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Dining in Champaign Feature Image

Eclectic restaurants, award-wining wine bars and handcrafted breweries shine in Champaign – a vibrant foodie town, home to the University of Illinois. We’ve assembled a list of five restaurants perfect for you and your sweetheart. What’s your favorite romantic restaurant in Illinois? Comment and share with us below!

Blind Pig Brewery

With its beautiful wood interior, casks full of local brews and friendly locals, Blind Pig Brewery is a great location for pairs looking for a relaxed and fun atmosphere. When the weather is nice, couples can venture outside and enjoy the large outdoor beer garden.

Blind Pig Brewery bethany_sexton

Blind Pig Brewery has a beautiful outdoor beer garden (Instagram photo: (at) bethany_sexton)

Pekara Bakery

A visit to Pekara Bakery and Bistro means good food, great coffee and easy conversation. From omelets, breakfast sandwiches, bagels, savory sandwiches, salads, crêpes and hearty soups, to sweet pastries, pies and cookies, there’s truly something for everyone.

Pekara Bakery

Pekara Bakery specializes in fresh, artisan breads

Alto Vineyards Tasting Room

Planning a romantic night out? Be sure to check out Alto Vineyards Tasting Room located near the University of Illinois. Couples can relax with a glass of Alto’s award-winning wine and taste local cheeses. With its picturesque outdoor seating and wine garden, a trip to Alto Vineyards Tasting Room makes for a unique spring date.


Try award-winning wines at Alto Vineyards Tasting Room in Champaign (Instagram photo: (at) altovineyards)

Farren’s Pub & Eatery

Farren’s Pub and Eatery is the perfect location for duos who like adventure, fun and, most importantly, great burgers. Farren’s burgers have received some serious recognition from both Champaign natives and nationally-known foodies. Finding this restaurant, which is located underground and tucked behind a building, is half the fun of dining there.

Big Grove Tavern

Big Grove Tavern is a great spot for a trendy date. This farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Champaign features seasonal comfort foods. Almost everything served at Big Grove Tavern is made from scratch, uses seasonal ingredients and is sourced locally whenever possible.

Big Grove Tavern

Enjoy a great first date over food and drinks at the trendy Big Grove Tavern

For more ideas about things to do in the Land of Lincoln, visit

— The Illinois Office of Tourism

Romantic Spots in GRC Feature Image

The Great River Road, which travels along the Mississippi River, has countless opportunities for couples to experience romantic moments. Bluff-top views, river sights, charming B&Bs and sprawling vineyards sprinkle the Illinois portion of the road on the western boarder of the state. We rounded up six spots along the Great River Road in Illinois that are the epitome of romance. Have other ideas that we didn’t include? Comment and share with us!

Take a wintery stroll through Galena’s historic Main Street. Click the photo for more information about bustling downtown Galena. (Photo by Instagramer (at) foundflavor)

Take a wintery stroll through Galena’s historic Main Street and enjoy the bustling nature of downtown Galena. (Photo by Instagramer (at) foundflavor)

Galena’s Main Street
There’s something nostalgic about the small town charm in winter. Visit Galena’s historic Main Street to shop the local boutiques, take a historic trolley tour of the snow-dusted town, and cozy up on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the town. Walk across the river to visit Grant Park, a great location for couples to take in the breathtaking views of the historic town. The park is home to a charming gazebo has been the site of many nuptials throughout the years!

Instagramer (at) squezdog captured this amazing shot of Bayview Bridge at sunset. Click the photo for more attractions to enjoy at Bicentennial Park.

Instagramer (at) squezdog captured this amazing shot of Bayview Bridge at sunset.

Bicentennial Park and Bayview Bridge
Bicentennial Park in Quincy is the place to see Bayview Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge over the Mississippi River. Snap photos with the bridge as the backdrop or relax on a park bench and look out at the moving waters.

