Sports Nuts, History Buffs & Nature Lovers Relish IL Bus Charters

From the bright lights of Chicago to scenic valleys and woodlands, the Land of Lincoln is a wonderland for any traveler. The region’s captivating past is filled with colorful characters and intrigue, from the life of Abraham Lincoln to tales of the Mississippi River. Cultural attractions, fine dining and one-of-a-kind shopping venues abound from Chicago’s Magnificent Mile to Galena’s quaint Main Street and Peoria’s riverfront. Outdoor adventures, professional and college sporting events, casinos and amusement parks promise thrills and chills for adults and children alike.

US Coachways provides bus charter rentals to locations throughout Illinois, including Chicago, Galena, Springfield, Peoria, Rockford and the Champaign-Urbana area. Whether you are looking to rent a party bus for a bachelor party or need a 56-seat charter bus for a church group, school trip or sport team travel, we ensure you will arrive at your destination safely and in comfort — all offered at great bus rental rates. Our extensive fleet of charter buses and personal customer service make US Coachways an ideal choice for all types of community groups as well as special events such as wedding activities and birthdays.

Contact US Coachways Today to Book Your IL Bus Rental, Explore Illinois at Your  Leisure

Our professional, experienced account specialists are available 24/7 to take your call and book your charter bus trip. Give us your itinerary, and then sit back and enjoy a smooth ride on one of our rental buses featuring luxury amenities. For a free quote or to book a great bus trip, contact us today at 1-855-BUS CHARTER (1-855- 287-2427).

Entertainment & Amusement Parks

  • Kartville — While there are no roller coasters or thrill rides, Kartville still promises never to bore with go-carts, mini golf, bumper boats, batting cages and dune buggies.
    • Location: 919 N Swords Ave., Peoria
    • Phone: 309-676-3628
    • Costs: $3 per ride. Special discount and group rates available. Call for more information.
    • Hours: The facility is open daily in the spring, summer and fall, weather permitting. Sundays through Thursdays, 10 a.m.to 9 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Splashdown at EastSide — This three-acre water park is actually part of the East Peoria’s Fon du lac Park District. What really matters, however, is that its affordable fun for families looking for wet ‘n wild activities.
  • Location: 1 Eastside Drive, East Peoria
  • Phone: 309-694-1867
  • Costs:$7.25 for general admission; $3 for spectators; Free for children, age 3 and younger. Admission rates fall after 3 p.m. Discounts and groups rates are available.
  • Hours: Open daily March through August, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Peoria Riverfront — The section of the city along the Illinois River offers more than great shopping and galleries. There’s live music and entrainment every weekend, ranging from nightclubs to outdoor concerts and other events.
  • Lakeview Family Aquatic Center — Operated by the Peoria Park District, the facility offers waterslides and swimming pool, a climbing wall, volleyball courts and play areas for children.
    • Location: 1017 West Lake Ave. (in Lakeview Park), Peoria
    • Phone: 309-686-3377
    • Costs: $5 for adults; $4 for children, age 4 to 12; Free for children, age 3 and younger.
    • Hours: Open June through August from Tuesday to Friday, noon to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
  • Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino — Whether you're a serious player or just looking for a unique entertainment experience, this east Peoria casino, with more than 1,100 slot machines and 20 table games, is a place to play in Central Illinois.
    • Location: 21 Blackjack Blvd., East Peoria
    • Phone: 309-699-7711
    • Costs: Admission to the casino is free.
    • Hours: Open daily, 8 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Peoria Civic Center — Built on the site of the former Jackson Hotel, this entertainment venue is a major concert site in Central Illinois, hosting performances by Jackson Brown and Earth Wind & Fire as well as Broadway tours and comedians. The facility includes a 2,200-seat theater, the 12,000-seat Carver Arena and a 100,000-square-foot convention space.
    • Location: Dozer Park, 201 SW Jefferson St., Peoria
    • Phone: 309-680-3500
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for a schedule of upcoming events.
  • BMO Harris Bank Center — Known as Rockford’s home for entertainment, this 10,000-seat arena located downtown in Davis Park is a major concert venue for the region.
    • Location: 300 Elm St., Rockford
    • Phone: 815-968-5600
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events.
  • CoCo Key Water Resort — Attached to the Best Western Clock Tower Resort and Conference Center is CoCo Key, one of Illinois' largest indoor water parks featuring three giant waterslides, Coconut Grove Adventure River, Parrot's Perch interactive play island and an arcade.
    • Location: 7801 E. State St., Rockford
    • Phone: 815-229-4575
    • Costs: $10 per person daily.
    • Hours: Hours of operation may vary seasonally, so visitors should call ahead for information.
  • Volcano Falls Adventure Park — Play miniature golf on the ground-shaking Volcano Course under the shadow of a three-story erupting volcano or take it easy on the nine-hole Palm Course. Sharpen your sports skills in batting cages and the area's only soccer cages, enjoy "combat" with your friends in the Laser Zone or race around the go-cart track.
    • Location: 7602 Rock Valley Parkway, Loves Park
    • Phone: 815-282-2100
    • Costs: Prices vary according to venue. Wristbands allowing unlimited golf, laser tag and go-carts can be bought for $30 from Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Hours: Hours vary seasonally, so visitors should call ahead for information.
  • Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center — Operated by the town’s parks department, amazing water slides splash down into 350,000 gallons of crystal clear water. The zero-depth entry pool also features water toys for children, lanes for swimmers and diving boards. The facility also has a full bath house with accessible restrooms and changing rooms, along with a full-service concession stand, shaded and open lounge areas, picnic tables and much more.
    • Location: 320 W. Flessner, Rantoul
    • Phone: 217-893-5700
    • Costs: Passes to the swimming pool are purchased from the town’s recreation department. Call for information on prices and other fees.
    • Hours: Hours of operation vary so visitors should call ahead for information.
  • State Farm Center — This 16,000-seat venue is not only home court to the University of Illinois men’s basketball team but also a major concert venue. It is one of the two largest edge-supported domes in the world.
    • Location: 1800 S. 1st St., Champaign
    • Phone: 217-333-2923
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming shows.
  • Jumer's Casino — One of the largest land-based casinos in the state of Illinois, Jumer’s features more than 1,000 slots, 25 table games and a live Poker Room. In addition, you can enjoy a night club, sports bar and four distinct restaurants featuring everything from steak and seafood to outstanding buffets and deli-style menus.
    • Location: 777 Jumer Drive, Rock Island
    • Phone: 309-793-4200
    • Costs: Admission to the casino is free.
    • Hours: Open daily, 7 a.m.to 5 a.m.
  • Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District — This district is the arts and entertainment destination of the Quad Cities of Moline and Rock Island. Located on the Mississippi River, the revitalized and vibrant district is home to art galleries, restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, casino, shops and a hotel.
  • Mississippi River Cruises — See the beauty of the Mississippi from the deck of a real, old-time riverboat. Relax, unwind and recharge during one and two-day cruises. The Twilight is a replica of the lavish Victorian steamboats of a century ago. Her unique rounded stern and ornate architectural detailing are reminders of those classic riverboats Mark Twain called "Floating Palaces".
    • Location: Operations office, 406 Franklin St., Scales Mound
    • Phone: 815-845-2333
    • Costs: Fares vary depending on the chosen cruise and date, but a one-day trip for an adult starts at $139. Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information on cruise schedules and departure times.
  • Alice T. Virtue Water Park — This beautiful family water park with waterslide, drop slide, diving board and full-menu concession stand is located adjacent to full-service park.
    • Location: 1801 Field St., Galena
    • Phone: 815-777-0802
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • iWireless Center — This 12,000 seat arena plays host to a variety of events including concerts and family shows as well as the Quad City Mallards hockey team.
    • Location: 1201 River Drive, Moline
    • Phone: 309-764-2001
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming performances
  • Casino Queen — For more than 10 years, the casino has been featured in the top five on Casino Player Magazine’s annual list of loosest slots. Visitors can also enjoy hot table games as well as fine and casual dining and best view in town is from the Casino Queen Hotel.
    • Location: 200 S. Front St., East St. Louis
    • Phone: 618-874-5000
    • Hours: Open daily, 8 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Argosy Casino-Alton — Enjoy three levels of action on the first riverboat casino in Illinois, featuring more than 1,000 machines, from penny to $25 slots. Try your luck at the tables with blackjack, roulette, Caribbean stud poker, pai gow poker and craps.
    • Location: #1 Piasa St., Alton
    • Phone: 618-474-7500
    • Hours: Open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • New Salem County Opry — Known as a family country music venue, the Opry features shows on Saturday nights at 8 p.m.
    • Location: Rt. 97, South Petersburg
    • Phone: 217-632-2630
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming shows.
  • Knight's Action Park & Caribbean Water Adventure — The theme park offers miniature golf, go-carts, batting cages, carnival rides and an arcade. The water park has a wave pool, bumper boats, water slides, paddle boats and a lazy river. Catch a movie at the old-fashioned drive-in next door.
    • Location: Chatham Road. and Recreation Drive, Springfield
    • Phone: 217-546-8881
    • Costs: Action Splash Pass, $30.95; Individual Season Pass, $119.95
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Springfield Nightlife — A quiet glass of wine with friends, a country music concert at the Opry or dancing the night away at one of the city’s nightclubs, your nightlife options are endless in Springfield.
  • United Center — Although best known as home to Chicago’s championship NHL hockey and NBA basketball teams (the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls), the arena is also a major entertainment venue, hosting performances by the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and U2 as well as visits by the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Disney on Ice.
    • Location: 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-455-4500
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events.
  • Chicago Jazz Clubs — The Windy City was one of the early incubators of America's first great musical style with Louis Armstrong making his early reputation here. Today's local jazz scene is a healthy mix of traditional and forward-thinking styles heard nightly in venues throughout the city. The legendary cocktail lounge Green Mill has been the destination for jazzbos ever since its beginnings as Pop Morse’s Roadhouse in 1907. Also check out the Jazz Showcase at Deerborne Station and don’t let the dank atmosphere at Andy’s deter a trip to this Loop mainstay.
  • Chicago Theatre — This legendary auditorium hosts a variety of entertainment, including stage events, concerts, dance and comedy. The elegant lobby, majestic staircase and beautiful 3,600-seat auditorium complete with murals above the stage and on the ceiling, are components of an amazing building called "the Wonder Theatre of the World" when it opened on Oct. 26, 1921.
    • Location: 175 N. State St., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-462-6300
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: The box office is open Monday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m.
  • Jay Pritzker Pavilion — Located in Millennium Park, this spectacular outdoor concert venue, designed by architect Frank Gehry, is home to the Grant Park Music Festival along with other free concerts and events. The Pavilion stands 120-feet high, with a billowing headdress of brushed stainless steel ribbons that frame the stage opening and connect to an overhead trellis of crisscrossing steel pipes. The trellis supports the sound system, which spans the 4,000 fixed seats and the Great Lawn, which accommodates an additional 7,000 people.
    • Location: 100 W. Randolph, Chicago
    • Phone: 312-742-1168
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Harrah’s Joliet Casino — In addition to its 1,100 slots machines, the biggest array of Video Poker in town, 25 table games, and a poker room, the casino also offers exceptional dining at the Reserve steakhouse.
    • Location: 151 N. Joliet St., Joliet
    • Phone: 815-740-7800
    • Costs: Admission to the casino is free.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Rivers Casino in Des Plaines — Step into the excitement of more than 1,000 slots and nearly 50 table games housed in an entirely non-smoking 43,000-square-foot gaming floor. Rivers also features seven bars and restaurants (including local favorite Hugo's Frog Bar & Chop House), and nightly entertainment.
    • Location: 3000 S. River Road, Des Plaines
    • Phone: 888-307-0777; 847-795-0777
    • Costs: Admission to the casino is free.
    • Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Hollywood Casino in Aurora — Slot machine denominations at Hollywood Casino Aurora range from a penny to $100. Visitors will find all their traditional favorites, popular themes and progressive.
    • Location: 1 W. New York St., Aurora
    • Phone: 630-801-1234
    • Costs: Admission to the casino is free.
    • Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.
  • Six Flags Great America — Located in Gurnee, Six Flags Great America offers a thrill a minute with 14 heart-pounding roller coasters such as the Goliath, the world’s fastest wooden coaster with the tallest and steepest drop, plunging riders down 180 feet and rocketing through twists and turns at 72 miles per hour. US Coachways is the official charter bus service for the Six Flags theme parks nationwide.
    • Locations; 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee
    • Phone: 847-249-1776
    • Costs: Call for information on admission costs, group rates and season passes.
    • Hours: The theme park opens at 10:30 a.m. daily. Closing times vary. Call for more information.
  • Hurricane Harbor and Riptide Bay — Located adjacent to Six Flags Great America, the affiliated water park boasts many slides and attractions. Catch a wave at the only place to surf on Lake Michigan.
    • Locations: 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee,
    • Phone: 847-249-1776
    • Costs: Call for information on admission costs, group rates and season passes.
    • Hours: The water park opens daily at 11:15 a.m. Closing hours vary. Call for information.

