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Festival Feature Image

Summer festival season is officially upon us! From carnivals and state fairs to music and food fests, Illinois knows how to celebrate sweet summertime. This week, we asked our Instagram followers to share photos of their favorite summer festivals across Illinois. 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.

7.18 Heart of Illinois Fair - (at) straublund

We started this week’s challenge with this thrilling photo of the Heart of Illinois Fair in Peoria. Thanks @straublund for the awesome shot!

+Glendale heights Summer Fest - (at) morsecodebecks

Our favorite part of a carnival is the carousel too! We love this shot of the Glendale Heights Summerfest by @morsecodebecks.

+Taste of Chicago - (at)psb_photos

We couldn’t miss a weekend of music, activities and Chicago’s best dining at the Taste of Chicago! Thanks for this cool photo @psb_photos.

+Vernon Hills Carnival - (at)chicagokiddieworld

So many rides! It’s a good thing the Vernon Hills Summer Celebration lasted all weekend so we could ride them all. (Photo by @chicagokiddieworld)

+NW IL Jazz Fest, Stockton - (at) stoned_art_studio

We can’t help but dance at the Northwest Illinois Jazz Fest in Stockton! Thanks @stoned_art_studio for the great photo.

+Heart of Illinois Fair 2- (at) svarttrost

This one isn’t for the faint of heart. Thanks for the exhilarating photo of the Heart of Illinois Fair @svarttrost!

+Young At Heart Festival (at)tyleryomantasphotography

What a ride! Thanks @tyleryomantasphotography for this awesome photo of the Young at Heart Festival in Loves Park.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Feature Image

Route 66. It’s a road so mythical, you may wonder if it still exists. And yet, cutting through Illinois is a 300-mile stretch of Route 66 that even today captures the imaginations of travelers from around the world. The kitsch, the nostalgia, the people – it’s got all the makings of a road trip that’s just as much about the journey as the destination. The journey down the Mother Road is sure to be one that won’t disappoint.

Summer is the perfect time to pack your bags, roll down the windows and cruise along the legendary road. Below are the must-visit spots along Illinois Route 66 to get your summer road trip plans started.

First up, stop in to Lou Mitchell’s diner in Chicago to fuel up for the journey ahead. This classic American diner has been around for nearly 100 years, serving all the classics, plus freshly baked donut holes when you walk in the door.

Route 66 is known for its assortment of roadside attractions, and Illinois is home to plenty of them. Make sure to snap an Insta-worthy photo at the Gemini Giant statue in Wilmington. And while you’re there, head ten minutes down the road to the Polk-a-Dot Drive In for a burger, fries and chocolate shake.

Gemini Giant

The Gemini Giant in Wilmington

About 1.5 hours into the trip, you’ll come to a quaint town called Pontiac, one of the most famous Route 66 towns along the way. The nostalgia and charm of Route 66 is what this town is known for. Here you’ll find the Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum, a tour of hand painted murals around the town, and even the Pontiac-Oakland Auto Museum. This entire museum is dedicated to the Pontiac car.

“The Pontiac Museum has been a wonderful addition to the attractions found here in Pontiac. It’s the second most popular attraction and is slowly gaining on the Illinois Route 66 Museum,” said Ellie Alexander, director of Pontiac tourism. “Having the Pontiac-Oakland Museum here has led to dozens of car clubs coming to town, some of them multiple times.”

As you continue your journey, you’ll come to an even smaller town – Atlanta. This little town packs a big punch in Route 66 history. Make sure to grab a bite, or at least a slice of pie and coffee, at The Palms Grill Café. Head across the street and snap a selfie with the Paul Bunyon Hotdog statue, another Muffler man.

Paul Bunyon Hot Dog

The Paul Bunyon Hotdog Statue in Atlanta, next to The Palms Grill Café

Keep driving and you’ll come to Springfield, known as the home Abraham Lincoln. But did you know Springfield is also home to the Cozy Dog Drive In? This classic Route 66 diner is the originator of the corn dog, or “Cozy Dog.” Stop by for a true Route 66 experience. And just outside Springfield is a stretch of the original hand-laid brick road.

