Collected by Diane Weber
1 Lake Front Drive, Zion, IL 60099, USA
Thirty-five miles north of Chicago. The park is 1 mile from the Zion Metra stop, so you don't have to drive. Just pack your gear and take the train. The park is right on the lake, so you can spend the day on the beach or hike through the dunes....
House on the Rock, Wyoming, WI 53588, USA
A 14 room house that’s now a museum designed and curated by Alex Jordan to house his vast and interesting collections of stuff, it’s easy to spend a whole day in the House on the Rock and never even get to the rest of the 200 acres surrounding...
Picnic Rd, Herod, IL 62947, USA
Get everyone outdoors and spend a day hiking, climbing and picnicking in one of Illinois’ most beautiful parks. Garden of the Gods is part of the Shawnee National Forest and has 5.5 miles of interconnected trailways meandering around beautiful...
Northbrook, IL 60062, USA
Located in the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Potawatomi Woods is but one of the many places where you can bring friends and family for a day at the park. This little pavilion is the perfect spot for a jovial gathering on a sunny...
951 Chicago Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302, USA
Frank Lloyd Wright built 700+ houses all over this nation but he lived and worked in Oak Park, just a 45 minute train ride from the city center of Chicago. His house and studio are now a museum with guided tours that let you see the playroom he...
2139 S China Pl, Chicago, IL 60616, USA
If you want to get bubble tea in Chicago’s Chinatown, go to Joy Yee’s. As you can see, the menu is gigantic and colorful and has so many options you could deliberate for hours. The bubble tea comes with green tea or black tea, lychee jelly, grass...
Elizabethtown, IL 62931, USA
Apple River Fort is a replica of the original built by settlers in the early 1800s during the Blackhawk War. The modern day builders used axes and lathes to recreate the exact manner and methods of the older fort including hand-hewn ladders and...
Reagan Boyhood Home, Dixon, IL 61021, USA
This white framed house is the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States. It’s situated in the town of Dixon, just a short 1.5 hour drive from Chicago and is of primary interest to Reagan buffs and anyone with an...
15588 History Ln, Petersburg, IL 62675, USA
New Salem is a reconstructed living history town on the site of a town where president Abraham Lincoln used to live. The houses are built to reflect the 19th century time period, the general store is staffed with volunteers dressed and acting as...
600 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Photography occupies a small compact space with gorgeously designed photography exhibits on three floors. The current exhibit, called Dandy Lion, explores black masculine identity in photographs of sharply...
Chicago, IL 60613, USA
Graceland may be Chicago's most famous cemetery, but the Hebrew Benevolent Society Cemetery (located nearby) is one of the city's oldest. It's the oldest existing Jewish cemetery in the city, founded in 1851. Entire sections of this beautiful...
1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
The extensive gardens and exhibits at the Chicago Botanic Gardens are a bit out of the way for visitors staying downtown in the Windy City, but it's worth the trip. The water garden will make you long for a lake(however small) to plant lily-pads...
20160 W Washington St, Grayslake, IL 60030, USA
You go to Chicago for the skyscrapers, for the food, for the lakefront, the museums and the sports...but birdwatching? trailrunning? When you need a break from hitting the pavement, try something softer and greener up in the northern suburbs....
1100 Lee St, Wheeling, IL 60090, USA
The annual Fallapalooza in Wheeling celebrates autumn with a host of kid-friendly activities. Organized by the Wheeling Park District, the event takes place in the open space between London School and Husky Park. You can listen to live music, go...
21950 N Riverwoods Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015, USA
The weekend before Halloween, get your kids in the spooky spirit with a candlelit hike. The guided hour-long walk goes through the Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area, part of the Lake County Forest Preserves. Participants will stop to watch...
2007 W Churchill St, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. This summer, the 606, Chicago’s answer to New York’s High Line, debuts. The parks and trails on 2.7 miles of repurposed elevated train tracks connect four neighborhoods, bringing green space to places that...
