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USA Today Reader’s Poll Says These Are Illinois’ Top Attractions

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Pop quiz, hotshot. Our state of Illinois, while nowhere near the tourism capital of the United States, still managed to draw how many visitors in 2016? If you just shouted “110 million!” at your monitor–congrats. You nailed it.

According to Illinois Tourism Director Cory Jobe, the vast majority of visitors, 83 percent came for leisure as opposed to business. The average stay lasted about 3 percent longer than the previous year. That figure outpaced national growth, which saw tourist stays increase 2.4 percent, according to the Illinois Office of Tourism.

Tourism officials say that domestic visitors spent more than $35 billion in the state during 2016, a 1.8 percent increase in spending from the previous year. They generated $2.6 billion in state and local tax revenue, an increase of $106 million from 2015. The state said that money spent by domestic travelers “directly supported” 302,100 jobs in Illinois, an increase of 9,600 jobs from 2015.

So, where are all those visitors going once they get here? According to a readers poll in USA Today, these are the 10 best attractions in Illinois (although by skipping Anderson Japanese Gardens, a favorite on many “best of” lists, this list must be taken with a grain of salt):

  1. American Writers Museum (Chicago)
  2. Morton Arboretum (Lisle)
  3. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield)
  4. Driehaus Museum (Chicago)
  5. Cantigny Park (Wheaton)
  6. Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio (Oak Park)
  7. Cahokia Mounds (Collinsville)
  8. Main Street (Galena)
  9. Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago)
  10. Chicago Riverwalk (Chicago)

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