Tucked against the Mississippi, Illinois is home to a melting pot of cultures and has enough history to make it well worth a visit. In fact, you could consider Illinois to be the epicenter of the Midwest and the heart of the United States!\n\nYou might wonder, "What is Illinois known for?" Illinois is certainly known for its biggest city, Chicago, and being the "land of Lincoln." You can discover many famous Illinois landmarks across the state, too, including museums, historical sites, and outdoor attractions with stunning views. \n\nIf planning to visit the Prairie State, the included map of Illinois landmarks below will also make organizing a trip to all the must-see places of interest easy. \n\nAre you ready to see what you're missing by not heading to Illinois right now? Then dive in and keep reading for 25 can't-miss landmarks in this humble state!\n\nIllinois is known as the "Land of Lincoln," so it's no surprise that a trip to the state isn't complete without visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Opened in 2005, this attraction is one of the most famous places in Illinois. \n\nThe museum, located in Springfield, offers the chance to learn about the life and work of the 16th US president. It notably provides immersive learning about the Civil War and how Lincoln played a role in it.\n\nIf you're a fan of history and enjoy learning about the time before the United States even existed, you have to visit the Cahokia Mounds in southern Illinois.\n\nThe area where the mounds are today was once part of a pre-Columbian Native American civilization. It's believed that the site was first inhabited in 600 CE. Cahokia Mounds is now a state park and one of the most historically significant natural landmarks in Illinois.\n\nWhen you hear the name "Cloud Gate," you might not recognize it at first. That's because this Chicago art installation quickly became known by its unofficial name, The Bean.\n\nConstructed between 2004 and 2006, this sculpture quickly became a world-famous landmark. The sculpture is completely mirrored, which makes it a popular photo location that no trip to the Windy City is complete without seeing.\n\nIf you're fond of architecture, you must visit the Dana Thomas House. Frank Lloyd Wright designed this landmark in 1902 as a private residence for Susan Lawrence Dana. \n\nThe home was inspired by Japanese architecture, which sets it apart from other buildings in the area. Its unique appearance and fascinating exhibits on Frank Lloyd Wright and Dana Thomas have made the home one of the most interesting places in Illinois.\n\nHave you always wanted to see a real-life drawbridge? To cross that dream off your bucket list, all you have to do is visit the DuSable Bridge in Chicago! \n\nPreviously called the Michigan Avenue Bridge, the Dusable connects North and South Michigan Avenue. Essentially, it's part of the street! \n\nDuSable is a functional drawbridge, so there are times when it lifts to allow boats on the Chicago River to pass. However, if the bridge is down, you're free to walk across it.\n\nFrank Lloyd Wright's history is peppered all over Illinois, but its heart is in Oak Park, where you'll find the architect's home and studio. \n\nThe home was built and fully furnished by Wright himself and hasn't seen many alterations over the years since his death, except for a few restorations. \n\nIt's been a National Historic Landmark since 1976 and allows visitors to get a glimpse into the life of one of America's most influential architects.\n\nIf you're a science buff, the George Herbert Jones Laboratory in Chicago is one of the National Historic Landmarks you must visit. This lab is where the first human-made element, plutonium, was isolated. \n\nAs a still-active academic building on the University of Chicago campus, you'll get to feel the past and present come together in a way you don't often see when visiting other historical places in Illinois.\n\nManaged by the National Park Service, the Lincoln Home Historic Site is a prominent part of central Springfield. This area includes Abraham Lincoln's former home that he lived in for over 15 years. \n\nAlong with seeing inside Lincoln's house, you can also explore the surrounding blocks, which have been practically unchanged since the 1800s. Due to its significance, the area is named one of the can't-miss historical sites in Illinois.\n\nLincoln Park is a well-known Chicago neighborhood that houses a popular urban park of the same name. Not only is Lincoln Park iconic in the Windy City, but it's also considered a highly famous landmark in Illinois as a whole. \n\nThe scenic park is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, a Chicago landmark in itself, plus beautiful gardens and lakes. Lincoln Park is an ideal place to get away from the crowds found in the rest of the city.\n\nIf you've ever wondered what some of the first skyscrapers looked like, the Marquette Building is a Chicago landmark you must see. Located on South Dearborn Street, this building is hard to miss!\n\nIts mosaics, grid windows, and wave moldings make it a piece of architectural art that students around the globe study. \n\nThe historical significance doesn't stop there, as even the building's name is historic. It's named after the first European settler to call what is now Chicago home.\n\nWhile a cemetery may seem like a peculiar landmark, Oak Ridge Cemetery is notable in that it's the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln. Located in Springfield, the Lincoln Tomb is also where his wife and most of his children were laid to rest.\n\nOak Ridge Cemetery additionally houses the Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial to commemorate those who died or went missing during the conflict.\n\nThe Nauvoo Historic District in Nauvoo, Illinois, is an often overlooked but still important addition to anyone's list of must-visit historic landmarks in Illinois. This site was one of the first settlements of the Mormon Church. \n\nThe history you can learn about while walking through the 14 structures that make up the district can't be replicated anywhere else. Nauvoo is definitely one of the most fascinating places to visit in the state!\n\nAre you looking for a fun way to fill a night out in Chicago? Look no further than Navy Pier! \n\nBuilt along the Chicago River, you won't be able to miss the famous Ferris wheel and numerous other rides, restaurants, and activities that bring life and excitement to this Chicago attraction. You can even take a cruise along the river if you want to see Chicago from a different perspective.