With a colorful mixture of cultural and art museums, outdoor adventures, wineries, the Windy City and one of America's most beloved baseball parks, Illinois appeals to travelers looking for a romantic retreat, a family outing or a weekend away with friends.
Starved Rock State Park
Located in centrally-based Utica, Starved Rock is one of Illinois best kept secrets. According to http://www.starvedrockstatepark.org, in 2009 just over two million visitors flocked to marvel at Starved Rock's splendid natural landscapes. Waterfalls, canyons, lush forests and trails are scattered throughout this 2,630-acre state park overlooking the Illinois River. Open all year, visitors can enjoy a weekend getaway in any season. In winter, enjoy the views from atop Eagle Cliff, Starved Rock or Lover's Leap. Spring hiking means waterfalls and canyons serving as the backdrop for green, scenic routes. In the fall, trails are lined with the reds, oranges and yellow foliage of autumn and make for memorable landscapes. The park offers lodging at the charming Starved Rock Inn, with rooms starting at $70 per night, or guests can reserve a room or cabin at Starved Rock Lodge where prices start at $80 per night.
The country's second-oldest baseball parks--behind Boston's Fenway Park--Wrigley Field is a weekend getaway that caters to both the sports fan and the casual visitor. Built in 1914, Wrigley Field will play host to the Chicago Cubs for their 95th season in 2010. Known as the "Friendly Confines," Wrigley Field is located in the residential neighborhood of Lakeview and is surrounded by bars, restaurants and souvenir shops affectionately named Wrigleyville. Wrigley is also known for its iconic ivy-covered brick outfield walls, added to the park in 1937. Visitors can make a weekend trip to Wrigley during the baseball season whether they have tickets to a game or not, as Wrigley offers daily tours of the ballpark on both game days and non-game days. Prices for tour tickets are $25 per person. Tickets for Chicago Cubs games range from $8 to $315. Hotels near Wrigley Field include the reasonably-priced City Suites and Best Western to the higher-end Old Chicago Inn, Sheffield House Hotel and Chateau Hotel.
Located directly north of Chicago, Evanston is the perfect suburban getaway. Home to Northwestern University's main campus, Evanston features shopping in a quaint, downtown setting. Small shops line the city's border with Chicago, while larger shopping districts converge along Central Street, Dempster Street and Chicago Avenue. Evanston is a quiet, rural getaway with easy access in and out of Chicago where travelers can take the subway or bus system to the city. Accommodations in Evanston range from the Best Western at $63 per night to the charming Margarita European Inn, a bed and breakfast just minutes from Northwestern with rooms starting at $79 per night. The Amalfi Hotel is located within walking distance of the Magnificent Mile shopping district and Chicago's north district while the River Hotel overlooks the Chicago River.
- Photo Credit chicago river at night image by Patrick Warneka from Fotolia.com A waterfall at Watkins Glen state park in New York. image by Michael Shake from Fotolia.com baseball stands image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com
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