Today is the second day of a new link-up with Say Yes to Happy – the first weekday of each month has a theme and today’s theme is our favorite thing about our home state. But I couldn’t just pick one. So here is a list of the top 5 things I love about Illinois.
5 Things I Love About Illinois: #1 Chicago
Ok, if you’ve visited the blog before, you already knew this was going to be my top choice. I love Chicago. Even though I’ve never actually lived downtown (yet), I feel warm and fuzzy inside every time I’m down there. It is home.
And I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Chicago is currently the third largest city in the country – and just under 3 million people officially call it home. The city has enough eating establishments, that you can eat at a new one, each day, for the next 50 years and not repeat.
Trip Advisor also recently named the Art Institute of Chicago as the best museum in the world. Those two points alone make it amazing! Ok, I could go on and on but I’ll end it here. If you are interested in reading more about Chicago, visit my Chicago section of the blog.
5 Things I Love About Illinois: #2 Four Seasons
Image by Ryan Kapp – and available for purchase at ryankapp.com
It is finally fall, and guess what – we have the perfect fall weather! While I will for sure be cursing Chicago winters in the early months of next year, I overall really enjoy the changing of the seasons. Spring is full of good rain storms, and who doesn’t love reading during a storm? Summers are always gorgeous. We have the perfect fall weather, accompanied by fall activities like apple picking, and corn-mazes made from actual corn fields (I’ve heard some states use bales of hay… what?!).
And while I will admit it gets bitterly cold, the first half of winter is usually lovely. I couldn’t imagine living somewhere that never has a white Christmas. And places that show Santa wearing swimming trunks and no shirt? No thanks.
5 Things I Love About Illinois: #3 Tons of History
Image from en.wikipedia.org
For a state that isn’t on the east coast, we sure have a good deal of history. Did you know Illinois was the first state to abolish slavery? We are the great land of Lincoln, and with that comes many stories. We also had the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Not to mention all of the Chicago history – great Chicago fire, world’s first skyscraper, mobsters, and so much more.
And speaking of Chicago history, my all time favorite book is about the Columbian Exposition. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America– If that title doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will. If you’re interested in finding out more about The Devil in the White City, I wrote a post HERE with interactive views of the locations in Chicago that correlate to the novel.
5 Things I Love About Illinois #4 State Parks
Image from commons.wikimedia.org
No, we don’t have the country’s best state parks, but I love the mix of nature and urban life all in one state. And our state parks are pretty fantastic.
When you think of Illinois, you don’t think of much elevation change, but that isn’t always the case. Especially when you start to get away from the dense suburbs.
5 Things I Love About Illinois: #5 Portillo’s
Image from portillos.com
The best hot dogs and beef sandwiches – this is not up for debate. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who wasn’t a fan of Portillo’s (or maybe I have and they were afraid to tell me). I know this restaurant isn’t strictly in IL anymore, but they originated here and are virtually in every town, just like a McDonald’s would be, but oh so much better. Friends and family who leave Chicago always request a stop first thing when they’re back home. And if you’ve never had a Chicago dog, this is the place to get it. Just don’t ask for ketchup. Never ketchup.