Information and Tourism

Illinois flagLocated at the heart of the US, Illinois has a little bit of everything that's American. It has industrial cities and tall buildings, including the 110-story Willis Tower in Chicago. It is also covered by vast expanse of rolling plains, including the 'Corn Belt', which gives Illinois its nickname as the Prairie State.

If you are trying to navigate around Illinois, it makes things easier if you remember that the state can be divided into two parts. In the north, there's Chicago, which is the state's largest city and sprawls over an ever-widening area. The rest of the state comes, rather casually, under the banner of 'Downstate Illinois'.

Chicago's reputation as the birthplace of high-rise construction dates back to the 1880s, when what's seen as the first steel-framed skyscraper rose above the cityscape. Today, there are over 1,000 high rises in the city, a figure beaten only by New York.

Illinois also helped to play a major part in the development of nuclear power and fast food. In 1942, the first sustained nuclear chain reaction was set into motion at Chicago Pile-1 at the University of Chicago. Much of the energy used in Illinois continues to be generated using nuclear power. In 1960, the first McDonald's franchise was opened in the city of Des Plaines. In both cases, the rest, as they say, is history.

Of interest, the state's most famous son is Ronald Reagan, who was born in the tiny village of Tampico, Illinois, and served as US president from 1981 to 1989.

Illinois Information and Fast Facts

World Guide to Chicago, IL, USA
Chicago is one of the most important cities in America and is a top tourist destination. With many interesting attractions, historic landmarks, entertainment, sports, beaches and parks, Chicago is located next to Lake Michigan.
World Guide to Springfield, IL, USA
A relatively unassuming city, Springfield has been the state capital of Illinois since the 1830s and celebrates its famous former resident, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site is quite the draw.

Map of Illinois

Illinois IL State Map