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Illinois rocks. And this year, we mean that literally. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame may just be music’s highest honor. This year, the Hall of Fame is inducting two of Illinois’ own. Cheap Trick and Chicago, two bands with Illinois roots and international appeal, are being honored as influential leaders in the music industry. Check out how you can take part in celebrating their music and accomplishments right here in Illinois.

Cheap Trick

Hailing from Rockford, Cheap Trick was formed in the early 1970s by Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson, Bun E. Carlos and Robin Zander. Releasing their first studio album in 1977, their success has remained consistent over the past 40 years. With albums like “In Color,” “Heaven Tonight,” “Dream Police,” and “Lap of Luxury,” and singles including “The Flame,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “I Want You to Want Me,” it is easy to see why they’re still selling out shows. Illinois has even stepped up to recognize Cheap Trick’s influence on the music industry, officially declaring April 1 as Cheap Trick Day in the state.

To celebrate the hometown heroes’ Hall of Fame induction, Rockford has planned a full “Cheap Trick” takeover for the city, renaming itself “Trickford” complete with a newly adopted website GoTrickford.com. And the celebrations don’t stop there! Rockford is also naming the four founding members’ boyhood streets after them and establishing “Cheap Trick Fan Trail” tours around the city to allow visitors to experience the band’s Rockford roots for themselves. To top it off, Rockford is planning a two-day celebratory music festival for the early fall. Be sure to sign up for festival updates at GoTrickford.com so that you don’t miss out on this sure to be amazing event!

If you aren’t able to partake in the festivities, don’t worry, you still have the chance to see Cheap Trick perform live in Chicago, Tuesday, July 19 at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island.

Cheap Trick- Use this one

Cheap Trick has been a part of the rock community for over 40 years! (Image Courtesy of Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Chicago

If you haven’t guessed already, the rock band Chicago is from Chicago! Formed in 1967, Chicago is one of the most successful and longest-running American bands, with five consecutive Number One albums and hit singles including “If You Leave Me Now” and “Hard to say I’m Sorry”. These hometown rock stars even have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a total of 47 gold and platinum awards.

Chicago is still touring to this day, and will be performing in Moline, IL on April 16 at iWireless Center with Earth, Wind, and Fire and in Rockford, IL at the Coronado Performing Arts Center on August 15.

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Chicago is from Chicago, of course! (Image courtesy of chicagotheband.com)

If you’re looking for even more chances to catch some live music, check out one of these other bands that call Illinois home.

The Smashing Pumpkins

Formed in the early 90s in Chicago, The Smashing Pumpkins was one of the most successful alternative bands of the decade. Fun Fact: Although The Smashing Pumpkins went their separate ways in 2000, they reunited in 2007 after an announcement by band leader Billy Corgan through a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune saying he wanted to revive the band.

The Smashing Pumpkins is performing in Chicago at the Civic Opera House on Thursday, April 14.

Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins are returning to Chicago this spring! (Image courtesy of smashingpumpkinsnexus.com)

REO Speedwagon

REO Speedwagon was formed on the University of Illinois’ campus in Champaign during the late 1960s. Named after a REO Speed Wagon, a flatbed truck band member Neal Doughty studied in transportation history class, this band produced classic singles such as “Keep on Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”

Listen to their popular 1970s and 80s hits when they come to the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park on Saturday, July 2.

Speedwagon - from website

REO Speedwagon got together on the U of I campus in Champaign. (Image courtesy of REOSpeedwagon.com)

Styx

One of the top bands in the 70s and 80s, Styx originated from Chicago and had five consecutive platinum albums, including “Kilroy Was Here,” which went triple platinum in addition to being #1 on US charts. Their top songs include “Babe” and “Mr. Roboto.”

MACON, GA - OCTOBER 04: Rock Group STYX L/R: Chuck Panozzo, Ricky Phillips, Todd Sucherman, Tommy Shaw, James "J.Y." Young and Lawrence Gowan. Portrait shoot at Macon City Auditorium on October 4, 2014 in Macon, Georgia. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for STYX)

Styx was one of the top bands in the 70s and 80s. (Image courtesy of styxworld.com)

Don’t miss Styx who will be playing in Rockford at Coronado Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, June 21 and in Joliet at the 2016 Taste of Joliet on Friday, June 24.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

St Patricks Day Feature Image

St. Patrick’s Day is just a few days away, and in Illinois, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate the luck of the Irish! From parades to pub parties, you can find Irish festivities in every corner of the state.

