats carrying goods down the river. Even thieves and murderers would hide there so authorities couldn’t find them.
By the 1700s, the cave was rid of all the troublemakers and was later home to a church. Today, it remains hidden away rich in history and is perfect for you to tell stories about when you get home.
Now you can take your Illinois vacation to new heights when you check out the places on this list. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start packing your bags!
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