Arts & Cultural

  • Krannert Art Museum — Located on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus, Krannert Art Museum is the second-largest fine art museum in Illinois with a diverse permanent collection that contains more than 10,000 works of art.
    • Location: 500 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign
    • Phone: 217-333-1861
    • Costs: Free admission but suggested donation is $3.
    • Hours: Hours of operation vary seasonally so visitors should call ahead for information.
  • John Philip Sousa Library and Museum — The museum honors a true "music man.” John Phillip Sousa's personal band music library, willed to the University of Illinois, is on display along with period band uniforms and musical instruments..
    • Location: 236 Harding Band Building, 2nd Floor, 1103 S. Sixth St., Champaign
    • Phone: 217-244-9309
    • Costs: Free.
    • Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays.
  • Krannert Center for the Performing Arts What Lincoln Center is to New York, the Krannert Center is to the Midwest. This magnificent showcase for the performing arts is a setting for more than 300 performances each year. The center has hosted famous artists such as Emmy Lou Harris, Herbie Hancock, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Mark Morris Dance Group and is home to the Champaign-Urbana Symphony.
    • Location: 500 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana
    • Phone: 217-333-6280
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Ticket Office is open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • The Wandell Sculpture Garden — Since opening in 1998 with 10 pieces, the Urbana’s Meadowbrook Park has grown in size and scale. Today, it sits nestled among 22 acres of re-created native Illinois Tallgrass Prairie. Works from local artists with ties to the University of Illinois grace the garden as well as pieces from artists who reside in New York, California and New Mexico. A few sculptures are owned by the district. Other sculptures in the collection are on loan and change occasionally
    • Location: Windsor Road, Meadowbrook Park, Urbana
    • Phone: 217-367-1536
    • Costs: Free.
    • Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk.
  • Peoria Civic Center — Built on the site of the former Jackson Hotel, this entertainment venue not only hosts concerts and comedians but also provides a home stage for Peoria’s symphony orchestra and the Peoria Ballet.
    • Location: 201 SW Jefferson Ave, Peoria
    • Phone: 309-680-3500
    • Costs: call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for a schedule of upcoming events.
  • Peoria Players — Playing in Peoria since 1919, this community theater group is the fourth-oldest in the United States and the longest running in Illinois, offering six productions a year including musicals, comedies and drama.
    • Location: 4300 N. University St., Peoria
    • Phone: 309-688-4473
    • Cost: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming shows. The box office at Lakeview Park is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Riverfront Museum — Opened in October 2012, this 80,000 square-foot facility is a gem in the middle of Peoria’s downtown riverfront with exhibits that fuse art, history and science. It is the only museum in downstate Illinois affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and features a 3D giant-screen theater and digital planetarium as well as history, science, art and achievement exhibits for all ages.
    • Location: 222 SW Washington St., Peoria
    • Phone: 309-686-7000
    • Costs: $10 for adults; $9 for seniors; $8 for children, age 3 to 17; Free for museum members and military families.
    • Hours: Monday through Thursday, noon to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
  • Burpee Museum of Natural History — This small natural history museum along the Rockford Riverfront includes the skeleton of a young T-Rex, known affectionately as “Jane.”
  • Location: 737 North Main St., Rockford
  • Phone: 815-965-3433
  • Costs: $8 for adults ($13 with special exhibit); $7 for children, age 4 to 12 ($12 with special exhibit); Free for children, ages 3 and younger, and museum members.
  • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Starlight Theatre — Roc k Valley College is home to this renowned theater program featuring four productions every summer at the Bengt Sjostrom Theatre known for its retractable roof.
  • Location: 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford
  • Phone: 815-921-2160
  • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
  • Hours: Call for information on upcoming performances and events.
  • Coronado Performing Arts Center — This ornate performing arts palace was once a 1920s movie house and vaudeville hall. Today, it is home to the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the Rockford Dance Company and many touring shows.
  • Location: 314 N. Main St., Rockford
  • Phone: 815-968-2722
  • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
  • Hours: Call for information on upcoming performances and events.
  • Rockford Art Museum — Founded in 1913, the museum’s permanent collection includes 1,900 items, mainly consisting of 20th century art, American impressionists and photography. Nationally and internationally renowned contemporary art glass further rounds out the collection.
  • Location: 711 N. Main St., Rockford
  • Phone: 815-968-2787
  • Costs: $7 for adults; $3 for seniors and students; Free for members and children under 12; $2 per person for groups of 10 or more.
  • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The Tinker Swiss Cottage — This historic museum built in the home of the Tinker family, who moved to Hawaii in the 1830s to become missionaries but returned after 10 years with trinkets and artifacts. The property is also the home of the founding site of Rockford and contains a Pre-Columbian Native American conical mound.
  • Location: 411 Kent St., Rockford
  • Phone: 815-964-2424
  • Costs: $7 for adults; $6 for seniors; $5 for children, age 6 to 17; Free for children, age 5 and younger, and museum members.
  • Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Other: Guided tours are required for entrance into the museum.
  • Macktown Living History Center — The village was built in 1834 on the Pecatonica River by fur trader Stephen Mack, one of the area's first settlers .Today, the visitor center exhibits include a walnut cradle Mack made for his children plus Native American artifacts, donated by Mack's descendants.
  • Location: 2221 Freeport Road, Rockton
  • Phone: 815-624-4200
  • Costs: Call for information.
  • Hours: Call for information.
  • West Street Sculpture Park — Wander through this outdoor gallery of large steel sculptures by award-winning local artist John Martinson. More than a dozen large, welded steel sculptures are scattered throughout two acres in a beautiful, natural setting. Sculptures include two 40-foot towers, contemplative artworks, a giant tinkertoy, unique signs and humorous assemblages.
  • Location: 620 S. West St., Galena,
  • Phone: 815-777-9591
  • Costs: Call for information.
  • Hours: Call for information.
  • Galena & U.S. Grant Museum — Discover Ulysses S. Grant, one of the most celebrated generals of the Civil War and U.S. president, in this museum bearing his name.
  • Location: 211 S. Bench St., Galena
  • Phone: 815-777-9129
  • Costs: $8 for adults; $7 for seniors; $6 for children, age 10 to 18; Free for children, age 9 and younger; $20 or families.
  • Hours: Call for information.
  • The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design — This satellite facility of the international museum features contemporary art, architecture and photography from around the world.
  • Location: 601 S. Prospect St., Galena
  • Phone: 815-777-4444
  • Costs: Call for information.
  • Hours: Call for information.
  • Playcrafters Barn Theater — Enjoy a variety of dramas and comedies at this theater situated in a renovated barn. Theater productions are available throughout the year and feature professional actors and actresses.
  • Location: 4950 35th Ave., Moline
  • Phone: 309-762-0330
  • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
  • Hours: Call for information on upcoming performances.
  • John Hauberg Indian Museum — Located in Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island, the museum features full-size replicas of Sauk winter and summer houses and a four-by-eight-foot scale model of the city of Saukenuk, one of the largest Native American Indian settlements in the United States.
  • Location: 1510 46th Ave., Rock Island
  • Phone: 309-788-9536
  • Costs: Call for information.
  • Hours: March through October, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed noon to 1 p.m. for lunch); November through February, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed noon to 1 p.m. for lunch).
  • The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum — The museum houses the largest private holdings of important original manuscripts and documents. Among the treasures are the original draft of the Bill of Rights of the United States and the "Thanksgiving Proclamation" signed by George Washington.
  • Location: 700 22nd St., Rock Island
  • Phone: 309-788-0806
  • Costs: Admission is free.
  • Hours: Call for information.
  • Illinois State Museum — Located in the Capital Complex, the museum’s permanent and changing exhibits tell the story of the land, life and people of Illinois. The second floor galleries exhibit an impressive array of historical and contemporary Illinois art.
    • Location: 502 S. Spring St., Springfield
    • Phone: 217-782-7386
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
  • Hoogland Center for the Arts — Initially built in 1909 as a Masonic temple, the building was turned into a performing arts venue in 2001 and today houses the Springfield Ballet, the Springfield Muni Opera and the Springfield Theater Center. The venue also draws touring musical acts from all over the country.
    • Location: 420 S 6th St., Springfield
    • Phone: 217-523-2787
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming performances.
  • Art Institute of Chicago — The second-largest art museum in the United States is home to more than 300,000 works of art, and is renowned for its rare master works. Visitors can enjoy one of the world’s most notable collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Also, with the addition of its Modern Wing, the AIC now features an impressive showcase for contemporary artworks.
    • Location: 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-443-3600
    • Costs: $23 for adults; $17 for seniors and students; Free for members and children, age 13 and younger. Discounts are available for Chicago and Illinois residents. Call for more information on group rates.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday until 8 p.m. The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art — Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, this museum houses one of the largest collections of modern art in the nation. The MCA boasts a gift store, bookstore, restaurant, 300-seat theater and a terraced sculpture garden with a great view of Lake Michigan.
    • Location: 220 East Chicago Ave., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-397-4010
    • Costs: Suggested admission is $12; $7 for students and seniors; Free for children, age 12 and younger, military personnel and members. Free every Tuesday for Illinois residents.
    • Hours: Open Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.
  • DuSable Museum of African American History — Located on University of Chicago's Hyde Park campus, the DuSable is one of the oldest African-American–focused museums in the country.
    • Location: 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago
    • Phone: 773-947-0600
    • Costs: $10 for adults; $7 for students and seniors; $3 for children, age 6 to 11; Free for children, ages 4 and younger.
    • Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10a.m.to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays and major holidays.
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra — Founded in 1891, the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra makes its home at the grand Symphony Center on Michigan Avenue, moving each summer to the outdoor Ravinia Festival in suburban Highland Park. It performs well more than 100 concerts each year and often collaborates with some of the biggest names in classical music.
    • Location: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-294-3000
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: The box office is open in season Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. In the summer, box office hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.
  • Joffrey Ballet — The famed Chicago ballet company founded by Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey perform a unique repertoire encompassing masterpieces of the past and cutting-edge works at the Auditorium Theater at Roosevelt University. The company is known for a uniquely American style of dance featuring ballets from the great choreographers of the 20th century including Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp and George Balanchine.
    • Location: 50 E. Congress Pkwy., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-922-2110
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events. The box office at Joffrey Tower (10 E. Randolph St.) is open Monday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m.
  • Steppenwolf Theatre — Founded by Jeff Perry, Terry Kinney and Gary Sinise in the mid-1970s, Steppenwolf has evolved into a world-renowned, Tony Award-winning ensemble theater known for innovative, artist-driven theatrical productions. Once, it performed in a Highland Park church basement. Today, it offers year-round programming across three stages.
    • Location: 1650 N Halsted St., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-335-1650
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices and discounts.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming performances.

