United States of America
Chicago featuring a high-rise building, street scenes and a city

The gleaming metropolis of Chicago made Illinois famous, but the state also offers smaller cities, including one with presidential connections, and landscapes covered in rivers and vineyards.

Illinois is known as the “Land of Lincoln,” with the home of Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. president, in Springfield. From that pre-Civil War site, shift to the ultra-modern skyscrapers of Chicago, one of the world’s biggest cities with one of the world’s busiest airports.

Originally a frontier trading post on Lake Michigan, Chicago has become an impressive center for business, art and sports. Take a sailboat ride to see the eclectic skyline stretching along the shores of the lake, see the skyline reflected in the bean-shaped Cloud Gate in Millennium Park or enjoy an evening cruise on the Chicago River surrounded by millions of lights with their mirror images shimmering in the water.

Chicago has more than 100 museums and cultural centers. Visit the Museum of Science and Industry to see the soothing rhythmic motion of the Foucault Pendulum. Attend the Chicago Ballet, Chicago Symphony or comedy at Second City Theater. Walk along the shoreline, main streets and city parks to notice multiple installations of public art.

Travel around the downtown city loop on the “L” elevated train. On Navy Pier, ride the Ferris wheel. Some of the nation’s best professional sports teams are here: the Chicago Bears NFL football, White Sox MLB baseball and Bulls NBA basketball. For shopping, dining and nightlife, visit the Magnificent Mile, a popular retail center for nearly 100 years.

Southwest of Chicago, visit Peoria, known as a city of typical Middle Americans. Stop in a grocery store and you’re likely to see test products from major marketers long before they appear in the rest of the country. Visit the Caterpillar Visitors Center, next to the Peoria River, to learn about the giant construction vehicles manufactured at the Peoria plant since 1925.

In the center of Illinois, see the Capitol building in Springfield. Visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as well as the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, where Lincoln lived for over 20 years before becoming president.

Popular cities in Illinois

Chicago featuring a high-rise building, street scenes and a city
Known for Theaters, Museums and Art
A modern metropolis on the shores of Lake Michigan that’s defined by a love for fine art, baseball and the blues.

Reasons to visit

  • Union Station
  • Navy Pier
  • Soldier Field
Rockford which includes general coastal views and a city
Known for Dining, Family-friendly and Shopping
Science museums, an arboretum, historic concert halls and a Japanese garden make Rockford an interesting and fun-packed destination in northern Illinois.

Reasons to visit

  • Anderson Japanese Gardens
  • Frank Lloyd Wright's Laurent House
  • Rockford Art Museum
Springfield featuring a city
Known for Family-friendly, Historical and Museums
As the longtime home of Abraham Lincoln and the capital of Illinois, this city has ample history, culture and entertainment for any visitor.

Reasons to visit

  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site
  • Illinois State Capitol
Champaign showing signage and heritage elements
Known for Dining, Universities and Sports
From barhopping to visiting museums, this college town and Silicon Prairie hub offers plenty to see and do.

Reasons to visit

  • Hessel Park
  • Krannert Art Museum
  • Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery
Peoria which includes skyline, a lake or waterhole and a city
Known for Dining, Shopping and Family-friendly
Stroll along the picturesque Illinois River, through parkland and down tree-lined streets in the oldest European settlement in Illinois.

Reasons to visit

  • Peoria Civic Center
  • Peoria Riverfront Museum
Aurora showing a river or creek and a city
Known for Dining, Shopping and Family-friendly
As the location for a zoo, science museum, water park and outlet mall, and a setting for iconic movie Wayne’s World, this city is one of Illinois’ treasures.

Reasons to visit

  • Aurora Regional Fire Museum