Category Archives: Seasonal Fun – Winter

Home / Seasonal Fun - Winter
594 Posts
Cozy Spots Feature Image

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

2-1 Cozy Spot Kickoff Image - Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits - (at) chieners

This week, we kicked off our “cozy spots” challenge with this awesome photo of Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits in Chicago by @chieners!

Milltown coffee - (at) kjackson1991

How comfy does this photo of Milltown Coffee look from @kjackson1991? It fits our “cozy spot” theme perfectly!

Blue Bird Beat Cafe - (at) marissadta

Instagramer @marissadta captured this awesome photo at the Blue Bird Beat Café in Aurora!

Julius Meinl - (at) pdbminer

Great capture at the Julius Meinl in Chicago by @pdbminer! Nothing says cozy like a warm cup of coffee.

The Coffee Hub - (at) kjackson1991

Here’s another cozy photo from @kjackson1991 of The Coffee Hub in Lacon!

Saint Charles Last Year - (at) yoga.gal

Love this throwback photo of St. Charles during last year’s snow storm by @yoga.gal!

Soho House - (at) reed.schmidt

How cozy does Soho House in Chicago look? Thanks for sharing @reed.schmidt!

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Winter Adventure Feature Image

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

1-25 Springbrook Praire Forest

We kicked off this week’s “winter adventure” challenge with this gorgeous photo of Springbrook Prairie Forest by @dupageforest.

Blackwell Lake, Warrenville- (at) nicu2001

Shout out to @nicu2001 for capturing this fiery sunset at Blackwell Lake in Warrenville!

Country Lane Woods (at) genevievebook

We love this shot of a pup exploring icy Country Lane Woods by @genevievebook!

Fabyan Forest Preserve (at) jlishamer

How awesome this is this black and white shot of Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva by @jilshamer?

Following coyoyte tracks in Lake County(at) irishvikingdesigns

Instagramer @irishvikingdesigns went exploring in Lake County and captured this cool shot.

Lake Michigan (at) pretzelbuns

Stunning shot of icy Lake Michigan in Chicago from @pretzelbuns!

Oak Street Beach Sunrise (at) norafio

We can’t get enough of this sunset shot over Lake Michigan at Oak Street Beach in Chicago from @norafio!

Rock Cut State Park(at) hcotten13

Instagramer @hcotten13 had a winter adventure at Rock Cut State Park outside Rockford.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Winter Getaway in Shawnee NF  Feature Image

With more than 280,000 acres of diverse landscapes and 403 miles of hiking trails, the Shawnee National Forest is a perfect destination for a weekend away with friends or a romantic getaway with that special someone. In the cooler months, this must-see location offers adventure seekers and nature lovers a new, more intimate perspective of the beautiful, wintery outdoors of Southern Illinois.

From the rustic tree houses to stay in and the unparalleled outdoor adventures, here are the top attractions for a weekend getaway in the Shawnee National Forest:

Little Grand Canyon Trail
Take an exploratory hike for a break from the holiday frenzy. Feel the crunch of the crisp leaves beneath your feet as you travel along the 3.6-mile trail through rock walls, eroded sandstone canyons and craggy bluffs as you meander to the Little Grand Canyon itself. The Little Grand Canyon offers a 365-foot climb from the canyon floor and a panoramic view of the Big Muddy River and the Mississippi floodplain.

Instagramer (at) sarahdesign01 captured this amazing shot on a winter hike through the Little Grand Canyon Trail!

Instagramer (at) sarahdesign01 captured this amazing shot on a winter hike through the Little Grand Canyon Trail!

Garden of the Gods
No trip to Shawnee National Forest would be complete without a scenic hike to the Garden of Gods. With fewer leaves, the cooler months expose the dramatic rock formations and highlight the textured cliffs, offering a unique perspective of the forest. The breathtaking view from Garden of the Gods makes for the perfect destination for photographers and hikers.

Instagramer (at) theroadandandrew captured this amazing shot of the trees dusted in snow against the protruding bluffs.

Instagramer (at) theroadandandrew captured this amazing shot of the trees dusted in snow against the protruding bluffs.

Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour
Thrill seekers can elevate their weekend by soaring through the Shawnee National Forest on a Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour. Open Saturday and Sunday from December to March, you can experience the beauty of the wintery forest by zipping through its exposed bluffs and valleys.

Fly through the terrain of the Shawnee National Forest on a tour of eight zip lines and three aerial suspension bridges. (Photo courtesy of Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour)

Fly through the terrain of the Shawnee National Forest on a tour of eight zip lines and three aerial suspension bridges. (Photo courtesy of Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour)

Timber Ridge Outpost & Cabins
After a day of adventure, get cozy in an authentic log cabin or a unique treehouse nestled in the hills of the Shawnee National Forest. Surrounded by the beautiful woods, enjoy taking in the tranquility of being off the beaten path. Open year round and supplied with heat, there’s no reason not to enjoy the winter season outdoors.

This White Oak Treehouse was built from a 200+ year old White Oak and sits 20 feet in the air.

This White Oak Treehouse was built from a 200+ year old White Oak and sits 20 feet in the air.

For more trip inspiration, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Feature Image NYE

From family-friendly to unique, there are so many wonderful ways to ring in 2016 in Illinois. New Year’s Eve is a chance to take stock of the previous year with an eye towards all the possibilities ahead. Whether you prefer a quiet, intimate atmosphere or a blowout – you’ll find a special celebration in the Land of Lincoln.

First Night Springfield
An Illinois tradition, this year’s First Night Springfield is the city’s 29th Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration of the Arts, featuring more than 30 performances taking place on eight stages in downtown Springfield.

The array of musical acts pauses at 8 p.m. for a free fireworks gala. A staple of First Night, the fireworks display bursts over the Illinois State Capitol, wondrously illuminating downtown.

Zoo Year’s Eve at Brookfield Zoo
Rock out where the wild things are this New Year’s at Brookfield Zoo. A live DJ, games, party favors, prizes and an early countdown at 8:00 p.m. headline this family friendly affair.

No need to keep the little ones up late with the 8 p.m. countdown! (Photo credit: Brookfield Zoo)

No need to keep the little ones up late with the 8 p.m. countdown! (Photo credit: Brookfield Zoo)

Before the countdown, head over to the Hamill Family Play Zoo to make your own noisemaker. This event is free with a paid zoo admission, so don’t forget to check out some of the big cats, bears, dolphins, penguins, primates and more!

New Year’s at Pere Marquette Lodge
This year, jettison yourself to a rustic setting in the quiet riverfront town of Grafton at Pere Marquette Lodge. The Lodge’s New Year’s package has everything you and that special someone need to welcome 2016!

Show off your cocktail attire and indulge in a lavish dinner before dancing the night away with a band, champagne toast and plenty of party favors. At the end of the night, you’re just an elevator ride from the comfort of your cozy accommodations.

Chi-Town Rising
For the first time, Chicago’s riverfront will play host to a special New Year’s celebration complete with musical headliners, a grand fireworks display and culminate with a countdown to ring in 2016.

Make way for a new Chicago tradition at Chi-Town Rising this New Year’s!

Make way for a new Chicago tradition at Chi-Town Rising this New Year’s!

Chi-Town Rising’s central location means the party continues all weekend long with plenty of activities throughout the city!

Whatever your plans, have a safe and happy New Year in Illinois.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Feature Image holiday restaurants

The holidays are all about spending quality time with the family and forming cherished memories with loved ones. Those memories are often centered around filling up on amazing, decadent food. Here are five spots in the Land of Lincoln where you and your family can indulge during the holiday season.

 Cahill’s Family Pancake House

Voted the best breakfast in Vermilion County, Cahill’s offers a wide range of hot breakfasts, lunch sandwiches and a kids menu to please all diners. Pancakes and waffles are definitely the specialty, and the cinnamon rolls and biscuits and gravy are some of the staff’s favorites, but the “can’t miss” item at Cahill’s is their unique twist on “pigs in a blanket:” fluffy buttermilk pancakes wrapped around juicy sausage links.

Beningo’s

Great family traditions start at Beningo’s in Bloomington. The Beningo family has honored their Sicilian heritage in their Italian restaurant’s original location since 1972. This neighborhood favorite specializes in family style Italian dining, offering a variety of pasta, pizza, seafood, sandwiches and their famous lasagna. There is something for everyone here, and almost every dish incorporates their signature “sweet Sicilian” sauce, a family recipe.

Enjoy one of many cheesy, scrumptious pastas at Beningo’s with their signature Sicilian sauce.

Enjoy one of many cheesy, scrumptious pastas at Beningo’s with their signature Sicilian sauce.

Doc’s Soda Fountain

This Route 66 icon will satisfy your sweet tooth. Doc’s has been around since 1929, and they’ve never changed their old-fashioned method for creating refreshing flavored soda concoctions like cherry soda and root beer. If you’re feeling hungry, make sure to try their ice cream and comfort food as well. Visitors can also take a fascinating free museum tour about the building’s history as a pharmacy when it was first built in the 1880s.

90927.04

Don’t take a trip down Route 66 without stopping at Doc’s Soda Fountain for their uniquely made soda concoctions and other sweet treats.

Farren’s Pub & Eatery

Treat the family to a hardy meal at Farren’s, an underground brewpub in downtown Champaign. The burgers are legendary, and Farren’s has a large selection of craft beers to complement its delicious beef creations. There is a burger on the menu for everyone’s palette. There’s the Motherlode, with rich layers of sautéed mushrooms, blue cheese sauce and Swiss. There’s also the Fire Burger with jalapenos, red peppers and habanero cheese, or the milder Green Chile Cheeseburger.

Farren’s offers mouth-watering burgers in a unique underground setting tucked away within downtown Champaign. (Photo credit: Instagramer (at) lxspnay)

Farren’s offers mouth-watering burgers in a unique underground setting tucked away within downtown Champaign. (Photo credit: Instagramer (at) lxspnay)

The Homestead Bakery

Just in time for the holidays, this Amish bakery in Arthur sells made-from-scratch Christmas cut-out cookies for your family to give to Santa, or just enjoy for yourselves! Desserts like caramel cinnamon rolls and angel food cakes are also available in addition to the bakery’s fresh-baked breads.

The people at Homestead Bakery wake up before dawn to have their fresh breads and rolls ready for breakfast.

The people at Homestead Bakery wake up before dawn to have their fresh breads and rolls ready for breakfast.

For more information on delicious destinations in Illinois, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism