Some of the things that make the U.S unique is the fact that it is made up of 50 different States, all with their own laws, widely varying climates, landscapes, and cultures.

All these factors culminate into several interesting facts about Illinois, with one of the more notable ones being that Illinois lays claim to the invention of the Ice Cream Sundae!

Each state has its own nickname usually derived from an event associated with its historical past, a notable landmark within the State, a cultural icon, or even the weather. Let’s consider the Illinois nickname.

illinois state nickname

What is the Illinois nickname? The Prairie State.

The Prairie State is located in the Midwest region of the United States, one of few states in the U.S. to border 6 different states, including Iowa, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Missouri. Illinois is home to the tallest building in America, the Sears Tower, situated in the iconic city of Chicago. If you are interested in seeing the Nicknames for states in the US (all 50 of them), including the date each state was entered into the Union, then head over to our page that lists them in alphabetical order.




The Illinois nickname was officially adopted all the way back in the 1840s. This is because the majority of the state was covered in prairie grasses. Even today Illinois still pays homage to the prairie – each year, on the third week of September Illinois has dedicated the whole week to “Prairie Week”, where the whole state celebrates its heritage and history.

Illinois State Nickname

With the Illinois state nickname being so historical and still so meaningful to the residents and historians of the state, the “Prairie Week” involves the state holding events, observations, and games in schools and public locations all over the Prairie State. The objective behind this is to demonstrate the value of preserving and reestablishing native Illinois prairies.

Another factor that has a huge influence on the Prairie day is the sad fact that the North American prairie is one of the most endangered ecosystems on earth. This is why so much emphasis goes into this special week. Approximately 20 million years ago the grasslands of America begin their journey, but some areas have seen 99% of the prairie population destroyed in the last 150 years!

The Illinois state nickname is not the only thing that associates the state with its past, it also has a state motto that many use when referring to the great state of Illinois. “State sovereignty, national union”, the meaning of this famous motto stems from the issues surrounding the power of individual states vs the power of the Union.

If you are interested in learning about the Illinois state abbreviation, check out our page dedicated to the two-letter postal abbreviation.