Beall Mansion
Located just 12 blocks from the Mississippi River, the elegant bed and breakfast Beall Mansion features an in-room massage, spa treatments and a 24 hour chocolate buffet! This quaint B&B mansion is the perfect romantic getaway for two.

Share a warm slice of pie at this cozy sweet shop. Click the photo to see more activities in Alton. (Photo by Instagramer (at) kayris06)

Share a warm slice of pie at this cozy sweet shop. (Photo by Instagramer (at) kayris06)

My Just Desserts
My Just Desserts in Alton is a tasty place for couples to stop along the Great River Road. This cozy confectionery and restaurant is located in the historic Alton in a building that dates back to 1845. With up to 13 types of pie to choose from, you won’t want to miss out on this indulgence.

Piasa Winery
The charming Piasa Winery overlooks the Mississippi River and is home to delicious varietals from the Piasa vineyards. Its deck is a great spot to sip a sweet white or sparkling wine with your loved one while enjoying the region’s rolling landscape as the backdrop.

Luxury is not hard to come by at Irish Hallow as seen in the inn’s spa-like bathrooms. See more pictures of the accommodations by clicking the photo. (Photo by (at) aniababicz)

Enjoy the warm, relaxing atmosphere of The Inn at Irish Hollow. (Photo by (at) aniababicz)

The Inn at Irish Hollow
Sitting on 500 acres in the Galena countryside, The Inn at Irish Hollow is a truly magical destination for couples. Irish Hollow has five English countryside cottages perfect for two, complete with wood burning fireplaces, spa-quality bathrooms and plush furnishings.

For more information on romantic destinations in Illinois, visit

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Sweetest Day Rockford


Did you know Sweetest Day is on October 18? The holiday is a great excuse to take that romantic weekend trip you’ve both been dreaming about. To make planning easy, we have some easy ideas for a romantic visit to Rockford, located on the banks of the Rock River in Northwest Illinois. As the third largest city in Illinois, there is no shortage of things for couples to do.


Take your sweetheart apple picking at Curran’s Orchard

Curran’s Orchard

Spend an afternoon together enjoying the crisp fall weather at Curran’s Orchard. Curran’s offers more than a dozen varieties of pre-picked apples for purchase this season. A scenic hayride paired with award-winning apple cider is a great way to enjoy the sprawling orchard grounds. End your afternoon by sampling other delicious apple treats, like Curran’s homemade apple pies and doughnuts – both are delicious!


Jefferson Street Bridge in Downtown Rockford

Abreo Restaurant, Wine Bar & Patio

Plan a romantic dinner for two at Abreo Restaurant, Wine Bar & Patio, one of Rockford’s premiere restaurant and nightlife spots. The dinner menu offers a selection of seasonal items for fall, many of which are sourced from local farmers. While enjoying exquisite food and the company of your loved one, be sure to take in Abreo’s 1888 vintage architecture and unique atmosphere. Top off the night with a glass of wine on the patio garden or snuggled up in the wine bar.

Copperstone Inn

End your romantic trip at Copperstone Inn by experiencing the luxurious accommodations in this Greek revival style home. This grand majestic limestone home exudes an ambiance of total elegance, comfort, and sophistication. Enjoy 130 acres of pure romance with your loved one at Copperstone Inn.

 What other romantic destinations in Rockford do you recommend? Comment below to share with us!

-The Illinois Office of Tourism

Retreat Feature


Looking for a bed and breakfast retreat filled with New England charm without traveling to the East Coast? Sidwell and Friends Bed and Breakfast in Mt. Vernon, Illinois is a wonderful place for couples to getaway all year long. The B&B provides a restful retreat while offering plenty to do and see in the heart of Southern Illinois.

Built in the 1920s, the historic home has a classic colonial style with an elegant collection of fine furniture, artwork and books. The house has been remodeled and redecorated over the years, but manages to maintain the allure of the past with the amenities of today. With only four guest rooms, including a romance suite, Sidwell is the place for couples who want to spend a night away.

