Best Illinois Attraction (2017)


While Chicago dominates the state of Illinois with its big skyscrapers and even bigger cultural punch, there's more to the Prairie State than just the Windy City. World Heritage Sites, cypress swamps and famous homesteads number among the state's many worthwhile attractions.

  • American Writers Museum

    American Writers Museum

    This newly opened museum is already earning rave reviews. A celebration of the American writer, the museum features a timeline of literary history in the United States, interactive kiosks where visitors can search for author who've lived or worked near them and an interactive space where visitors can write their own stories using pen and paper, old-fashioned typewriters or digital media.
    Photo courtesy of AFP/Getty Images

  • The Morton Arboretum

    The Morton Arboretum

    This sprawling 1,700-acre garden protects and displays trees and other woody plants from around the globe. More than 16 miles of trails lead visitors to highlights like a Maze Garden and Children's Garden.
    Photo courtesy of The Morton Arboretum

  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

    Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

    Interactive exhibits, historical artifacts and audiovisual displays tell the story of Abraham Lincoln's life and presidency at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. Highlights include a full-scale reproduction of the White House and Ford's Theater.
    Photo courtesy of Adam Alexander, Courtesy of the Illinois Office of Tourism

  • Driehaus Museum

    Driehaus Museum

    The Gilded Age mansion of banker Samuel Mayo Nickerson is now one of Chicago's grandest 19th century buildings. The painstakingly restored interiors now house galleries adorned with original furnishings and pieces from the Driehaus Collection of Fine and Decorative Arts.
    Photo courtesy of Driehaus Museum

  • Cantigny Park

    Cantigny Park

    There's something for everyone on the grounds of Cantigny Park in Wheaton. Situated on the 500-acre estate of former Chicago Tribune publisher Robert McCormick, the park includes a military history museum, formal gardens, walking trails, picnic grounds, a public golf course and a 35-room Beaux-Arts–style mansion.
    Photo courtesy of april / Flickr

  • Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

    Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
    Oak Park

    At the age of 22, Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built his first home and proceeded to remodel it over the next two decades. Small group tours take visitors through the interior to hear stories of the Wright family and see artifacts from the architect's life.
    Photo courtesy of iv toran / Flickr

  • Cahokia Mounds

    Cahokia Mounds

    Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site represents the remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico (and the only ancient city North of the Rio Grande). In AD 1250, the city of Cahokia was larger than London. Modern-day visitors can see the collection of 65 earthen mounds, including the huge Monk's Mound, while learning about the Mississippian culture.
    Photo courtesy of Illinois Office of Tourism

  • Main Street

    Main Street

    The mid-19th century brick storefronts lining Main Street in Galena, Illinois house local restaurants, eclectic boutiques, antique shops, art galleries and old fashioned chocolate shops. Visitors can hop on a trolley car on Main Street for tasting tours of area wineries or compete in a trivia quiz night at the historic DeSoto House Hotel.
    Photo courtesy of Illinois Office of Tourism

  • Art Institute of Chicago

    Art Institute of Chicago

    A highlight of any trip to the Windy City, the Art Institute of Chicago maintains one of the most extensive art collections in the world. Entertaining exhibits and galleries include the Throne Miniature Room and the Elizabeth Morse Touch Gallery, where visitors are encouraged to interact with the art pieces.
    Photo courtesy of City of Chicago

  • Chicago Riverwalk

    Chicago Riverwalk

    The beauty of the Chicago River is on full display along the city's Riverwalk. Visitors can ply the waters in a kayak, bike along the banks or even go fishing. There's al fresco dining along the water, as well as live local music and art exhibitions during the warm weather season.
    Photo courtesy of Ranvestel Photographic

We asked a panel of Illinois travel writers to nominate their favorite state attractions, and for the past four weeks, our readers have been voting for their favorites. The results are in!

The top 10 winners in the category Best Illinois Attraction are as follows:

  1. American Writers Museum - Chicago
  2. The Morton Arboretum - Lisle
  3. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum - Springfield
  4. Driehaus Museum - Chicago
  5. Cantigny Park - Wheaton
  6. Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio - Oak Park
  7. Cahokia Mounds - Collinsville
  8. Main Street - Galena
  9. Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago
  10. Chicago Riverwalk - Chicago

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. ExpertsKit Bernardi (, Rosalind Cummings-Yeates and Nina Hahn were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in Illinois.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions.

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AlertThe Experts

Kit Bernardi

Kit Bernardi

Kit Bernardi

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn