Category Archives: Central Illinois

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Sculpture Feature Image

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos that surround the theme “sculpture.” Check out a few of our favorite shots from around the state below! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured.

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

Mt St. Mary Park - St Charles - (at) yoga.gal

We kicked off this week’s challenge with this unique black and white shot of Mt. St. Mary Park in St. Charles by @yoga.gal!

Star-Crossed Pollinators Sculpture - (at) sam_morehead

How cool is this shot of the Star-Crossed Pollinators Sculpture in Bloomington? Thanks @sam_morehead for sharing!

Lincoln Statue - (at) debsfarmstand

Illinois is known as the Land of Lincoln, and almost anywhere you go, you’re bound to find Lincoln history. Instagramer @debsfarmstand captured this shot of the Lincoln statue in Dixon!

Art Institute Lion - (at) c.kopeckyck1

Instagramer @c.kopeckyck1 shared this shot of the famous bronze lion statue outside the Art Institute of Chicago.

Federal Plaza Flamingo (at)secondcityginger

We love the contrast between the angular, black buildings and abstract, red sculpture in this shot by @jibasaur. This piece called “Flamingo” by Alexander Calder is located at Federal Plaza in Chicago.

Flamingo (at) mrrogers82585

Here’s another shot of “Flamingo” by @mrrogers82585!

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Rooftop Feature Image

It all starts with the first warm day. People from all across the state break free of their winter hibernation and flock to the closest outdoor space. For many, the start of warm weather means one thing – patio season is finally here! Luckily, Illinois has its fair share of rooftop bars and beer gardens to pull in patrons looking for cool brews and even cooler views.

A recent addition to Chicago’s restaurant scene, Cindy’s Rooftop is the perfect place to spend a summer evening. Located on the 13th floor of Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, the rooftop restaurant and open-air terrace offers breathtaking vistas of Chicago’s Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. Cindy’s atmosphere is airy, almost reminiscent of a beach house, complete with strung lights, whimsical greenery, communal, picnic-style seating and fire pits.

Cindy's Rooftop 2

The incredible setting isn’t the only thing that keeps visitors coming back time and time again. Cindy’s Executive Chef, Christian Ragano, works in tandem with Spirit Guide Nandini Khaund to create a seasonally-evolving menu full of shareable picnic-style food and drink offerings. From classic craft cocktails to wine and apothecaries, Cindy’s serves up beverages that suit the taste of a wide variety of diners.

Cindy's Rooftop

Down the road in Rockford, we leave behind the rooftop views for a waterside landing at Prairie Street Brewing Co. (PSB Co.), the largest outdoor riverfront patio in the city. The dock at PSB Co. is the perfect place to sit back on a sunny Midwestern day, and is the only spot downtown to publicly park your boat for an afternoon of fun.

“Prairie Street Brewing Company always comes to mind when suggesting unique, local spots in our region. Their eclectic food options, locally brewed craft beer and riverside dock set the scene for a perfect night out,” said Andrea Mandala, RACVB marketing & communications manager. “I love the great energy from their staff and experiencing the good vibes from local bands as they’re performing dockside at PSB Co.”

Prairie Street Brewhouse

Anyone in Champaign knows that Blind Pig Brewery is the downtown hot spot on warm summer evenings. As the first brewery in Champaign after prohibition, this iconic establishment has set the bar high for craft beer. Blind Pig has a robust menu made up of its own brews as well as craft beer from around the country. With taps rotating regularly, visitors have the chance to try out something new each time they stop by. The interior is rustic and British in feel, reflective of owner Chris Knight’s heritage, but step outside and you will be transported to a lush and luminous beer garden. With strung lights swinging above your head and the Champaign City Building looming just beyond, many will argue that there is no better place to be as the nights heat up than the Blind Pig Brewery beer garden with a cold one in hand.

Blind Pig Brewery

Looking to experience outdoor sipping for yourself? Here’s where you can check out the establishments mentioned above as well as some other hot spots around the state.