Restaurants & Shopping

  • Lincoln Square Mall — Located in downtown Urbana, this retail center was one of the first fully enclosed indoor malls and is home to the historic Lincoln Hotel.
    • Location: 201 Lincoln Square, Lincoln Square Village Mall, Urbana
    • Phone: 217-367-4092
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Dining in Champaign-Urbana — From taverns and cafes to fine dining and roadhouse grills, Champaign-Urban has eateries to suit any taste. The area is also know for its “farm fresh cuisine.”
  • Tanger Outlet Center at Tuscola — The Tanger Outlet Center offers more than 40 brand name outlets, including Coach and JCrew, and great prices.
    • Location: D400 Tuscola Blvd., Tuscola
    • Phone: (217) 253-2282
    • Hours: Hours vary seasonally so visitors should call for information. The center opens at 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday and at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The mall is closed on Christmas Day.
  • Monticello — Located a short drive from Champaign, this small town’s Courthouse Square offers unique shops, restaurants and award-winning art galleries. A variety of fun events are held in the Courthouse Square area, while the historic South Charter Street and North State Street are in walking distance of downtown.
  • Peoria Riverfront — The section of the city along the Illinois River offers more than nightclubs and outdoor concerts. There’s chic boutiques and great restaurants, ranging from casual cafes to fine dining as well as a thriving farmer’s market.
  • Junction City Shopping Center — Conveniently located at the corner of Knoxville Avenue and Prospect Road in the heart of Peoria, the shopping center opened in 1956 as the city’s first retail mall. The grey, board and baton structure was built to honor and evoke the feeling of turn-of-the-century Main Street. Visitors can explore the boutiques and eateries along the historic boardwalk, enjoy a gourmet lunch and shop for a new outfit.
    • Location: 5901 N. Prospect Road, Peoria
    • Phone: 309-740-0808
    • Hours: Store hours vary for each retailers. Call for more information.
  • Shoppes at Grand Prairie — This vibrant, open-air complex is the premier dining and shopping destination for the Peoria region with an exciting blend of retailers and restaurants, along with well-known anchor stores: Bergner's, DSW, Jillian's and Dick's Sporting Goods. The lush landscape features animal sculptures throughout the center and the nationally acclaimed Holocaust Memorial Button exhibit filled with 11 million buttons.
    • Location: 5201 W. War Memorial Dr., Peoria
    • Phone: 309-692-3672
    • Hours: The mall is open daily although hours of operation can vary. Call ahead for information before arriving.
  • Antique Shopping in Rockford — With more than two dozen antique stores in and around Rockford, the city has become a popular weekend shopping destination. The Main Street Antique Mall contains more than 30 dealers with fine furniture, primitives, oak, Redwing pottery, quilts, glassware, vintage books, linens, collectibles and jewelry.
  • Cherry Vale Mall — This enclosed two-story regional shopping mall houses numerous national chains and hosts an assortment of craft and car shows.
    • Location: 7200 Harrison Ave., Cherry Valley
    • Phone: 815-332-2440
    • Hours: Open daily Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Edgewood — Locate in the heart of Rockford, this shopping center offers a unique mix of eclectic boutiques and restaurants.
    • Location: 1639 North Alpine Road, Rockford,
    • Phone: 815-226-0212
    • Hours: Hours for retails stores can vary, so call ahead for information.
  • Main Street Galena — Curving past nearly 100 19th century storefronts, Galena's historic Main Street was named "Best Main Street in the Midwest" by Midwest Living magazine and one of America's Best Main Streets by Fodor's. Historic red brick buildings dating back to the Civil War are home to charming boutiques, art galleries and restaurants.
  • The Galena Antique Mall — Located two miles east of Galena, the antique mall houses 55 dealers specializing in antiques, collectibles, jewelry, furniture and old toys.
    • Location: 8201 US Hwy 20, West Galena
    • Phone: 815-777-3440
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • John Deere Commons at Moline Centre — Located near the iWireless Center, this tourism destination offering a variety of restaurants, concerts, special events, top-name entertainment as well as live music at the many pubs and bars. Celebration Belle Riverboat and Channel Cat Taxi is nearby so you can explore the mighty Mississippi River.
    • Location: River Drive and 5th Avenue, Moline
    • Phone: 309-765-1278
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • South Park Mall — Located in Moline, this mall houses more than 130 specialty stores, five department stores, two sit-down restaurants and a 500-seat food fair.
    • Location: 4500 16th St., Moline,
    • Phone: 309-797-9070
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.
  • Downtown Springfield — Stroll downtown Springfield and check out shops that carry everything from Lincoln souvenirs to one-of-a-kind jewelry and fresh-made fudge. Be sure to visit some of the great restaurants as well.
  • Old Capitol Farmers Market — Stroll through two full blocks of Illinois-grown produce, meats, eggs, herbs, flowers and much more. Open May through October.
  • Capital City Shopping Center — With Shopko as its anchor store, Capital City offers several shopping and dining opportunities as well as an eight-screen Cineplex.
  • Location: 3095 S. Dirksen Parkway, Springfield,
  • Phone: 217-529-3581
  • Hours: Call for hours of operation.
  • The Barrell Antique Mall — A bevy of antique shops in a new 27,000-square-foot facility.
  • Location: 5850 S. 6th St., Springfield
  • Phone: 217-585-1438
  • Hours: Call for information.
  • Dining out in Chicago — The Windy City is renowned for its many restaurants, more than 5,500 in all, ranging from pizzerias to the eateries of celebrity chefs. The city is the birthplace of the famed deep-dish pizza. Other unique local fare includes the Chicago-style Vienna hot dog, Maxwell Street Polish cuisine and of course, Italian beef sandwiches and Chicago-style barbeque. The city's Waterfront district is one of the most popular areas for dining. And don’t miss the city’s ethnic enclaves of Little Italy, Greektown, Little Seoul, Chinatown and Polish Patches, which all offer mouth-watering cuisines.
  • The Navy Pier — Although known for its sky-high Ferris wheel, its outdoor concert venue and an acclaimed Shakespeare theater, the Navy Peer is also a fun place to shop and eat with its many boardwalk restaurants, unique shops and souvenir stands.
  • Fashion Outlet of Chicago — Located outside Chicago just minutes from O’Hare International Airport, this shopping center includes more than 130 designer outlets, including Tory Burch, Coach, Prada, Bloomingdales’ The Outlet Store and Last Call by Neiman Marcus.
    • Location: 5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont
    • Phone: 847-928-7500
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Magnificent Mile — Looking to give your credit card a workout? You'll find world-class shopping and dining along the city’s famed “Magnificent Mile.” Stretching along North Michigan Avenue from the banks of the Chicago River to the south and to Oak Street to the north, this 13-block area includes four shopping centers, renowned boutiques and locally acclaimed designers.

Golf Courses & Sports Venues

  • Memorial Stadium — This 60,000-seat Memorial Stadium, home to Fighting Illini football, was built in 1923 as a memorial to Illinois men and women who gave their lives for their country during World War I. Their names appear on 200 columns that support the east and west sides of the stadium. For the 2013 season, a new high-definition video display was installed in the south horseshoe.
    • Location: 1402 S. First St., Champaign
    • Phone: 217-333-1400
    • Cost: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on games and upcoming events.
  • State Farm Center — This 16,000-seat venue is home court to the Fighting Illini men’s basketball team.
    • Location: 1800 S. 1st St., Champaign
    • Phone: 217-333-2923
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming games.
  • Iron Horse Golf Club — The Iron Horse Golf Club features an 18-hole links-style championship golf course with bent grass tees, fairways and greens that provide a challenge to the low handicapper and a fun, playable golf course for the high handicapper.
    • Location: 2000 Ironhorse Dr., Tuscola,
    • Phone: 217-253-6644
    • Costs: Call for information on tee times
    • Hours: Call for information on greens fees.
