Category Archives: Illinois Photos

Home / Illinois Photos
118 Posts
brunch-feature-image

Brunch is that special time of day where breakfast and lunch meet. So many of Illinois’ best eateries have menus filled with sweet and savory dishes to ensure patrons leave satisfied. This week we asked you to show us your favorite brunch spots around the state. Check out a few of our favorite photos below, and 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.

eggs-benedict-from-jail-hill-inn-at-enjoygalenactry

We are in awe of this decadent plate of eggs benedict served at Jail Hill Inn in Galena. Thanks for the photo @halcraftem!

cider-and-pancake-house-christkindlmarket-at-christyspur_10

Holiday shopping and brunching at the same time? That’s right, you can do both at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago. Thanks for the festive photo, @ChristySpur.

elaines-coffee-call-chicago-at-elainescoffeecall

Elaine’s Coffee Call in Chicago’s Hotel Lincoln is the perfect spot to grab breakfast on the go. (Photo courtesy of @elainescoffeecall)

corridor-brewery-provisions-at-southportcorridorchicago

What’s brunch without a bloody Mary, mimosa or craft beer? Corridor Brewery & Provisions has the best of both worlds with great brews and an amazing brunch menu. Thanks for sharing @southportcorridorchicago.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

 

craig-hensel-blog-post-feature-image

Illinois is teeming with places to spend time with your family, and there’s also no shortage of history to learn about during pretty much any road trip around the state. We recently partnered with Chicago-based photographer and Instagramer Craig Hensel (@thecraighensel) and his family as they took a road trip around Central Illinois. Along the way, Craig caught some incredible photos as they learned more about Illinois Amish community, took part in some fall activities and learned a bit more about the history of Abraham Lincoln. Below you’ll find a brief look at Craig’s itinerary, as well as a Q&A session the Illinois Office of Tourism had with him upon his return.

craig-hensel-map

A map of Craig’s three-day, Central Illinois road trip.

ITINERARY

Day 1

The Great Pumpkin Patch, Arthur

The Great Pumpkin Patch has more than 300 varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds from 30+ countries around the world; all grown on the farm at The 200 Acres. Amazing pumpkin towers, beautiful gardens and a petting zoo with goats, pigs, exotic chickens, rabbits, a llama and an alpaca, make this a great family spot.

Located in Arthur,  a town of 2,200 residents, the Great Pumpkin Patch sits  in the heart of Illinois Amish Country, with more than 1,000 Amish families living in the countryside. Established in 1865 by a handful of families, today more than 4,500 Amish live in the town and surrounding rural townships.

Aikman Wildlife Adventure, Arcola

Located between Arthur and Arcola, Aikman Wildlife Adventure is a drive-through park where you can get up close and personal with animals you’ve only seen on television or behind fencing at a zoo. Visitors have the opportunity to see and take pictures of animals walking around directly outside their vehicles while  driving the one-mile long path through the park. Aikman’s also features a separate walk-through adventure with kangaroos, cavies, wallabies and lemurs, and a large petting zoo area.

DAY 2

Marcoot Jersey Creamery, Greenville

Marcoot Jersey Creamery, a proud maker in the Illinois Made program, is a seventh-generation, family-owned farm that specializes in the handcrafted production of artisan and farmstead cheeses. At the creamery, visitors can take a tour and meet the cows, experience the milking parlor, and sample and purchase a variety of cheeses, ice creams and more.

DAY 3

Abraham Lincoln Sites, Springfield

History comes alive around every corner in Springfield, home to more Lincoln sites than anywhere else in the nation. Visitors can explore everything from the historic Old State Capitol to Lincoln’s home, tomb and  his must-see presidential museum.

To take a trip similar to Craig’s, or to plan an entirely new trip, check out our Trip Ideas.

Q&A

Here’s what Craig had to say about his favorite memories of the trip and some of the information he and his family learned along the way.

Q: What were you most looking forward to before beginning the trip?

