Top 10 Most Beautiful Colleges in the United States

When picking a university one should go for a good mixture of setting and study. Consider the layout of the buildings and the aesthetic of the quad.

When picking a university one should go for a good mixture of setting and study. Consider the layout of the buildings and the aesthetic of the quad. Can yourself studying here for the next four years? Do you want to go somewhere with ornamented footpaths? Or architecture that will make your heart melt? It’s important to consider these things and to know where to find them so we’ve completed a list just of the 10 most beautiful colleges in the country.

10. Pepperdine University in California
You wouldn’t be alone if you confused this Malibu campus for indulgent resort on the coast. This specific campus was built in 1972 so students could catch a glimpse of the layered landscape that meets the Pacific Ocean on their way to class. Definitely a place to consider applying.

9. University of Hawaii at M?noa
What’s not to love about a college in Hawaii? Hawaii is easily one of the most beautiful states in the country so it should be no surprise that it is home to one of the most beautiful colleges as well. The statue university in M?noa stands out for it’s beachside campus and its views of nearby volcanoes (something you won’t see at any other college in the states).

8. University of Chicago in Illinois
There are many lovable colleges in the prairie state, but none stood out as much as the University of Chicago. In Hyde Park rests this architectural salute to the Gothic era. This stand out university even played home to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

7. Tulane University in Louisiana
This college offers a beautiful mix of palm trees and evergreens. At Tulane you will get an unwavering New Orleans vibe which makes it a college worth considering.

6. College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts
This university is in one of the smallest states in the United States but it is one of the most vied for. Massachusetts is home to some of the most beautiful colleges around like Harvard and Williams. But it’s the College of Holy Cross that stands out above the rest. This breathtaking campus is suspended on a hill overlooking Worcester and is known as one of the best landscaped schools in the country.

5. St. John’s Santa Fe in New Mexico
This Southwestern campus is a satellite campus of Maryland’s St John’s College. It resides near the base of Monte Luna and serves up students a mountain view that is unmatched.

4. Kenyon College in Ohio
Ohio is known for it’s small liberal arts schools. But Kenyon is known for being beautiful. Regal masonry populates the dorms and administration buildings next to a sprawling rural setting at this university.

3. Lewis & Clark in Oregon
This university is named for the famous explores that cross the country on foot, Lewis and Clark. It resides in a quaint Portland neighborhood that encases it with plunging hills and Douglas Firs.

2. Southern Methodist University in Texas
The splendid entrance of Southern Methodist University is lined with greenery and trees. It offers visitors a hint of what’s inside without giving away what lies ahead–fresh cut lawns, stone buildings, and Wes Anderson-like symmetry.

1. Colgate University in New York
There are so many universities in New York that it’s hard to decide which exemplifies the state the most. From the buzzing and urban Columbia University to the sprawling landscapes of Cornell, it offers a bit of everything. But Colgate offers a bit more than all the rest with it’s rustic look. The campus rests in the middle of untouched forests, hill, and lakes.

Top 10 Places to Stay for an Overnight Trip to Charleston, SC

Charleston, South Carolina is a beautiful city and has some famous lovely, traditional sights like Planters Inn, Mills House, and Belmond Charleston Place.

Charleston, South Carolina is a beautiful city and has some famous lovely, traditional sights like Planters Inn, Mills House, and Belmond Charleston Place. Lots of the area’s majestic historic homes are now converted and modernized B&Bs. And there are even several private rentals that are jewels for a short-term visit. Let’s review some of our suggestions for your next visit to the area.

10. The Inn at Middleton Place
Close enough to the city and far enough to feel like the country, you’ll be surrounded by towering pine and oak trees, and they will be your view through the big glass windows. Nearby Middleton Place, the oldest landscaped garden in America, offers camellias blooming in the winter, sheep, and swans. And in the Ashley River below, lazy alligators will be peeking out with curiosity. And if that doesn’t float your boat, you can enjoy biking, kayaking, and swimming. The day starts with a complimentary breakfast and ends with a wine reception, an inviting fire, and dinner at Middleton Place Restaurant.

