Category Archives: Seasonal Fun – Summer

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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

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

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.


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

Feature Image

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos of how they beat the heat 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

Crown Fountain launch post- (at)delia.seeberg+

We kicked off this week’s challenge with this awesome photo of the Crown Fountain in Chicago by (at) delia.seeberg!

--Chicago River (at)katexplores+

What a great way to spend a hot summer day on the Chicago River! Thanks for the awesome photo (at) katexplores!

(at) aaron.coston+

Summertime was made for fishing! Thanks for sharing this gorgeous photo with us (at) aaron.coston

Chicago (at)betsybtizzle+

There’s always a breeze when you zoom along the Lakefront Trail! Thanks     (at) betsybtizzle for this great shot!

(at) ourlittlelifestyleblog+

This photo brings back great memories of summer vacation! Thanks for the great shot (at) ourlittlelifestyleblog!

Crab Orchard Lake (at) pfeiffman+

What better way to beat the heat than canoeing on Crab Orchard Lake! Thanks for sharing this awesome shot with us (at) pfeiffman!

Faban Wind Mill (at) lynette.diener+

This photo of Faban Wind Mill is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing with us (at) lynette.diener!

--Forest Way Grove (at) nwmyers+

This photo screams of summer! How fun is a day at Forest Way Grove? Photo by (at) nwmyers

Illinois state beach park (at) blakeswifelisa+

A bike ride along the lake? Sign us up! Thanks (at) blakeswifelisa for this shot at Illinois State Beach Park!

--Lake Michigan (at) smooth_jb+

Wishing we could spend every day on a boat. Thanks for sharing this awesome photo of Lake Michigan (at) smooth_jb!

Little Grassy Lake (at)nomadicvisuals+

Look at that sunset! What better way to end this week’s challenge than this gorgeous photo of Little Grassy Lake? Thanks to (at) nomadicvisuals for sharing with us.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Illinois Pets Feature Image

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos that featured their pets at Illinois attractions. 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

5.29.16 - Matthiessen State Park (at) elayeyouareaye

We thought this photo at Matthiessen State Park by @elayeyyouareye was the perfect way to kick off this week’s “pets” challenge!

Grand Red Line (at) dogsdochicago

How cool is this picture? Rambo the dog is hanging out on the Red Line platform in Chicago! Thanks @dogsdochicago for sharing with us.

Starved Rock State Park (at) sauk_it_to_me

Ok, you lead the way! Thanks @sauk_it_to_me for this awesome shot at Starved Rock State Park! We hope you had fun exploring.

Isle a la Cache (at) animatedann

What better way to spend a beautiful day outside than with man’s best friend? Thanks @animatedann for this great shot!

Altovineyard champaign (at) altovineyardschampaign

We can’t forget about our feline friends! This shot from @Altovineyardchampaign is purrfect for this week’s challenge.

Northwestern University (at) shirleygirly5

This fuzzy pup is leading the way across Northwestern University’s campus! Thanks @shirleygirl5 for sharing.

Navy Pier Ferris Wheel (at) theecrazydoglady

We can’t wait to ride the new Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier and neither can they! (Photo: @theecrazydoglady)

Soldier Field (at) dogsdochicago

How cute is this picture? Well-deserved reward for an awesome pet! (Photo: @dogsdochicago)

-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


– Illinois Office of Tourism