Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois


This state has more than a surprise in store. According to a2zcamerablog, Illinois is ideal for visitors who are passionate about culture and history, as well as nature and sports. At first glance, Illinois is one thing above all else – flat. The great expanse is used for huge agricultural areas that have brought prosperity to the country.

But flat doesn’t mean boring in Illinois. The prairie land, which was once settled by the Indians of the Illinois tribes, is ideal for unforgettable tours. They can be done on shoemaker’s pony or on a boat. You get to be particularly “stylish” by motorcycle, car or bus on the legendary “ Route 66 ”. It is still largely present in Illinois and still gives a feeling of adventure and freedom to this day.

Useful information

Illinois occupies a proud fifth place on the list of the most densely populated states in the United States, even though the country is only in the golden mean in terms of area, namely 25th. This is not only due to the metropolis of Chicago, but also to the flourishing industry and thus the good working conditions that attract or keep many people in Illinois. The heart of the Midwest is a good place to live and some interesting other states are also within easy reach. Illinois borders on six other states. The neighbors are named in alphabetical order Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin. The country is also crossed by one of the most famous rivers in the world, the Mississippi. When it comes to nicknames, Illinois is not necessarily humble. There can be two: “Land of Lincoln”, named after US President Abraham Lincoln, who lived here and still has his grave today. Illinois is also called “Prairie State” because it used to have many grass steppes.


Illinois is mostly flat and characterized by agricultural landscapes. In the north, Lake Michigan with its seaside resorts and small islands offers a very special scenic charm. The traveler also gets to see a lot of interesting things along the two main rivers Illinois and Mississippi. Illinois then becomes “beautiful” in the classic sense in the south. There you can hike for hours through vast forests, over rolling hills and along smaller rivers and streams.


Illinois is in what is known as the temperate climate zone, but you shouldn’t let that impress you. In fact, summers in this state can get really hot and winters can get bitterly cold. Spring and autumn are therefore pleasant travel times when you can really count on “moderate” temperatures.


Anyone who travels to Illinois comes to Chicago just not around. The city is the largest in the state, but not the capital. That honor goes to the much smaller Springfield. Chicago not only impresses with its location near Lake Michigan, but also with its lively cultural scene and luxurious shopping opportunities. In addition, Chicago is an Eldorado for architecture fans. Here are not only some of the tallest buildings in the world, but also some of the most modern and interesting. Springfield is also a must on any trip to Illinois. Not because it’s the political capital. But because you can learn a lot about the famous American president here in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. “Learning” sounds very dry. The knowledge is conveyed so lively and thrillingly,

Excursion possibilities

Illinois wouldn’t be a typical US state if there wasn’t a lot to do here. There are theme and amusement parks everywhere. Perhaps one of the lesser-known attractions is the fact that wine is grown in Illinois and you can take a tour of the vineyards. More information about viticulture in Illinois on the website As is so often the case with wine, the origin lies in France. It was French emigrants who were the first Europeans to settle in Illinois. They brought a few vines and their knowledge of viticulture with them and thus founded the very successful viticulture in Illinois today.

Vacation activities

If you don’t just want to go to a museum in Chicago or go shopping on the noble “Magnificent Mile”, you can hike in the “Garden of the Gods”, for example – with some breathtaking views. In the north, every conceivable water sport is possible on Lake Michigan. Everywhere in the country you can treat yourself to a riding holiday and of course a tour on the legendary Route 66 is still possible.


Also known as the “Sears Tower”, the “Willis Tower” is not only the largest building in the city of Chicago, but also the second tallest skyscraper in the USA.

As it is with superlatives: You can easily mix them up in your head. For example, when it comes to the tallest building in the United States of America. Isn’t that the Empire State Building in New York ? Nope, not exactly. After the terrorist attack on the two towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the charismatic skyscraper was again the tallest building in New York for some time, but not in the USA. This superlative was due to the “Willis Tower” in Chicago. But both the Empire State and the Willis have lost their first place – due to the same building.

The Freedom Tower in New York, also called One World Trade Center, towers over them all. It is now the tallest building in New York as well as in the USA – which does not make the predecessors less interesting! When it comes to the name “Willis Tower”, Chicago connoisseurs may wonder whether they missed anything when they visited the city. No, they do not have. The “Willis Tower” is identical to the famous “Sears Tower”. It was only given a new name during its most recent change of user. To make the mess complete, the Willis Tower in Chicago is still called “Sears Tower”. The residents didn’t like the renaming at all, which is why they ignore it to this day.

Back to the beginnings

In 1970, when construction began on what is now the Willis Tower, everything was booming in the United States. Last but not least, the catalog and retail company Sears, which was based in Chicago. In order to be able to coordinate the work of around 350,000 employees at the time, a new company headquarters was needed – one with lots and lots of space. The decision was made to build a new skyscraper that was actually ready for occupancy only four years later. Sears was quick to fill the offices and of course was only too happy to name the tallest building in the world at the time. With a height of 442 meters and 108 floors, the construction was remarkable. Especially if you include the antenna – it catapulted the skyscraper to a total height of 527 meters.

Of course, superlatives always arouse desires. The Sears Tower soon faced fierce competition. In 1998 the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia rose towards the sky and soon claimed the title of the tallest building for themselves. An argument broke out. May, should the antennas be included or should they not? Less than ten years later, building owners and designers in Dubai put an end to this situation. With the 828-meter-high Burj Khalifa, they created – by a large margin – the tallest building that opened in 2010. It still bears this title today.

In the USA, of course, the Sears Tower held its top position. So if you wanted to aim high in North America, you still had to come to Chicago. But then there was really something to see. The view that visitors can enjoy from the viewing platform, the so-called Skydeck, extends up to 80 kilometers. It is located in the 103. Floor at an altitude of 412 meters. It only takes 45 seconds for the two super-fast elevators to take guests there. If the view is clear, you can see four US states at once. The “Skydeck” is closed from time to time for maintenance work. In this case, however, the tourists can alternatively have a view from the 99th floor.

New user, new platform

But how did the Sears Tower mutate into the Willis Tower? Well, times were changing, Sears got bigger and bigger economic problems and finally had no use for the many office space in the Tower. Instead, the rights of use were transferred to the British insurance company Willis Group, which wanted its name to be reflected in the name of the building. After all, it was this group that set up the Skydeck, which has remained the highest observation deck in the USA to this day.

The Willis Tower in facts

  • The foundation stone was laid in August 1970
  • The tower was opened in May 1974
  • The construction costs are 175 million US dollars
  • In February 1982 the antenna system was installed
  • 2009 Renaming and establishment of the Skydeck
  • The elevators cover a distance of 480 meters per minute

Chicago, Illinois