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Illinois

  • Overview

  • Map

  • Hotels

  • Fly drives

  • Experience & Explore

  • Illinois

    Chicago Springfield

    From cosmopolitan cities to wide open spaces and from historical attractions to modern day shopping malls, the character filled state of Illinois offers tourist trails suited to fulfill every visitors’ individual interests. 

    • Downtown Chicago

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    • Starved Rock State Park

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    • Springfield

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    • Blue Chicago

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    • Cloudscape, Chicago

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    • Lincoln Sculpture, Springfield

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    Renowned as the starting location of the infamous Route 66, symbolising optimism, freedom and the great America dream, this drive is taken by thousands every year retracing the storied route.

    In addition, outdoor enthusiasts journey the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, tracing the path of the mighty Mississippi River, glimpsing civil war homes, wineries and historical maritime sites. Follow the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, hike the Giant City State Park, bike the Tunnel Hill State Trail, canoe Cache River State National Area or practice your swing on the Southern Illinois Golf Trail, or combine them all, the options are almost endless.

    Sitting on Lake Michigan, segmented by the Chicago River, Chicago attracts visitors from near and far to experience its magic. The city’s museums are world renowned, The Art Institute, Field Museum and Museum of Science and Industry to name but a few. Year round outdoor fun can be enjoyed at Navy Pier, Millennium Park, Grant Park and Lincoln State Zoo which also hold some spectacular summertime events. No visit to Chicago is complete without heading to the top of Sears Tower for a birds eye view of the city, or walking the Magnificent Mile, so named for its fabulous mile long stretch of shops and boutiques. Evenings are just as enchanting. Take in a show in the Loop Theatre District, dine in one of the fine American or ethnic restaurants, listen to the Blues in Kingston Mines or enjoy a sporting event at Soldiers Field.

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    • Top Tip 1

      The best way to see Chicago is on the two hour Architectural River Cruise. Narration is by volunteers from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Or take a Segway tour with Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours. They make it safe as well as fun (for ages 14 years and over).

    • Top Tip 2

      Experience breakfast in one of the best Chicago diners, in our opinion. Eleven City Diner is full of character, as well as characters! It's far more fun than a chain restaurant!

    • Top Tip 3

      If you're visiting Chicago during the summer, check out the dates of the two day Chicago Air and Water Show. Get down to the beach and enjoy the outdoor spectacular.

  • Route 66

    Begins in Chicago, Illinois and ends in Los Angeles, California

    23 Days / 22 Nights

    Departures: year round

    Add this Fly Drive to planner

    Your fly drive includes:

    • Round trip scheduled flights
    • Intermediate 4 door car hire, including insurances and satellite navigation.
    • Accommodations as stated
    • Personalised Road Book

    Itinerary 2
    Duration: 15 days / 14 nights
    Starts Chicago and ends Albuquerque

    Itinerary 3
    Duration: 15 days / 14 nights
    Starts Oklahoma City and ends Los Angeles 

    One of the most renowned driving routes in the world, historic Route 66 spans across North America, from Chicago in the east to Los Angeles in the west. Covering over 2,000 miles, it takes three weeks or longer to complete the journey in its entirety so we have created three options to choose from: the entire journey (Chicago to Los Angeles); Chicago to Albuquerque or Oklahoma City to Los Angeles. The journeys shown are based on car rental, however motorbikes or motorhomes can be substituted should you prefer them.

    • Route 66 Museum

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    • Gas Station on Route 66

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    • Giant Bottle on Route 66

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    Day 01 Day 02 Day 03

    Arrive Chicago

    Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to Chicago. Upon arrival, collect your rental car and proceed to your hotel. Chicago is one of the most popular US cities and it’s easy to see why. A myriad of attractions and the fabled ‘Magnificent Mile’ of shopping keep its visitors entertained and the cultural mix provides for fabulous dining options too.

    Hotel: Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel

    202Mi/325Km

    Day 04

    Springfield

    Make your way to Jackson Boulevard at Lake Shore Drive this morning, considered the official starting place of Route 66. Stop at the Route 66 Welcome Centre in Joliet, see a 28-foot-tall spaceman in Wilmington and have a bite to eat at the Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield before arriving at your hotel.

    Hotel: President Abraham Lincoln DoubleTree, Springfield

    96Mi/155Km

    Day 05 Day 06

    St. Louis

    Have lunch at the Ariston Café in Litchfield, which is one of the oldest restaurants on Route 66. Stop at Henry’s Rabbit Ranch where a replica of a vintage gas station and displays of highway memorabilia can be found, and make a slight detour to walk across the old Chain of Rocks Bridge in Madison, the longest pedestrian bridge in the world.

    Hotel: St Louis Union Station DoubleTree

    289Mi/465Km

    Day 07

    Springfield

    Leaving the Mississippi River behind today, you’ll travel through the picturesque Ozark Mountains towards the small city of Springfield, Missouri. A stop at the Meramec Caverns near Stanton is a must.

    Hotel: DoubleTree by HIlton Springfield

    113Mi/182Km

    Day 08

    Tulsa

    You’ll cross three states today; you’ll leave Missouri, briefly drive through Kansas and arrive in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Along the way, stop at the ‘4 Women on The Route’ restored gas station in Galena, cross the Rainbow Curve Bridge in Baxter Springs, visit the Route 66 Packard Museum in Afton, see the world’s largest Totem Pole in Foyil and peruse the giant Blue Whale in Catoosa.

    Hotel: DoubleTree by Hilton, Tulsa

    107Mi/173Km

    Day 09

    Oklahoma City

    It’s a short drive today past the Cherokee Outlet towards Oklahoma City. Walk around the Oklahoma City Zoo or botanical gardens and visit the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

    Hotel: Sheraton Oklahoma Downtown

    260Mi/419Km

    Day 10

    Amarillo

    Today’s drive brings you into the cowboy state of Texas. Stop en route at the entertaining Sand Hills Curiosity Shop in Erick, visit the U-Drop Inn in Shamrock, the Devil’s Rope Barbed Wire Museum in McLean, the leaning water tower in Groom and the VW Slug Bug Ranch in Conway, where five VW Beetles are buried nose-down in the ground.

    Hotel: Courtyard Amarillo Downtown

    279Mi/449Km

    Day 11 Day 12

    Santa Fe

    Briefly taking the I-40 which replaced the old Route 66, you’ll witness ghost towns which were once thriving when Route 66 was a major highway. Stop at the Midpoint Café in Adrian, which marks the midpoint of the old Route 66, equidistantly 1139 miles from Los Angeles and Chicago. We have allowed a full day in Santa Fe, which is America’s oldest state capital, to relax and explore.

    Hotel: Inn & Spa at Loretto

    61Mi/98Km

    Day 13 Day 14

    Albuquerque

    It’s a short but scenic journey to Albuquerque, so why not venture off the freeway along the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway? You’ll enjoy breathtaking views from atop Sandia Crest, and pass through the mining towns of Los Cerrillos, Madrid and Golden. Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico and is full of exciting attractions such as the historic downtown and city zoo.

    Hotel: DoubleTree by Hilton Albuquerque

    140Mi/226Km

    Day 15

    Gallup

    Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the 66 Diner on Central Avenue before getting back on the road. Stop at Grants, where some of the historic Route 66 motels and shops still exist, before arriving in the old railroad town of Gallup on the western edge of New Mexico. Visit the historic El Rancho Hotel and drive down motel row, which sparkles with vintage neon motel signs.

    Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Gallup

    186Mi/299Km

    Day 16 Day 17

    Flagstaff

    Crossing the border into Arizona, today’s drive promises some great sights. Stop at the Petrified Forest; the only National Park to contain a section of historic Route 66, pass through the ghost town of Two Guns, stop for a photo in Winslow and visit the Meteor Crater. In Flagstaff, we recommend you take time to explore the historic downtown area.

