Hello, and welcome to my next Travel Destination Guide: Amazing Travel Adventures – Illinois. Read on to explore Shawnee National Forest, Matthiessen State Park, Wabash Arts Corridor and so much more. Planning your next vacation or day trip get away to Illinois starts right here. Let’s travel Illinois style!
Shawnee National Forest – Illinois
Shawnee National Forest has over 289,000 acres to explore. This amazing travel adventure is located between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, in southern Illinois. Discover hills, lakes, wildlife and woodlands. Within the Forest you’ll discover The Garden of the Gods. This breathtaking wilderness area features ancient sandstone cliffs and formations. The history and beauty is something to see in person. Highly recommend. It is one of those pictures do not do it justice type of places. Shawnee National Forest offers camping, hiking, horseback riding and is an overall amazing day(s) trip get away. Permits are required year round. To learn more about hours, prices and permits click here.
Chicago Riverwalk – Illinois
The Chicago Riverwalk is over a mile long path located on the south bank of the Chicago River. The Riverwalk path takes you from Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive westward to Lake Street. It is a beautiful way to explore and soak in what is Chicago. Wanting to learn some history and hear Chi-town stories as you stroll, bike, boat or bus? Click here to start planning your next Riverwalk adventure.
The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum celebrates the Chicago River and its world-famous movable bridges. I think you know me by now, I LOVE bridges! And learning more about Chicago’s bridges is always at the top of my to do list.
Matthiessen State Park – Illionois
Deer Park started as a privately owned, by Frederick William Matthiessen, 176 acre plot of land located in Northwestern Illinois. Donated to the state of Illinois and renamed Matthiessen State Park it now covers over 1,900 acres. Original trails, bridges, stairways and dams created by workers hired by Frederick can be seen and experienced to this day. Canyons, forests and streams make this amazing travel adventure a great place to hike, mountain bike, picnic and more.
Click the link to start planning your Matthiessen State Park adventure.
Old Joliet Prison – Illinois
Originally built in 1858 Old Joliet Prison stayed in operation until 2002. Does it look a bit familiar to you? This prison held the infamous Joliet Jake in the movie The Blues Brothers. After the Prison was featured in The Blues Brothers movie it has made a number of appearances in films in television. Look for it in Prison Break, Derailed, Let’s Go to Prison, Empire and more. Click here to visit the prison’s gallery of fame to learn about Hollywood visiting Old Joliet Prison.
Self guided tours are available. As a visitor, you can walk at your own pace taking it all in. Signs with directions, historical information and photos are posted throughout the grounds to lead you throughout the grounds. General Admission tickets for the tour are $20.00. Prison After Dark tour tickets are $40. To learn more regarding Old Joliet Prison visit their website. Click here.
Wabash Arts Corridor – Illinois
I am a BIG fan of Street Art so, when a city dedicates blocks upon blocks to Street Art it tops my must go see list! Their website states: The Wabash Arts Corridor is Chicago’s living urban canvas located in the South Loop neighborhood. Founded by Columbia College Chicago in 2013, WAC has grown to be one of the most expansive, diverse and accessible public art programs in the country. This community driven project weaves the visual, performing and media arts into daily life, immersing residents and visitors into artist-reclaimed public spaces that transform the urban experience.
To learn more, visit the Wabash Arts Corridor’s Projects page or take a guided tour. The guided tour takes around 90 minutes to complete and costs $30 for public, non-members. Click here for tour dates and times.
Several pieces of art can be viewed from the sidewalk. Click here to see a map of the art on the corridor.That makes this amazing adventure FREE. That being said, if you decide to not purchase a tour ticket and follow the map on your own, please go to the WAC website and make a donation. The amount of time and creativeness put into creating the corridor needs to be acknowledged. Thank you for your donation!
Cloud Gate – Illinois
Cloud Gate, aka The Bean, is a public sculpture that was created by artist Anish Kapoor. The Bean is located in Millennium Park in Chicago’s downtown Loop. 33 feet high, 42 feet wide and 66 feet long it is one of the world’s largest outdoor are installations and kind of hard to miss.
Cloud Gate not only reflects the city’s famous skyline of skyscrapers and clouds but can help you plan your Chicago adventures. The Bean now has a new interactive AI powered tool. Yes, you can touch it. Beauty and brains sounds like a win, win!
The Bean’s reflective surface was inspired by liquid mercury. The suface is able to reflect the people moving within and around the park, the lights of Michigan Avenue, and the surrounding skyline and green space. It is the Millennium Park experience at its finest.
Click here to discover more amazing travel adventures the Loop has to offer.
Amazing Travel Adventures – Illinois
Thank you for joining me as we explored Amazing Travel Adventures – Illinois. This travel destination guide has all of the great things to see and do for your best vacation or get away. We discovered The Bean, Old Joliet Prison, Chicago Riverwalk and more. Did your favorite Illinois things to do make my list? If not, share it in the comments. I love discovering new treasures.
Looking for more Amazing Travel Adventures maybe a bit more tropical? Check out my blog post Amazing Travel Adventures – Hawaii to discover Volcanoes, Black Sand Beaches, Lava Trees and more.
Until next time,
Erin at WonderLesch
For daily adventures forllow my Instagram. Every adventure requires a first step.