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Summer Fun in the Southland

Who says you have to head to the city to have fun? Explore your own backyard this summer, and see what the Southland has to offer. Whether you're a nature bug, a music lover, or a thrill-seeker, there's something for everyone.


Bluegrass on the Green July 8-9, Frankfort, IL

Nearby Frankfort will play host for the seventh consecutive year to one of the country's premier free bluegrass festivals. Held in the historic downtown district, this year's festival features Grammy winners and nominees, pickers from the Bluegrass State itself, homegrown talent, and a slough of other traditional bluegrass acts from around the country and region. This outdoor, family-friendly event runs all day into the night. Bring a blanket and a friend.

But if that doesn't get your blood flowing...

Route 66 Raceway July 16, Joliet, IL

Do you dream of driving in the Indy? Here's the next best thing, and it's only about 30 minutes away from GSU. Amateur racecar drivers can bring their rides to the raceway and go against other adrenalin lovers on a quarter-mile track. $25 entry fee applies, and all vehicles must pass NHRA Technical Inspection to participate. If you don't want to get down on the dragstrip, spectators are welcome for a smaller fee. For safety guidelines, requirements, and additional information, visit the link. This is a recurring event, so check the calendar on the website.

And if you're looking for something serene...

Starved Rock and Matthiesen State Parks La Salle County, Illinois

What Southland summer guide is complete without Starved Rock and its equally breathtaking neighbor Matthiessen State Park? Starved Rock features over 13 miles of trails, 18 individual canyons, natural springs, wooddland, and waterfalls. Matthiessen, although smaller, is considered  with its mile-long canyon and multitude of rock formations. Both parks are located approximately one hour southwest of Governors State and are free to visit.

If you want to stay closer to home...

Will County Forest Preserves Will County, IL

You don't have to drive far to enjoy the splendor of the natural world and explore the biological diversity of our region. The Forest Preserve District of Will County provides opportunities for a range of experiences, from kayaking on the Des Plaines River to picnicking under a natural canopy of maples, birches, and oaks. 

For architecture buffs...

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes Oak Park, IL

Did you know that there are 25 original Frank Lloyd Wright structures in Oak Park? All built between 1889 and 1913, Wright's birthplace is one of the Midwest's greatest cultural treasures. Daily walking tours are available as well as guided tours inside the architect's home. Take advantage of the warm summer air, and stroll through Oak Park while admiring the Prairie-style buildings left behind by the most influential architect of the early 20th century in America.

And finally...

Tall Grass Arts Association Park Forest, IL

The town of Park Forest is rooted in the arts, and that tradition carries on today. Tall Grass is one of several art associations that harnesses the creativity of the Southland and puts it on display. The gallery hosts seven different shows a year, sponsors receptions, artist talks, and offers classes for all ages and experience levels. Admission to all shows and receptions is free.