2668 E 875th Rd, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
You hike through the woods, over small streams, and into a tight opening between two walls of stone only to find this wonderful feat of nature as the Earth divided itself for the tiny stream that runs through this small canyon. Just a great day of...
235 Giant City Rd, Makanda, IL 62958, USA
The first thing that grabbed me was the beautiful building, built by the Conservation Corps back in the late 1930s or early 1940s. It is in the midst of a beautiful state park. I visited The Lodge on a Sunday and had the Fried Chicken dinner--the...
2391 N Stockton Dr, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Lincoln Park is a wonderful green area nearing Lake Michigan in Chicago. It has a Zoo free to the public as well as green lawns and flower beds. Near the North end is the multiple room conservator. Like the rest if the park it is open free to the...
4563 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60653, USA
If you're looking to stay in a bed and breakfast in the heart of Chicago's historic Bronzeville neighborhood, this is it. I'm a sucker for Victorian architecture, mansions and anything stately, so I'm sold on the Welcome Inn Manor. You can choose...
Bloody Gulch Rd, Dixon, IL 61021, USA
Dixon has at least two claims to fame: 1) It's the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan, and 2) It's the site of Bloody Gulch Road. I can't decide which is better. If you're curious about the name -- and who isn't? -- local lore suggests that a farmhand...
1601 River Dr #110, Moline, IL 61265, USA
The Chapel on a Hill is a small park-like setting in Geneseo, IL that a local farmer has set up for people to come and find a place to experience peace, pray, and refocus. It is open to all who need a place to spend communing with God. There is...
500 Park Blvd, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
There's nothing better after a long day than to get outside and take in some fresh air. The walking paths that weave in and around Park Boulevard are perfect for that post-work day stretch. You can enjoy the manicured lawns, the gurgling...
200 E Irving Park Rd, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
The Wesley G. Usher Memorial Park is one of the many parks located in and around historic downtown Itasca. The adorable pavilion pictured above is a great place to take shelter from the sun, and it overlooks a nice reflecting pool situated on the...
100 Catalpa Ave, Itasca, IL 60143, USA
Weaving its way along the river, and among the various parks of downtown Itasca, the Itasca Riverwalk is a great way to do some small town exploring. The paths link the Springbrook Nature Center, to the Caribbean Waterpark, to the Fitness Center...
355 E Parkside Ave, Lombard, IL 60148, USA
Built in 1839, the Peck Homestead is now a historic museum and local landmark that hosts educational and outreach programs. In 2011, the home was inducted into the Network of Freedom, which verified it as a stop along the Underground Railroad. The...
4100 Illinois 53, Lisle, IL 60532, USA
The Morton Arboretum has an incredible collection of trees and plants from across the globe. It's the perfect place to spend some educational time outdoors. The entire property is easily accessible; there are nine miles of paved bike trails, and...
523 S Webster St, Naperville, IL 60540, USA
If you fancy a trip back in time to catch a glimpse of how life changed throughout the 19th century, Naper Settlement is the time machine you seek. There is a dizzying array of educational and cultural learning to be done on these hallowed...
131 N Wolf Rd, Wheeling, IL 60090, USA
One of the best parts of being in a small town is finding out exactly how it come into existence. If you so desire to do this in Wheeling, IL, the folks at the Historical Museum will be happy to aid you in your endeavor. Stop by the museum, and...
Gold Coast, Chicago, IL, USA
Astor Street (named after John Jacob Astor), along Chicago's Gold Coast, is home to the city's most expensive, elaborate and stunning 19th-century homes. Take this walk right around dusk for glimpses of the decor inside them. Start at North Avenue...
2230 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Villa D'Citta is the quiet, romantic choice in Lincoln Park. I have seen it only from the outside (the place looks stately) but online reviewers have ranked it #1 of 25 B&Bs in Chicago. The former guests rave over the hospitality extended,...
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