9. John Rutledge House Inn
This home was built by a signer of the U.S. Constitution in 1763. Today it has 19 rooms, 12-foot ceilings, Italian fireplaces, canopy beds and the original wood flooring. Even though parts of our Constitution were drafted in the walls, the same walls now welcome you to beautiful ironwork, whirlpools, nightly chocolates, and Tempur-Pedic mattresses. You can also enjoy breakfast in the elegance of the ballroom or on the more private patio.

8. Planters Inn
Can you get an image of Tara or Twelve Oaks mansions in your head? Well, those southern images will come to life here at the entrance to the city’s historic market. Complete with impressive four poster beds, lofty ceilings, Italian marble bathrooms, the best linens, and period reproductions from Baker Furniture Company, you will be sleeping in a mini museum of 1844. This is also home to one of the best restaurants in town, the Peninsula Grill.

7. Renaissance Charleston Historic District
If you request an upper level suite, you will enjoy the splendid views from your balcony. And if that isn’t enough, the rooftop pool is another alternative. If you don’t get enough exercise spending money and shopping on King Street, find the onsite fitness center for a workout. Chef Robert Carter will serve you an excellent dinner at the Barony Tavern, hosted by the hotel and there is also tasty food, and live jazz minutes away.

6. The Governors House Inn
Previously owned by one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and a South Carolina governor, this 18th-century Georgian beauty is just breathtaking. Hidden behind a garden fence line, you can hit the veranda for a sit down in a wicker chair, where you will be between the lovely historic residential area and shopping, food and galleries. Hint: there is free sherry in a decanter atop a silver platter in the parlor. With soaring ceilings, overhead and hardwood floors at your feet, your room may even have a frilly canopy bed for an evening of romance.

5. The Restoration
Just opened in 2010, Southern charm meets urban edgy at The Restoration. Additional renovations were just completed in 2016 when they added a spa, library, rooftop terrace, bar, pool and incredible views of the harbor and historic downtown. But, not to worry, there is still original wood floors and walls of exposed brick for some old-world charm. The rooms have iPads, breakfasts are made to order just for you, and you will think you’re living in a super deluxe apartment rather than a hotel.

4. The Spectator Hotel
Spectate on this, friends, your very own personal butler who will cater to your every desire. Well, most desires anyway! LOL, a 1920s building with a gilded lift, mirrored ceilings and hand painted wallpaper just south of the city’s historic market area. The sunshine will bounce off the marble vanity and awaken you in your bed with a velvet headboard, and some rooms offer a private patio, how romantic is that? Other rooms offer views of the market, the French Quarter or St. Philip’s church steeple. And the end of a fabulous day will be waiting for you in the book-lined lounge, with your favorite beverage at the bar.

3. The Vendue
Picture this: an 18th-century warehouse, marble halls, original wood beams, historic Charleston brick, cutting edge art, daily gallery tours, dining in the drawing room amid painters painting or musicians making music and a dinner prepared by Chef Jon Cropf. What do you have? The Vendue. Come see us!

2. Wentworth Mansion
This mansion was originally constructed by a cotton baron and it exceeds the city’s zoning height limits because it existed well before the ordinance was adopted. So, what? You can enjoy the most spectacular views from the rooftop cupola, that’s what! Marble bathrooms, Tiffany stained glass windows, and bedrooms fit for royalty, a complimentary breakfast on the porch and an evening glass of sherry and hors d’oeuvres by the parlor fire are a few of the things you will fall in love with when you book a room here. Oh, did we mention the carriage house turned restaurant is one of the finest city venues? It is! We may never leave the grounds!

1. Zero George Street
This location is a number of historic buildings now joined by well-manicured landscaped courtyards, which is just a hint of the luxury remaining to be discovered. Chef Vinson Petrillo not only heads the staff and the fabulous food served here, but he also offers private or group cooking classes. Each night you can enjoy wine and cheese in the piazza and each morning a cup of coffee from the Nespresso in the comfort of your room.

Top 10 Best Hikes in America

There’s nothing like a long hike through America’s most beautiful national parks, and with so many to choose from, it may be hard to settle on one.

There’s nothing like a long hike through America’s most beautiful national parks, and with so many to choose from, it may be hard to settle on one. We’ve compiled a thorough list of what we think are the top 10 hiking trails in the United States based not only their popularity, but on how much of a pure hiking spot they are.