  • Woodlawn Country Club — This nine-hole walking course features plenty of trees with water coming into play on seven of the nine holes. A snack bar is available.
    • Location: 901 E. Richardson, Farmer City
    • Phone: 309-928-3215
    • Costs: Call for information on tee times.
    • Hours: Call for information on greens fees.
  • Peoria Motorcycle Club — In professional motorcycle racing, this is the oldest continuing dirt track in the world and plays host the Spring Poker Run, the  Annual Busch 600cc National TT, the Camel Pro Challenge Cup and the annual Turkey Run
    • Location: 603 Cameron Lane, Bartonville
    • Phone: 309-697-4981
    • Costs: Admission prices vary so call ahead for information.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming races and other events.
  • Peoria Push Derby — Peoria Push is an all female flat-track roller derby league that was founded in 2010 to raise money for local charities. The league consists of several teams, including the Demolition Dames and the Wrecking Crew.
    • Phone: 309-579-3626
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events.
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
  • Peoria Chiefs — The Peoria Chiefs are a Class A minor league baseball team, affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, that plays in the Midwest League. More than 120 former players from the team have gone on to play in the major leagues, including Mark Grace, Greg Maddux, Joe Girardi, Yadier Molina, Dan Haren and Albert Pujols.
    • Location: Dozer Park, 730 SW Jefferson, Peoria
    • Phone: 309-680-4000
    • Cost: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for a schedule of upcoming games and events. The ticket office is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on non-game days. On game days the office is open from 10 a.m. to the end of the game.
  • Peoria Rivermen — For 27 winters, the Rivermen have provided Peoria with a preview of the talent intended for the NHL. This AAA affiliate of the  St. Louis Blues compete in the American Hockey League (AHL), which is the primary professional developmental league for all NHL prospects.
    • Location: Carver Arena, 201 SW Jefferson St., Peoria
    • Phone: 309-673-8900
    • Cost: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming games and events.
  • WeaverRidge — Regarded as  Illinois' most spectacular championship golf course, Weaver Ridge is set in rolling hills and forested valleys, surrounded by beautiful homes. The course features multiple bent grass tees and fairways, fast and true greens, challenging and dramatic elevations and excellent practice facilities.
    • Location: 5100 WeaverRidge Dr., Peoria
    • Phone: 309-691-3344
    • Costs: Cal for information on greens fees.
    • Hours: Call for information on tee times.
  • The Rockford Aviators — Rockford's professional baseball team is part of the Frontier League, an independent professional league. Home games are played at Aviators Stadium.
    • Location: 4503 Interstate Blvd., Loves Park
    • Phone: 815-885-2255
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming games.
  • Aldeen Golf Club Considered a "must play" course in the Midwest, Aldeen was voted best municipal course in Illinois by Golf Digest, and ranked number 38 in Golf Magazine's Thrifty 50 list.
    • Location: 1900 Reid Farm Road, Rockford
    • Phone: 815-282-4653
    • Costs: Call for information on greens fees.
    • Hours: Call for information on tee times.
  • Rockford IceHogs — The Rockford Ice Hogs are a professional ice hockey team that plays in the American Hockey League. They began play during the 2007 AHL season at the BMO Harris Bank Center and are the top affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
    • Location: 300 Elm St., Rockford
    • Phone: 815-885-2255
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming games.
  • Storybrook Golf Club — One of the most challenging 18 holes in Jo Daviess County, the front nine features water on every hole while the back nine offer some of the most beautiful holes in the area.
    • Location: 2124 W. Storybrook Road, Hanover
    • Phone: 815-591-2210
    • Costs: Golf rates vary, so visitors should call before arriving.
    • Hours: Call for information on tee times.
  • Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa — The award-winning resort offers four championship golf courses as well as horseback riding and boating on the sapphire waters of Lake Galena. Zagat Survey includes both the North, South and General golf courses in their 2009 "America's Top Golf Courses Guide." Also, Travel & Leisure Golf, Golfweek and Golf Digest have recognized the resort as well.
    • Location: 444 Eagle Ridge Drive, Galena
    • Phone: 815-777-5000
    • Costs: Golf rates vary, so visitors should call before arriving.
    • Hours: Call for information on tee times.
  • The iWireless Center — This 12,000-seat area in Moline plays host to the Quad City Mallards hockey team, members of the Central Hockey League.
    • Location: 1201 River Drive, Moline
    • Phone: 309-764-2001
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming games.
  • Cordoba Dragway Park — This quarter-mile drag racing facility features bracket racing on Saturday nights and plays host to the World Series of Drag Racing.
    • Location: 19425 IL Rte. 84, North Cordova
    • Phone: 309-654-2110
    • Costs: Friday, $8 for adults and $3 for children, age 6 to 12. Children under 6 are free. On Saturday, $12 for adults and $3 for children, age 6 to 12.
  • Wrigley Field   While many professional sports teams have invested in elaborate new stadiums, the Chicago Cubs have opted to hold onto history. Wrigley Field, named for the chewing-gum magnate, seats 41,000 and has been home to the Cubs since 1916. The field is noted for its ivy-covered brick outfield wall, the unusual wind patterns off Lake Michigan, the iconic red marquee over the main entrance and for being the last major league park to have lights installed for play after dark in 1988.
    • Location: 1060 W. Addison St., Chicago
    • Phone: 773-404-2827
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: The advance ticket sales windows located outside of Gate F at the corner of Clark and Addison streets is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., during the season.
  • U.S. Cellular Field — Home to the younger of Chicago’s two major league baseball clubs, the Chicago White Sox, this 40,000-seat ball field features an exploding scoreboard and an old-time facade, complete with arches.
    • Location: 333 W. 35th St., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-674-1000
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: The box office is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Soldier Field — Home to the Super Bowl championship-winning Chicago Bears, Soldier Field is comprised of two distinct structures. There is classical stone-clad shell designed in the 1920s. Its contemporary interior is a 2003 retrofit designed specifically for the Bears. This boldly asymmetrical steel and concrete bowl seats 61,500 spectators.
    • Location: 1600 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
    • Phone: 312-747-1285
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events.
  • United Center — This multi-purpose arena is home to Chicago’s championship NHL hockey and NBA basketball teams, the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks. Opened in 1994, the arena has hosted the 1996 Democratic National Convention and major concert performances by the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and U2 as well as visits by the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Disney on Ice.
    • Location: 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-455-4500
    • Costs: Call for information on ticket prices.
    • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events.
  • Cog Hill Golf Country Club — The public is invited to play any of Cog Hill's four award-winning, 18-hole championship golf courses. The world-famous Dubsdread course hosted the PGA Tour's BMW Championship from 2009-2011.
    • Location: 12294 Archer Ave., Lemont
    • Phone: 866-264-4455
    • Costs: Call for information on golf rates and other costs.
    • Hours: Call for information on tee times.
  • Willow Crest Golf — Located on the extensive grounds of the Oak Brook Hills Resort, this 18-hole championship golf course was named for more than the 100 willow trees that line its five ponds. The course features gently rolling bent grass fairways, well-bunkered greens and numerous water challenges.
    • Location: 3500 Midwest Road, Oak Brook
    • Phone: 630-850-5555
    • Costs: Call for information on golf rates and other costs.
    • Hours: Call for information on tee times.

