Illinois is the state in the north central United States, just in the heart of the Midwest. The state is named for the Illinois, or Illini, a confederation of Native Americans of various tribes who lived Illinois and other sections of the Midwest at the time the first French explorers entered the region. The name Illinois is said to have been a French version of the Illini word for themselves, "Illiniwek."
Today Illinois is one of the most productive agricultural and industrial states in the country, and its economic influence now extends far beyond the Midwest. Rural Illinois does not lack physical and agricultural diversity. It has hill lands and a national forest in the south, cotton fields on the fertile alluvial lands in the extreme south, scenic bluffs along the Mississippi, and hillside dairy farms in the northwest. Large prosperous farms specialize in raising grain and livestock on the rich prairie soils. Tall grain elevators, church spires, and an occasional grove of trees are the most conspicuous landmarks; and machine sheds, fields of corn and soybeans, and hogs in feedlots are the most common sights across the farmlands.
Not only rural life is represented in illinois, the state is proud of urban life as well. Only such names as Chicago and Springfield speak for themselves. Chicago is the third largest city in the USA and in illinois as well. The city dominates the industrial, financial, and social life of the state. In some ways, Chicago stands apart from the rest of the state. To many Chicagoans, Illinois consists of two sections: Chicago and "downstate." Other Illinois cities, such as Peoria, Rockford, and Decatur, tend to be overshadowed by Chicago. Nevertheless, these smaller communities manage to retain their distinctive characteristics. Perhaps the most famous is the state capital, Springfield, which President Abraham Lincoln often referred to as his home. The national fame of Springfield, New Salem, and other places in Illinois that are associated with Lincoln are reflected in the official state slogan, Land of Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th United States president, is honored throughout Illinois with parks, memorials, and other sites. The state's automobile license plates even proclaim Illinois as the Land of Lincoln.
What to see in illinois and what places to visit there? Illinois's parks and forests offer varied opportunities for outdoor recreation. Many miles of abandoned railroad right-of-way, both urban and rural, have become improved hiking and biking trails. Sandy beaches along Lake Michigan provide attractions for swimming and other water-oriented sports. The state's long, cold winters and abundant snow in its northern sections make winter sports such as ice skating and skiing popular.
In illinois it is easy to find historic sites. For example, in Fort de Chartres State Historic Site, on the Mississippi River in southwestern Illinois, is a restoration of the chief 18th-century fortress in the Illinois country. Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site, in the southwestern part of the state, was once the site of Fort Kaskaskia, a historic fort that served the French during the middle part of the 18th century.
Crystal lake illinois and oak park illinois are also popular among the visitors of Illinois State. Crystal Lake Illinois, located 50 miles northwest of Chicago, is a short drive from O'Hare International Airport, near several major highways and interstates. The Union Pacific rail line provides easy access to Chicago. As a result, Crystal Lake residents enjoy the many employment, cultural and recreational opportunities of a major metro city, yet live in a pleasant, friendly, small-town atmosphere.
Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway made Oak Park Illinois famous. Ernest Hemingway was born in Illinois. Frank Lloyd Wright designed a lot of buildings there and Oak Park boasts about its buildings nowadays. A walk or rollerblade along the beautiful, arching tree-lined streets of Oak Park takes you past an abundant variety of houses and buildings designed by the turn of the century architects George W. Maher, Robert C. Spencer, Jr., Thomas E. Tallmage, John S. Van Berger, Vernon S. Watson, Charles E. White, Jr., and of course, Frank Lloyod Wright.