10. Prospect Park, Brooklyn NY

Head to Prospect Park in Brooklyn if you’d like to partake in a bunch of different activities — everything from hiking to tennis to bird-watching. There’s also miles of roadways and paths, including a running lane along Park Drive that stretches for more than 3 miles.

9. Shenandoah National Park, VA

Virginia’s most notable park is just 75 miles from the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. It is spread over 200,000 acres of protected lands, which is home to deer, birds, and even bears. It also features 500 miles of hiking trails, including a 101-mile stretch of the famous Appalachian Trail.

8. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN & NC

The towering mountains in this park essentially serves as the state line between Tennessee and North Carolina. It is well known for its animal life and awesome hiking trails, with a “Hike the Smokes” challenge that rewards hikers who have explored at least 100 miles of the park with a special mileage pin.

7. Central Park, NY

The crown jewel of Manhattan is Central Park, and more than just being an oasis in the hustle and bustle of the city, it’s a great place to hike. Harlett Nature Sanctuary near Wollman Rink is a particularly great place to do your hiking, as it was just reopened in May of 2016.

6. Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

The Grand Canyon is arguably America’s most iconic park, and it’s also an excellent place to go hiking. There are all sorts of trails running through the park, some for beginners and others should only be attempted by experienced hikers with plenty of gear. You don’t have to hike far to get a spectacular view.

5. Glacier National Park, MT

Montana’s Glacier National Park serves as headwaters for streams that eventually make their way to the Pacific Ocean, as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Hudson’s Bay, so it’s quite an important source of water in America. It has several trails for hiking, ranging from easy to very difficult around Many Glacier. It has many cool critters too, like the pygmy shrew or the majestic elk, and a variety of birds and reptiles.

4. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

The Grand Canyon may get all the attention when it comes to canyons, but Bryce Canyon in Utah is pretty underrated as a hiking spot. The canyon looks very different from its bigger cousin, with “hoodoos” — bizarre pillars of rocks that are the result of erosion — offering a spectacular site along the trail.

3. Multnomah Falls, OR

Mulnomah Falls is one of the lesser known spots on this list, but it is no less spectacular. Its waterfall is more than 600 feet high, and you can reach it after hiking for just 5 to 10 minutes. Of course, it’s not unknown to locals, so you’ll need to get to the falls early if you want to get there without a whole bunch of crowds.

2. Zion National Park, UT

Utah’s first national park is famous for its beautiful sandstone cliffs, natural stone arches, and, of course, lots of hiking trails for every experience level. It’s best to head out at sunrise in order to catch the park in all its glory, and the Upper Emerald Pool trail is not to be missed.

1. Yosemite National Park, CA

There’s probably no matching the pristine natural beauty of Yosemite, and to us, there’s no better place to hike in the United States. Its trails will keep you busy, with one trail that is a 16-mile round trip. However, that trail is for experienced hikers due in large part to the high elevation, and the fact that it takes up to 12 hours to complete.

Places in the U.S. to Try Bug-Based Delicacies

Insect eats aren’t just for intrepid world travelers; some of the best can be found right here in the States.

Insect eats aren’t just for intrepid world travelers; some of the best (think Oaxacan grasshoppers, sashimi-grade water bugs and even delicate ant-powder desserts) can be found right here in the States.

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium – New Orleans

Don Bugito – San Francisco

Don Bugito – San Francisco

Linger – Denver

Caracol – Houston

Nue – Seattle

Oyamel – Washington, D.C.

Poquitos – Seattle

Talavera – Miami

Toloache – New York City

Taqueria Feliz – Philadelphia

Top 5 Best Places to Visit in Lower Greenville, Texas

Northeast Dallas and Lower Greenville haven’t always been known for being a classy area. But it’s filled with quaint residential streets filled with craftsmen homes.

Northeast Dallas and Lower Greenville haven’t always been known for being a classy area. But it’s filled with quaint residential streets filled with craftsmen homes. Today, the area has become known for being a stop for different restaurants, cocktail bars, retail stores, minus the big box experience. With a very laid-back vibe, it is home to young, up and comers in cooking, yoga and the arts. So, we did our investigation to find some of the top spots for you to visit.