Historical Sites & Landmarks

  • University of Illinois — Illinois’ flagship university opened for classes in 1868 and today cultivates an atmosphere of innovation based on a history of interdisciplinary exploration. The university includes several historic buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2003, Illinois’ faculty members won national and international awards including two Nobel Prizes.
    • Location: 901 West Illinois St., Urbana
    • Phone: 217-333-1000
    • Hours: Call to arrange a tour or for information on events.
  • Chanute Air Museum — This museum celebrates the 76-year legacy of the former Chanute Air Force base and the development Illinois aviation, showcasing more than 30 aircraft.
    • Location: 1011 Pacesetter Drive, Rantoul
    • Phone: 217-893-1613
    • Costs: $10 for adults; $8 for seniors and military; $5 for students, grades K through 12; Free for children, age 4 and younger.
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Easter Sunday.
  • Monticello Railway Museum — Featuring various pieces of steam and electric railroad equipment, this museum offers vintage train rides on Saturday and Sunday May through October as well as playing host to a number of special events throughout the year.
    • Location: 992 Iron Horse Place, Monticello
    • Phone: 217-762-9011
    • Costs: $10 for adults: $8 for seniors; $6 for children, age 2 through 12; Free for children under 2.
    • Hours: The museum is open weekends May through October. You may board the train at the Nelson Crossing depot at the museum or the Wabash Depot in downtown Monticello. Layovers at either depot are encouraged. Call for more information about museum hours and train departures.
  • Ronald Reagan Trail — A self-guided driving tour that celebrates our 40th president and explores the Illinois towns that helped shape his life, from his birthplace in Tampico to his hometown Dixon to Eureka, where he went to college.
    • Location: 300 East College Ave., Eureka
    • Phone: 309-467-6407
  • Reagan Museum and Peace Garden — Housed in the Donald B. Cerf Center at Eureka College, the museum exhibits 10,000 items from President Reagan's Eureka College student days, his movie and TV career, and his two terms as president of the United States. It includes a section of the Berlin Wall.
    • Location: 300 E. College Ave., Eureka
    • Phone: 309-467-6407
    • Costs: Admission is free although donations are welcome.
    • Hours: Because hours of operation vary seasonally, please call beforehand for information.
  • Peoria Asylum — Located in nearby Bartonville, the facility was formerly known as the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane. Today, it is the site of a fantastic ghost tour that highlights the history of the hospital, employees and the former inmates.
    • Location: 4125 Pffieffer Road, Bartonville
    • Phone 309-202-1035
    • Costs:  An assortment of tours is available, and prices vary depending on the package. Call in advance for more information. 
    • Hours:  Tours available Friday and Saturday and include both paranormal and historic information. Call in advance for more information.
  • Pettengill-Morron House Museum — This 1868 Victorian mansion located in the historic Moss-High District houses decorative arts, fine textiles, antique furniture and silver collections.
    • Location: 1212 W. Moss Ave., Peoria
    • Phone: 309-674-1921
    • Costs: $7 for adults; $3 for children, age 4 to 12.
    • Hours: Call for a tour schedule.
  • The Midway Village Museum History — The museum campus consists of a Victorian village and several beautiful 19th century gardens that depict life in northern Illinois from 1890 to 1910. Interpreters in authentic period dress are available seasonally for guided tours. Special events throughout the year include a World War II reenactment, Sock Monkey and Scarecrow Harvest Festivals
    • Location: 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford
    • Phone: 815-397-9112
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Historic Auto Attractions — More than 70 historic autos including presidential limousines, Al Capone's car and movie cars such as the Batmobile plus WWII artifacts and memorabilia create a museum that’s a step above the standard auto museum.
    • Location: 13825 Metric Drive, Roscoe
    • Phone: 815-389-7917
    • Costs: $9 per person in-season; $12 per person out-of-season.
    • Hours: Because hours vary seasonally, visitors should call in advance.
  • The Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site — The home was presented to U.S. Grant in 1865 and opened to the public in 1904. When a restoration project was undertaken in 1955, considerable research was undertaken to return the house to its 1868 appearance as pictured in the Nov. 14, 1868, issue of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. Fortunately, much of the furniture used by Grant and his family remained in the house.
    • Location: 500 Bouthillier St., Galena
    • Phone: 815-777-3310
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last tour starts at 4 p.m.
  • Old Stockade — Used as a refuge for women and children of the Galena area during the Blackhawk War of 1832, the Old Stockade brings Galena's earliest history to life in this 1820's log building.
    • Location: 208 Perry St., Galena
    • Phone: 815-777-1222
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Open every Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Deere-Wiman House & Butterworth Center — These two historic homes, built in 1872 and 1892 respectively, were occupied by four generations of John Deere's descendants. Guided tours showcase the history of the houses and are available by reservation only.
    • Location: 817 11th Ave., Moline,
    • Phone: 309-765-7971
    • Costs: Call for information.
  • Black Hawk Historic Site — This beautiful historic park sits on a wooded, steeply rolling 208-acre tract that borders the Rock River and was voted one of the "7 Wonders of Illinois." Prehistoric Indians and 19th century settlers made homes here, but the area is most closely identified with the Sauk nation and its great warrior, Black Hawk. While at the park be sure to visit the John Hauberg Indian Museum.
    • Location: 1510 46th Ave., Rock Island
    • Phone: 309-788-9536
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Open year-round from sunrise to 10 p.m., weather permitting.
  • Illinois State Capitol — Visitors can watch Illinois politics in action rom balcony-level seating when legislature is in session.
    • Location: Second Street and Capitol Avenue, Springfield
    • Phone: 217-782-2099
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information on tours.
  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site — The Lincoln family lived here from 1844 until they left for Washington. It was the only house he ever owned. The historic four-block neighborhood that looks much as it did in the mid-1800s, complete with wooden sidewalks.
    • Location: 426 S. 7th St., Springfield
    • Phone: 217-391-3221
    • Costs: Free
    • Hours: Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.
    • Other: The only entry to the Lincoln Home is by a Ranger-guided tour. Obtain a free tour ticket at the Visitor Center Information Desk. Due to heavy visitation during the Lincoln Bicentennial year, visitors are encouraged to arrive as early as possible to receive tickets to tour the home. The last tour begins at 4:30 p.m. but on busy days tickets may run out prior to 4:30 p.m.
  • Lincoln's Law Practice — This is the only remaining structure where Abraham Lincoln maintained working law offices. The clutter and makeshift furniture draws a vivid picture of what a normal day was like for Lincoln and his law partner, William Herndon.
    • Location: 1 S Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield
    • Phone: 217-785-7960
    • Costs; Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site — The Tomb is the final resting place of President Lincoln, his wife and three of their four children.
    • Location: 1500 Monument Ave., Springfield
    • Phone: 217-782-2717
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: April 1 through Aug. 31, open Monday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 1 through March 31, open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site — This meticulously reconstructed 1830s village is where Lincoln lived as a young adult, studied law and began politics.
    • Location: 15588 History Lane, Petersburg
    • Phone: 217-632-4000
    • Costs: Free but a $2 donation is suggested.
    • Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round
  • Frederick C. Robie House — Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, this quintessential Prairie-style home has been named by the American Institute of Architects as one of the 10 most significant buildings of the 20th century. The Robie House is located in Hyde Park on the University of Chicago campus.
    • Location: 5757 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago
    • Phone: 708-848-1976
    • Costs: $17 for adults, $14 for students, seniors and military. Free for children, age 3 and younger.
    • Hours: Thursday through Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Unity Temple — Another Frank Lloyd Wright design, this modern masterpiece is famous for its brilliant use of light and space. The building was Wright's first public commission and is the only surviving public building from his golden Prairie period. Limited by a modest budget and an urban site, he created a bold design and used unconventional materials to produce one of his most significant accomplishments.
    • Location: 875 Lake St., Oak Park
    • Phone: 312-994-4000
    • Costs: $15 for adults, $12 for students, seniors and military. Free for children, age 3 and younger.
    • Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (last guided tour begins one hour before close). Closed on Sundays as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
  • Chicago Board of Trade — One of several Chicago sites featured in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the Chicago Board of Trade Building sits at the end of the city’s stunning LaSalle Street Financial Corridor. The 1930 Art Deco masterpiece by Holabird & Root is the world's oldest futures and options exchange. A sparkling, stainless-steel sculpture of Ceres, the goddess of grain, caps the building, paying homage to the commodity that enabled so much of Chicago’s growth.
    • Location: 141 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-435-3590
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information about tours.
  • Chicago Cultural Center — This landmark is a big draw for architecture lovers due to its 38-foot Tiffany Favrile glass dome, the largest such structure in the world. It was initially built as the city's central library and a monument dedicated to the Civil War's Grand Army of the Republic. Since 1977, the building has housed cultural entities that included galleries, an auditorium and the city's office of cultural affairs.
    • Location: 78 E. Washington St., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-744-6630
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • John J. Glessner House — Named a national historic landmark in 1976, the house sits on Prairie Avenue along a stretch then known as known as "millionaires' row." George Pullman, William Kimball and Marshall Field lived on this street in their impressive Victorian style homes. John J. Glessner, however, built a fortress-like house exhibiting the distinctive features of the Richardsonian Romanesque style — massive solidarity, rough stone courses, heavy foundation and rounded arches and turrets.
    • Location: 1800 Prairie Ave., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-326-1480
    • Hours: Guided tours are offered Wednesday through Sunday, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. A fee is charged Thursday-Sunday only. Visit the house's website or call for more information.
  • Willis Tower — Formerly the Sears Tower, this Chicago landmark was the tallest building in the world until 1973. Today, it remains the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1,353 feet. Visitors head to the 103 floor where glass boxes jut out from the side of the skyscraper. Step out and enjoy a bird's eye view like you’ve never experienced.
    • Location: 233 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago
    • Phone: 312-875-9696
    • Costs: Basic admission runs $19 for adults and children, age 3 to 11; Free for children age, 2 and younger. Call for information on group discounts and package deals.
    • Hours: The Skydeck is open 365 days a year. April through September from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and October through March from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Last entry is allowed 30 minutes prior to closing.

