Illinois is a state in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Wisconsin to the north, Lake Michigan (one of the Great Lakes) to the northeast, Indiana to the east, the westernmost portion of Kentucky to the south, and Iowa and Missouri to the west.
By far the largest and most interesting city in Illinois is Chicago, located on the shore of Lake Michigan in the northeast corner of the state. With a population of over 9,500,000 (metropolitan area), it is the third-largest city in the United States.
Other major cities in Illinois include:
- Aurora, second-largest city in the state and accessible from Chicago via the Metra BNSF railway
- Carbondale, location of Southern Illinois University
- Champaign-Urbana, location of the University of Illinois
- East St. Louis, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri
- Joliet, site of a major prison; bad place to try to hitch from
- Springfield, the state capitol