Craig Hensel: I was most looking forward to my time on the trip with my family and exploring Illinois. As far as a place I was particularly excited to see, that had to be Arthur and the Amish community. That was really unique to me, and I enjoyed watching my kids experience things they’d never seen before.

great-pumpkin-patch-2-craig-hensel

Craig’s daughter running towards a tower of pumpkins at The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur. (Photo by Craig Hensel)

Q: Was there anything that surprised you about the trip?

Craig Hensel: One thing that really surprised me in Springfield was when we went into this shop that had antiques from Lincoln’s days; like an old muzzleloader. I didn’t expect that to be in the town, and I was impressed that the shop had such old stuff.

The other thing that surprised me was our visit to Marcoot Jersey Creamery. Marcoot’s story is incredible – now run by the family’s seventh generation. You don’t see family businesses handed down from generation to generation like that very much anymore, so it was a really special experience for our family.

The big surprise was when we were driving home, we stopped at Lincoln’s New Salem site in Petersburg, and that blew our minds. We felt like we were walking back in time.

old-state-capitol-craig-hensel

Unique angle inside the Old State Capitol State Historic Site in Springfield. (Photo by Craig Hensel)

Q: After you got back to Chicago, had anything changed in your expectations of the trip?

Craig Hensel: I expected to see the rural towns, but I didn’t expect to see the diversity in the communities, like the Amish County in Arthur. What blew my mind was seeing the Lincoln sites through the historic lens. It was very impressive to learn so much about our state’s history. I felt a deeper understanding of what Illinois is and who we are.

alplm-craig-hensel

Craig’s wife, Jenah, was resting on Lincoln’s cabin at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. (Photo by Craig Hensel)

Q: Is there one specific memory or experience from the trip that’s going to stick with you?

Craig Hensel: The Lincoln museum was a big one for sure. The era of pioneer history is very attractive. Lincoln’s New Salem Site was probably the most memorable. We had time to walk through the woods and decompress as a family before heading back to the big city. Another good memory is from Marcoot Creamery. My daughter loves animals, and so here’s my kid in the middle of this little barn with about 25 calves that were just born. That visual memory of my kids is awesome. Also, when my daughter was picking up farm dogs and watching three or four dogs surrounding her. Those little memories in my mind are what will stick.

aikman-wildlife-adventure-craig-hensel

An awesome close-up shot of a zebra at Aikman Wildlife Adventure in Arcola. (Photo by Craig Hensel)

Q: Any last advice for other Chicagoans looking to explore downstate?

Craig Hensel: I think people are missing out if people don’t take time to take a three-hour trip. There’s a National Park right in Springfield!

Going downstate, don’t be afraid to take the back roads. Don’t be afraid to follow the brown highway signs. The food and the hospitality are amazing, and anytime you can, take advantage of the farm-to-table dining. If you haven’t already, make a stop in Springfield to visit the Abraham Lincoln sites, and see for yourself what it was like to live back in the 1800s. Experience local restaurants and mom and pop restaurants, which probably have the best food in the Midwest. Try to drive Route 66 if you can and go through the small, historic towns.

great-pumpkin-patch-1-craig-hensel

A beautiful rural road near the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur. (Photo by Craig Hensel)

– Illinois Office of Tourism

fall-food-feature-image

Autumn is the season of beautiful colors and even better food. Luckily, Illinois is home to many options that can fulfill your hankering for a sweet treat, drink or hearty meal. This week we asked you to show us the fall treats you love. Check out a few of our favorite photos below, and 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.

coffee-at-c-c-ferns-in-chicago-at-rach-esq

C.C. Ferns serves up the sweetest treats in this shot taken by @rach.esq. Sprinkles and chocolate for the ultimate win!

fried-cheesecake-at-dead-tree-tavern-in-rock-falls-at-sauk_it_to_me

Fall food means the comfort of fried cheesecake from Dead Tree Tavern in Rock Falls. Thanks for the delicious shot, @Sauk_it_to_me.

galena-brewing-co-at-enjoygalenactry

Nom nom nom… this shot of Galena Brewing Co.’s beer and pretzels is making us hungry. Thanks for sharing @enjoygalenactry.

little-sheep-mongolian-hot-pot-in-chicago-at-jassiemoy

There’s no end to the variety of fall eats in Chicago. This dish from Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot looks like true comfort food on a chilly day. Thanks for sharing, @jassiemoy!

treats-at-harvest-pancake-house-at-andres_deleon

Sweet and savory treats are plentiful at Harvest Pancake House this season. Thanks to @andres_deleon for the photo!