Parks & Outdoor Activities

  • Washington Park — Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., this is one of the largest of Chicago’s 570 city parks covering nearly 400 acres in the Washington Park/Woodlawn neighborhood. The park features a nature area, a Harvest Garden and an arboretum as well as a lagoon, aquatic center, playgrounds and athletic fields. On the cultural side, the park offers music and dancing as well as special events such as the Ashaki Black History Month Celebration. It’s most famous feature is the renowned Fountain of Time sculpture by Lorado Taft.
    • Location: 5531 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago
    • Phone: 773-256-1248
    • Hours: Open daily, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Grant Park — A city centerpiece much like Central Park in New York City, Grant Park was one of the Chicago's first public parks. Today, it earns the nickname “Chicago's front yard” with 319 acres in Chicago’s central business district. It’s most notable features include Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus.
    • Location: 337 E. Randolph St., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-742-3918
    • Hours: Open daily, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • The Chicago Riverwalk — Located in downtown Chicago, the two-mile trail runs from Lake Shore Drive to Franklin Street and offers a whole new way to view the city while exploring some of its more nature-oriented offerings. It takes 2.5 hours to complete the round-trip.
  • Allerton Park & Retreat Center The park was the private estate of Robert Henry Allerton, who donated it to the University of Illinois in 1946. It features 1,500 acres of woodlands, formal gardens and more than 100 sculptures. The park is open to the public for hiking, picnics, cross-country skiing and leisurely garden strolls.
    • Location: 515 Old Timber Road, Monticello
    • Phone: 217-333-3287
    • Costs: There is no admission fee to the park, however, donations are encouraged.
    • Hours: Open daily, 8 a.m. to sunset. The park is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
  • River Bend Forest Preserve — The 275-acre River Bend Forest Preserve contains two lakes totaling 130 acres as well as 2.5 miles of forest along the Sangamon River.
    • Location: 1602 W. Mid America Road, Mahomet
    • Phone: 217-586-3360
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: The preserve opens at 7 a.m. year-round, weather-permitting. Closing times vary.
  • Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve — Located in a rolling wooded area, this beautiful preserve occupies almost 900 acres along the corridor of the Sangamon River and includes many well-known attractions, such as the Museum of the Grand Prairie (formerly Early American Museum), Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden and Lake of the Woods Golf Course.
    • Location: 109 S. Lake of the Woods Road, Mahomet
    • Phone: 217-586-3360
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: The preserve opens at 7 a.m. year-round, weather-permitting. Closing times vary.
  • Japan House — Learn about traditional Japanese culture through tea ceremonies, workshops and special events. These beautiful gardens are open from dawn to dusk for you to stroll through and enjoy.
    • Location: 2000 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana,
    • Phone: 217-244-9934
    • Cost: $50 for group guided tours.
    • Hours: The gardens are open dawn to dusk spring through fall. Guided tours are offered occasionally during the summer. For safety reasons, the tea gardens are closed in winter.
  • The Spirit of Peoria — This replica of a 19th century riverboat offers sightseeing or theme cruises. Join a one- to five-day overnight excursion to Starved Rock State Park or the St. Louis riverfront. Enjoy live ragtime piano and banjo music as well as a storyteller sharing river lore. Stay the night at Starved Rock Lodge and see a show by a Mark Twain interpreter who brings the iconic author to life.
    • Location: 100 Water St., Peoria
    • Phone: 309-637-8000
    • Costs: Prices vary according to the cruise chosen. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Call to obtain a cruise schedule.
  • Wildlife Prairie State Park — Home to more than 150 animals that are native to Illinois, including wolves, bison, black bear, elk and cougars, the park offers an Experience the Adventure Trek Tour through the bison and elk pasture as well as unique overnight lodging that includes authentic train cabooses. Biking enthusiasts can enjoy the five miles of single-track intermediate-level terrain.
    • Location: 3826 N. Taylor Road, Hanna City
    • Phone: 309-676-0998
    • Costs: Call for information on admission rates and other park fees.
    • Hours: Open daily year-round, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • River Trail of Illinois — This 10-foot wide asphalt trail winds almost five miles along the former Illinois Terminal Railroad Co. path. Build in 1991, the trail is a safe and scenic route for outdoor recreation year-round, winter weather permitting.
    • Location: 201 Veteran's Drive, East Peoria
    • Phone: 309-699-3923
  • Fon du Lac Park District — The city of East Peoria’s park district includes more than 1,600 acres of parks, nature areas, river front and trails for all to enjoy. The biggest of the parks is Spring Creek Preserve at more than 300 acres. The district also operates waterparks, a marina and a campground.
    • Location: 201 Veterans Drive, East Peoria
    • Phone: 309-699-3923
    • Costs: Admission rates and fees vary depending on the facility. Call for information.
    • Hours: Hours of operation vary depending on the facility so visitors should call ahead for information.
  • Anderson Japanese Gardens — This 12-acre Japanese garden includes a Guest House and Tea House as well as the other buildings, sculptures and strolling paths.
    • Location: 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford
    • Phone: 815-229-9390
    • Costs: $8 for adults; $7 for seniors; $6 for children; Free for children, age 4 and younger.
    • Hours: Hours of operation vary seasonally, so visitors should call for information.
  • Nicolaus Conservatory — Situated along the banks of the Rock River, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens is the third-largest conservatory in Illinois and offers an 11,000-square-foot plant exhibition area complete with water features, seating areas and sculptures, all in a tropical plant setting.
    • Location: 1354 North 2nd St., Rockford
    • Phone: 815-987-8858
    • Costs: $6 for adults; $4 for seniors, veterans and children, age 4 to 17.
    • Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Beattie Park — This downtown park on the banks of the Rock River is the site of several Native American "Effigy Mounds," which have been preserved.
    • Location: Intersection of Park, Wyman & N. Main St., Rockford
    • Phone: 815-987-8800
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Rock Cut State Park — This 3,000-scre park offers trails for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing. Visitors can camp overnight and swim in Olsen Lake and fish in Pierce Lake.
    • Location: 7223 West Lane Road, Loves Park
    • Phone: 815-885-3311
    • Costs: Call for information on fees.
    • Hours: April through October, open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. November through March, open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden — This year-round garden started as a commercial nursery. Today, it includes 155 acres of trees and 300 woody plant species mapped and labeled.
    • Location: 2715 S. Main Street, Rockford
    • Phone: 815-965-8146
