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Indoor Activities for Adults Feature Image

Spring is finally here, which means April showers are on the way. But what should you do on those rainy spring days? We have just the thing. We’ve got a great list of fun activities to keep in mind while the weather is still warming up.

Hit the Mall

While the Magnificent Mile remains the most widely known retail mecca of the Midwest, there are plenty of other shopping locations in Illinois for you to find the retail therapy – and new spring wardrobe – you’ve been searching for. Find even more shopping experiences around the state in the new exclusive digital content from Travel Illinois Magazine, linked here.

  • With more than 200 manufacturer and retail outlet stores offering up to 70 percent off, serious shoppers can’t go wrong at Gurnee Mills. Located in Gurnee, this shopping center even has activities for the non-shopper to enjoy, like laser tag, arcade games and a movie theatre.
  • And, not to be outdone, the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg boasts nearly 300 stores, restaurants and specialty shops – all under one roof.
  • Chicago is also home to multiple indoor shopping centers that can help protect you from the elements, including the 900 North Michigan Shops that offer a taste of luxury and the famous Water Tower Place, which presents shoppers with a unique, high-energy urban shopping experience like no other.
Grand Court facing Nordstrom

Even window shopping can be fun at Woodfield Mall’s multi-level shopping center located just west of Chicago.

Take in a Show

No matter what you’re in the mood for, Illinois has no shortage of entertainment opportunities. Here are a few tips that we recommend for finding that perfect way to unwind with a laugh, a little music or both.  

  • For laughs, there’s no place like the world famous Second City in Chicago. With shows each night of the week ranging from improve to stand up to full productions, the Second City has a 50 year reputation for producing comedy stars like Dan Aykroyd and Tina Fey.
  • Experience the blues like you’ve never heard them before at Blue Chicago. Located close to Ontario Street’s restaurant row, this blues club is the perfect way to spice up a night out.
  • Treat yourself to the Broadway experience at one of Chicago’s many fabulous theatres. Home to the hottest shows direct from Broadway and world premieres, these venues are sure to create lasting memories.
Bank of America Theatre

The lush Bank of American Theatre is classic venue to see the latest and greatest on Broadway.

Indoor Sports

Shake off that winter snooze with some adventure. Illinois is home to all kinds of exciting indoor adventures that can send you to new heights. Embrace your inner child with one of these three fun activities:

  • Feel the simulation of true free fall conditions in a vertical wind tunnel at iFLY in Naperville, Chicago or Rosemont (then suit up for the real thing this summer).
  • Strap in for a unique challenge that combines basketball, lacrosse and hockey with bumper cars at WhirlyBall Chicago. If it sounds silly, that’s because it is.
  • Take it down a notch and lace up for a classic game of bowling or bocce at Pinstripes in Chicago or one of the three suburban locations.

For more ideas, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.

-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

Illinois Presidents Feature Image

Illinois has a history as rich as its food – and if you don’t believe us, just take a trip to Springfield and grab a horseshoe sandwich! Illinois is home to some of the United States’ most famous presidents, and history buffs can find information about these American leaders in all corners of the state.

But, if quirky facts are more your style, take a look below at a few little known details about these great American leaders.

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, 1861-1865

Likely the mostly widely recognized Illinoisan, Abraham Lincoln is more than just a former president: he is a state icon. But, Honest Abe is not just known for his policy. With his large frame and long limbs, the tallest president of the U.S. is also enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame. According to history.com, Lincoln has an impressive track record of only being defeated once in nearly 300 matches.

Learn more about Lincoln at one of these exciting Springfield attractions:

MiniAbe Big Ten

Mini Abe knows he’s number one!

Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States, 1869-1877

Think you know what to call the 18th Commander in Chief of the United States? Guess again. Due to a mistake by a benefactor on his application for West Point, Ulysses S. Grant is widely known under the wrong name. Born Hiram Ulysses Grant, the “S” in this president’s name actually stands for nothing.

Take a walk through Galena and get a glimpse at a day in the life of this American leader:

Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States, 1981-1989

Ronald Reagan has left a lasting impression in American history books and on the silver screen, but among former peers and colleagues, President Reagan is known for his sweet tooth. This former Commander in Chief began eating jelly beans to help him quit smoking during his run for Governor of California. This continued into his presidency, and a crystal jar of jelly beans was always available during his Cabinet meetings.

Get off the beaten path and take a look at Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home in Dixon.

Ronald Reagan boyhood home

Stop by to learn more about Reagan’s transition from this white house to one in Washington, D.C. and everything in between.

Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, 2008-2016

Too much of a good thing can sometimes be just that: way too much. Our nation’s current president reportedly worked for Baskin Robbins during his youth, and it’s left quite the impression. He now jokes that he still can’t eat ice cream to this day after spending one too many summers scooping ice cream in Honolulu.

Be sure to stop by the Obama Family Home in Hyde Park on your next trip to Chicago to learn more about the life of President Obama, and stay tuned for the Obama Presidential Library coming to Chicago!

For more trip ideas, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Breweries Beyond Chicago Feature Image

Chicago was recently crowned the craft-brew capital of the U.S., but it isn’t the only place in the region to grab a local pint and relax. Check out these top-rated breweries that are just a hop, skip and a jump – or train ride – from the city.