Below is a roundup of some of our favorite ways to celebrate this year:

Chicago

The Windy City is known for its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, including parades, the dyeing of the Chicago River and countless parties at local Irish pubs. Check out these three celebrations coming up this weekend:

  • Chicago River Dyeing, Saturday, March 12 at 9 am – This once-a-year spectacle draws nearly 400,000 people to see the Chicago River erupt into a sea of green. Boats release 45 pounds of eco-friendly vegetable dye into the water to amp up the holiday spirit. The dye only lasts about five hours, so make sure to see it at its brightest!
  • Downtown Parade, Saturday, March 12 at 12 pm – Chicago celebrates St. Patty’s Day with one of the largest parades in the country. This free event features floats, Irish dancers, bands, bagpipers and of course, plenty of green.
  • South Side Irish Parade, Sunday, March 13 at 12 pm – Continue the Irish festivities all weekend with 150,000 people at the South Side Irish Parade on Sunday. Floats, music, dancers and the Emerald Isle Mile make this event memorable for all.
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See the Chicago River light up as it transforms into a sea of green! (Photo credit: Choose Chicago)

Springfield

This year marks Springfield’s 32nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade starting Saturday, March 12 at noon. This parade is a great opportunity for families to celebrate the festivities of St. Patrick’s Day and explore downtown Springfield.

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The theme of Springfield’s 2016 parade is “Family is Thee Pot O’Gold”!

Peoria

Most St. Patty’s celebrations are during the weekend before the holiday, but if you’re looking to sham-rock out on the actual day, make sure to join Peoria’s 16th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Party on Thursday, March 17. The parade starts at 11 am followed by the party at the Peoria Civic Center from 11:30 am-3 pm. Parade winners will be announced at the party, and partygoers can enjoy traditional Irish music from the band Goiste.

Peoria St. Patrick's Day

There’s no shortage of festive floats at the Peoria parade! (Photo credit: St. Patrick’s Society of Peoria)

Rock Island

In Western Illinois, the Quad Cities go all out for St. Patrick’s Day. The weekend of festivities kicks off with Irish music from The Greenmore Irish Duo at the Moline Library on Friday, March 11 from 12-1 pm. The following day features the 31st annual Quad Cities Grand Parade at 11:30 am, named one of the top ten St. Patty’s parades in North America! What makes this parade so unique? It’s the only interstate St. Patrick’s Day parade in the nation.

After the parade, make your way to Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Tap party for plenty of beer or take advantage of one of the 22 holiday specials in downtown Rock Island.

Rock Island St. Patrick's Day Parade 2

The Quad Cities parade draws thousands of spectators! (Photo credit: Visit Quad Cities)

Be sure to share your St. Patrick’s Day photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois on social. For more ways to celebrate, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Historical Adventure Feature Image

Home to Abraham Lincoln, Americana and the birthplace of the corndog. History comes alive around every corner in Springfield, home to more Lincoln sites than anywhere else in the nation. Explore everything from Abe’s house and law offices to his must-see presidential museum. Route 66 makes its way through Springfield leaving behind plenty of Americana in the form of classic diners and kitschy roadside attractions.

Throughout Springfield there are historical sites with ties to Lincoln – enough to fill a multiple-day itinerary. Here are a few of our top recommendations.

The Lincoln Home

Get an intimate look at Lincoln during a tour of the Lincoln Home, the only house he ever owned. The Lincoln family lived here from 1844 until they left for Washington. The Lincoln Home is located in a historic four-block neighborhood that looks much as it did in the mid-1800s, complete with wooden sidewalks. A visitor center and restored neighboring homes display exhibits that tell the story of Lincoln’s time spent with his wife, children and friends in Springfield.

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Re-enactors at the Lincoln Home in Springfield.

Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices

This is the only remaining structure where Abraham Lincoln maintained working law offices. Lincoln and his final law partner, William Herndon, operated from the top floor of the building from 1843 to 1852. Filled with clutter and makeshift furniture, the offices draw a vivid picture of what a normal day was like for Lincoln and Herndon. Today the building includes a visitor center, federal courtrooms and attorney offices.

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The Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices in Springfield.

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, from Abe’s humble beginnings in an Indiana log cabin to his days as president in the White House. Be dazzled by two special effects theaters featuring historical ghosts and a Civil War battlefield, life-like vignettes that depict important moments in the president’s life, and artifacts that range from Lincoln’s stovepipe hat to an original copy of the Gettysburg Address.

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The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

The Lincoln Tomb

The Tomb is the final resting place of President Lincoln, his wife and three of their four children. It was constructed between 1869-1874 in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery. Be sure to rub the nose of the bronze Lincoln bust at the entrance, which is said to bring good luck. Dogs are allowed on the site; they are not allowed inside the monument.

Lincoln Tomb

Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site is where Abe Lincoln was laid to rest.

