Category Archives: Seasonal Fun – Spring

Home / Seasonal Fun - Spring
631 Posts
Bike Trails Feature Image

As warmer temperatures roll in, so do bikers, eager to get their wheels back out and put in miles towards another season. Whether you’re an avid cyclist or just looking for a leisurely afternoon ride, there is always somewhere new to explore. Bike trails around the state offer experiences that range in difficulty, from the easy ride to the intense climb, there’s a trail for every rider. So what are you waiting for? Hop in the saddle and get going!

Rolling agricultural fields, reclaimed strip mines, ravines, rocky streams and wooded bluffs dominate the northern half of the Tunnel Hill State Trail in Vienna. With 47.8 miles (one-way) of crushed gravel surface, extended inclines and dark tunnels, this trail is a difficult one. But if you’re up to the challenge, don’t pass up this Southern Illinois gem.

Tunnel Hill State Trail 1

Tunnel Hill State Trail

The southern half of the trail explodes with scenery that includes bottomland woods, ponds, streams and marshes. The trail, which winds through seven towns, even touches upon a handful of ghost towns that faded into the landscape after the trains here stopped running.

Tunnel Hill State Trail 2

Tunnel Hill State Trail

 

And in the opposite direction of Tunnel Hill, head up north to the Fox River Trail in St. Charles, 32 miles of biking, hiking and, in the winter, cross-country skiing featuring the scenic trails of the Fox River. Make this ride as easy or difficult as you like. There are plenty of spots to pull over and enjoy the scenery or snap a selfie, like the Carpenters Dam, Fox River Shores, Tyler Creek, Voyageur Landing, Shoemaker Nature Center and Fabyan Forest Preserve.

Fox River Bike Trail

The Fox River Trail in St. Charles

 

In Chicago, one the most popular outdoor spots is The 606, celebrating its first birthday this summer. This 2.7-mile rails-to-trails path is one of the newest additions to the city’s green space with gardens and parks lining the trail. Enjoy a more leisurely ride along this path, and in the warmer weather, expect to see lots of dogs, children and people enjoying the trail and various summer events.

The 606 - Courtesy of The Trust for Public Land

The 606 in Chicago (Photo credit: The Trust for Public Land)

 

Along the western edge of the state, cyclists nationally and internationally ride the 62.5 mile stretch the Great River Trail that runs from the Illinois Quad Cities to Savanna, Illinois. This trail isn’t just for the biking enthusiast. The whole trail system measures 10 feet in width to allow bikers and walkers plenty of passing room.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ben Butterworth Parkway

 

From panoramic river views and wooded trails, to prairie areas, backwaters and marsh areas, riders will also enjoy the scenic view and unique towns that call the banks of the Mississippi River their home.

These trails are also part of the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), a 10-state network of bike trails and bike-friendly roads that lines the Mississippi River from its headwaters in Minnesota all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.

– 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

 

Black and White Feature Image

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos that surround the theme “black and white.” 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 riverwalk - (at) tbtru2me Great River Road - (at) moll_kell Chicago Botanic Garden - (at) chi50mm Mississippi River Water Trail - (at) teddybeaubear West Dundee - (at) artistviejo Chicago Cubs - (at) movieman773 Volkening Heritage Farm - (at) volkeningheritagefarm Deerpath Park - Vernon Hills - (at) jasondanielphotography Thompson Center - (at) delia.seeberg Duncan Manor - (at) court_arbez St James Farm Forest Preserve - (at) meaghan_nelson Findlay - (at) sauk_it_to_me Salvage One - (at) sir_joe98 Galena - (at) outaherefast Mt St. Mary Park - St Charles - (at) yoga.gal Chicago - (at) professorbebo Old Towne Pub - (at) stufotog

Farmers Market Feature Image

Summer is just around the corner, and that means farmers market season. All over the state, markets filled with locally sourced fruits, veggies, meats, pastries, cut flowers, artisan-made goods and more are opening their doors – or should we say tents? – for the season. We’ve rounded up four of the best in the state here:

Green City Market, Chicago

As one of Chicago’s top farmers markets, don’t be surprised if you see some of the city’s premier local chefs buying ingredients for their weekly menu at Green City Market. The outdoor market is open in Lincoln Park every Wednesday and Saturday from May through October offering a wide selection of local produce, flowers, meat, seafood, breads, pastries and more. Check out Green City Market’s website for information on live demonstrations from local chefs and ready-to-eat food vendors at the market. Open 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays May 7 –October 29.

