When you plan your itinerary, remember that Illinois is divided into six distinct regions that all offer a different flavor of the Midwest and are best explored by automobile. Southern Illinois is not short of parks, recreation and open spaces. The Shawnee National Forest, expanding between the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers, is a 270,000 acre wilderness wonderland, complete with rock climbing, horseback riding and observation towers. If you love wine, travel Illinois’ wine region in the south. The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail provides an excellent tour of five wineries that are easily accessible by car.
Central Illinois is a notable mix of fantastic stops that will certainly round out your travel to Illinois. It also happens to be where President Abraham Lincoln’s former home and the state’s capital is located. In Springfield, take a stop at Looking for Lincoln, a collection of houses, buildings and countryside where the 16th president actually spent time. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is also located in the heart of Springfield. You can also get your kicks in Central Illinois where the Historic Route 66 passes through the state. Along the way, stop at the Amish Interpretive Center for a glimpse into the life and history of the Old Order Amish community. The fun is certainly not over yet; convince the kids that Santa does exist by visiting Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch where real Alaskan reindeer roam the grounds!..read more »
The El an elevated train is the quickest and cheapest mode of transportation between O'Hare and Midway airports and the Loop downtown. Shuttle buses leave at regular intervals from both airports to major downtown hotels and there are lots of taxis waiting to whisk you into the city though they're expensive. All the major car rental companies have outposts at the airport as well as branches in the city.
The best way to get around Chicago is by foot. It's flat easy to navigate and the nicest way to get the flavor of the city. This is one of the few American cities you can fully enjoy without a car. When your feet need a break public transit is not bad by American standards. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is the public transportation system serving the city. It consists of the El and buses....read more »