To celebrate Illinois' bicentennial, the organization Illinois Top 200 lets Illinoisans vote every two weeks on the most inspiring leaders, greatest books, top businesses and much more. By the state’s 200th birthday on Dec. 3, voters will have chosen 10 favorites in 20 different categories--the Illinois Top 200.

The latest vote was on the most scenic spots in Illinois. The places named cover our entire state, but one in particular is very close to Rockford.

Here's what those who visited Illinois Top 200 picked as the top ten most scenic spots in Illinois:

Elsah – Elsah still looks much the same as it did 150 years ago -- cozy homes and gardens tucked into a small valley along the Mississippi River, not far from Alton. The entire village is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Great River Road – The route along the Mississippi from Galena to Cairo takes drivers through old river towns, towering bluffs, fertile fields and unique historic sites.

Black Hawk Statue – Formally named “The Eternal Indian,” this statue by Lorado Taft is an impressive sight all by itself. Put it on a bluff above the Rock River and you have one of the most beautiful spots in the state.

Illinois town hopes its 'Eternal Indian' just lasts until spring
MCT via Getty Images

Garden of the Gods – Hills, forests and sandstone formations in the Shawnee National Forest combine to create one of the most dramatic landscapes in Illinois.

Starved Rock State Park – A 2,600-acre park in LaSalle County filled with waterfalls, steep canyons, hiking trails and lush foliage, plus important archaeological sites.

Galena – This river town in the state’s northwest corner has a downtown of beautiful old buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The surrounding bluffs and hills provide gorgeous views.

Chicago Lakefront – This 30-mile stretch of beaches, parks, museums and skyscrapers has been called Chicago’s “undisputed crown jewel.”

Giant City State – A haven for nature lovers, this park near Carbondale features huge sandstone bluffs, extensive trails and the remains of a stone fort built by Native Americans more than 1,000 years ago.

Allerton Park – Designated a “national natural landmark,” this park near Monticello is filled with carefully maintained gardens and beautiful sculptures.

Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site – The fort that once protected the village of Kaskaskia is long gone. What remains is a stunning view from the bluffs above the Mississippi River.

Voting in the next category, top museums, is underway at Nominees include Chicago’s Field Museum, the Peoria Riverfront Museum, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and Mount Vernon’s Cedarhurst Center for the Arts.

Log on and cast your vote for a certain children's museum here in Rockford that has been nationally recognized as one of the best in the entire country.


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