The state of Illinois (and especially the city of Chicago) is a must-see for any foodie. Of course, you can have a Chicago-style hot dog (NO ketchup allowed, or they’ll think you’re a tourist from Wisconsin!) or Chicago-style popcorn, but our favorite is the deep-dish pizza Chicago is so well known for. We could spend hours arguing over which pizza chain is the best place for deep-dish, but we’d rather just give you the recipe for a Grilled Chicago Style Pizza from What’s Cookin’ Italian Style Cuisine. You can use your outdoor pizza oven or throw this one on the grill. Let us know how your pizza turned out – tag us on Twitter or Instagram and include hashtag #BBQAcrossAmerica so we’re sure to see it.
Illinois has a rich history with a variety of desserts, too. Twinkies were invented by James Alexander Dewar in Schiller Park on April 6, 1930. In 1940, Dairy Queen’s Blizzards were born when the ice cream franchise first opened their doors in Joliet. Last but not least, the first McDonald’s opened in Des Plaines, Illinois, in 1955.
Despite housing the third largest city in the country with a population over 2.7 million people, most of Illinois is made up of farmland – about 80%, in fact. Morton, Illinois, is known as the “pumpkin capital of the world,” because more than 85% of packaged pumpkin is processed there. Illinois is called the “Land of Lincoln” since Abraham Lincoln lived there for most of his life.
Even though Springfield is the state capital, most people associate Illinois with Chicago. Illinois’ largest city is home to a diversity of entertainment, shopping and restaurants, making it a favorite destination in the Midwest. Chicago’s popular Museum Campus, located in the South Loop, was created after a reconfiguration of Lake Shore Drive in 1998. The major attractions of the Museum Campus include the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, all tied together by green space.