    • Costs: $6 for adults; $3 for seniors, students and children, age 3 to 17; Free for children,  age 2 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Chestnut Mountain Resort — Ski along scenic slopes perched high above the Mississippi River. Rated by Ski Magazine as one of the top ski resorts in the Midwest, Chestnut Mountain has a snowboarding park and night skiing. There are fun non-skiing activities in the summer as well, including boat cruises on the Mississippi Explorer and the exhilarating Alpine Slide, which speeds 2,000 feet down a hillside. Or try the new Segway Mountain Adventure Tours, a three-mile guided ride through rolling terrain.
    • Location: 8700 W. Chestnut Road, Galena
    • Phone: 815-777-1320
    • Costs: Ski pass prices vary for weekdays, weekends and holidays, running from $35 to $52 a day for adults. Call for information on equipment rentals, group rates and lessons.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Galena River Trail — Enjoy biking and hiking along a scenic six-mile trail featuring views of the Galena River and towering bluffs.
    • Location: 720 Park Ave., Galena
    • Phone: 815-777-1050
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Buehler Preserve — Hike or bike into Buehler Preserve from Galena and experience the prairie life. Pets are welcome and fishing is allowed on this 25-acre property.
    • Location: 102 Jefferson St., Galena
    • Phone: 815-858-9100
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve — There’s hiking, bird watching, sightseeing, Native American archaeology and much more on 85 acres of scenic Mississippi River bluffs. In wintery weather many visitors enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing along the bluffs.
    • Location: 870 S. Pilot Knob Road, Galena
    • Phone: 815-858-9100
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Apple River Canyon State Park — This 1,150-acre park allows hunting and fishing. Located in the hilly northwest corner of Illinois near the Wisconsin border, the park is characterized by limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and wildlife. The scenic canyon area was formed by the action of the winding waters of the Apple River.
    • Location: 1837 N. Salem Road, Stockton
    • Phone: 815-745-3302
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Lincoln Memorial Garden Nature Center — Five miles of wooded trails lead you along Lake Springfield to the where Lincoln did some of his best thinking as he walked.
    • Location: 2301 E. Lake Drive, Springfield
    • Phone: 217-529-1111
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: call for information.
    • Other: The Garden is a living memorial to Abraham Lincoln and not a public park. Visitors must stay on the trails to protect fragile native ecosystems. Pets, bicycles and swimming are banned.
  • Lake Springfield — Lake Springfield is a 4,200-acre reservoir surrounded by 57 miles of shoreline, which includes more than 735 residential sites and eight public parks. It is the largest municipally owned lake in Illinois. A full-service marina offers slip rentals by day, week or month. Visitors can cruise or fish on beautiful Lake Springfield on a rental pontoon boat, personal watercraft, canoe, kayak or paddleboat. Other lake attractions include Henson Robinson Zoo, Lincoln Memorial Gardens and The Muni.
    • Location: 17 Waters Edge Blvd., Springfield
    • Phone: Marina, 217-483-3625
    • Costs: Call for information on marina costs and licensing fees for boats.
    • Hours: Call for information.

Zoos & Aquariums

  • The Lincoln Park Zoo — Talk about a bargain. Located in the heart of the city, the Lincoln Park Zoo is free of charge and features more than 1,000 animals, including many exotics, on its 35-acre campus. The park features an impressive ape house, the Farm-in-the-Zoo, a charming children’s zoo, and rides on an old-fashioned carousel. During the holidays, the zoo features glittering light displays and seasonal activities
    • Location: Cannon Drive at Fullerton Pkwy., Chicago
    • Phone: 312-742-2000
    • Hours: The park operates year-round, opening daily at 10 a.m. Closing time vary seasonally so visitors should call ahead for more information.
  • Shedd Aquarium — Founded in 1924 with a $2 million donation by Marshall Field & Co. President John G. Shedd, the aquarium bearing his name is part of Chicago’s famed Museum Campus in Grant Park. It provides a home for 32,000 animals, including sharks, dolphins, stingrays and penguins.
    • Location: 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
    • Phone: 312-939-2438
    • Costs: A Total Experience Pass (purchased online or on site the day of your visit), which costs $54.95 for adults and $40.95 for children, offers the best bang for your buck with access to all exhibits and experiences. Other ticket packages are available online and onsite. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Summer (Memorial Day-Labor Day), open weekdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and weekends, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Winter (Labor Day-Memorial Day), open weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Brookfield Zoo — Also known as the Chicago Zoological Park, the zoo, opened in 1934 and houses 450 species of animals on 216 acres, including lions, tigers, dolphins and more. The park includes the Hamill Family Play Zoo, open daily at 10 a.m.
    • Location: 8400 W 31st St., Brookfield
    • Phone: 708-688-8000
    • Costs: General admission, $16.95 for adults; $11.95 for seniors and children, age 3 to 11; Free for members. The Dolphins in Action show, $4 for adults; $2.50 for children, age 3 to 11 and seniors; Free for children, age 2 and younger. Hamill Family Play Zoo, $2.50. Parking costs $10 for cars and $15 for buses.
    • Hours:  Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Dolphins in Action, Monday through Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., on Thursday and Sunday at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m.
  • Peoria Zoo — The zoo’s history dates back to the 1800s when a herd of elk were donated to the Peoria Park District. Today, the facility is an accredited member of the American Zoological Association and houses more than 100 species of animals.
    • Location: 2320 N. Prospect Road, Peoria
    • Phone: 309-686-3365
    • Costs: $9 for adults; $8 for seniors; $5.25 for children, age 3 to 12; Free for children, age 2 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
  • Hardy's Reindeer Ranch — The North Pole has moved to Central Illinois. Try your luck at the 6-acre corn maze, the Grand Prix style race track, pumpkin picking or find a Christmas tree. And of course, see the reindeer.
    • Location: 1356 CR 2900N, Rantoul
    • Phone: 217-893-3407
    • Costs: Fees vary for the different activities.
    • Hours: Hours vary seasonally so visitors should call ahead for information.
  • Prairie Farm — See traditional farm animals such as sheep, pigs, horses, cows, goats, chickens, ducks and geese. Visitors are welcome to tour the petting area. And the farm’s miniature duck pond.
    • Location: 2202 W. Kirby Ave., Centennial Park, Champaign
    • Phone: 217-398-2550
    • Costs: Free (fee for trolley ride and some programs)
    • Hours: Open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Adventure Creek Alpaca & Goldendoodle Farm — Ever wanted to see an alpaca up close? Visit the Netzel's prized alpaca farm and enjoy meeting these quiet, stately and people-friendly animals. While there make sure to meet Quincy, a TV star, and take one of the alpacas for a walk.
    • Location: 9401 W. Hart John Road, Galena
    • Phone: 815-777-4200
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Call for information.
  • Henson Robinson Zoo — The Henson Robinson Zoo opened in 1970 and is home to 90 species of animals native to Australia, Africa, Asia and North and South America.
    • Location: 1100 East Lake Drive, Springfield
    • Phone: 217-585-1821
    • Costs: $5.50 for adults; $3,75 for children, age 3 to 12; $4 for seniors; Free for children, age2 and younger, and zoo members.
    • Hours: The zoo is open year-round although days and hours of operation vary seasonally. Visitors should call ahead.

