Groups find an array of history-shaping and movement-making destinations to learn and draw inspiration from in Chicago Southland, a close-knit collective of 62 communities south of The Windy City. Beyond the area’s abundance of affordable entertainment, like restaurants, shopping, and festivals, groups discover stories of the people and places that shaped the history and culture of Chicago.
“Chicago Southland is just 30 minutes or less away from downtown Chicago,” says Andy Ritter, public relations manager at the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Groups will find nothing but fun at Chicago Southland’s cultural and historical sites, concerts and sporting events, arts and crafts, hiking and biking trails, fairs, carnivals, festivals, and parades. Our affordable region is loaded with incredible culinary adventures, unique brewery and winery experiences, and smiling and friendly faces.”
Cultural and historical sites, like the Underground Railroad Escaping Passage Tour, Pullman National Monument, and Stellwagen Farm, teach visitors about lesser-known stories of the people and places that shaped the region’s history. The popular Underground Railroad tour includes a five-and-a-half-hour trip from the town of Crete to the Jan Ton Farm near Riverdale. Along the way, visitors see key locations in African American history throughout the Chicago south suburbs as they follow the same route fugitive slaves traveled as they made their way throughout the region with the help of local abolitionists. Designated as an official National Park Service site by former President Barack Obama in 2015, the Pullman National Monument, located in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago, signifies and celebrates the region’s legacy of urban planning and design, plus American labor history. Groups can visit Pullman Visitor Center inside the Administration-Clock Tower Building, the central structure of the monument; hear stories from park rangers at the Pullman Exhibit Hall or the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum; or take a self-guided tour of the grounds. Walking tours of Stellwagen Farm in Orland Park showcase what farm life in the area was like a century ago.
Groups can also tour Argonne National Laboratory, one of the nation’s largest and most notable science and engineering research centers. Visitors of all ages will find inspiration in the clean energy innovations and discoveries researchers, scientists, and engineers focus on at the lab. A three-hour tour, open to the public and available by reservation, takes groups through various on-site research facilities, including the Advanced Photon Source, ATLAS particle accelerator, and Argonne’s exhibit hall, which presents the institution’s past and present research in areas such as nuclear science and engineering.
“Everything from urban to suburban to rural experiences awaits you in the Chicago Southland—all within a stone’s throw from an interstate,” Ritter says. “No matter where you’re coming from or where you’re going, odds are you’ll be passing through the Chicago Southland.”
Article by Erica Zazo
Main image: Stellwagen Farm; Credit: Chicago Southland CVB