If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful state of Illinois, there are several important notes and tips to keep in mind that will help maximize the joy of your experiences.

Illinois, often referred to as the “Land of Lincoln” offers so many unique activities, special sites and entertainment events for its residents and travelers. In 2019 alone, Illinois welcomed more than 117 million visitors.

Here are five things to consider before you make your trip to the Great Lake State.

Betting & Casinos

The state of Illinois launched sports betting in June 2020 — just over two years after the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) law — which previously made sports betting illegal in most parts of the U.S.

Over the past three years, sports betting in Illinois has become a significant attraction for people visiting the state. You can place all sorts of different wagers on sports teams, including futures, parlays, money lines, point spreads and more through the state’s sportsbooks and many available in-person casinos.

As well, Illinois sportsbooks allow customers to place their favorite casino through the simple taps of their mobile devices. This includes slots, roulette, poker, blackjack and much more.

Illinois Loves Their Sports

You don’t have to be a sports fanatic to appreciate how much residents of Illinois enjoy their sports clubs. 

Chicago is home to five teams in the big four North American professional sports leagues: The NFL’s Chicago Bears, the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball.

The Bears will commence their 2023 regular season in September, and the Bulls and White Sox just completed the first month of their respective 2023 campaigns. With sports going on in Illinois year-round, you should definitely try to experience at least one professional sporting event during your trip here.

Using Public Transit In Chicago
The city of Chicago is known for a lot of things. Among them: Its ultra-efficient public transportation system.

New York City gets plenty of love and praise for its subway system, but don’t forget about the Chicago “L”. The system, part of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), serves eight different lines and 145 stations.

There’s simply no need to rent a car or use your own vehicle if you’re visiting Chicago. The CTA offers extremely cheap passes to make your day-to-day travels in the Windy City all the more simple.

A one-day CTA pass only costs $5, a three-day pass is $15 and a seven-day pass is $20. And these passes come with unlimited traveling and usage, so you simply won’t find a better deal for transportation when coming to Windy City.

Have Winter Clothes Handy

Chicago isn’t called the Windy City for nothing.

It’s well-known that winters in Illinois are especially freezing cold. But even if you’re coming to visit the state during spring or summer time, you should always be prepared for that rain-filled or chilling-windy day.

You should pack at least a couple of rain jackets, a pair of boots, track/sweat pants, jeans, a beanie (widely referred to as a “toque” in Canada) and some gloves for a visit to The Prairie State.

This is especially necessary if you’re spending multiple days in a colder city like Chicago or if you’re planning outdoor activities like hiking, biking, etc.

Free Museums

For history lovers, there is no shortage of can’t-miss historic venues, locations and museums to check out in the state of Illinois.

If you’re managing a budget for a trip to Illinois, there’s good news: Many of the top museums throughout the state offer free admission on certain days.

For example, Chicago’s Field Museum offers free admission for several dates throughout the year. Their upcoming free admission dates are May 9, May 16, May 23, May 30, June 6, June 13 and June 19.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield offers affordable admission fees if you wish to check out the museum aspect. But if you specifically want to visit the library, there is no admission charge there.

Another popular Chicago venue, the Art Institute of Chicago, is offering free admission to residents on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. local time from May 18 to Aug. 31.

If you do your homework for discounts and free admission dates on museums and other venues on your wishlist for a visit to Illinois, you can save a lot of money. You just need to do some careful planning in advance.

Published by HOLR Magazine.