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Illinois – Unusual Attractions & Day Trips

Illinois Off the Beaten Path

Whether it is big city sights or wide-open spaces, Illinois offers several off-the-beaten-path attractions, including little-known museums, picturesque parks, and famous landmarks.


The Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Bucktown, Wicker Park, and Uptown neighborhoods are known for their eclectic shops and restaurants. Sidewalk cafes give Logan Square a Parisian feel. Historical mansions line Jackson Boulevard, and transport visitors to a different time.

America’s first controlled nuclear energy release site is at the University of Chicago. The Money Museum, located in the Federal Reserve of Chicago, features an exhibit with three stacks of a million dollars in different bill denominations. In Little Italy, Taylor Street offers great ethnic cuisine. Pilsen/Little Village is home to the Mexican Art Museum and several decorative murals.

Suburban Sites

Oak Park is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Institute, as well as Ernest Hemingway’s childhood home.

The Bahai Temple in Wilmette is one of only seven in the world. Bartlett boasts the largest Hindu Temple in the United States.

Naperville has several shops, restaurants, and a riverwalk. Long Grove Village is a serene spot with specialty stores and eateries. The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is located in Evanston. Des Plaines is home to the first McDonald’s. And Niles has a Leaning Tower of Pisa replica.


Peoria is best known for its riverfront district. Arcola is home to the Raggedy Ann & Andy Museum and hippie memorial. Metropolis is dedicated to Superman. Odell is located on Route 66. And Monmouth boasts Wyatt Earp’s childhood home.


The Trail of Tears State Forest is a scenic hiking and camping spot. Wildlife Prairie Park is home to bison, waterfowl, black bear, elk, and more. Alton boasts a riverfront park on a limestone cliff.

Editor’s Note:  The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about off the beaten path attractions & day trips in Illinois.

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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