What Is Chicagolond Some of the most renowned attractions in Chicago are actually located in area's just beyond Downtown Chicago. Use this interactive map to locate attractions and see where your favorites are located to assist you in your trip planning.

Click a Chicagoland destination on the map to view that area's Top 3 Attractions.
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GenevaMcHenry Lake County Elgin Woodfield Chicago Northwest Rosemont Chicago's North Shore DuPage County St. Charles Aurora Lisle Oak Park Chicago Chicago Southland Heritage Corridor
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Unique Chicagoland Museums

Unique Chicagoland Museums

The Field Museum of Natural History and The Art Institute of Chicago are always must-see attractions when visiting the heart of Chicago, but the Chicagoland cities offer many unique, cool museums too. Visit a Viking ship, "docked" in a local park; explore zoology and environmental stewardship inside a nature museum; or take a walking tour at a renowned prison. There's a museum-like monster and horror store in St. Charles, and an auto museum in Volo, plus a museum showcasing stunning stained glass and a wide variety of timepieces. When visiting the Chicago area, be sure to visit some of these unique museums. They're full of surprises!

A Peek at History

Elgin Area History Museum Through permanent and changing exhibits, the nonprofit Elgin Area History Museum beautifully illustrates the city's rich heritage. Once part of the Elgin Academy campus, it occupies the Old Main 1856 landmark building. Inside this Greek Revival-style structure permanent exhibits depict Elgin National Watch Company, Elgin Manufacturing and Elgin Road Race memorabilia. In addition, the E. Maude and Carl Parlasca Hiawatha Pageant collection honors a long-running annual pageant staged by Parlasca. This exhibit features authentic Native American costumes and costumes created for the pageant. The museum welcomes visitors, Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

In Geneva's Good Templar Park, the 78-foot-long Viking Ship is an exact replica of an original ship, the Gokstad. In 1893, the Viking sailed from Norway to Chicago via the Erie Canal and Great Lakes and became one of the greatest attractions at the World's Columbian Exposition. Named one of the state's 10 most-endangered landmarks in 2007, the ship is an important artifact from the exposition. As preservation efforts continue, a fundraising campaign will help to secure a permanent museum setting for the ship, offering adequate security and climate control.

The Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum has close to 10,000 items on exhibit depicting zoology, botany, geology and environmental stewardship, with intricate dioramas that encourage visitors to investigate nature. The museum features specimens collected by the Rev. Hilary Jurica, O.S.B. and his brother, the Rev. Edmund Jurica, O.S.B. (Order of Saint Benedict) for their students to use during almost 100 combined years of teaching at Benedictine University. Located in Lisle, on the campus of Benedictine University, this museum is free and now open to the public.

Legendary Stone

An iconic destination amid the Heritage Corridor, the Old Joliet Prison opened in 1858 and replaced the first state penitentiary in Alton. Early Chicago architect W.W. Boyington designed its iconic castellated Gothic architecture as well as the Chicago Water Tower. Boyington was known for his use of locally quarried Joliet limestone. Once known for its horrendous conditions, Old Joliet Prison is now perhaps best remembered for its appearance in the 1980 film "The Blues Brothers." Prescheduled 90-minute outdoor walking tours are available for ages 10 and older, from April through October.

One of the world's largest aggregate quarries, the Thornton Quarry is nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of Chicago." Each year the Thornton Historical Society offers two tours of this site, which measures 1.5 miles long, half-mile wide and 450 feet deep. It was a quarry at four different times and many of its crushed limestone rocks contain fossils of ancient sea creatures. Scheduled on first Saturdays in June and October, this popular Chicago Southland excursion is full until 2022.

Artful Destinations

Halim Time and Glass Museum Halim Time and Glass Museum showcases more than 30 masterpiece windows that depict the story of the American School of Stained Glass. They include the work of Louis C. Tiffany, Mary Tillinghast, Edward Sperry and many other glass masters. Inside this Evanston/Chicago North Shore attraction, admire intricate craftsmanship associated with the art and science of timekeeping through the years. The museum includes more than 1,100 timepieces, such as tower clocks, chronometers, automatons, pocket watches and tall case clocks. This beautifully restored and preserved collection is one of the finest in the world. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday.

American Farnsworth House

Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1945, and constructed in 1951, the iconic American Farnsworth House is an exemplary representation of the International Style of architecture and the Modern architectural movement's desire to juxtapose sleek, streamlined design with the surrounding natural environment. Initially a country retreat for Dr. Edith Farnsworth, the house continued to be a private residence for 50 years until Landmarks Illinois and the National Trust for Historic Preservation purchased it in 2003. After devastating flooding, restoration efforts in 1972 and 1996 recreated the home's signature 1951 character. Located in Plano, and the Aurora area, the Farnsworth House offers tours Tuesday through Sunday, from April to November.

Volo Auto Museum

Delight in seeing 300 beautifully crafted classic, antique and muscle cars when you visit Volo Auto Museum in Lake County. Thirty-three exhibits include the country's largest display of Hollywood, TV and movie cars. In addition, experience the Military Combat Zone and a lifelike Battle Scene full of rare military vehicles and weapons. Vintage campers and a Batmobile exhibit are other items in the fascinating collections. A huge Kids Exhibit features Disney and Looney Toons characters as well as antique kiddie rides. Play vintage arcade games and then grab a slice of pizza at Show Biz where there's plenty of family-friendly entertainment, too. The museum is open daily.

Performance Art

Opera in Focus At William B. Fosser's Puppet Production, Opera in Focus, elegant rod puppets "perform" selections from famous musicals, operas and light operettas. Operating in the Rolling Meadows area of Chicago Northwest, this unique theater has new and exciting contemporary musical selections designed to delight all ages. Scheduled programs have included "Pagliacci," "South Pacific," and "Pops at the Puppet Opera." Weekly performances take place on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. and Saturdays at 1:30 p.m., from February through December. Make advance reservations for special group performances.

Spiritual Site

At BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, DuPage County, learn about the Hindu world of Dharma. Sacred images abound at this architectural wonder, place of worship that's home to a spiritual and humanitarian Hindu organization. Built from handcarved Italian marble and Turkish limestone, this intriguing site with numerous spires encompasses the Stone Mandir and the Wooden Haveli. In addition, "Understanding Hinduism - A Unique Exhibition" incorporates enlightening, well-researched pictorial facts, figures and information about the Hindu way of life, for novices or scholars. Visitors are welcome 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily.

Thrill of Something New

Ghoulish Mortals Monster & Horror Retail Store In June 2018, owners of Ghoulish Mortals Monster & Horror Retail Store held its grand opening in St. Charles, dressing as zombies before they gnawed the ribbon apart. Chicagoland's only retail-monster and horror store is packed with spooky, artist-crafted merchandise that includes blood-soaked masks, zombie wedding décor and Addams Family-decorated candles. Kids can even have their monster drawings turned into plush companions. From floor to ceiling, this is a perfect spot to attend or host a horror themed event, too. The store is open daily.

Whether you explore local history or antique stained glass, classic architecture or puppet performances, there's a perfect spot to stimulate every interest.

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