You know Illinois is the Land of Lincoln, but Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama have also called the state home. And you’ve heard of Walt Disney, Robin Williams, Betty White, Hillary Clinton, and Kanye West? Yeah, they’re from Illinois, too. Must be something in Lake Michigan.
And since there are 200+ hospitals in the state, travel nurses have many opportunities to take an assignment there. Still need more info to travel? Here are 5 reasons to venture out to Illinois.
Enjoy Lake Michigan in Chicago and other outdoor fun
Even if your assignment is elsewhere, you must make a point to visit Chi-town, if only for the pizza (more on that later) and Lake Michigan. Head out to the waterfront to relax on Montrose Beach or enjoy the excitement of Navy Pier.
For those who are strictly land animals, explore the 13 miles of trails at Starved Rock.
Savor small town charm
Illinois is a state full of charming cities without all the hustle and bustle of a Chicago. No matter where you work while you’re there, getting out of town can be the escape you and your nursing friends need.
You might recognize Woodstock from the movie Groundhog Day. With the beautiful historic Opera House (which shows way more than just opera), the farmer’s market, and the Ethereal Confections chocolate cafe, you too will want to re-live a day in Woodstock again and again.
Geneva is a great place for shopping: Check out the French Market and Geneva Commons. The Little Traveler is a gift store that occupies the 36 rooms of a Victorian house. If you and your nursing friends shop til you drop, don’t worry, there is a cafe on site where you can refuel for lunch or afternoon tea.
For the best weekend getaway, head west to Galena, the prettiest town in IL. You’ll definitely want to see President Grant’s Home and Belvedere Mansion. Stay at a top B&B like Aldrich House, have lunch at the Courtyard Restaurant, dinner at One Eleven Main, and catch a magic show. You’ll be refreshed and ready for the week come Monday.
Taste Chicago-style pizza and other delicious food
You’ll come for the travel nursing assignment, but you’ll stay for the pizza. There is a never-ending argument over who serves the best Chicago-style pizza, but it hardly matters because it’s all so good. Grab a pie at Bartoli’s, Uno, Pizano’s, Pequod’s, or Piece, and you’ll understand what all the fuss is about.
When you’re craving more authentic Italian food, visit Ciao Baby! for one of their signature entrees or to build your own pasta dish. Shakou is a top-rated sushi lounge that will not disappoint. Irazu features Costa Rican cuisine and a BYOB room. Enjoy Beef Wellington and seasonal dishes at Goldmoor Inn. Or find your moment of Zenwich in a crab cake sandwich. When you’re in a group of picky eaters, you’ll find something for everyone at the One World Cafe.
Learn the history
Step back in time and see the Lincoln Log Cabin, located on a farm where interpreters cultivate crops of the period and reenact the way of life in Lincoln’s early years. History buffs will love all of the Lincoln sites in Springfield. Tour his home, visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and see his final resting place.
Illinois was once home to a huge, thriving, native civilization who created a city that was larger than London at the time. Now you can tour the area they left behind at the Cahokia Mounds.
In 2016, the Chicago Cubs made history by winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years. Take in the team spirit and enjoy America’s pastime at historic Wrigley Field.
Polish your T-bird and motor on over to the McHenry Outdoor Theater. This drive-in theater has been screening films since the 1940s, but now they’re playing the latest blockbusters.
Take in the arts and culture
Illinois and particularly Chicago has tons to do and see as far as the arts are concerned. Spend the day at the Art Institute or walk around Millennium Park. Don’t forget a selfie with the Bean! And it’s not just a sculpture garden — concerts, festivals, and events are always happening in the park.
The Sears Tower (now called Willis Tower) was once the tallest building in the world, but to get the best view of Chicago, head up to the observation deck of the Hancock Building. You will not be disappointed.
After a hard week, relax with some retail therapy on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. And if you’re lucky enough to be there (and tough enough to brave the cold) in December, get a group of nurses together for the Christkindlesmarkt, an outdoor German holiday market with food, drinks, and imported German ornaments.
Chicago is one of the top theatre and performing arts cities in the country. On any given day, there are tons of shows to choose from. See a play at the famous Steppenwolf Theatre or laugh away your hospital stress at Second City.
Are you ready to experience Illinois for yourself? Browse our current openings.