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Things to Do in Illinois - page 3

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Prairie Avenue Historic District

The Prairie Avenue Historic District is a Chicago South Side historic district that was once one of the city’s most prestigious neighborhoods. From 1872 – 1904, following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the area became known as “Millionaire’s Row”, with mansions owned by the likes of Philip Armour, Marshall Field, and George Pullman.

Prairie Avenue Historic District first became known as the site of the Battle of Fort Dearborn in 1812. It housed a cottonwood tree that stood on the site as a memorial marker, later replaced with a bronze statue, and was recognized as Chicago’s first landmark. In the 1900’s, due to the growth of downtown and the spread of noise and pollution in the Near South Side, the district fell out of favor. By 1915, residences began to be replaced by industry. And, by 1944, only 11 residences remained. The Prairie Avenue Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1979.

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LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Chicago
2 Tours and Activities

With over three million LEGOs, two indoor rides and a workshop hosted by a real master model builder, LEGOLAND Discover Center Chicago is a child’s dream. Visitors can wander through impressive displays that include intricate Star Wars models and a MINILAND Chicago and learn top tips from expert builders. Families with kids between the ages of three and twelve will find plenty of places to build their own creations, a 4D cinema with LEGO-themed movies and a couple of rides that provide endless entertainment for the younger set.

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Medieval Times Chicago
1 Tour and Activity

Experience entertainment fit for a king at Medieval Times in Chicago. The huge stone towers of the Schaumberg Castle house a rousing dinner and action-packed show that attracts travelers to the Windy City for a ringside seat at the tournament. Guests enjoy a full medieval-style feast (vegetarian options available) — no utensils allowed! While devouring the four-course meal, visitors can cheer and leer for their favorite armored knights throughout the show and its jousting tournament, horsemanship and falconry. Adult beverages are available for purchase from the full bar before, during or after the show, and travelers can also pop by the castle for a night of chivalry, sustenance and libations.

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Lake Michigan
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1 Tour and Activity
Chicago sits on the shores of Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes, which stretches from western Michigan, 118 miles across, to the shores of Illinois and Wisconsin in the west and Indiana in the south. The lake borders the city of Chicago, and within the city limits there are 26 miles of shoreline, 15 beachfront areas and several marinas housing thousands of boats. In fact, Chicago operates the nation’s largest municipal harbor system, making it easy to get out on the water by boat. There’s even an 18-mile park, the Chicago Lakefront Bike Path where locals and visitors walk, bike and run along the shoreline. In warmer months, it’s possible to kayak or canoe on Lake Michigan, with boat rentals available right downtown. More passive passengers can opt for a sail or a ride on a traditional schooner, or go for the luxury experience with a lunch, brunch, dinner or sunset cruise on an elegant multilevel ship with indoor and outdoor space and seating for up to 600 people.
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Chicago Botanic Garden
2 Tours and Activities

Looking for a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city? Head north to the Chicago Botanic Garden and spend the day taking in the colorful beauty of the natural world. Opened in 1972, the Garden is one of the most visited public gardens in the United States. Covering 385 acres, it includes 24 display gardens and four natural areas spread out across nine islands surrounded by lakes. Visitors can stroll through themed areas such as the Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, and English Walled Garden. Bird-watching enthusiasts will be in heaven with 225 different species of birds flying around the grounds and wildlife lovers can keep an eye out for deer, foxes, coyotes and beavers.

For those wanting a quick overview of the Garden, 35-minute tram tours whisk you around the grounds while describing all of the highlights. Photography buffs might consider joining one of the free photography tours offered the first Saturday of each month.

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More Things to Do in Illinois

Volo Auto Museum

Volo Auto Museum

1 Tour and Activity
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Pizzeria Uno

Pizzeria Uno

Nothing says Chicago like deep dish pizza, and Pizzeria Uno may be the birthplace of it all. The original deep dish pizza is said to have been created by Pizzeria Uno some 70 years ago, a pizza style that went on to become a collective icon of food for an entire nation, nay the world.

In 1943, just before the end of World War II, Ike Sewell opened his cornerstone pizza business with a crust as thick as a pie’s and just as buttery. An instant sensation, Sewell continued progressive pizza innovations with a thick marinara sauce, and thus, a legend was born. Today, Pizzeria Uno has over 140 locations all over the world – each serving what is now known as the signature Chicago deep dish pizza. Delicious and piping hot, if you’re in Chicago you can’t miss this iconic American meal.

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