Cindy’s Rooftop

12 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603

(312) 792-3502

Prairie Street Brewhouse

Prairie Street, Rockford, IL 61107

(815) 277-9427

Blind Pig Brewery

Neil Street, Champaign, IL 61820

(217) 398-5133

Grafton Winery & Brewhaus

300 W. Main Street, Grafton, IL 62037

(618) 786-3001

Two Brothers Roadhouse

205 N. Broadway, Aurora, IL 60505

(630) 264-2739

Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery

835 S. 2nd Street, Springfield, IL 62704

(217)523-4466

– Illinois Office of Tourism

 

REAL Feature Image

As the old saying goes, we only have one Earth, so we all need to do our part to take care of it! Illinoisans are always looking for ways to bring their communities together to help take care of the environment.  Earth Day, on April 22, gives us the chance to take time out from our busy schedules and appreciate how incredible this place we all call home truly is. We’ve rounded up a few of the Earth Day events happening around the state to help you celebrate and give back!

Free Divvy Rides

An easy way to make a difference, Divvy is partnering with Naked Juice to offer Chicago residents a free 24-hour pass, allowing you to take unlimited 30-minute trips throughout the day. You can find the many Divvy locations across the city here, just remember to bring your helmet. Happy Biking!

Divvy Bikes - (at) myers15533

Divvy bikes are found all throughout the city for easy access and return. (Photo by @myers15533)

Earth Day 5K Fun/Run Super Hero Race

Want to help save the planet? Grab your latest Super Hero gear and head over to Millennium Park in Lindenhurst to participate in the Earth Day 5K on April 23. This event is free for all ages and starts at 9am, beginning and ending right in the Park.

Brookfield Zoo’s Party for the Planet

Take a trip to Brookfield Zoo for Party for the Planet on Sunday, April 24 to learn more about the steps you can take to make a difference for animals across the globe. There will be an Eco Expo featuring over 40 environmentally focused vendors, a recycling drop off point, opportunities to plant a tree, and special Zoo chats on conservation. These family fun activities go from 9:30-3:30pm, so you can make a day of it!

Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo’s “Party for the Planet” is a great way for kids of all ages to give back! (Photo courtesy of brookfieldzoo.org)

Twin City Farmer’s Market Earth Day Bash

Mark April 23 on your calendar for the Earth Day Bash at the Twin City Farmer’s Market in Sterling! From 8am-noon, you can head down to the Market to learn how to start your own “greenhouse in a bag” with Master Gardeners from the University of Illinois Extension and make seed bombs. A variety of Earth Day themed games and giveaways will also be held, in addition to a special menu by Chef Myra. Don’t forget to leave some time to explore the locally sourced offerings from the markets dozens of vendors!

Twin City Farmer's Market

Kids will get the chance to start their own “greenhouse in a bag” at the Twin City Farmer’s Market Earth Bash! (Photo courtesy of Twin City Farmer’s Market)

Earth Day 50K

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than spending some time in the great outdoors! Join MUDD as they host the 5th annual Earth Day 50K, 15 mile and 5 mile run in Crystal Lake on Saturday, April 23.  Throughout the race, you’ll get to experience the beautiful rolling hills, blossoming spring flowers, open prairie, and pine forest of Veteran Acres and Sternes Woods. This year’s race is already sold out, but you can still join in the fun as a race-day volunteer!

Earth Day 50K Crystal Lake

Spend the morning outdoors at the Earth Day Trail Runs in Crystal Lake! (Photo courtesy of Earth Day 50K)

Earth Day Faire

Although celebrated a week after Earth Day, Oak Lawn’s Earth Day Faire on April 30 offers family fun activities from 10am-2pm including scavenger hunts, tree climbing demonstrations, bike tune-ups, gardening, composting, and Jim Nesci’s Cold Blooded Creatures.