Abraham Lincoln’s legacy extends far beyond Springfield with plenty of museums and historic sites throughout the state. See more of the Lincoln attractions in Illinois here.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Obscura Society Image USE THIS ONE

With the new Illinois Office of Tourism and Atlas Obscura partnership, events are happening throughout Illinois this spring and summer. Sign up for the email list to receive exclusive invites to explore unique and lesser-known places throughout the state. It’s a great opportunity to hang out with like-minded adventurers!

Illinois Society Logo

Check out AtlasObscura.com for unique events and attractions around the state

The partnership officially launched in February at a vintage carnival themed event with more than 450 attendees at Salvage One – an event space in Chicago known for its vintage antiques. It was here where the Illinois Obscura Society was born. Guests were treated to acts of contortion, mind reading, juggling while unicycling, an old-timey brass band and a sideshow fire eater to top it off. The main event was Thom Britton from FreakShow & Tell. He wowed the crowd by eating fire and shared his trade secrets, explaining how it’s possible to eat fire to an enchanted crowd.

Recently, the Illinois Obscura Society conducted a tour of a Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth. The owners of the Gold Pyramid House, Jim and Linda Onan, describe their unique golden home as powerful, mysterious and exotic. The pyramid is surrounded by a moat and guarded by a 50-foot statue of Ramses II. Everything was built in the 1970s when there was a popular New Age belief that pyramids could focus power and improve health. The family now offers tours of their six-story, 17,000-square-foot home.

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The Gold Pyramid House in Wadsworth, Illinois (Photo: Steven Glynias)

Gold Pyramid with Statue

An Egyptian sculpture stands guard in front of the Gold Pyramid House (Photo: Steven Glynias)

There are a lot of great events happening on May 30 to celebrate Obscura Day 2015. Mark your calendar and check out all the events below!

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Underwater Wonders of Mermet Springs
Belknap, Illinois
Visit this unexpected diver’s paradise without getting wet!

Behind the Scenes at the Blue Waters Supercomputer
Champaign, Illinois
Join us for exclusive access to one of the world’s most powerful computing centers.

The International Museum of Surgical Science
Chicago, Illinois
Join us for a special tour of this unique museum and the mansion that houses it.

Walking in the Footsteps of Leopold and Loeb
Chicago, Illinois
Join us as we revisit what was called “The Crime of the Century”.

The Grounds of Graceland Cemetery
Chicago, Illinois
Stroll amongst the dead and the artwork that commemorates their passing.

Fishes of the Field Museum
Chicago, Illinois
Join us for an exclusive tour of the Field Museum’s Piscine Collection.

The Art of Letter Writing
Chicago, Illinois
Enjoy exclusive access to the Letter Writers Alliance Club House in celebration of Obscura Day.

Explore the Busy Beaver Button Company
Chicago, Illinois
Busy Beaver is the button maker to the world. Now you can see just how they do it.

Catching a Flick at Route 66’s Last Drive-In
Litchfield, Illinois
Since 1950, the summer skies of Litchfield have been filled with Hollywood.

Caravanning Illinois’ Route 66
Route 66, Illinois
Join us as we explore the first 300 miles of the mother road.

Exploring Chicago’s Baha’i Temple
Wilmette, Illinois
The Baha’i faith welcomes everyone to find peace in their beautiful temple and gardens.

The Illinois Obscura Society of Atlas Obscura was created in partnership with Enjoy Illinois. Sign up to stay in the know about upcoming, exclusive tours and adventures. Expeditions will continue throughout the spring and summer. Don’t miss out on your chance to explore every quirky corner of Illinois!

–The Illinois Office of Tourism

The mansion hosts many seasonal events and is lavishly decorated for the Christmas holiday

The mansion hosts many seasonal events and is lavishly decorated for the Christmas holiday

Are you a history buff? Then you’ll enjoy visiting Bloomington, Illinois – home of the David Davis Mansion. Travel back in time to learn about David Davis, a friend of President Abraham Lincoln who served as his campaign manager and a Supreme Court justice.

The historic David Davis Mansion

The historic David Davis Mansion

The Victorian mansion was completed in 1872 for Davis and his wife Sarah. It’s comprised of 36 rooms, five outbuildings and a garden, which is still in the style of 1870s. The mansion gives a peek into the life of Judge Davis and his influence on President Abraham Lincoln’s political career. Inside the mansion, visitors will find an impressive collection of mid-nineteenth-century period pieces.

The mansion hosts many seasonal events and is lavishly decorated for the Christmas holiday

The mansion hosts many seasonal events and is lavishly decorated for the Christmas holiday

The mansion remained in the Davis family for three generations before it was donated to the state in 1960 and later added to the National Register of Historic places in 1972. Tours are free with a suggested donation. To find out more about tours of the David Davis mansion and other sites to visit in Bloomington, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.

-The Illinois Office of Tourism