5. The Blind Butcher
Executive Chef, Oliver Sitrin, who makes most all the restaurants meats via a hand crank, and ferments veggies for pickles, potato chips and mustard are just a few of his specialties. Spider steaks, fried pig ears alongside an orange aioli or a watermelon or butter leaf salad are the perfect companions to his beef and pork dishes. His most famous dessert is served in a hollowed-out bone, and the marrow is cooked into his luscious chocolate cake.

4. Dude, Sweet Chocolate
Pastry Chef, Katherine Clapner is a native Texan but has worked all over the world including London and Venice. She is known for her unique touches like adding vinegar, curry or Romano cheese to her sweet dishes. Another unique quality is chickpeas, tobacco, or porcini mushrooms in her dark chocolate dishes. Her candy shop is a bit less flowery than most as she displays her goods as works of art. What she loves most about Lower Greenville is its pedestrian nature where neighbors pop in to sample the latest treats or pick up a unique gift.

3. Truck Yard
No, it’s not a yard full of vehicles, it’s a beer garden, although it is in a former auto parts store and salvage yard. It’s the whole neighborhood personified and filled with laid back customers and neighbors. Wear your flip flops in and grab one of 12 beers on top, some local picks by Deep Ellum Brewery and Bishop Cider Company are available. There’s live music, picnic tables, lawn chairs, food trucks and old tires to rest your weary feet. This is down home at its best!

2. Bullzerk
Owned by a former graphic designer, Dan Bradley prints unique T-shirts, some of which you can buy right off the press since 2015. But tees aren’t the only thing you can buy here, baby onesies, and posters too. One of the things Dan loves about his home is the small neighborhoods that support small businesses, and you can catch your neighbors out at the gym, coffee shop or walking.

1. Good Records
Native San Antonian, Chris Penn has been a music lover all his life and has been a Lower Greenville resident for the last ten years. This shop, Good Records has become a local hangout for most of its 16 years of business. He sells albums, CDs and has been known to host in-store concerts, parties, and DJ sets. If you spot a gem, don’t delay, Chris plans to move his merchandise fast, and it’s priced accordingly.

Top 10 Things to Do In Portland, Oregon

There is so much to do in this majestic city in the Pacific Northwest! Here you can take in the local coffee culture, ride bikes, wear flannel all day long and so much more.

There is so much to do in this majestic city in the Pacific Northwest! Here you can take in the local coffee culture, ride bikes, wear flannel all day long and so much more. If you’re planning a trip to the “The City That Works” read this list to get an idea of what you shouldn’t miss.

1. Living Room Theatre

Are you a film buff? A lover of indie movies? Or maybe you just want to find a place to hide away for the night? Check out this local movie theater. Grab a local microbrew and watch your favorite artsy film in your own personal reclining chair here. It’s just like your own living room!

2. Powell’s Books

In downtown Portland you can check out rare and small press books at Powell’s, the city’s largest bookstore. It has its own coffee shop and tons of corners and nooks to hideaway and read in. It’s a must see for any book lover.

3. Portland Trailblazers

Portland isn’t just hipsters, coffee, and art. This city is also home to renown NBA team that makes Oregon proud. See the Trailblazers at the Moda Center, formerly know as the Rose Garden.

4. Portland Saturday Market

This popup market takes places every Saturday in Ankeny Square. Here you’ll find local knick knacks, hand crafted accessories, candles and whatever else you can dream of. Portland is slogan is “Keep Portland Weird” so you can only imagine what kinds of random bobbles and local flare you’ll find here.

5. International Rose Test Garden

There are over 500 varieties of Roses here! You can check out the garden at your own pace, so you can stop and smell the roses OR you can go on a guided tour that takes place 1 p.m. daily. It’s your choice.

6. Food Carts

Portland is known for its many food carts. On all sidewalks and street corners you are likely to find one serving up things Thai, Mediterranean, Japanese treats. Stroll through the city and sample them as you go. There’s nothing they don’t serve.

7. Red and Black Café

If you love coffee, you won’t want to miss this collectively run coffeehouse. It’s flooded by hipsters with MacBook’s fighting the power and living up to the many anti-establishment placards that paper the café. Portland is a liberal city, so you’ll find many coffee shops like this, but Red and Black Café stands above all the rest and their coffee is to die for.