Doc’s Soda Fountain in Girard was originally a pharmacy built in the 1880’s, and the soda fountain was added to the business in the 1950’s. Stop in for an old-fashioned treat or ice-cream.

Doc's Soda Fountain

Doc’s Soda Fountain and drug store museum

The Ariston Café in Litchfield is one of the oldest along Route 66 and placed on National Registry of Historic Places. Stop in for a bite to eat and then head across the street to the Route 66 Welcome Center to see memorabilia and history from the Mother Road.

Ariston Cafe

The Ariston Café in Litchfield, across the street from the Route 66 Welcome Center

To end your Route 66 journey through Illinois, get a final photo at the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville.

Whether you follow our guide or choose your own adventure, a trip down Route 66 is one that you will be looking back on with a smile for years to come.

– Illinois Office of Tourism

 

FEATURE IMAGE

Happy Fourth of July Weekend! It’s never too early to start celebrating, so we asked our Instagram followers to share photos themed red, white and blue across Illinois. 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.

+Navy Pier Fireworks (at) mynameisxela

What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than watching fireworks? That’s why we kicked off this week’s challenge with this awesome photo of Navy Pier’s grand firework show. Thanks to @mynameisxela for this great photo!

+ Macy's Chicago (at)Kait.radke

What a great way to showcase the American flag! Thanks for the great picture of Macy’s in Chicago @kait.radke.

+Bloomington (at) selzermusic

Best part of Fourth of July cookouts? Desserts! These cake balls look delicious! Thanks @selzermusic for sharing.

+Bourbonnais Friendship Fest (at) josh.lundmark

The Ferris wheel at Bourbonnais Friendship Fest is all ready to celebrate Independence Day! Thanks @josh.lundmark for this awesome photo!

+Fox River Queen, St. Charles (at)yoga.gal

What a great idea to spend the Fourth of July on the Fox River Queen in St. Charles! Thanks for sharing @yoga.gal.png.

+Galena (at)longhollowcanopytours

Zip lining at Long Hollow Canopy Tours with the American flag, how much more freedom can you get in one picture? Thanks for sharing @longhollowcanopytours!

+Lake Forest (at) elawafarm

Look at those festive sprinkles! Thanks @elawafarm for the great photo!

+Riverside Illinois (at) riversideillinois

How cool is this American Flag from 1976? Thanks for sharing with us @riversideillinois!

+Rt. 66 (at) sauk_it_to_me

Even Route 66’s Lauterbach Muffler Man can’t wait to celebrate the Fourth of July! Thanks for this great photo @sauk_it_to_me!

+Crystal Lake (at)  j_r_petry

Red, white and blue stands out anywhere! Thanks @j_r_petry for sharing this photo of St. Charles!

-Illinois Office of Tourism

FEATURE IMAGE

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos that featured their favorite summer treats in Illinois! 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.

Chicago Ale Fest - (at) bittyreiss

Starting off our challenge this week was this refreshing photo from the Chicago Ale Fest! Cheers @bittyreiss!

Bloomington (at)selzermusic

Look how sweet these cake balls look! Thanks for sharing this awesome photo from Bloomington @selzermusic!

Chicago White Sox (at)msnycole

Take me out the ballgame for these summer treats! Love this shot from the Chicago White Sox Game. (Photo: @msnycole)

Chicago, Coco Pazzo Cafe (at) cocopazzocafe

I’d like a scoop of gelato please! Thanks for sharing this beautiful photo @cocopazzocafe.

Riverside, IL (at) riversideillinois

What an awesome idea for a great cause! Thanks for sharing @riversideillinois.

Tre Soldi, Chicago (at) nicholsfarmand orchard

Since it is the season for farmers markets, we couldn’t end our roundup this week without our veggies! Thanks for sharing this photo from @nicholsfarmandorchard, @tresoldichi!

– 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