-Illinois Office of Tourism

feature-image

Happy 90th Anniversary to Route 66! Illinois is so fortunate to be home to over 300 miles of the famous Mother Road, and all of the amazing places and unique attractions along the way. This week, we challenged our followers to post their favorites sights and stops along Illinois Route 66. Check out a few of our favorite captures below and 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.

11-7-route-66-sign-atillinoisroute66

We kicked off our Instagram challenge with this sidewalk sign near the Ariston Café taken by @illinoisroute66 in Litchfield.

begin-route-66-sign-a-tionebv

Did you know the start of Route 66 is in downtown Chicago on Adams and Wabash? Thanks @tionebv for capturing this great shot!

catsup-bottle-a-littlerobotindy

Too bad this Brooks Catsup bottle in Collinsville isn’t filled with catsup, but it’s a pretty unique water tower! Picture by: @littlerobottindy.

route-66-sign-a-bluemermaid59

Illinois works to preserve original artifacts along our 300-mile stretch of Route 66, that’s why signs like this have such character! Thanks for sharing this, @bluemermaid59!

hot-dogs-a-kate_henmueller

If you have never been to the Cozy Dog in Springfield, you have to try their famous “hot dog on a stick!” Picture by: @kate_henmeuller.

pontiac-sign-a-sabrina_chakici

We love this pic by @sabrina_chakici… the murals in Pontiac are a great stop for road trip selfies!

abes-nose-a-mykekocet

Looks like @mykekocet stopped in Springfield to rub Abe’s nose, it’s said to bring good luck! We love these fun traditions along Illinois Route 66.

pink-elephant-a-michelleaherring

Have you ever seen a pink elephant before? Well, they have one in waiting for you at the Pink Elephant Antique Mall in Livingston! Thanks for the pic, @michelleherring!

-Illinois Office of Tourism

fall-colors-feature-image

After an anxious wait this season, the colors of autumn have finally arrived in Illinois. State parks and regional forests are brimming with vibrant yellow, orange and fiery red leaves. This week we asked you to show us your best photos of the fall colors and you delivered! Check out a few of our favorite captures 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.

humboldt-park-pond-at-carolineefarrow

This picturesque scene at Humboldt Park was captured by @carolineefarrow.

wildcat-canyon-at-starved-rock-at-svmueljvcobs

@svmueljvcobs found the perfect nook of Wildcat Canyon in Starved Rock State Park to capture this shot.

aldeen-golf-club-in-rockford-at-charmcq

Even on a cloudy day fall colors pop. Thanks @charmcq for the photo.

morton-arboretum-at-kristenryanphotography

This trail at the Morton Arboretum looks so inviting. Thanks to @Kristenryanphotography for the photo!

falling-stars-in-wilmette-at-crgshprg

We think photographer @crgshprg was right when he described these fallen leaves in Wilmette as “falling stars!”

moraine-view-state-park-trail-at-lifeinbloomphotos

We can’t help but wonder what awaited photographer @lifeinbloomphotos at the end of the Moraine View State Park Trail. Looks magical!

thatcher-woods-at-haliten

Simply looking up is a magical experience in Thatcher Woods. Thanks for the photo @Haliten.

lincoln-home-at-mymidwesthome

The red autumn leaves look lovely at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield. Photo by @mymidwesthome.

sugar-maple-leaves-at-ldarling43

@ldarling43 took an awesome shot of the sugar maple leaves in Danville.

-Illinois Office of Tourism