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on location: midwest O Tour planners putting together girlfriend trips will find unlimited options across Illinois. A combination of festive shopping, top-notch theater and carefree sightseeing, along with tempting hotel packages, make the state a Mecca for ladies-only escapes. Here are three prime areas to consider for the next outing without the boys: Possibilities abound in Chicago and beyond 40August 2011 LeisureGroupTravel.com SUBURBAN CHICAGO

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  • SUBURBAN CHICAGOLAKE COUNTY: There is nothing

    quite like walking in the world-renowned Chicago Botanic Garden inGlencoe. Walk the 24 gardens with yourgirlfriends for a relaxing morning duringthe summer months. Or tour CuneoMansion and Gardens in Vernon Hills,an estate completed in 1918. It has beendonated to Loyola University and nowoffers summer concerts, art classes andguided tours of the gardens.

    Long Grove Historic Village, withover 80 specialty shops and various festi-vals throughout the year, is the perfectshopping getaway. Extreme shoppershead to Gurnee Mills, where you willfind more than 200 stores.

    Catch a show at the historic GeneseeTheatre, Waukegans newest venue forBroadway shows, musical acts and come-dians. Or see a musical at the in-the-

    round Marriott Theatre at LincolnshireMarriott Resort. (Lake County CVB,800-525-3669; lakecounty.org)

    ST. CHARLES: If you and your girl-friends are the crafty type, check out FineLine Creative Arts Center. Purchasecraft supplies for knitting, drawing, cro-cheting and more at the Fine Line ArtShop. The center offers classes in variousmedia as well, so be sure to see what isavailable during your stay in St. Charles.Fine Line also has three galleries of art.

    See a live performance at Steel BeamTheater or Pheasant Run Resort. Bothoffer a variety of excellent performances socheck the show listings and pick the rightshow for you and the girls. (St. CharlesCVB, 800-777-4373; visitstcharles.com)

    DUPAGE COUNTY: Book theSuite Shopping Package at EmbassySuites Hotel Chicago-Lombard/OakBrook and receive one Chicago Pre-

    40 August 2011 LeisureGroupTravel.com

    on location: midwest

    Tour planners putting together girlfriend trips will find

    unlimited options across Illinois. A combination of festive

    shopping, top-notch theater and carefree sightseeing, along

    with tempting hotel packages, make the state a Mecca

    for ladies-only escapes. Here are three prime areas to

    consider for the next outing without the boys:

    Possibilities abound in Chicago and beyond

    G I R L F R I E N D I L L I N O I S

    GETAWAYS

  • mium Outlets and one Yorktown Mallcoupon book. Also receive 20 percentoff restaurant and room service, fourcans of soda and a bag of popcorn tobring back the days of sleepovers withthe girls. Contact the DuPage Con-vention & Visitors Bureau to get aDuPage Deals card. It offers around40 discounts and special offers. (630-575-8070, discoverdupage.com)

    Nicola Trumbull

    PLAY IN PEORIAAnyone planning girlfriend get-

    aways should not overlook the river-front city of Peoria in Western Illinois.A city with a small-town feel, Peoriahas plenty to entertain your group ona weekend outing.

    Downtown flourishes in the warmermonths, and the boys of summer offer acheap night out at OBrien Field, homeof the Peoria Chiefs minor league base-ball team, an affiliate of the ChicagoCubs. Every night has a themed event,and there are fireworks and concertsafter select games. A sightseeing cruiseon the Spirit of Peoria Riverboat is amemorable way for your group to enjoysummer on the Illinois River.

    Downtown Peoria abounds withbars, pubs and clubs. Club Apollo is alocal favorite for a dressier night out,offering drink and food specials, danc-ing, pool and a nightly in-house DJ.The Irish pub scene is the hallmark of a Peoria night out. Kellehers IrishPub, Donnellys Shamrock Pub andSullys are the best.

    For gaming and buffet dining, theriverfronts Par-A-Dice Hotel andCasino in East Peoria is a favoritewith girlfriend groups. In addition to

    Par-A-Dice, there are more than 20downtown lodging options.

    Kickapoo Creek Winery, a shortdrive from Peoria, offers tastings, toursand a private room for catered meals,plus picnic areas, walking trails andtwo lakes.

    Peoria has two large malls, North-woods and the outdoor Shoppes atGrand Prairie. Northwoods has de-partment store shopping along withtwo stories of food and clothing stores,and Grand Prairie has more specialtydining and shopping options. Next tothe Shoppes at Grand Prairie is the 18-theater Rave Motion Pictures movietheater, which just opened a 3-DIMAX theater. (Peoria Area CVB,800-747-0302; peoria.org)

    Heather Swick

    DOWNTOWN CHICAGOThe Magnificent Mile, the world-

    famous shopping boulevard thatstretches from the Michigan AvenueBridge to Oak Street, is the epicenterof girlfriend getaways in Chicago. The street abounds with designer bou-tiques and familiar chains, from Gucciand Tiffany to Macys and the DisneyStore. The chief magnet is WaterTower Place, a vertical mall with more than 100 stores and restaurants.The 900 North Michigan Shops and North Bridge are other multi-levelmalls. Cruises on the Chicago Riverand Lake Michigan provide anotheractivity option.

    Downtown hotels offer attractivepackages that may be just right foryour girlfriend escape to the Big City.

    Girlfriends on vacation have a chance to unwind at Peoria-area wineries.

    Enjoy a night at the theater at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

    LeisureGroupTravel.com August 2011 41

    ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

    For an overview of group-friendly

    attractions in Alton, Illinois, log on to

    http://leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=24676.

  • Among the offerings: DoubleTree Chicago Magnificent Mile has a Girls Get-

    away package that includes a $50 gift card valid at over 70luxury retailers inside the 900 North Michigan Shops, pluscocktails and an appetizer at the hotel bar. The hotel is closeto Navy Pier and has a seasonal outdoor pool. (866-778-8536,doubletreemagmile.com)

    Red Roof Inn Downtown Chicago, one block east of Michigan Avenue, builds a package around Bike & Roll Chicagos Sites@Nite Segway tour in lakefront Millennium and Grant parks. A highlight is seeing Buck-ingham Fountains water and light display. (312-787-3500, redroof.com)

    JW Marriott Chicago, an elegant hotel housed in a former bank building in the citys financial district, features a Shop Til You Drop package that includes $100spending money at Macysand a State Street visitorsavings pass. (312-660-8200,jwmarriottchicago.com)

    Julianna McHale

    on location: midwest

    Obtain Illinois

    visitor guides

    and itineraries

    and contact group-

    friendly suppliers

    directly at

    leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info