Illinois Top 10 Attractions

The Art Institute of Chicago

6: The Art Institute of Chicago

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Address: 111 S Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60603
Website: www.artic.edu

This neoclassical structure was originally built for the Art Institute in celebration of the World Fair in 1893. It has accumulated a massive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist work in its permanent collection, including paintings by such giants as Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh. It also includes famous paintings like American Gothic, the portrait of a solemn father and daughter from the rural countryside. Edward Hopper's famous Nighthawks painting is also here. portraying a scene in a late night diner. The collection is extensive and full of treasures from all around the world.

Starved Rock State Park

7: Starved Rock State Park

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Address: 2668 E 875th Rd Oglesby, IL 61348

This canyon-filled park outside of Utica, IL, covers over 2,000 acres. Geologists speculate that a catastrophic flood occurred between 14,000 and 17,000 years ago and created the park's unique geological features, because they are atypical for this region of the country. The land has been surveyed by archaeologists from the University of Chicago as well as the Illinois State Museum. The park is full of registered historic places like Corbin Farm, Hotel Plaza and Little Beaver, all significant for their archaelogical artifacts.

Garden of the Gods - Shawnee National Forest

8: Garden of the Gods - Shawnee National Forest

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Address: 50 Hwy 145 South Harrisburg, IL 62946
Website: www.fs.usda.gov

This park in southern Illinois is a collection of wilderness areas, spanning 280,000 acres. It started out as agricultural land which was rejuvenated by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and 1940s, when they planted evergreen trees to help stabilize the barren soil. Now its combination of forest and unique geological features makes it a must-see destination. The Garden of the Gods Wilderness is remarkable for its rock formations and breathtaking vantage points. There are also wilderness areas containing springs and waterfalls and large sandstone formations that can be climbed on and explored.

Lincoln Park Zoo
Photo Courtesy: PDPhoto.org

9: Lincoln Park Zoo

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Address: 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
Website: www.lpzoo.org

Nestled by the lakefront in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, this zoo is free to the public. It is an accredited zoo that features polar bears, big cats, gorillas, monkeys, reptiles and more, with the Hancock building and Chicago's iconic skyline as a backdrop. The Birds of Prey exhibit contains a vulture, a snowy owl and a bald eagle. There's even a penguin house. Domestic animals are also on display in the FarmintheZoo, intended to educate urban children on life in the more rural areas. Horses, cows and pigs can be found here.

Anderson Japanese Gardens

10: Anderson Japanese Gardens

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Address: 318 Spring Creek Rd Rockford, IL 61107

This elegant garden in Rockford, IL was a design collaboration between John R. Anderson and Hoichi Korisu. Anderson enlisted the help of Korisu because he was the landscape architect for the Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon. The final result is so beautiful that these gardens were named the finest Japanese Gardens in the United States by the Japanese Journal of Gardening. In addition to the serene natural setting, there's a lot of Japanese culture on display here. Visitors can take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony or learn the basics of calligraphy, or attend one of the many cultural programs that take place.

Illinois Travel Guide

When most people think of visiting Illinois, they picture Chicago, but the state offers much more than just the Windy City. From flowing cornfields to metropolitan cities to historic sites, Illinois has every sort of attraction visitors can want. Heading...

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