Homer Glen’s Earth Day – Arbor Day

If you are a little late to the celebration or need a way to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day all in one, The Village of Homer Glen is having its 9th annual festival on May 21, offering a variety of activities for the whole family. Whether you are looking for to meet alligators and monkeys, purchase arts and crafts, participate in demonstrations, or have opportunities to recycle, this festival has it all!

Homer Glen Earth Day

Homer Glen’s Earth Day and Arbor Day offers many fun activities for the whole family. (Photo courtesy of Village of Homer Glen)

– Illinois Office of Tourism

Feature Image

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos that surround the theme “adventure.” Check out a few of our favorite shots from around the state below! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured.

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

North Branch Chicago River - (at)nwmyers

This week, we kicked off our “adventure” challenge with this awesome photo taken at North Branch Chicago River by @nwmyers.

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve - (at) nirvdave

This trail at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve definitely makes us want to go for a hike. Taken by @nirvdave, it fits our theme “adventure” perfectly!

Matthiessen State Park - (at) sherri_sahara

We love the perspective of this shot taken at Matthiessen State Park by @sherri_sahara!

Starved Rock State Park - (at) thechispy

The waterfalls at Starved Rock State Park are always a sight to see. Great capture @thechispy!

Giant City State Park - (at) geo_andrea

Talk about an adventure! Great photo taken at Giant City State Park by @geo_andrea.

Piney Creek Ravine Nature Preserve - (at) midwest__adventurer

This photo has us dreaming of spring weather. (Taken at Piney Creek Ravine Nature Preserve by @midwest_adventurer)

Chicago - (at) ashtaylaf

Love this photo by @ashtaylaf. It’s always an adventure in Chicago!

Starved Rock - (at) danielle_2889

Great photo taken at Starved Rock State Park by @danielle_2889!

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Spring Break Feature Image

Dreaming of spring already? It may be winter now, but soon the weather will be turning and spring will be on its way. If you’re looking to plan a spring break getaway, check out these three trip ideas in Central Illinois!

For the road tripper:

Roll down the windows and turn up the radio for a cruise on the open road this spring. Illinois Route 66 is the perfect road trip for anyone looking to discover the quirky and nostalgic age of the Mother Road. Start in Chicago and make you way 300 miles across the state stopping for photo ops at these cities in Central Illinois:

Pontiac Illinois- Route 66 Mural

The Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum is home to a mural of the largest Route 66 shield in the world!

For the foodie:

Eat to live or live to eat? If you answered the latter, then plan a spring break trip to visit some of the incredible restaurants the Land of Lincoln has to offer!

  • For craft beer lovers, look no further than Blind Pig Brewery in Champaign for local brews, delicious food and a great outdoor patio.
  • Firefly Grill in Effingham is known for its fresh American cuisine made from local and seasonal ingredients.
  • Seasonal beer, classic pub grub and an outdoor bocce garden make Obed & Isaac’s in Springfield a must-visit spot.
  • Stop by Epiphany Farms in Bloomington for a “farm-to-fork” experience you won’t soon forget.
sunset shot

The Firefly Grill is a can’t-miss farm-to-table experience.

For the outdoor lover:

If you love all things nature, soak in the spring weather with an outdoor adventure at one of the many beautiful parks and gardens in Illinois.

  • Explore 1,500 acres of woodlands, formal gardens and more than 100 sculptures at Allerton Park & Retreat Center in Monticello, formerly the private estate of Robert Henry Allerton.
  • Luthy Botanical Gardens in Peoria is home to a tropical conservatory as well as several themed gardens, including an herb garden, woodland garden, children’s garden and more.
  • Experience a variety of gardens and native plants at the University of Illinois Arboretum in Urbana and welcome spring with a stroll through the Sen Cherry Tree Allee, where cherry tree blossoms form a pink canopy of flowers overhead.
University of Illinois Arboretum 2

The University of Illinois Arboretum makes for the perfect spring space to explore.

For more spring break trip ideas, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism