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Indoor Activities for Adults Feature Image

Spring is finally here, which means April showers are on the way. But what should you do on those rainy spring days? We have just the thing. We’ve got a great list of fun activities to keep in mind while the weather is still warming up.

Hit the Mall

While the Magnificent Mile remains the most widely known retail mecca of the Midwest, there are plenty of other shopping locations in Illinois for you to find the retail therapy – and new spring wardrobe – you’ve been searching for. Find even more shopping experiences around the state in the new exclusive digital content from Travel Illinois Magazine, linked here.

  • With more than 200 manufacturer and retail outlet stores offering up to 70 percent off, serious shoppers can’t go wrong at Gurnee Mills. Located in Gurnee, this shopping center even has activities for the non-shopper to enjoy, like laser tag, arcade games and a movie theatre.
  • And, not to be outdone, the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg boasts nearly 300 stores, restaurants and specialty shops – all under one roof.
  • Chicago is also home to multiple indoor shopping centers that can help protect you from the elements, including the 900 North Michigan Shops that offer a taste of luxury and the famous Water Tower Place, which presents shoppers with a unique, high-energy urban shopping experience like no other.
Grand Court facing Nordstrom

Even window shopping can be fun at Woodfield Mall’s multi-level shopping center located just west of Chicago.

Take in a Show

No matter what you’re in the mood for, Illinois has no shortage of entertainment opportunities. Here are a few tips that we recommend for finding that perfect way to unwind with a laugh, a little music or both.  

  • For laughs, there’s no place like the world famous Second City in Chicago. With shows each night of the week ranging from improve to stand up to full productions, the Second City has a 50 year reputation for producing comedy stars like Dan Aykroyd and Tina Fey.
  • Experience the blues like you’ve never heard them before at Blue Chicago. Located close to Ontario Street’s restaurant row, this blues club is the perfect way to spice up a night out.
  • Treat yourself to the Broadway experience at one of Chicago’s many fabulous theatres. Home to the hottest shows direct from Broadway and world premieres, these venues are sure to create lasting memories.
Bank of America Theatre

The lush Bank of American Theatre is classic venue to see the latest and greatest on Broadway.

Indoor Sports

Shake off that winter snooze with some adventure. Illinois is home to all kinds of exciting indoor adventures that can send you to new heights. Embrace your inner child with one of these three fun activities:

  • Feel the simulation of true free fall conditions in a vertical wind tunnel at iFLY in Naperville, Chicago or Rosemont (then suit up for the real thing this summer).
  • Strap in for a unique challenge that combines basketball, lacrosse and hockey with bumper cars at WhirlyBall Chicago. If it sounds silly, that’s because it is.
  • Take it down a notch and lace up for a classic game of bowling or bocce at Pinstripes in Chicago or one of the three suburban locations.

For more ideas, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Indoor Activities for Kids Feature Image

With kids, we understand that there is no such thing as a “lazy day” while waiting for the weather to warm up. Check out this list of kid-friendly indoor activities!

American Girl Place

Shop, play and let your imagination run wild at the American Girl Place on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Stop by the Doll Hair Salon where American Girl dolls receive stylish new hairdos and a bit of pampering. Or, indulge in the Truly Me Signature Studio and customize a doll outfit or a personal backpack to take home. Complete your day with brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner at the American Girl Café, where there is always a special seat for your child’s American Girl doll.

LEGO Store

Just a short walk from American Girl Place, the LEGO store features a “Pick-A-Brick Wall”, where you can hand pick and purchase specific LEGO bricks to add to your family’s collection. If that isn’t cool enough, an interactive play area called the “Living Room” gives visitors a chance to get hands-on with the LEGO products with new, creative building scenarios each month.

LEGO store

The LEGO Store in Water Tower Place can entertain all with its LEGO pieces, buildings and games.

Indoor Water Parks

Outdoor water parks may not have opened yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in water park fun just yet. Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort and Enchanted Forest in Utica is the ultimate family getaway that is a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure. Enjoy its 24,000 square foot indoor waterpark complete with slides, a lazy river, kiddie pool, wave pool, and even a spa that is located near Starved Rock National Park for a scenic view.

And don’t forget to visit KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort in Gurnee! The water park features a wave pool, whirlpools, body and tube slides, and waterfalls that will entertain adults and children alike. Had enough water for the day? KeyLime Cove also has 10,000 square feet of entertainment including the RipTide Reef Arcade, Pinki’s Pet Palace, and The Enchanted Lagoon Kids Spa.

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KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort boasts family fun with its various entertainment options.

DuPage Children’s Museum

Illinois is home to multiple children’s museums, and one of our favorites is the DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville. Whoever said that rainy days couldn’t be productive? This unique, hands-on museum offers an early educational experience where kids can learn and play in its multiple exhibits that promote skill development in math, science and art.

For more ideas, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism


 

Train  Feature

Traveling in Illinois doesn’t have to mean hopping in a car and hitting the road. Riding the rails with one of Chicago and Illinois’ various train operators makes a trip in the Land of Lincoln easy and accessible. Metra and Amtrak are great options for taking a trip to Chicago’s surrounding suburbs or extending your journey to cities across the state.

Exploring the Chicago Suburbs with Metra

Metra makes it easy to get out of the city and explore neighboring communities

Metra makes it easy to get out of the city and explore neighboring communities

The Chicago area is filled with unique restaurants, great shopping and exciting attractions for travelers to discover.  With 241 Metra stations, it’s easy to plan a short trip or weekend getaway to the nearby cities outside Chicago.

Take a day trip to Rosemont, Illinois from downtown Chicago to experience the bustling Fashion Outlets, offering more than 130 designer stores as well as dining and entertainment. Hop on the North Central Service (NCS) from downtown Chicago’s Union Station and in just 30 minutes you’ll be there.

Explore more than 130 designer stores at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago (Photo Credit: Cody Hudson)

Explore more than 130 designer stores at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago
(Photo Credit: Cody Hudson)

Who doesn’t love an outdoor concert in the summer? Plan your journey to the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois. This short trip from Chicago offers a variety of outdoor musical performances all summer long. Take the Union Pacific North Line (UP-N) from Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago to the Ravinia Park Station, and in less than an hour you can kick back with family and friends and enjoy live music and dining.

Nothing beats sharing live, outdoor music with family and friends (Photo Credit: Ravinia Festival)

Nothing beats sharing live, outdoor music with family and friends
(Photo Credit: Ravinia Festival)

Expand Your Horizons Aboard Amtrak

This map showcases all the convenient Amtrak routes in Illinois

This map showcases all the convenient Amtrak routes in Illinois

With 35 train stations around the state, Amtrak gives travelers a chance to see all that Illinois has to offer while taking in the beautiful scenery along the way. In just a few hours, you can go from the bustling Windy City to one of the hundreds of cities around Illinois.

Take a weekend trip to Effingham and experience all that the city has to offer. Stop by the Tuscan Hills Winery for a tour and tasting of Illinois wine, and for a true farm-to-table meal, visit the nationally recognized Firefly Grill.

Experience the freshest ingredients and one of a kind meal at Firefly Grill

Experience the freshest ingredients and one of a kind meal at Firefly Grill

If you’re looking for a family-friendly outdoor vacation, Effingham has plenty of trails and parks for you to check out. Plan a trip to the TREC Recreation Trails to enjoy the beautiful scenery and outdoor recreational activities like running, hiking, biking and roller blading.

Enjoy an active, outdoor vacation at the TREC Recreation Trails

Enjoy an active, outdoor vacation at the TREC Recreation Trails
(Photo Credit: Effingham CVB)

For more weekend getaways only a train ride away, check out EnjoyIllinois.com!

– Illinois Office of Tourism

After spending a fall day shopping in downtown Galena, you are sure to crave some of the warm, Italian comfort food Fried Green Tomatoes serves. With a menu full of rustic favorites that of course includes a fried green tomato appetizer, Fried Green Tomatoes is a must-stop spot in Illinois’ Great Rivers Country region.

Housed in one of Galena’s historic buildings, the inviting atmosphere sets the scene for a romantic dinner for two or a night out with friends. The restaurant boasts an award-winning wine list recognized by Wine Spectator. What’s more, you can sample any of the house pours for only $2 a glass every Tuesday night.

An award-winning wine list provides perfect pairing options for any item on the menu (Photo credit: Mark Segal)

An award-winning wine list provides perfect pairing options for any item on the menu (Photo credit: Mark Segal)

This local favorite takes pride in their attention to detail on every plate and unwavering customer service. Fried Green Tomatoes was awarded Trip Advisor’s 2013 Certificate of Excellence for consistent outstanding traveler reviews. This prestigious honor is only given to the top 10 percent of businesses listed on the world’s largest travel site.

Visitors and locals alike flock to Main Street in Downtown Galena every fall (Photo credit: Michael Seroni)

Visitors and locals alike flock to Main Street in Downtown Galena every fall (Photo credit: Michael Seroni)

While the restaurant only serves dinner, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy during the day in downtown Galena. Take the General Grant walking tour to explore the historic highlights of Main Street guided by one of Galena’s most notable citizens, General Ulysses S. Grant.

— The Illinois Office of Tourism

Galena Main Street

No matter the season, we all need a vacation every now and then. What better way to relax and unwind than with a weekend getaway to a town filled with historic charm, picturesque rolling hills and the “Best Main Street in the Midwest?”

Galena’s historic Main Street looks much like it did during the time of the Civil War, although the historic red brick buildings that line the street are now home to nearly 100 charming boutiques, art galleries, museums and restaurants.

A view of Galena’s historic Main Street (Photo credit: Robert Keeling)

A view of Galena’s historic Main Street (Photo credit: Robert Keeling)

Whether you’re in the mood to shop for treasures, visit some of the eclectic art galleries, sit back and relax while tasting wine from around the region or try delicious cuisine at one of Galena’s family-owned and operated restaurants, a visit to Galena’s Main Street makes for a terrific weekend getaway.

You can enjoy all that the historic street has to offer with a tour around town by Galena Trolley Tours, a night at Miss Kitty’s Grape Escape for a cocktail, gourmet appetizers and live music, or a nighttime ghost tour with Amelia’s Galena Ghost Tours, Inc.

Eager shoppers cruising Main Street

Eager shoppers cruising Main Street

Galena’s Main Street is also home to many cozy hotels and quaint bed and breakfasts, like the DeSoto House, the oldest operating hotel in Illinois, dating back to 1855. If you’re up for some adventure, take a walk, jog or bike ride on the six-mile Galena River Trail.

Come find out for yourself why Midwest Living magazine named Galena’s Main Street the “Best Main Street in the Midwest,” and don’t miss your chance to vote for this fabulous destination as the 8th Wonder of the World by VirtualTourist.com. Click here to vote now through September 30.

— The Illinois Office of Tourism