I know I said I was going to write up 50 states in 50 days, but apparently fate doesn’t like when we make plans. I didn’t write yesterday because I was taking a short trip to visit some friends overnight. “No problem,” I figured, “I’ll just write about two states tomorrow.” Yesterday in Western New York, there was a tremendous windstorm. Certainly not of the magnitude of the tornadoes in other states, and my thoughts are with those impacted by that. In western New York the winds we got were enough to have widespread power outages and damages to trees and structures. I got home safely but had no power when I got there. I’m writing this on a word document with the last bit of charge my laptop has. Fingers crossed that I’ll get power back later today. So, let’s say I’ll get 50 states in 60 days written up.

Today I’m writing about the wonderful state of Illinois. My experience of Illinois is mainly with the Chicago area, but in my research, I’ll try to find highlights outside the Chicago metropolitan area.

Illinois state nickname: The Prairie State. Ironically the state best known for it’s one big city, is nicknamed after prairies. Apparently, the northern two thirds of Illinois is just prairies.

That’s not pollution. They dye the river green
for St. Patrick’s Day every year.

Illinois Fun Fact: Illinois is home to the only river that runs backwards. To combat the pollution of the Chicago River, around 1900 the Sanitary District of Chicago began implementing a system of locks and canals that reversed the flow of water from Lake Michigan, diverting the water to the newly constructed Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

Best Thing About Illinois: Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. You all know what a normal slice of pizza looks like. Chicago pizza is deep. It looks like a big, thick piece of pie filled with copious amounts of chunky sauce and cheese.

Worst Thing About Illinois: Although most Illinoians would tell you that the Chicago Bears are the worst thing about Illinois, I found many references online mentioning high taxes.

I did this when I went to the top of the Willis Tower

Best Movies Made in Illinois: The Blues Brothers (1980), The Breakfast Club (1985), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), Field of Dreams, (1989), Home Alone (1990) and Home Sweet Home Alone (2021), Gone Girl (2014). Those are just a handful. Chicago is a popular setting for movies.

As I said, my experience with Illinois is solely based on Chicago, and it’s a city I heartily recommend visiting, in the summer. In the winter it’s going to be windy and bitter cold most of the time. In the summer it’s a beautiful place with beaches and walkways along the river and Lake Michigan.

There are ball games to be watched at two of the most revered baseball stadiums in the country. During other parts of the year there is professional football, basketball, and hockey. Those sports are also available at the college level as well. Chicago is also home to the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower that was part of a memorable scene in Ferris Bueller. You can take a heck of a long elevator ride to the observation deck for a spectacular view.

Chicago also has an airport that wants your marijuana. I’m betting that container is empty.

I did not put anything in this…or did I?

Suffice it to say, I like Chicago, but I have no idea why they like that big, silver bean in the top picture. It’s now been made a formal law that you have to take your picture with it if you visit Chicago. If you’re going to Illinois, go to visit Chicago in the summer. It’s a great city with a lot to do. Have a great weekend!

Safe travels! ~Phil