Illinois Bucket List ~ Great Rivers Country Region

Today we begin our journey into the state of Illinois for our Bucket List series. The state is split into four broad categories on their website and then broken into key towns. Not every town is listed in each region, just the major ones, so there may be some items missing from smaller towns throughout the state, but I worked with what they offered online! Today we focus on the western half of the state that follows the Mississippi River.


  • Confederate Prison Site: This prison site was also the location of the first state penitentiary in Illinois.
  • Lincoln-Douglas Square: Site of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debate.
  • National Great Rivers Museum: Tells the story of the Mississippi River and offers tours of the lock and dam nearby.
  • Piasa Bird Mural: Depiction of this Native American dragon.
  • Robert Wadlow Statue: Statue of the World’s Tallest Man.


  • Elihu B. Washburne House State Historic Site: Home of man who was political advisor to both Lincoln and Grant.
  • Grant Park: Quaint town park with city and river views.
  • Old Stockade on the Cobblestone Street: Build for protection during the Blackhawk War.
  • Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site: Home to the former president.
  • West Street Sculpture Park: Fun outdoor sculpture park filled with metal creations.
  • Winston Tunnel State Natural Area: Great place for hiking and location of old railway tunnel.


  • Pere Marquette State Park: Great place to view eagles and hike along the bluffs of confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.


  • John Deere Pavilion: Visit this interactive museum about John Deere which is headquartered in Moline.


  • Caterpillar Visitor’s Center: Explore how these great machines are built.
  • Peoria Riverfront Museum: Public museum of art, science, history, and technology.
  • Peoria Zoo: Fun smaller zoo that features animals from several continents.

Rock Island

  • Blackhawk State Historic Site: Explore the history of the Sauk tribe and their great warrior Blackhawk.
  • Colonel Davenport House: This house built on Arsenal Island is the oldest residence in the Quad Cities area.
  • John Hauberg Indian Museum: Located within Blackhawk State Historic Site, this museum tells the history of the last two Indian Tribes to live in the Mississippi River region.
  • Quad City Botanical Center: Botanical garden located along the river.

All attractions found on


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