131008_cherriesyellow-cherriesred-blueberries-157

Photo credit: Green City Market

Market at the Square, Urbana

Looking for something outside the ordinary? Look no further than Urbana’s Market at the Square. As one of the largest and most diverse markets in the state, this unique farmers market has 170 vendors featuring arts and crafts, beer and wine, flowers, and locally-grown produce stemming from the richest farmland in the country. This Market also extends well beyond fresh produce – it offers entertainment from local musicians, kids activities with Sprouts at the Market, food trucks with doughnuts and fried egg sandwiches, and much more. Open 7 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturdays May 7-November 5.

Market Entrance

Photo credit: Visit Champaign

Old Capitol Farmers Market, Springfield

The Old Capitol Farmers Market can be found in the heart of downtown Springfield. You’ll find local farm and artisan vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods and cheeses, flowers, and more. The market is just steps from the Old State Capitol historic site and other sites like the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Lincoln Home and Dana-Thomas House – a Frank Lloyd Wright design! Open 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays May 13-October 31

IMG_1116ai

Photo credit: Visit Springfield

Rockford City Market, Rockford

Rockford City Market features local growers and vendors who sell natural products and unique retail items, live music, demonstrations and kids’ activities. The market is officially up and running as of May 20 and will be open through September. Open 3:30-8:30 p.m. Fridays May 20-September 2 and 3:30-7:30 p.m. Fridays September 9-30.

download

Photo credit: Rockford City Market

Looking for more farm fresh ideas? It’s not just these markets that offer the freshest produce and local flavors. Illinois is home to a variety of farm-to-table dining experiences that you can enjoy this summer. Check out more on Travel Illinois online.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Bloom Feature Image

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos that surround the theme “bloom.” 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.

Cantigny Park - (at) ninababina77

To kick off our “bloom” challenge this week, we shared this beautiful photo taken in Cantigny Park by @ninababina77.

Geneva - (at) chrisburrichter

We can’t stop looking at the photos of #flowersonfargo. Loving all of them! (Photo by @chrisburrichter)

Cantigny Park in Wheaton - (at) chitown_vinnyd

Awesome photo taken at Cantigny Park in Wheaton by @chitown_vinnyd!

Chicago Botanic Garden - (at) c.kopeckyck1

We always love to see pictures of the beautiful flowers from the Chicago Botanic Garden! (Photo by @c.kopeckyck1)

Downers Grove - (at) eastgrovestampco

Loving the spring colors in Downers Grove! Awesome photo @eastgrovestampco!

Flowers on Fargo - (at) mollyko

Great capture by @mollyko in Geneva! Check out other photos from #flowersonfargo by searching the hashtag on Instagram.

Harms Woods - (at) marathonpundit

Great close up shot by @marathonpundit in Harms Woods!

Lake Forest - (at) katiegoingplaces

Daffodils are one of the classic spring flowers. Thanks for sharing this photo taken in Lake Forest @katiegoingplaces!

Legion Park - (at) i0nagirl

Instagramer @i0nagirl captured this colorful shot in Legion Park.

Long Grove - (at) igrex50

Nothing like a field of vibrant tulips to kick off spring! Thanks for sharing @igrex50.

Michigan Avenue - (at) stylemeetlife

You can find these purple and yellow tulips lining Michigan Avenue in Chicago! (Photo by @stylemeetlife)

St Charles - (at) michelefairall

How gorgeous is the light streaming through the blossoms on this tree? Thanks for sharing this shot from St. Charles @michelefairall!

University of Illinois - Champaign - (at) ilovekumihimo

Love the colors of these flowers taken at the University of Illinois by @ilovekumihimo!

-Illinois Office of Tourism