Two Brothers Brewing Company & Tap House, Warrenville

This 100 percent family owned and operated microbrewery and brewpub has been handcrafting its artisan beers since 1997. Located in the western suburbs of Chicago, this 40,000 square foot facility offers free brewery tours on the weekend where patrons can see the magic happen and snag a sample or two of their favorite craft beer. Don’t forget to stop by the Two Brothers Tap House adjacent to the brewery for a quick lunch before or after the tour.

Solemn Oath Brewery, Naperville

Solemn Oath 1

Check out the wide selection of Belgian-inspired and barrel-aged beers! (Photo courtesy of Solemn Oath Brewery)

Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville offers Belgian-inspired and barrel-aged beers with a free glimpse of how the suds are made. Separated by only a half-wall, the taproom at the Solemn Oath gives visitors a full display of the brewery and a chance to experience all of the sights, sounds and smells of the brewing process while enjoying a flight from their latest beer list. This menu changes frequently, so be sure to order a growler to bring home if you find a favorite.

Carlyle Brewing Company, Rockford

 The Rockford Region’s premiere microbrewery has something for everyone, with 10 to 12 styles of ales and lagers on tap at any time and more than 30 styles of beer brewed onsite throughout the year. This European-style ale house offers a variety of fresh-brewed beer to sample and fun, pub-style foods, making it a perfect stop to sip on a cold beer and relax.

NEW: Alter Brewing Company, Downers Grove

Alter Brewing Company 2

New to Downers Grove is Alter Brewing Company! (Photo courtesy of Alter Brewing Company)

The latest to join the craft beer movement in the Chicago suburbs is Alter Brewing Company located in Downers Grove. It’s founded by three longtime brewers from Chicago’s north side who have been perfecting their brewing technique since 1992. Now, the newly-opened 6,600 square foot taproom and brewing facility will offer continually produced beers, as well as seasonal and limited release selections.

For more places to raise a glass outside Chicago, visit www.EnjoyIllinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Andersonville Feature Image

Chicago is famous for its food, and rightfully so. People come from all around the world to try deep dish pizza and the Chicago-style hot dog as only the Windy City can provide. For those looking to venture outside the Chicago classics, take a trip to one of Chicago’s many thriving neighborhoods.

Andersonville is a heavily Swedish-influenced neighborhood and LGBT destination just north of Foster Avenue and a few blocks west of Lake Michigan. There are so many outstanding restaurants in the area that it’s hard to choose where to go in just one day. Here we’ve outlined a full culinary itinerary for strolling down the main drag, Clark Street, in Andersonville.

Brunch at Big Jones (5347 N Clark Street)

Southern cooking is the focus of this neighborhood favorite that puts unique twists on traditional dishes, like buttermilk biscuits topped with hot pepper jelly and an omelet stuffed with both crawfish and Andouille sausage. Big Jones also makes its own breakfast meats in-house and adds them to mouth-watering creations such as the tasso ham, smoked for two days and served with pickles, cheese and crackers. Traditional Southern brunch items such as biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, gumbo and other Cajun-inspired breakfasts are also available. Brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Brunch at Big Jones

Eggs New Orleans at Big Jones. (Photo courtesy of Instagramer (at) cindyfok)

Lunch at Hopleaf (5148 N Clark Street)

This Belgian-inspired kitchen has 63 rotating beers on tap to accompany its lunch menu of small plates, sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts. The signature item at Hop Leaf is the mussels, which are flown in from Prince Edward Island and served either steamed in Belgian beer with vegetables or with lobster and bacon, doused in chili butter, lemon and cilantro. The frites are another can’t miss item at Hopleaf and can be added as a side dish with any lunch meal.

Lunch at Hopleaf

Hopleaf features 63 rotating tap beers. (Photo courtesy of (at) stephanie_toland)

Drinks at Marty’s Martini Bar (1511 W Balmoral Avenue)

Before stopping for dinner, make a trip to Marty’s Martini Bar, around the corner off Clark Street on Balmoral Avenue. Marty’s is the perfect place to sip creative, original cocktails while sitting out on the patio enjoying a warm summer evening.

Dinner at Anteprima (5316 N Clark Street)

Cap off an indulgent day with traditional Italian home-style cooking at Anteprima. Several unique menu concoctions are the result of the staff traveling to homes throughout Italy for secret culinary recipes. Anteprima offers an extensive wine list to pair with interesting vegetable plates, flavorful pastas and delicious entrees. These rustic Italian dishes are prepared using locally grown organic produce.

Bonus Pick: Treats at the Swedish Bakery (5348 N Clark Street)

If you still have any room left in your stomach, the most authentic Andersonville establishment on the list is the Swedish Bakery. Famous for its friendly, warm customer service and even warmer treats, the Swedish Bakery serves a wide variety of sweet and savory cakes, cookies, pastries and breads. If you are overwhelmed by all the options, a signature authentic Swedish dish is the Toska tart, a moist almond cake surrounded by a flaky short dough crust and topped with caramelized almonds.

Swedish Bakery_Andersonville

A yellow cake topped with marzipan at the Swedish Bakery in Andersonville.

For more food suggestions in Andersonville, other Chicago neighborhoods and the rest of the Land of Lincoln, find something more at EnjoyIllinois.com.

–Illinois Office of Tourism