8. Washington Park

High above the city is a forest covered by pine trees. This forest is known as Washington Park. Within this park are the Rose Gardens, Japanese Gardens, and literally thousands of rose bushes. Pebbled pathways guide you through the park and to the various landscapes within it. In here you’ll also find the city’s zoo and an arboretum.

9. Hawthorne

If cities had hipster districts, this would be Portland’s. Strolling through this trendy neighborhood you’ll oddballs with handlebar mustaches drinking slow drip coffee and riding fixed gear bicycles. You won’t want to miss this unique neighborhood. Go here to gawk or partake. In Portland all is accepted and encouraged.

10. Mount Hood

This is the lone Mountain that looms over the city, watching it in the distance. If you’re in this city for adventure, this is where you’ll find it. Navigate is rocky trails cover pine trees on a day hike or ski down it’s slopes depending on the weather. Either way be sure to check it out near sunset so you can get a view of the city that can’t be beat!

Top 10 Sights to See While Driving

If you love driving and want to be part of the most beautiful and iconic strips of highway in the nation, this one is for you!

If you love driving and want to be part of the most beautiful and iconic strips of highway in the nation, this one is for you!

10.  Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia to North Carolina

Almost 500 miles of scenic forests and meadows atop the Appalachian Mountains from the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains. The parkway is a leisurely cruise rather than a roller coaster, except for the Linn Cove Viaduct, which skims the treetops winding its way around the road’s highest peak.

9.  Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana

A breathtaking 50-mile trip intended to draw us to the beauty of our national parks, this drive will take you to the Glacier National Park that lies between two alpine lakes of dark blue color. It closes in winter due to the snowy weather that can reach 80 feet deep. Be sure to stop at Logan Pass, a 6,646-high wild mountain goat herd home in wildflower meadows.

8.  Hill Country Highways, Texas

Nearly in the center of the Lone Star state, Hill Country offers deep canyons and fast flowing rivers. In Utopia, a tranquil hamlet, you will find a chain of winding roads that give you the full flavor of the countryside. Highways 335, 336 and 337 are a roller coaster ride by rocky jutted walls. Heads up adrenaline junkies!  Be sure to stop at the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum just outside of Vanderpool and dine at the famous Ace Café.

7.  Columbia River Scenic Highway, Oregon

This road is concrete proof that we can improve on Mother Nature, sometimes. Designed and constructed in the early days of the automobile, the route winds past a chain of beautiful waterfalls while taking in the best sights of the Columbia Gorge, just east of Portland. 700 feet over the Columbia River, be sure to visit Vista House, a rest stop and tribute to the Oregon Trail pioneers.

6.  Kancamagus National Scenic Byway, New Hampshire

New England offers several great driving trips, but you can’t miss “The Kanc.” It runs on Route 112 for about 25 miles between Lincoln and Conway and is the best autumn color drive in the United States.  Pass under covered bridges, remote farmhouses, and miles of hardwood and evergreen forest. And it’s totally commerce free. For a short 15-minute sachet, plan a picnic by the cascades just south of the highway.

5.  Bayou Cruise, Louisiana

The flat lands of the lower Mississippi River just west of New Orleans are known for quiet country lanes winding past lazy bayous filled with dangling Spanish moss. Majestic oaks and cypress trees, gators and herons hanging out in the swampy lagoons, may catch your eye. Take Highway 31 to enjoy the Breaux Bridge and get your Cajun on at the crawfish capital of the world. If you pass through on Saturday morning, the Café des Amis offers music.

4.  Route 66, Illinois to California

Yes, it’s the ever-famous Route 66, but this 2,000-mile cruise has justifiably become woven into the American fabric. For pure driving pleasure, the best stretch must be the mountains that run west from the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River, climbing their way from a desert flatland and twister moves through the old Black Mountain gold mines. When you hit Kingman, Arizona, check out the small museum, Cool Spring Station, a restored rest stop.

3.  Great River Road, Minnesota to Louisiana

Small-town charm along “Ole Man,” Mississippi River is what you will find here, but you will also find the rocky “Driftless Region” on the road’s northern stretches. It’s an area that wasn’t flattened by the Ice Age glaciers so that you can zip along steep canyons in Iowa, roller coaster hills in Dubuque all the way to the Prehistoric Effigy Mounds. The best small town along the way is Galena, Illinois, stop by for a visit, please!

