Chicago Southland, To-A-T
In 2020, the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau launched its “To a T” campaign to highlight some of the Chicago Southland’s most popular attractions in four categories: trails, trains, tunes and taprooms. A few clicks on our official “To a T” webpage will guide you to a number of fun activities.
Whether you want to find a trail for walking, jogging, hiking or biking, the Chicago Southland has over 40,000 acres of forestry and countless miles of trails waiting to be explored with various types of scenery. You can utilize our app to plan out your trek.
There are also mapped, themed trails that will help you make the most of your time in the Chicago Southland. Enjoy some pints along the historic highway on the Dixie Highway Brewery Trail.
Dixie Highway is one of three historic roadways that connected the Chicago Southland to other parts of the country. Besides spending time on Dixie Highway, you can also connect to Lincoln Highway and Route 66 for the ultimate blast-from-the-past road trip. The Illinois Lincoln Highway Mural Trail includes interpretive murals and gazebos that allow you to really delve further into the history of the route and the impact it made on the region.
The Illinois Central Railroad has a distinct history in the Chicago Southland. As the first land-grant railroad in the U.S., Illinois Central, trains left the Chicago terminal making their way through the Chicago Southland enroute to its end point in New Orleans. Now the Metra Electric District, commuter lines are available between University Park and Chicago’s Millennium station. Follow the Illinois Central Railroad Trail to exit the train at several points related to train history for the full railfan experience.
Included in those stops is Chicago’s Pullman Historic District at the 111th/Pullman Stop, a neighborhood designed around the Pullman Palace Car Company that included a factory, school, shopping and residential homes for the company’s workforce. Today it is the Pullman National Monument, managed by the U.S. National Parks Service.
There are several other railfan attractions in the area, including the Homewood Railroad Viewing Platform, Park Forest Rail Fan Park, Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery and the historic Beecher Depot. For more information, check out our Rail Fan page here.
If your idea of a good time is swaying to the sounds of a live band at a community concert on a summer evening, there’s no better place to be than the Chicago Southland, where you can enjoy dozens of concerts - many of them free - at municipal band shells, seasonal festivals and on local stages at a number of different venues throughout the summer months. The Yunker Farm Bandshell in Mokena, Fox Pointe in Lansing, Orland Park’s outdoor stage and Irwin Park Bandshell in Homewood are just a few. And if you prefer a smaller venue, you can also see well-known talent at CD & Me in Frankfort.
Outside of the summer season, indoor concerts can be found in all genres of music at places like Freedom Hall in Park Forest, the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra at Ozinga Chapel in Palos Heights, the Kindig Performing Arts Center at South Suburban College in South Holland and Governors State University Center for Performing Arts in University Park.
And don’t overlook all the bars, breweries and restaurants that offer live music for their customers from one-man acoustic performances to full bands to karaoke if you want to join in and sing your heart out. To find more live music venues, click here!
The Chicago Southland is a fabulous place to kick back and enjoy a beer - or wine or shot or cocktail. Nearly 20 craft breweries can be found in Chicago’s South and Southwest suburbs offering any style of brew your heart desires.
From some of the earlier contributors to the beer scene, like Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery and One Trick Pony to some of the newer spots, like Arrowhead Ales and Brothership Brewing, you could spend several days in the area checking them all off of your list.
Don’t forget that there are several wineries and distilleries and also a meadery for those who are interested in other beverages besides beer!