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Garden of the Gods - Southern Illinois

For Distribution
Dec 11, 2017

Winter Weekend Getaways in Illinois

CHICAGO – From cozy craft breweries and luxurious ski resorts to ice wall climbing and cross country skiing by candlelight, winter offers plenty of fun in the Land of Lincoln.

“If you’re looking for outdoor adventures or a relaxing weekend indoors, Illinois is the place to be this winter” said Cory Jobe, director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “Visitors will find everything they are looking for to make the most out of the season.”

Check out these four destinations in Illinois for an unforgettable weekend.  

Starved Rock Country, known for its riverfront views and welcoming community:

Play: Embrace nature at Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby, one of the best spots in the state to see bald eagles, along the Illinois River in December and January. Adventure seekers can climb frozen waterfalls at one of four canyons in the park.

Eat: Savor a bottle of bubbly at Illinois Sparking Co. in Utica, where visitors can taste Illinois made sparkling wines. Dine on fresh local flavors at The Lone Buffalo brewpub in nearby Ottawa.

Stay: Cozy up in one of Starved Rock Lodge’s rustic cabins, where guests can relax in front of a fireplace or hot tubs.

Galena, a charming, historic riverside town:

Play: Test your adventurous side at Chestnut Mountain in Galena. At 475-feet, the mountain offers 19 ski runs, and is one of the Midwest’s top-rated snowboard parks.

Eat: After a day on the slopes, visitors can revive themselves with handcrafted spirits at Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. or award-winning wines at Galena Cellars tasting room. Dine on fresh seafood and the finest steaks at Fried Green Tomatoes in Galena.

Stay: Escape the cold and recharge at the historic Gold moor Inn with hot chocolate next to a cozy fireplace.

Oregon, a gateway to the outdoors:

Play: Head to White Pines Ranch in Oregon and ride through a winter wonderland on horseback. The ranch also offers sledding, cross-country skiing and hiking.

Eat: Satisfy your hunger at White Pines Inn Lodge Restaurant. Choose from hearty, home-cooked dishes like chicken pot pie, country fried steak and fish and chips.

Stay: Relax at the pioneer-style White Pines Cabins where guests will find rooms with open-beamed ceilings and gas fireplaces surrounded by towering pine trees. Nearby Franklin Grove offers the elegant Lincoln Way Inn B&B located on the historic Lincoln Highway. 

Chicago, a big city with Midwestern charm:

Play: Ice skate the night away at Maggie Daley Park’s Skating Ribbon surrounded by the city’s picturesque skyline.  

Eat: Dine at Piece Brewery & Pizzeria in the Wicker Park neighborhood after working up an appetite. After dinner, satisfy your sweet tooth at nearby Margie’s Candies, a Chicago institution.

Stay: Get some shut eye at the elegant Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, just steps from Maggie Daley Park. The contemporary-style rooms boast views of Millennium Park, Lake Michigan and the stunning skyline.

Check out these events happening in Illinois this winter:

  • Cross country ski by candlelight at Candlelight Night Ski in Crystal Lake, Dec. 16-17
  • Indulge in culinary delights during Chicago Restaurant Week, Jan 26-Feb 8
  • Experience Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock State Park, Jan. 28-29.
  • Celebrate the art of theater at Chicago Theater Week, Feb 8-18

For more information about planning an Illinois getaway, visit


The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism manages industry efforts that result in sustainable and significant economic and quality-of-life benefits for Illinois residents.

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