By Yuhan Ma
Cancun, Cuba, Puerto Rico – these are always students’ favorite destinations for a spring break trip. But what are some alternate options for those who don’t like to take a several-hour flight or are on a budget? There are, in fact, some great travel destinations in Illinois that a lot of students who have spent their four years here don’t even know about. Today, I would like to write about one city which I absolutely love and would like to visit again. This spring break, why not give yourself a relaxing time and hit the road to Joliet? All you need are a small suitcase and a car.
I went to Joliet with my boyfriend over winter break. It is a city north of Champaign, and a two-hour drive will get you there. I was so fascinated by the rich history and heritage of Joliet. One of my favorite attractions there is the Joliet Area Historical Museum. This adorable museum is full of highly-interactive exhibits and is the perfect place for both kids and adults to learn and to have fun. Here are some pictures of me inside of the museum:
During our visit, we also stayed at the Harrah’s Joliet. The funny thing was that we didn’t realize it was a casino hotel until we arrived, and I couldn’t enter the casino because I was underage! In spite of the fact that we didn’t get to enjoy the casino while staying in the hotel, we still had a great experience there. There were three restaurants inside the hotel: an upscale one called The Reserve, the casual Cross Street Grill, and a buffet called Flavors. We chose to dine in The Reserve. The Grand Oyster Rockefeller, the Reserve Filet Mignon, and the American cheesecake instantly made me fall in love with this restaurant.
Another thing you must do in Joliet is visit the old Joliet Prison. This gothic structure was opened in 1858 and was designed by W.W. Boyington, Chicago’s earliest architect who also designed the Chicago Water Tower. What interested me in visiting there was that it made a number of appearances in films and television, such as The Blue Brothers and the Fox series Prison Break. If you attend a tour at the prison, you will find out what kinds of excitement this quiescent and archaic building will bring you.
There are a lot of other things you can do in Joliet as well. The Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway holds many top-speed events throughout the year. If you like theatre within a scenic area, the Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park & Theatre is a perfect place to go. The big bonus is, this city is so underrated that giant crowds of visitors won’t affect your visiting experience wherever you go.
Cover Image credit: Bugle Newspapers