Illinois

Travel Guide
Willis Tower which includes a city, night scenes and views
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.

The most famous destination in Illinois is undoubtedly Chicago, a dazzling, multicultural city on the edge of Lake Michigan. Look beyond the Windy City to discover the rest of the state’s many delights, which include historical attractions from Lincoln’s presidency, fertile farmlands and counties glistening with grand rivers.

The city of Chicago will most likely be your first stop and point of entry into Illinois. The third-largest city in the U.S. is full of things to see and do. Mingle with locals in Millennium Park, which contains some of the city’s most famous art installations. The Adler Planetarium, the Art Institute of Chicago and the boat rides at Navy Pier are just a few of the ways to fill your days here.

Illinois is named after the Illiniwek Indians who were one of two Native American groups, alongside the Miami tribe, that lived in the state before it was settled by Europeans in the 1600s. Visit attractions such as the John Hauberg Indian Museum, in Rock Island, and the Kincaid Mounds Archaeological Site, near Brookport, to learn about the state’s earliest inhabitants.

Learn why one of Illinois’ nicknames is the “Land of Lincoln.” Abraham Lincoln, the president who oversaw the abolition of slavery, was born in the town of Springfield. Read stories about his life in Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum before wandering around the atmospheric old town. Stop by landmarks such as the Old State Capitol Historic Site.

Explore the bucolic scenery of rural Illinois. To the west, roam through Great Rivers Country, where you can relax in old-world towns such as Elsah on the banks of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Head to the southernmost tip of the state to join the Heartland Rivers Wine Trail or to enjoy adventure sports in places such as Shawnee National Forest.

Fly into Chicago O’Hare International Airport from over 200 destinations around America and the rest of the world. The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are the best times to visit Illinois, as they offer mild weather.

Where to stay in Illinois

Downtown Chicago showing a city

Downtown Chicago

Known for its fascinating museums, stunning river views, and gorgeous architecture, there's plenty to explore in Downtown Chicago. Top attractions like Grant Park and Navy Pier are major draws. Catch the metro at State Station or Clark-Lake Station to see more of the city.

Downtown Chicago
Magnificent Mile - River North

Magnificent Mile

Upscale shopping district with luxury department stores, boutiques, and acclaimed restaurants, featuring landmarks like the Wrigley Building and Chicago Water Tower. The Magnificent Mile is easily accessible by public transit and seasonal trolley service.

Magnificent Mile
The Loop - Downtown which includes a river or creek

The Loop

4.5/5(9,481 area reviews)

Chicago's central business district boasts numerous global businesses, retail establishments, and theaters. Explore the Loop Retail Historic District, Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard District, and visit iconic attractions like the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Loop
Shops at North Bridge showing a city, central business district and street scenes

River North

Artistic spirit thrives here, with art galleries and a design district featuring luxury interior furnishings. Explore Kingsbury Park, enjoy vibrant nightlife on Hubbard Street, and visit the iconic Contemporaine Building.

River North
Chicago which includes modern architecture and a city

Lincoln Park

4.5/5(320 area reviews)

Upscale national retailers, boutiques, and bookstores abound in this affluent area, alongside numerous restaurants and coffee shops. Must-see attractions include Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago History Museum, and North Avenue Beach. Easily accessible via CTA transit and major roads.

Lincoln Park
Lakeview featuring modern architecture

Lakeview

4.5/5(847 area reviews)

Known for its great bars and fantastic lake views, there's plenty to explore in Lakeview. You can visit top attractions like Wrigley Field and Lake Michigan, and jump on the metro at Southport Station or Addison Station (Red Line) to see more of the city.

Lakeview
Congress Plaza Hotel
Congress Plaza Hotel
3.5 out of 5
520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $183 per night from May 29 to May 30
$183
$215 total
includes taxes & fees
May 29 - May 30
Book a stay at this business-friendly hotel in Chicago. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants, and 2 bars/lounges. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean ...
7.6/10 Good! (6,748 reviews)
"All has gone as planned. Check in was quick and the ice machine on the 7th floor works. What a bonus."

Reviewed on May 17, 2024

Congress Plaza Hotel
River Hotel
River Hotel
4 out of 5
75 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL
The price is $171 per night from May 27 to May 28
$171
$201 total
includes taxes & fees
May 27 - May 28
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in Chicago. Enjoy free WiFi, room service, and a fitness center. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean ...
8.6/10 Excellent! (2,869 reviews)
"I enjoyed staying in this hotel. Very convenient and nearby to tourist attractions. The staff are very accommodating. I will definitely book this hotel if I’m in Chicago."

Reviewed on May 15, 2024

River Hotel
Warwick Allerton - Chicago
Warwick Allerton - Chicago
4 out of 5
701 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
The price is $110 per night from May 27 to May 28
$110
$144 total
includes taxes & fees
May 27 - May 28
Book a stay at this family-friendly hotel in Chicago. Enjoy a 24-hour fitness center, valet parking (surcharge), and in-room massages. Our guests praise the ...
7.6/10 Good! (2,584 reviews)
"Large, super clean, convenient hotel. Staff was excellent and friedly. Bar staff was great. Would definitely stay again."

Reviewed on May 16, 2024

Warwick Allerton - Chicago
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Sentral Michigan Avenue
Sentral Michigan Avenue
4 out of 5
808 SOUTH MICHIGAN AVENUE, Chicago, IL
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly aparthotel in Chicago. Enjoy a fitness center, valet parking (surcharge), and a 24-hour front desk. Our guests praise the ...
9/10 Wonderful! (359 reviews)
"Beautif