Sidwell’s living room is filled with antique furniture, artwork and books

Sidwell’s living room is filled with antique furniture, artwork and books

The town of Mt. Vernon is loaded with attractions that couples can enjoy together. Sidwell is within walking distance of Cedarhurst Center for the Arts & Mitchell Museum. Visitors can view contemporary art exhibitions, an outdoor gallery with sculptures and a children’s gallery. For nature lovers, nearby Rend Lake provides plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing, golfing swimming and water skiing. The 27-hole Rend Lake Golf course is also in close proximity, so couples will have no shortage of things to do!

The serene Rend Lake provides many opportunities for water activities as well as a championship golf course

The serene Rend Lake provides many opportunities for water activities as well as a championship golf course

Couples in the mood for a wine adventure can sample award-winning varietals at GenKota Winery. The Amish-built winery sits on a gorgeous hill overlooking two acres of a growing vineyard. GenKota’s covered wrap-around deck with swings encourages sitting and sipping the winery’s red, blush, white and fruit wines.

To find out more about Sidwell and Friends Bed and Breakfast and the Mt. Vernon area, check out

-The Illinois Office of Tourism

Log Cabin Feature

Charming Galena, Illinois is filled with stellar views, countless historic attractions, antique shops and award-winning wineries, but did you also know its home to amazing food destinations? Plan a trip to taste your way through Galena and sample everything from classic American cafés to hearty steakhouses and – of course – mouthwatering desserts!

Galena is home to incredible views, rich history and delicious cuisine

Breakfast at Otto’s Place Café and Lounge

For breakfast, dine at Otto’s Place Café and Lounge, located just across the river from Galena’s Main Street. The breakfast joint uses local ingredients to create fresh and ever-changing dishes. If you’re in the mood for a hearty start to your day, order the Biscuits and Gravy, made with Arnold’s Farm organic pork sausage. Otto’s Place also doubles as an art gallery featuring the work of local artists, so remember to peruse the art displays after dining.

Work off breakfast by strolling Galena’s Historic Main Street. The famous downtown area is home to the Galena History Museum, U.S. Grant Home and State Historic Site, and loads of shops.

Lunch at Durty Gurt’s Buger Joynt

For lunch, head to Durty Gurt’s Burger Joynt on Main Street. The eclectic and fun lunch spot is a great place to enjoy a homemade burger… with a twist. Take the Hawaii Five-O Burger for example: it’s a half pound patty on a toasted bun with grilled pineapple rings, melted cheddar and mozzarella, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, tomato, onion and southwest ranch. To sweeten the deal, all burgers come with your choice of homemade, seasoned or sweet potato fries.

Indulge in a juicy burger with a twist at Durty Gurt’s

Indulge in a juicy burger with a twist at Durty Gurt’s

Wash down lunch with a treat at American Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor, also on Main Street. The parlor still has its original 1846 cabinetry, which gives patrons an authentic old-fashioned experience. Indulge in one of the shop’s specialty desserts, floats, malts and shakes.

If you need a foodie break before dinner, hike or bike the Galena River Trail. Seven different routes make up the trail’s network, which follows the pristine Galena River. Take a break at the Davis Creek Bridge to take in the area’s beautiful scenery.

Dinner at Log Cabin Steakhouse

Cap off your foodie getaway in Galena with dinner at Log Cabin Steakhouse. This favorite destination for locals and tourists alike opened its doors in 1937. Since then, it has received national recognition as the place for mouthwatering beef and seafood dishes, and Log Cabin’s Prime Rib of Beef is no exception! The juicy slab of meat is slow cooked for five hours and served with a special Au Jus. Your stomach will thank you for ordering!

Log Cabin Steakhouse is located on Main Street in the heart of Galena

Log Cabin Steakhouse is located on Main Street in the heart of Galena

After wetting your palate in Galena, discover more Culinary Trip Ideas at

-The Illinois Office of Tourism