2.  Highway 12, Utah

Nestled between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Park, Highway 12 was a four-wheel drive challenge until 1985, when pavement finally found its way to Boulder Mountain.  Harsh iron-tinged rust of sedimentary sandstone cliffs is softened by a forest of dark green junipers. Hell’s Backbone Grill has its own organic farm so don’t miss that tasty stop.

1.  Tioga Pass Scenic Byway, California

Crazy vertical drops, the high country at Yosemite National Park and tufa sculptures on the shores of Mono Lake will be waiting for you as you head east on Highway 120. At the bottom of the pass, a little ole gas station, Whoa Nellie Deli, is nationally known for its fish tacos, yummy steaks, pizzas and Angus beef burgers. Don’t blink; you might fly right by this treasure.

Top 10 Things to Do In San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful places on Earth with painted cityscapes, rolling hills, and parks that are to die for. It’s hard to even see it as a city with the organic feel of its streets and places.

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful places on Earth with painted cityscapes, rolling hills, and parks that are to die for. It’s hard to even see it as a city with the organic feel of its streets and places. When traveling to this urban paradise there is no shortage of things to do. From the the art galleries to the out door markets, this hilly city buzzes with high energy excitement. It’s tough to not become overwhelmed with the pure drive of it.

Since there are so many things to do in this city by the bay, we’ve made a list of 10 things that you have to do when you get there.

1. Golden Gate Bridge

This is the first stop any visitor should make when in San Francisco. Take in a bike tour and ride across the bridge all the way to Sausalito and sit at the dock of the bay. If you really want to make it worth it, take the ferry back and see the notorious Alcatraz Prison.

2. Ocean Beach

Drive up the 101 highway on the western coast of San Francisco to get to this awesome beach. The sand stretches out to the breezy Pacific Ocean where you can get surfers in wetsuits catching gnarly waves. We don’t recommend going in the water though, the temperature is almost freezing!

3. The Ferry Building Farmer’s Market

Be sure to check out San Francisco’s luscious harvest and flowers at this must see local stop. It takes place at Ferry Plaza on Saturday mornings and you won’t want to miss it. Bring some friends and an empty stomach to enjoy all the free samples of cheese and organic vegetables.

4. Dolores Park

This is the mother of all parks in San Francisco. Here you’ll find San Franciscans and tourists alike taking in the warm sun and having picnics. There are vendors that stroll through the park and a playground in the center for kids the play. Check it out after a long day of trekking the city’s long hills and take a rest.

5. Golden Gate Park

This is a historical landmark that stretches over 1000 acres. That’s a large chunk of this tiny city! It’s full of hidden places and things to find. It’s covered in trees and gardens and is a wonderful place to take a stroll. Be sure to check out the bison paddocks to see urban buffalo strolling alongside you.

6. Castro Theatre

Check out this historical theater in the fantastic Castro District. In a two-tiered historical building, this theater features a live organ player and shows rare films regularly. Take in a sing a long or a double feature at this legendary theater.

7. Alcatraz Island

The home of the notorious Alcatraz Prison. The island is a picture of its former self. It’s basically remained unchanged since the early 70s and is a must see for any visitor to the Bay Area. Take one of the world-famous prison tours and get a look inside the prison. Make a reservation early because spots fill up quickly. If you’re feeling extra brave, make one at night!

8. Maritime Park

Check out the waters of Black Point Cove. They’re right by Fisherman’s Wharf and worth a visit. The park is dedicated to the maritime history of the city. You can see authentic chips and an aquatic bathhouse. If you’re interested in maritime history you’re going to love maritime park!

9. The Palace Hotel

This historical hotel has been standing since 1875. Go ahead and see it’s majestic chandeliers and glass domes. It’s what royalty looks like!

10. Foggy Bridge Winery

After a long day of exploring the majestic city by the bay stop in and enjoy a glass of local wine. San Francisco is known for it’s vino and you won’t want to miss out!

9 Awesome Activities in Illinois

Illinois became our 21st state in 1818 and is also known as the “Land of Lincoln.” Chicago is the capital and largest city in the state.

