While there are plenty of lovely places to explore in Illinois’ “Windy City,” it often distracts from the many other beautiful settlements in our great state. North to south, there are dozens of gorgeous cities everyone should visit at least once.
Keep scrolling for 12 of the most stunning cities in Illinois – other than Chicago because, seriously, we’ve all heard enough.
About as far away from Chicago as you can get without leaving the state, this Southern Illinois city is full of farms, museums, and beautiful places to stay. Enjoy old city charm as well as festivals, delicious dining options, and parks.
Illinois' third largest city is a bit closer at 90 miles outside Chicago. Regardless, the gardens, festivals, and museums will make you feel far from all that. This city celebrates river life at its best and is a lovely place for shopping and dining or boating and walking.
Synonymous with the town of Normal, this city is within two hours of Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. It is best known for being home to the beautiful Illinois State University and loved by locals for all its concerts, sporting events, and historical Lincoln heritage.
The largest city on the Illinois River, many know this place for its Spirit of Peoria riverboat cruise. It is an absolutely stunning riverside city known for business and baseball, and locals enjoy the nearby trails, wineries, and farms.
This lovely city is full of history and fun things to do including festivals and parks. It is tucked away in the Shawnee National Forest and is located near Crab Orchard National Wildlife Preserve, the Cache River wetlands, and many bluffs, hills, and rugged areas.
The hometown atmosphere of this city is what gives it its charm. There's something here for everyone, and if you like to relax, you'll enjoy the area vineyards, spas, restaurants, and hotels. Those who need adventure in their lives will love golfing, camping, and sporting.
This city is so lovely, its parks and golf courses have won awards. Part of it sits along Lake Decatur where there are many friendly neighborhoods and beautiful places to stroll, such as nature trails and a newly renovated downtown.
8. Mount Vernon
This beautiful old city is best known for its aquatic center, street markets, performing arts center, and historical sites. You can enjoy the city by taking in a meal, museum, or spa treatment.
Home to many unique shops and dining options, this Chicago suburb may be best known for its amazing riverwalk along the DuPage River. Locals from all around love to visit for concerts, festivals, museums, golfing, and much more.
Our state's capital is known for a lot more than being a gorgeous place to live and visit. The city contains the most Abraham Lincoln historical sites in the world and is known nationally for being a major stop along Route 66 where travelers can get a "hot dog on a stick."
A far west suburb of Chicago, this town is best known for being featured in the movie Wayne's World - and the city owns it. Along the Fox River, this wonderful city is good for its downtown celebrations, museums, and theatre that performs Broadway productions.
This incredible college town is best known for its popular street fairs, museums, and sporting events. Visitors are blown away by the small, urban atmosphere and vibrant city life.
Which cities in Illinois do you love most? Share your thoughts and photos with us below!