While there is plenty more to ILLINOIS than just the Windy City, much of the cultural and social identity of this state revolves around Chicago, the largest and most exciting city in the Great Lakes region. Perched in the state’s northeastern corner, on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago has a distinguished skyline, top-rated museums, restaurants, cafés and dozens of nightspots.

Illinois was first explored and settled by the French, though in 1763 the territory was sold to the English. Granted statehood in 1818, Illinois remained a distant frontier until the mid-1830s; only once the native Sauk were subjugated, after a series of uprisings, did settlers arrive in sizeable numbers. One early immigrant was young Abraham Lincoln, who practised law from 1837 onward in Springfield, now the state capital and home to a wide range of Lincolniana, including his monumental tomb.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail through America’s south

King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail through America’s south

This year marks 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and also the launch of a new Civil Rights Trail through the USA's south – a route…

10 Jan 2018 • Ella Buchan local_activity Special feature
An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in New York City

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in New York City

For dynamism, cultural impact and sheer diversity, New York City is hard to beat. The city is a global leader in art, architecture, music and food, and is cramm…

10 Jan 2018 • Stephen Keeling insert_drive_file Article
Why you should head to Minnesota and Wisconsin for winter thrills

Why you should head to Minnesota and Wisconsin for winter thrills

Though it may be tempting to escape to the sunshine this winter, there's a lot to be said for revelling in the snow and ice, too. And there’s plenty of beau…

27 Dec 2017 • Michelle Bhatia insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right