Home to the Windy City and more besides, the Prairie State provides the US – and the world – with all manner of engineering expertise – and did you know it’s also the birthplace of McDonald’s? In this fact file, we’ll take a closer look at what you seriously need to know about this curious locale. Here are some fun facts about Illinois you’ll want to remember.
1. Where is Illinois?
2. It’s officially a mid-sized state.
Illinois covers an area of 149,998 km2, or 57,914 square miles. This means that it is the 25th biggest state in all of the US – a bit of a midpoint if you’re organizing them all by size.
3. Millions of Illinoians call the prairies home.
As of 2021, there were 12.67 million people living in Illinois. Despite only being the 25th largest state in the US, it’s the fifth most populous – running behind New York, Florida, Texas, and California.
4. Symbolic Illinois!
One thing we can say about the states in the US is that you’re always likely to come across a symbol or two, and Illinois is no different! For example, the state animal is the white-tailed deer, the state bird is the northern cardinal, the state flower is the violet, and the state song is aptly named “Illinois.”
5. What’s in a name?
Again, as is the case with all states across the US, Illinois sure loves its nicknames! So, if you are tired of using the word “Illinois,” you can also refer to the state as the Land of Lincoln or the Prairie State.
6. Lincoln wasn’t actually born in the state.
For all that Illinois is frequently called The Land of Lincoln, US President Abraham Lincoln was actually born in Larue County, in Kentucky. However, he was a resident there up until his Presidency. There’s only ever been one President born in Illinois, and that’s Ronald Reagan!
7. Is the capital Chicago?
No – weirdly enough, for all Chicago is perhaps one of Illinois’ most famous cities, it’s not actually the capital. The capital city of Illinois is Springfield – and as of 2021, it was home to around 113,394 people. It’s well-known for The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
8. See the stars in Illinois!
Although we all tend to look towards Los Angeles or New York City when looking for stars, Illinois has provided us with some extremely talented people, too! Some of the most famous people to come from Illinois include Betty White, Robin Williams, Melissa McCarthy, Harrison Ford, Bill Murray, Ernest Hemingway, and even the big dreamer himself, Walt Disney!
9. What does Illinois actually mean?
10. Check out its moonwalking river!
If you have ever been to the Chicago River, you may not have noticed it at the time, but the river has something quite unique about it – it flows backward! As a measure to protect the city from disease, the state decided to engineer the river to make it flow permanently backward into the Mississippi! Take a look next time you’re in the area, and you’ll see for yourself.
FAQs about Illinois
What is Illinois famous for?
Most people know of Illinois for being the first US state to abolish slavery, its underground railroad, and its huge contributions to the automotive industry across the US.
What cities are in Illinois?
Illinois has plenty of famous cities to discover! Some of the state’s most popular cities include Chicago, Peoria, Springfield, Rockford, and Campaign.
How cold is Illinois in the winter?
Winters can get pretty chilly in Illinois, so it’s best to dress warm! At best, during the winter, you can expect the temperatures to reach around 30 Fahrenheit, all the way to 20 F or less!
Do you know any fun facts about Illinois? Share them in the comments below!