    Hotel: Little America Hotel, Flagstaff

    167Mi/269Km

    Day 18

    Kingman

    Back on the road, you’ll enjoy stops in Williams, where the Grand Canyon Railroad takes passengers to the Grand Canyon, and Seligman, which is rich in Route 66 nostalgia including the famous Snow Cap Drive-In. Kingman is home to the Route 66 Museum, as well as many scenic walking trails.

    Hotel: Best Western Plus, A Wayfarer's Inn

    207Mi/333Km

    Day 19

    Barstow

    Leaving Arizona behind, you cross the magnificent Mojave Desert en route towards California - which is the last state on the Route 66 journey. We suggest a stop at the small Wild West-style town of Oatman, where gift shops, saloon bars and live shows are sure to entertain, before crossing the Colorado River and arriving in California.

    Hotel: Best Western Plus Desert Villa Inn

    131Mi/211Km

    Day 20 Day 21 Day 22

    Santa Monica

    There is plenty to see on the final stretch of Route 66. Stop at the Route 66 Museum in Victorville, see the Wigwam Motel and the McDonald’s Restaurant Museum in San Bernardino and enjoy a fresh orange juice at Bono’s Big Orange in Fontana. You’ll drive through West Hollywood and Beverly Hills before reaching Santa Monica Pier, the official end of Route 66! We have allowed a three night stay in Santa Monica for you to relax and enjoy the many attractions of Los Angeles.

    Hotel: Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

    13Mi/21Km

    Day 23

    Journey home

    Take the short drive to Los Angeles Airport, return your rental car and check-in for your flight back to the UK.

    Prices

    Itinerary 1
    From £2949 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

    Itinerary 2 & 3
    From £1675 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

    PLEASE NOTE: Due to the nature of the route involved and locations visited, some hotels featured are tourist class only. Should you wish to stay in higher graded properties please let us know and we will amend the route accordingly. One way drop off fees are applicable on these routes and are payable locally.

    Journey The Great Lakes

    Begins in and ends in Chicago, Illinois

    15 Days / 14 Nights

    Departures: May to October

    Add this Fly Drive to planner

    Your fly drive includes:

    • Round trip scheduled flights
    • Intermediate 4 door car hire, including insurances and satellite navigation
    • Accommodations as stated
    • Personalised Road Book
    • Michigan Coastline

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    • Harley Davidson Museum

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    • Quaint Fishing Villages

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    • Chicago at Night

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    Day 01

    Arrive Chicago

    Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to Chicago. Upon arrival, collect your rental car and proceed to your hotel. Enjoy Chicago’s restaurants, stroll along the shore of Lake Michigan or sample live music at a jazz or blues club.

    Hotel: Palmer House Hilton

    Day 02

    Chicago

    Take one of the elevators up Willis Tower for a bird's eye view of the amazing skyscrapers, and wander along the beautiful lakefront. Michigan Avenue, also known as the Magnificent Mile promises some of the east coasts best shopping opportunities.

    Hotel: Palmer House Hilton

    142Mi/229Km

    Day 03 Day 04

    Saugatuck

    Sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, Saugatuck is a place of serene beauty, which also boasts unique shops and fine dining. Travel 20 minutes north and experience the Dutch heritage in Holland, boasting Dutch architecture, culture, tulip and windmill gardens and even a wooden shoe factory.

    Hotel: Beachway Resort & Hotel

    Day 05 Day 06

    Mackinac Island

    Leaving your car at Mackinaw City, the ferry carries you to Mackinac Island. An island of under four square miles, horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are the delightful modes of transport. Enjoy a self-guided tour by bike or on foot and see the varied sights which include Arch Rock, Skull Cave, British Landing and Devil’s Kitchen.

    Hotel: Grand Hotel

    Day 07

    Marquette

    Leaving Mackinac Island behind, collect your car from Mackinaw City and enjoy a scenic drive to Marquette, which is the largest city on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. After spending an afternoon exploring the city, we suggest sampling the European and Scandinavian cuisines for dinner.