Illinois became our 21st state in 1818 and is also known as the “Land of Lincoln.” Chicago is the capital and largest city in the state. Here you will find both big city and small-town characteristics, as well as they nine fantastic activities.

9. Walk Through the Garden of the Gods, Herod
Also known as “Little Egypt” this is a lovely place to hike. Filled with natural rock formations inside Shawnee National Forest. The observation trail offers forestry, sandstone pillars, and scenic bluffs. You can stay at Timber Ridge Outpost, four acres of beauty and a hot tub will be waiting for you after your hike.

8. Don’t Just Travel, Time Travel, Springfield
You see plenty of license plates as you drive down iconic Route 66 to see Lincoln’s adopted home, the historical haven of Springfield. Pay Honest Abe his due dose of respect when you visit him during History Comes Alive. He guides a tour through the Senate chambers, Civil War encampments, and his final resting place.

7. Get the Best View Imaginable of a Rare Solar Eclipse, Makanda
August 21st is the first full solar eclipse to pass Illinois since 1869. Makanda is the closest city to the eclipse’s point of greatest duration where it will be visible for nearly three minutes. Southern Illinois University will have you prepared with an eclipse tailgate including special solar telescopes available to the public. Be sure to grab a post-tailgate beer near campus at The Cellar, hit neighboring Murphysboro for 17th Street Barbecue from champion pitmaster Mike Mills, or pick up tickets to the Ozzy Osbourne Moonstock Concert at Walker’s Bluff.

6. Sample the Midwest’s Best Craft Beers, Chicago
Grant Park is host to the 7th largest gathering of people in recorded history thanks to a Cub World Series championship and the Chicago Ale Fest offers almost 200 different beers on tap. Work micro(brew) to macro, with hometown beers from Begyle, Metropolitan, Vice District Brewing Co. and Pipeworks before tasting the rest of the varied roster. Consider lunch at the newly opened Revival Food Hall, featuring fast casual pan pizza, BBQ, and ramen.

5. Taste America’s Top BBQ, Chicago
For a July barbecue, be in the Windy City Smokeout along with the top national pit masters along the Chicago River. It’s three days of fun, smoked meats, craft beers, and country music. You can taste pulled pork BBQ from Hall of Famer Myron Mixon or try the brisket from Texas Salt Lick BBQ, and pork ribs from Pappy’s Smokehouse in St. Louis. No manning the grill for you and all of the food is within a few feet of each other. You’ll need napkins!

4. Get Up at the Crack of Dawn for a Balloon Race, Galena
On June 14-16, you will want to be in Galena to take part in the Great Balloon Race. Hot air balloons will be floating midair, and you can enjoy wine trips as well. There’s also live music and the collector’s car show. Also in June, there’s the annual Cemetery Walk and the Corkless festival for wine connoisseurs.

3. Wander the Waterfalls of Matthiessen State Park, Oglesby
A terrific little state for day hikes at Starved Rock, or the Cascade Falls in Matthiessen State Park. You can also opt to travel along the log bridges and follow the riverbed to end up at a private waterfall for a swim. Stay the night at Starved Rock Lodge or head on over to Ottawa for shopping, the Tangled Roots Brewing Company, and several cafes.

2. Revel in Wellness Activities, Galena
The Eagle Ridge Golf Resort & Spa is great, not only for the golfing but be sure to try out the spa after your game. For a fresh, yummy breakfast, The Inn at Irish Hollow is a charming B & B serving breakfasts of eggs, veggies, fruits, pastry and bacon. Follow that up with their seven-course dinner and later, enjoy complimentary cookies in your room. For a refreshing afternoon, visit the Blaum Brothers Distillery for a tour and tasting of gin. And for your educational dose, Ulysses S. Grant was a native of Galena, so check the Galena Historical Society for all the details.

1. Eat an Illinois Delicacy at a Mom & Pop Diner, Springfield
The signature dish of the state is The Horseshoe. Please don’t get caught calling it a sandwich. Take two pieces of bread (Texas toast is suggested), two meat servings, French fries, cheese, and chili. Charlie Parker’s Diner and D’arcy’s are both great stops for this tasty treat.