Both summertime and baseball season are in full swing, which brings us to Illinois, home of the defending World Series champs, the Chicago Cubs. From the excitement of The Second City to its abundant fertile farmlands, The Land of Lincoln is a lovely pick for your next Travel Nurse assignment!
Travel Nursing in Illinois
Illinois is a fantastic place for Travel Nurses — with loads of fun activities throughout the state and region, as well as many great facilities at which to build your career 13 weeks at a time. The state boasts a wide-ranging network of acute care and specialty hospitals that provide inpatient care for behavioral health, rehab, and long term acute care across 102 counties.
According to the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, Illinois is home to 214 hospitals. U.S. News & World Report ranked Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which is nationally ranked in 13 adult specialties, as the #1 hospital in Illinois. Rounding out the top five hospitals in Illinois are: Rush University Medical Center, University of Chicago Medical Center, Advocate Christ Medical Center, and Loyola University Medical Center.
MoneyRates ranked Illinois #3 on their list of “The Best States for Making a Living in 2017.” And, while still dubbed “The Second City,” Chicago is currently the third-largest U.S. city.
In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Illinois #29 on their first-ever “Best States” list, based on criteria including economy, education, government, healthcare, crime & corrections, infrastructure, and opportunity. The report recognized the special draw of Chicago, and ranked IL 10th in infrastructure and 17th in healthcare affordability.
As for licensing, Illinois is a walk through state and a NURSYS state, but it is not a compact state. Click here for more info on licensing in Illinois.
To Do & See in Illinois
As Illinois’ largest city and the nation’s third-largest metropolis, Chicago is what most people think of when they think of The Land of Lincoln. That’s probably because sweet home Chicago is an amazing place to visit — filled with all kinds of culture, activities, world-class architecture, shopping, dining, theater, art, sports, and more!
Chicago sits on beautiful Lake Michigan, which means the chance to frequent miles of sandy, salt-free, shark-free beaches all summer long! In addition to the swimming, sailing, sightseeing cruises, and sand volleyball that Lake Michigan presents, Chicago’s famous Lake Shore Drive is known as one of the most beautiful stretches of urban road in the nation. From this famous roadway, you’ll see skyscrapers, lake views, and green spaces. (Speaking of great drives, the famous Route 66 also begins in Chicago!)
If you’re without a vehicle — because Chicago has great public transportation and frustrating parking — check out the Lakefront Trail, which is perfect for biking, jogging, and people-watching.
The Chicago River, the world’s only backward-flowing river, represents another opportunity for water-lovers. The Chicago Architectural River Cruise is well-known as one the city’s must-dos. Ever since the world’s first skyscraper was erected in Chicago, the city has been known for its intriguing architectural history and features. Some of the city’s most famous buildings include the magnificent Willis (or Sears) Tower — which was the tallest building in the world until 1998 — the John Hancock Center, Tribune Tower, Marina City (made famous-er by Wilco), and the Rookery Building. And, of course, architecture lovers will know that this is Frank Lloyd Wright country!
Other Chicago attractions you won’t want to miss include Millennium Park (with the famous bean-shaped Cloud Gate sculpture), the Field Museum of Natural History, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile, Lincoln Park (and Lincoln Park Zoo!), and more.
Of course, the city where Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler met is also well-known for being a barrel of laughs, so be sure to check out some comedy at Second City, Zanies, The Laugh Factory, the Annoyance Theatre, and other Chicago stand-up and sketch destinations.
Chicago’s got a pretty amazing sports legacy, with famous athletes like Jordan and iconic coaches like Ditka. In addition to taking in a game at the iconic Wrigley Field, where you can watch the reigning World Series champs, the Chicago Cubs, other hot pro sports tickets include the White Sox, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Fire, Sky, and Red Stars.
Whew! If all this sightseeing’s got you hungry, you are in luck, because Chicago has some of the very best eats in the nation. From upscale, world-class dining at places like Alinea, Oriole, and Acadia, to the next tier favorites like Avec, Bad Hunter, and Girl & The Goat, Chicago has some mouth-watering chances for you to treat yo-self in the culinary sense. But even the more moderately priced meals here will wow you, from Chicago dogs, to Italian beef sandwiches, to deep dish pizza. Chicago’s also known for great Greek fare, Puerto Rican jibarito, barbecue, Italian, and more. Illinois is also famous for pierogies, steak, corn on the cob and popcorn. Wash it down with a Green River soda or a Goose Island ale, and you’ll be living the Illinois dream!
While Illinois’s highest point is Charles Mound at just 1,235 feet above sea level, there’s some great climbing to be had at Jackson Falls in the stunning Shawnee National Forest. Outdoorsy types will love this gorgeous forested area which is great for hiking, camping, climbing, and more. Garden of the Gods Wilderness is also a beautiful landscape to see and covers 3,300-plus acres of forest in southern Illinois.
Superhero fans will want to flock to Metropolis, Illinois, the Man of Steel’s official hometown and the site of just one building Superman might leap in a single bound, The Super Museum!
Depending on your region, Illinois also offers pretty quick access to neighboring spots like St. Louis, Milwaukee, Quad Cities, Bloomington-Normal, and even Nashville, Memphis, and Minneapolis.
Illinois Fast Facts
State Nickname: The Land of Lincoln, or, The Prairie State
Largest City: Chicago
National Historic Sites, Wildlife Refuges, and Forests: 9
State Parks, State Forests, and State Recreation Areas: 91
State Motto: “State Sovereignty, National Union”
State Insect: Monarch Butterfly
State Bird: Cardinal
Illinois is the 21st state.
Twinkies, the cell phone, zippers, the mechanical dishwasher, the pinball machine, Ferris wheels, softball, modern dentistry, and barbed wire were all invented in New Jersey.
Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.
America’s famed Route 66 starts in Chicago.
Ronald Reagan is the only president born in Illinois, although he called California his home state. But Presidents Lincoln, Grant, and Obama famously considered The Prairie State to be their home base at various times.
Illinois is the largest U.S. producer of pumpkins.
While Chicago’s lake breezes make it a great summer destination, many sources argue that the nickname “The Windy City” doesn’t come from gusty weather, but rather the city’s famously long-winded politicians who were said to be full of hot air!
The Home Insurance Building, built in Chicago in 1885, was the world’s first skyscraper.
The tallest man in recorded medical history was born in Alton, Illinois. His name was Robert Pershing Wadlow — though he was known as the Alton Giant and the Giant of Illinois — and he was 8’11”!
Famous folks from Illinois include Melissa McCarthy, Harrison Ford, Walt Disney, Michelle Obama, Miles Davis, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Robin Williams, Chance The Rapper, Cindy Crawford, Shel Silverstein, Eddie Vedder, Jennifer Hudson, Richard Pryor, Bill Murray, Ernest Hemingway, Betty White, Mr. T, Hugh Hefner, Patti Smith, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
Approximately 80% of Illinois is farmland.
Chicago’s Adler Planetarium was the first planetarium in the U.S.