    Hotel: Landmark Inn

    207Mi/333Km

    Day 08 Day 09

    Bayfield

    The Upper Peninsula is encased to the north by Lake Superior, to the east by the St. Mary’s River, to the southeast by both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, and to the southwest by Wisconsin. Its extensive coastline on the Great Lakes, state and national forests, cedar swamps, and more than 150 waterfalls make it a hub for boating, fishing and hiking. A small town with plenty to see and do, Bayfield serves as the gateway to the Apostle Island National Lakeshore, a National Park that includes 21 beautiful islands and over 12 miles of scenic peninsula shoreline.

    Hotel: Rittenhouse Inn

    Day 10 Day 11

    Madison

    A scenic drive across Wisconsin brings you to the state capital, Madison. Visit the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, which is one of the finest botanical gardens in the country. Also take time to visit the State Capitol building.

    Hotel: Courtyard Marriott Madison West

    Day 12 Day 13

    Ephraim & Door County

    Leaving Madison behind, travel to Door County; a 75-mile long peninsula with over 300 miles of shoreline, five state parks and ten lighthouses. Your accommodation for the next two nights will be in Ephraim; a quaint village where shops and galleries are set in century-old barns, rustic log cabins and vintage homes. Charter a boat for a fishing expedition, enjoy a sailboat tour, take out a kayak, have fun on a jet ski or how about a scuba dive!

    Hotel: Eagle Harbor Inn

    181Mi/291Km

    Day 14

    Milwaukee

    It’s back to the bright lights of the city, as you wind your way to Milwaukee. Why not start by exploring the beautiful Milwaukee Riverwalk, Milwaukee Art Museum and the Harley Davidson Museum? A brewery tour is a great way to sample the many different beers in the place known as ‘Brew City’.

    Hotel: Hyatt Regency Milwaukee

    79Mi/127Km

    Day 15

    Journey home

    Enjoy your last morning in Milwaukee before making the short journey back to Chicago for your flight back to the UK.

    Prices

    From £2159 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

  • Chicago CityPass

    Chicago

    Add this Experience/Explore to planner
    • Chicago

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    Experience the best of Chicago with the City Pass, including five of the city’s best attractions:

    • Shedd Aquarium
    • Skydeck Chicago
    • The Field Museum
    • Museum of Science and Industry OR John Hancock Observatory
    • Adler Planetarium OR Art Institute Chicago

    Pre-booking takes away any worries of missing out and saves you time and money, often allowing you to skip the queues. CityPass tickets are valid for nine days from the first day of use.

    Prices

    From £87 per person

    Chicago Dining Cruises

    Chicago

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    • Spirit of Chicago

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    • Dining Room

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    • Lounge Deck

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    Set sail on Lake Michigan whilst enjoying excellent cuisine and entertainment provided by onboard DJ's.

    Spirit of Chicago Lunch Cruise

    With the sunshine reflecting off Lake Michigan and the city skyline, there’s no better place to enjoy an afternoon in Chicago than aboard a Spirit Lunch Cruise. Departing from Navy Pier, you’ll have 2 hours of incredible views and entertainment ahead. During the day, you’ll be able to see attractions like Museum Campus, Soldier Field, and the iconic Willis Tower. The leisurely pace of the cruise ensures plenty of time to sample the delicious buffet-style lunch menu available, take in the amazing Chicago sights and enjoy some time on the dance floor with lively music from the onboard DJ.

    Duration: 2 hours

    Spirit of Chicago Dinner Cruise

    Departing from Navy Pier, the cruise route will take you north along the lakefront and then back down toward Museum Campus and Soldier Field. Enjoy phenomenal views from the rooftop observation deck or the many windows surrounding the climate-controlled dining decks. Dinner Cruises sail for 2.5 or 3 hours, depending on the day of the week. Spirit of Chicago provides a contemporary buffet-style dinner which is available throughout the cruise. Musical entertainment is provided by an onboard DJ to complete and enhance the overall evening experience

    Duration: 2.5 or 3 hours

    Prices

    Spirit of Chicago Lunch Cruise

    From £65 per adult and £40 per child.

    Spirit of Chicago Dinner Cruise

    From £99 per adult and £60 per child.