Other Points of Interest

  • Museum Campus — What do museums and football have in common? Museum Campus. The 57-acre museum park sits near Lake Michigan and surrounds three of the city's most notable museums, all dedicated to the natural sciences: the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. It is also known for holding the Soldier Field football stadium, where the Chicago Bears plan home games and the Lakeside Center of the McCormick Place.
    • Location: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
    • Phone: 312-409-9696
  • Museum of Science and Industry — This remains the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere with more than 800 exhibits, including the legendary U-505, a German submarine captured on the high seas during World War II. Visitors can take off on a Boeing 727 airplane for a simulated cross-country flight, descend down a mineshaft for a tour of a realistic coal mine and witness robots at work in a toy factory.
    • Location: 5700 S Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
    • Phone: 773-684-1414
    • Costs: $18 for adults, $17 for seniors; $11 for children, age 3 to 11. Call for information on ticket packages.
    • Hours: Open daily, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Eli's Cheesecake World — Who can resist a great piece of cheesecake? How about a tour of the factory where the Schulman family makes its famed Eli’s Cheesecake? Don a hairnet and explore this 62,000-square-foot bakery, built in 1996, that uses more than 4 million pounds of cream cheese, 500,000 pounds of eggs, 250,000 pounds of butter, and 13,000 pounds of Bourbon vanilla annually.
    • Location: 6701 West Forest Preserve Drive, Chicago
    • Phone: 773-736-3417; 800-999-8300
    • Costs: $3 for adults; $2 for children, age 11 and younger.
    • Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tour packages are available for groups of 10 or more. Call ahead to confirm the bakery is in production, otherwise Eli’s offers a modified tour.
    • Other: Visitors must be at least 3 years old.
  • Long Grove Confectionery Company — Tours of this locally owned wholesale gourmet chocolates company start with a nine-foot-high Statue of Liberty, sculpted in solid chocolate with elaborate detail that weighs more than a ton, and a 500-pound chocolate Santa. Reproductions of paintings by Monet and Seurat adorn the walls. These works are a fitting introduction to Long Grove, which has been combining art and chocolate in a big way since 1975. However, much of the company’s work occurs on a miniature rather than a colossal scale. After seeing a brief video on how chocolate is made, visitors embark on a tour of the factory.
    • Location: 333 Lexington Drive, Buffalo Grove
    • Phone: (874) 459-3875
    • Costs: $2 per person, includes free chocolate tastings
    • Hours: Daily by appointment. Closed holidays Factor tours available to the public via appointment for groups of 10 or more or you can possibly join a pre-existing group.
    • Other: The gift shop sells the full range of chocolates. Open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed holidays.
  • Chicago Chocolate Tours — On this guided walking and tasting tour of select chocolate shops, bakeries and cafes, you'll visit some of Chicago's most popular chocolate stores, and some of the city's secret chocolate treasures, as you delve deeply into the rich history of chocolate and discover chocolate in expected as well as surprising places. Tours focus on artisan quality and creativity. Length of tour varies between locations with an average tour lasting about two to three hours.
  • Location: 500 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 600, Chicago
  • Phone: 312-929-2939
  • Costs: Public tours, $40 per person with group rates available. Call for private tour prices.
  • Hours: Tours run all year long because chocolate tastes great in all weather. Routes and times vary, please call for more information.
  • Other: A minimum of 6 guests is required to run a public tour but two to 200 guests can take a private tours. Our tour guides keep the full amount of tips they receive.
  • Amish Country — The Amish came to Illinois in 1865 where they purchased farmland along the Kaskaskia River and its tributaries. The towns of Arcola and Arthur have among the largest Amish communities in Illinois with Arthur alone harboring more than 2,000 Amish residents and hundreds of charming countryside businesses.
  • Rockome Gardens — Located in the midst of Illinois' Amish country, Rockome Gardens features the Illinois Amish Interpretive Center, a cheese factory, gardens, shops, Amish dinners, special events and farm and house tours.
    • Location: 125 North County Road, Arcola
    • Phone: 217-268-4106
    • Costs: $10 for adults; $8 for seniors; $6 for children, age 5 to 12; Free for children, age 4 and younger.
    • Hours: Hours vary seasonally, so call for more information.
  • Orpheum Children's Science Museum — The Orpheum Children's Museum, located in the 1914 Orpheum Theatre, is one of the finest buildings in downstate Illinois. Children of all ages are given the opportunity to learn science at their own pace in an informal setting.
    • Location: 346 N. Neil St., Champaign
    • Phone: 217-352-5895
    • Costs: $5 for adults and children; $4 for seniors
    • Hours:; Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Monday.
  • The World's One and Only Hippie Memorial — Created by the late Bob Moomaw, this 62-foot-long artwork recounts his life and the “Flower-Power” era during which he lived. A nearby marker gives an interpretation of his work.
  • William Staerkel Planetarium — The planetarium offers various educational programs for school field trips, a World of Science lecture series and weekend public planetarium shows for residents of all ages.
    • Location: 2400 West Bradley Ave., Champaign
    • Phone: 217-351-2568
      Costs: $5 for adults; $4 for children (over 2), seniors and students. Stay for both shows on the same evening and get the second show half price.
  • The University of Illinois Pollinatarium — This Discovery Science Center is the first free-standing science center in the nation devoted to flowering plants and their pollinators.
    • Location: 606 W Windsor Road, Urbana
    • Phone: 217-265-8302
    • Costs: Free         
    • Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Weekdays open by appointment only.
  • Caterpillar Museum — The company’s museum, opened in 2012, celebrates the its long history via historic photos and antique equipment and a  favorite among visitors is the 24-foot tall 797 mining truck that doubles as a movie theater and a product floor complete with simulators to explore the company’s world-famous product.
    • Location: 110 SW Washington St., Peoria
    • Phone: 309-675-0606
    • Costs: $7 for general admission; $6 for seniors, veterans and active military personnel; Free for children ages 12 and younger. Group rates are available. Call for more information.
    • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Sundays and holidays. Most guests spend 90minutes to two hours during their visit.
  • Discovery Center Museum –With 250 exhibits, it is  one of the Top Ten science museums in the country.
    • Location: 711 North Main Street, Rockford
    • Phone: 815-963-6769
    • Costs: $8 per person; Free for members and children, age 1 and younger.
    • Hours: Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Only closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.
  • Kegel Harley-Davidson — The oldest Harley-Davidson family-owned dealership in the country.
    • Location: 7125 Harrison Ave., Rockford
    • Phone: 815-332-7125
    • Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • John Deere Pavilion — Experience innovations of the present and the future while appreciating the heritage of the past at this free attraction in downtown Moline. See vintage machines, climb aboard new ones and operate a simulated excavator or bulldozer.
    • Location: 1400 River Drive, Moline
    • Phone: 309-765-1000
    • Costs: Free
    • Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday,  Noon to 4 p.m.
  • John Deere Harvester Works Combine Factory Tours — Tour Deere & Company's largest combine factory and Visitors Center. Watch combines made from beginning to end, including the 10-stage pre-treatment process before painting.
    • Location: 100 13th Ave., East Moline
    • Phone: 800-765-9588
    • Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
    • Other:  Minimum age is 13. Closed-toe shoes required. Tours subject to availability and factory production schedules.
  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum - This museum is one of the most-visited presidential museums in the nation where visitors can experience the entire Lincoln story under one roof.
    • Location: 212 North 6th St., Springfield
    • Phone: 217-558-8844
    • Costs: $15 for adults; $12 for seniors and students; $10 for military personnel; $6 for children, age 5 to 15; Free for children, age 4 and younger.
    • Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The last ticket is sold at 4 p.m. Closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site — One of the best-preserved examples of the famed architect’s Prairie design, this 35-room mansion contains some 100 pieces of original Wright-designed furniture and stunning art glass.
    • Location: 301 E. Lawrence Ave., Springfield
    • Phone: 217-782-6776
    • Costs: Call for information.
    • Hours: Open for tours Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Illinois State Fairgrounds —The Illinois State Fairgrounds encompasses more than 360 acres of land with landscaping and scenery throughout. The facility hosts an assortment of events year-round from the Morgan Jubilee Horse Show to farmers markets, flea markets and, of course, the Illinois State Fair.
  • Location: 801 E. Sangamon Ave., Springfield
  • Phone: 217-782-6661
  • Costs: Admission for various events vary so visitors should call ahead.
  • Hours: Call for information on upcoming events.

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