Days 1 & 2 – Chicago
On the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s River Cruise you can immerse yourself in the fascinating history of Chicago. Discover the stories behind this cities innovative architecture, and learn more when visiting the Field Museum and the famous Art Institute. Continue your trip, browsing the John Hancock observatory and Shedd Aquarium before exploring the Magnificent Mile; a shoppers haven. Indulge yourself in Michelin-Starred cuisine after taking a stroll along part of the 26 miles of lakefront sandy beaches that Chicago has to offer. Alternatively, enjoy alfresco dining in the sunshine at the heart of the city, before taking a wander around Millennium Park where you can observe the Reflective Cloud Gate sculpture and the Multimedia Crown Fountain. To round off your trip, spend an evening in Chicago bustling Downtown Theater District, home to Broadway. Watch a theater production or world premier on the stages of the Cadillac Palace Theater, Broadway Playhouse or Bank of America Theatre.
Hotel: Millennium Knickerbocker, Chicago
Day 3 – Springfield
On day three of your fly drive you may find yourself cruising down Route 66, exploring many of Illinois’ roadside attractions, restaurants and museums. Along the Mother Road on your way into the capital, discover President Abraham Lincoln’s home and office as well as the Presidential Museum. This scenic byway offers plenty of interesting opportunities for you to explore, for example; watch a movie at the Route 66 Twin Drive-in Movie Theater before stopping off at The Cosy Dog Diner to feed your appetite. You also wouldn’t want to miss Bill Shea’s Route 66 Gas Station Museum. Make unique memories as you travel through Springfield, reliving a remarkable era in Illinois’ history.
Hotel: Comfort Suites, Springfield
Day 4 – Alton/Grafton
Discover the Meeting of the Great Rivers as you continue your journey down Route 66. As you travel through Alton, along the forested river bluffs and beautiful limestone cliffs you can see the Mighty Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers converge. Visit quaint wineries and unique inns in the towns of Elsah and Grafton. Other fascinating sights include a replication of the Piasa Bird that Marquette and Joilet discovered in 1673 – painted on cliffs. Explore the history of the town at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site. With 14,000 square-feet of galleries and child-friendly exhibits you can learn all about the background and history of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Gaze in awe at the Mississippi River at the National Great River Museum on the Melvin Price Lock and Dam. Take a free guided tour or view the towboats and barges from eight stories in the air. To round off your trip, have a bite to eat at Fast Eddie’s Bon Air or Mac’s Time Out Lounge before visiting the ancient Native American city in the Cahokia Mounds world heritage site.
Hotel: Best Western Plus Parkway Hotel, Alton | Grafton – The Best Western PLUS Parkway Hotel is located within easy access of a range of attractions and restaurants.
Day 5 – Peoria
Teeming with restaurants, shops and scenic views, Peoria’s transformed riverfront is perfect for tourists. Begin your visit at the Riverfront Centre, home to one of the oldest buildings in the city. You may also wish to enjoy live entertainment, outdoor concerts and other inviting events. Have a quick bite at a relaxing diner before browsing the largest Antique Center in Central Illinois. Take a walk around Peoria’s new Riverfront Museum featuring a 3D theater and Planetarium. Discover the heritage of the city at the Caterpillar Visitors Center, which includes a 24 foot-tall replica of a 797 mining truck and exhibits. To finish off your trip, take a cruise on the Spirit of Peoria on the Illinois River and enjoy the scenic views.
Hotel: Wingate by Wyndham, Peoria – Wingate by Wyndham is located on Route 91; a prime location with easy access to The Shoppes at Grand Prairie premier shopping mall as well as a variety of restaurants.
Day 6 – Galena
The cosy town of Galena can satisfy the needs of city goers with its modern-day style and wine tasting vineyards. Travel up the Great River Road and stop off in Fulton to see the ‘de Immigrant’ Windmill. Take advantage of Galena’s title – being one of the top 10 most romantic small towns in North America and have a romantic meal at a quaint restaurant. With 85 percent of Galena featuring on the National Register of Historic Places, you’ll be sure to discover the history and heritage of the city for example; you could visit the Apple River Fort in Elizabeth. Carefully preserved nineteenth-century buildings nestled in the Mississippi River Valley are the perfect attraction for sightseeing; you could also enjoy a day of shopping, golfing or kayaking.
Hotel: Ramada Galena, Galena – The Ramada Galena Hotel is located just a couple of miles from Galena’s main street; the heart of the downtown area.
Day 7 & 8 – Rockford
Rockford offers the perfect stop before departing for home. With its small towns and rolling hills, this city greets visitors with history, natural beauty and artistic touches, creating the perfect atmosphere. Visit the Burpee Museum, home to a T.Rex named Jane. Stroll through the beautiful Asian gardens and discover the Art Museum featuring art work from David Chihuly and Ansel Adams. Rockford offers something for everyone, including high quality golf courses, a Rock River ideal for kayaking or a Rock Cut State Park perfect for biking. The Chicago O’Hare International Airport is an easy one hour drive from Rockford, so you can relax and enjoy your fly drive right down to the very last minute.
Hotel: Hampton Inn, Rockford
The Illinois Fly Drive is suitable for all ages and all types of people who wish to explore Chicago’s heritage, whether you’re planning to venture as a couple, a family, or travel independently there is something for everyone. The Fly Drive provides tourists with an easy way to see the city and its main attractions. If you are interested in the history of Chicago the Illinois Fly Drive is definitely something for you.