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Revision as of 07:08, 26 June 2008
Illinois  is a state in the Midwest of the United States of America.
- Springfield, the capital of Illinois
- Alton, near the southern tip of Illinois
- Bloomington-Normal, home of Illinois State University
- Carbondale, home of Southern Illinois University
- Champaign-Urbana, home of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Chicago, the largest city in the Midwest, and other cities in the Chicagoland area
- Galena, charming historical town
- Joliet, with casinos, a speedway and the state's most infamous prison
- Peoria, the classic Midwestern "Everytown"
- Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail - Between May 1804 and September 1806, 32 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery.
Illinois is a mostly flat plains state, with the majority being farmland except for the south, which is hilly and forested. Most of Illinois is sparsely populated except for the northeast corner where Chicago is.
English is the dominant language in the state of Illinois. Spanish is also widely spoken in the Chicago Metropolitan area by its large Hispanic population. Outside of Chicago, Spanish is rarely spoken and not well understood. Polish is also spoken within Chicago.
Illinois is accessed through interstates 90 & 94 through Wisconsin, 80 through Iowa, 55, 57, and 70 through Missouri, 24 through Kentucky, and 70, 74, and 80 through Indiana
Amtrak lines run through all bordering states one way or another to Chicago.
Chicago has two major airports, O'Hare and Midway. Midway is smaller and closer to the downtown. There are many other airports with regional service in the state, including in Springfield, Rockford, Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, and in St. Louis, across the river from Illinois.
Car travel is best for the majority of the state, easily accessed by interstates. Numerous highways closer to Chicago are tollways, but the rest of the highways are free.
In the Loop, Chicago's commercial district with bustling elevated train tracks and great architecture:
- Sears Tower - one of the tallest buildings in the world, it has an observation deck on the 103rd floor
- Grant Park for musical performances and Millennium Park for summer fun
- The Art Institute of Chicago - one of the finest art museums in the world
In the Near North:
- John Hancock Center A bit shorter, but with a better observation deck
- The Magnificent Mile Put simply, shoppers' paradise.
- Navy Pier Entertainment center with many attractions including the Chicago Children's Museum, mini golf, ferris wheel, botanic gardens, and boat cruises
In the Near South, including the Museum Campus:
- The Field Museum The premier natural history museum in the Midwest, with one of the best preserved T-Rex skeletons on display
- The Adler Planetarium The first planetarium in North America
- The Shedd Aquarium Great lakefront aquarium
On the South Chicago Shore:
- Museum of Science and Industry The best science museum in the Midwest, with hundreds of exhibits including a German submarine, high speed 1930s train, Boeing 727 jet, and an immense train set.
- The University of Chicago The premier institution of learning in the Midwest
- Springfield - The state capital has the capitol building, and probably the best attractions are Abraham Lincoln's tomb, home, and new presidential library
Chicago has many specialties, the most famous of which would have to be its hot dogs and its deep dish pizza.
Areas of Illinois away from Lake Michigan — e.g., places other than Chicago — have a high occurrence of tornadoes. You might want to check the Tornado safety page if you are visiting Illinois. In March of 2006, Springfield was hit with a tornado and the city was apparently affected in every area. East St. Louis is one of the worst crime cities in the country and has little touristic interest except for the casino riverboat. Chicago is generally safe except for certain neighborhoods that are generally along the South and West sides.