\n\nIf you're looking for fun things to do in Springfield, why not pay a visit to the Old State Capitol? While not the original building, you can still visit a perfect reconstruction of the heart of Illinois' government during the mid-late 1800s. \n\nYou can walk the grounds by yourself or take advantage of asking one of the knowledgeable attendants all your questions. The Old State Capitol is the perfect attraction for history buffs, but you'll still have fun at this Illinois landmark even if you aren't that interested in the past.\n\nYou may not think it, but Illinois was once one of the biggest hubs in the US for meat production, thanks to Chicago's railroad connections. Today, Union Stockyards Gate is all that's left of the city's original and historic meatpacking district. \n\nAlthough the rest of the structures that made up the area were lost during the 1910 Chicago fire, the Union Stockyards' gates still stand as a symbol of the city's industrial golden age. Due to its history and use as a memorial to brave Chicago firefighters, this is definitely one of the historic places in Illinois worth visiting.\n\nThe Principia College Historic District is yet another of the many national monuments in Illinois you should visit. Principia College is still an active university with the historic district at its center. \n\nOnce an elite Christian Science college, the architecture of the campus is what earned the school notoriety. Bernard Maybeck was the brain behind the colonial revival-style buildings on the campus that have drawn attention for decades. \n\nWhile visiting, don't miss the "mistake house," which Maybeck used as a test template for different construction methods and materials for later designs.\n\nNestled in greater Chicago, the Pullman Historic District, also known as the Pullman National Monument, is a fascinating neighborhood to explore. \n\nMade an official national monument in 2015, the area preserves what's left of the first planned industrial community in the US. The district was planned and initially constructed by the Pullman Company for workers at their train car factory. \n\nToday, visitors can admire the preserved buildings and visit the A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum. Notably, the museum covers the contributions that African American workers made to the Chicago and American workforces.\n\nMilitary history lovers on the hunt for Illinois state landmarks that suit their interests must plan a trip to the Rock Island Arsenal. Though part of Illinois, this particular monument is located on Arsenal Island, also known as Rock Island, within the Mississippi River. \n\nThe island is rich with history, having originally been part of the Sauk tribe's land before becoming a foundry and one of the oldest army museums in America. Currently, the museum is closed for restoration, but it's scheduled to reopen in 2023, and visitors can still look around the rest of the island.\n\nRight in the center of Illinois, you'll find Starved Rock State Park. While Illinois has many forest areas, Starved Rock sets itself apart due to its glacially formed landscape. \n\nVisitors love exploring the canyons, cliffs, and waterfalls that were cut into the Earth during the ice age. A favorite place in the park is Lover's Leap Lookout, which according to legend, is the location where the son and daughter of rival tribes dove into the river so they could be together.\n\nIt might be called the Willis Tower, but if you talk to a Chicago local, you better call it by its former name, Sears Tower. For 25 years, Willis Tower was the tallest building in the world and remained the tallest building in the United States for even longer. \n\nThe Willis Tower is home to the offices of some of the biggest companies in America, including United Airlines. Despite its slightly mundane use as an office building, it doesn't stop the Willis Tower from being one of the most famous sites in Illinois.\n\nIn addition to offices, there's an observation deck on the 103rd floor. If you want to enjoy some of the city's best views, going to the Willis Tower Skydeck has to be on your Chicago itinerary.\n\nGalena is a small, picturesque town with its fair share of Illinois historical landmarks. Perhaps the most famous of its landmarks is the Ulysses S. Grant Home. \n\nThe town constructed this Italianate home for Grant, a Galena citizen, as a congratulatory gift after the then general contributed to winning the Civil War. The house is preserved in its original state as a memorial to the USA's 18th president and has been open to the public since 1904.\n\nIf you want a little time to sit back and enjoy some of the natural beauty Illinois offers, Grandview Drive in Peoria is the place for you! Called "the most beautiful drive in the world" by President Theodore Roosevelt, Grandview provides 2.5 miles of beautiful scenic views. \n\nLocals have certainly shown their pride in the moniker as well. You can feel the city's love for the area when you see the care taken to ensure Grandview Drive is pristine for visitors.\n\nLocated on the university's Urbana-Champaign campus, the University of Illinois Arboretum is known as a "living laboratory" that attracts visitors from all over the country. \n\nThe gardens are open to the public, but unlike other botanical gardens, the university's gardens are ever-changing due to their role in the students' studies. The rotating flower and plant displays mean that no matter how often you visit, you'll never have the same experience twice.\n\nIf you want to go to places in the state that put you in touch with nature, the Shawnee National Forest needs to be on your must-visit list. Located in southern Illinois, visitors enjoy exploring the 280,000 acres of hills and forests that were formed by glacial activity. \n\nWhether you love camping, rock climbing, or hiking, the forest has something for you. You may even spot some bald eagles flying overhead if you visit during the winter when they migrate to the area.\n\nAre you looking for a fun family or date activity in Chicago? Why not check out the Field Museum of Natural History? The museum is known worldwide due to its vast collection of exhibits, including fossils dating back millions of years. \n\nIf you or your kids are interested in dinosaurs, you'll especially love seeing the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, affectionately named "Sue." The skeleton is notably one of the most intact dinosaur skeletons ever found!\n\nYou probably had no idea there were so many famous landmarks to see in Chicago or Springfield, let alone all over the rest of the state! Hopefully, this roundup has convinced you that you need to plan a trip to Illinois!\n\nWhether you're an American history aficionado or love spending time in the great outdoors, there's something for any type of traveler in this great state. So, get planning! An array of famous Illinois landmarks and tourist attractions are waiting for you!