Category Archives: Seasonal Fun – Spring

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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.

altovineyards

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 EnjoyIllinois.com.

— The Illinois Office of Tourism

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This week we asked our Instagram followers to share “vintage” photos – anything classic and unique in Illinois. Check out a few of our favorites below! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for more weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured next week!

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

rach.esq- chicken shop chicago

We love this photo of the Chicken Shop in Chicago by @rach.esq!

bridiener- old barn and retro car in rochelle

Vintage car and barn @bridiener found in Rochelle!

katrinarobinsn- Eureka

Great find by @katrinarobinsn in Eureka

selzermusic- Flour House Bakery & Coffee

Awesome shot by @selzermusic! Photo: Flour House Bakery & Coffee in Princeton

catkouz- Antique Mall in Elizabeth

Instagramer @catkouz shared this photo of the Antique Shop in Elizabeth!

-The Illinois Office of Tourism

Feature Image James Beard

For the first time in 25 years, the annual James Beard awards are coming to the Windy City on May 4. All eyes will be on Lyric Opera of Chicago as world-renowned chefs, restaurateurs, and celebrities converge for the ‘Oscars of Food.’

Many Chicago restaurants like Parachute have already been honored as finalists, including chefs Dana Cree of Blackbird and Tanya Baker of Boarding House. But what’s more, hosting the James Beard Awards is just another example of the excellent culinary scene in Chicago and Illinois.

While most of us may not be attending the awards (you can live stream the ceremony from the James Beard Foundation website), there’s no reason why we shouldn’t indulge in some delicious dishes, and what better way than with a foodie tour?

There are several tour operators that will tantalize your taste buds with excursions all over Chicago, including Tastebud Tours.

Lou Malnatis Pizza

A Tastebud Tour includes some quintessential Chicago cuisine: deep-dish pizza!

Reserving a tour gets you three hours of foodie bliss, tasting some of the quintessential Chicago cuisine like deep-dish pizza and Chicago dogs, as well as pillars of Chicago culinary history like Billy Goat Tavern and The Berghoff.

The Berghoff

The Berghoff is a classic Chicago restaurant and one of several stops on the Tastebud Tour.

You can also visit some of Chicago’s hidden-gem markets, like the French Market. Praised by Travel + Leisure and Zagat as one of America’s best food halls, the French Market brings together local artisans in an indoor space that makes it accessible year round. In the summer, Chicago is full of fresh farmer’s markets, like Green City Market, that are a must-visit for both top chefs and casual foodies.

Farmers Market

In the summer months, Farmer’s Markets are a central fixture in Chicago!

If you’re ready to go one step further and put your culinary knowledge to the test, Chicago has several culinary institutes catering to any level of expertise. Kendall College, based in Chicago’s downtown area, offers a variety of classes ideal for everything from a girls night out to becoming a grillmaster or a budding mixologist.

At the end of the day, whether you prefer exquisite Michelin-starred dining or some down-home cooking, almost everyone can agree with George Bernard Shaw, who said, “There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”

— The Illinois Office of Tourism

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What are your favorite ways to celebrate friendship? This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos that incorporate their friends. Check out a few of our favorites below! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for more weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured next week!

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

clear.sight- Art Institute Chi

Admiring artwork at the Art Institute of Chicago – Photo: @clear.sight

cshimala- US Steel's South Works

Exploring US Steel’s South Works – Photo: @cshimala

glynsweets- pizza east chicago

Enjoying a bite at Pizza East Chicago – Photo: @glynsweets

jayfowler1- Golf Center, Des Plains

Trying a new sport – Photo: @jayfowler1 at the Golf Center in Des Plains

macknielson- rooftop

Hanging out in new places – Photo: @macknielson

thee1ginger- Matthiessen State Park hiking

Hiking through beautiful landscapes – Photo: @thee1ginger at Matthiessen State Park

inezdelafuente- andersonville

Sharing a laugh in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood – Photo: @inezdelafuente

-The Illinois Office of Tourism

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This week we asked our Instagram followers to share their best “reflection” photos. Check out a few of our favorites below! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for more weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured next week!

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

fostatic- sunset

We love this beautiful photo by Instagramer @fostatic taken at the University of Illinois Arboretum!

alfonsonajera- 360 Chicago

Great shot by @alfonsonajera at 360 Chicago!

jmolawre- Naperville reflection

Instagramer @jmolawre took this great reflection shot in Naperville!

chippercentral- Chicago Bean

Cloud Gate in Chicago reflects nicely in Instagramer @chippercentral’s photo!

lakes77- clouds chicago building

Cool capture of the clouds reflected onto this Chicago building by @lakes77!

matt.andersen

Unique take on reflection by @matt.anderson! This photo was taken at the abandoned Wrigley Gum Factory.

-The Illinois Office of Tourism