Gain More Background About the State

Brief History

"The first Europeans to visit Illinois were the French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette in 1673, but the region was ceded to Britain after the French and Indian War. After the American Revolution, Illinois became a territory of the United States, and achieved statehood in 1818. Located on Lake Michigan, and connected to the eastern ports via the Erie Canal, Chicago became a booming metropolis, and even the fire of 1871 could not stunt its growth. In the second half of the 19th century the great need for workers in the mills, rail yards and slaughterhouses made Chicago a popular destination for immigrants and freed blacks. During Prohibition Chicago became synonymous with bootleg liquor and gangsters like Al Capone."


Facts and Trivia

"The world's first Skyscraper was built in Chicago, 1885."


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Things to Pack

"Chicago winters are bitterly cold, with highs in the mid 30s and lows in the low 20s. Wind probability is also high in the winter, adding wind chill to the already cold temperatures. Snow and rain are common throughout the season. To stay warm, bring plenty of sweaters and long-sleeved shirts, as well as long pants, warm socks and waterproof boots."


Family Activities

Tourist Information Site: Plan Your Trip

Outdoor Adventures. History. Travel Illinois.

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Get Around
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Where to Go

5 Roadtrips

Most Beautiful Places

The Bucket List: 8 Places to Visit


Enjoy a Little Illinois From Home

Food & Recipes
Famous Birthdays
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Brief History

""It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago. She outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them." - Mark Twain, 1883

Chicago was only 46 years old when Mark Twain wrote those words, but it had already grown more than 100-fold, from a small trading post at the mouth of the Chicago River into one of the nation’s largest cities, and it wasn’t about to stop. Over the next 20 years, it would quadruple in population, amazing the rest of the world with its ability to repeatedly reinvent itself.

And it still hasn’t stopped. Today, Chicago has become a global city, a thriving center of international trade and commerce, and a place where people of every nationality come to pursue the American dream."

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