Contained within the Chicago metropolitan area, the City of Joliet is the county seat and biggest city in Will County, Illinois. With a blue collar heritage, the Port of Joliet has recently created some tourist attractions. Chicagoland Speedway plays host to NASCAR races in the summer. Using the canal bisecting the Port of Joliet are two riverboat casinos that attract residents and visitors alike. Travelers who are interested in learning about the many things to do in the Port of Chicago can refer to that article.
The Port of Joliet has a humid continental climate with significant differences between seasons. With sometimes severely cold winters, the Port of Joliet has frequently humid warm to hot summers. Temperatures range from an average high of 30°C (85.6°F) in July to an average low of -10°C in January. The Port of Joliet gets about 37 inches of precipitation each year. The rainiest part of the year, from April to September, sees about 4 inches of rain each month.
History buffs visiting the Port of Joliet will want to see the Joliet Area Historical Museum. Illustrating the history of the Port of Joliet area and other subjects of interest, the Museum's exhibits present state-of-the-art audio-visual technology, touch-screen visuals, life-size models, and a step-in Lunar Lander Simulator. The interactive museum includes exhibits on the Route 66 Experience, the War Heroes Gallery, and a two-story presentation about NASA's Apollo missions. Born in the Port of Joliet, aeronautical engineer John C. Houbolt played a major role in the United States' moon landing missions. The Port of Joliet Area Historical Museum also has a children's discovery room and a gift shop.
The popular Chicagoland Speedway in the Port of Joliet hosts the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, LifeLock.com 400, and a NASCAR Nationwide Series race, the Dollar General 300. Each September, it also hosts the Indy Racing Northern Lights race and an ARCA Re-Max Series. Next door to sister track Route 66 Raceway, this $130 million facility has a 1.5-mile D-shaped speedway nested on 930 acres that includes 500 acres of free parking. This Port of Joliet attraction has 75 thousand seats and 30 suites in a 15-story tall grandstand. The Chicagoland Speedway infield is large enough to fit four of the Chicago Bears' Soldier Field. It also has 85 RV spots at Speedway Ridge and 760 RV spots at the nearby Gecko RV Park.
The Port of Joliet Hollywood Casino offers more than 1100 slot and video poker machines. Boasting the most penny slots in town, gamers play blackjack, roulette, craps, and live action poker. This Port of Joliet Casino features live performances on the weekends.
Harrah's Joliet Casino & Hotel in the Port of Joliet gives visitors the fun of gambling as well as luxurious accommodations and many choices for dining including the Union Station Buffet, the elegant Reserve, and the more casual Mosaic. Adjacent to the gaming floor is Ace's Diner for delicious "fast" food that gets you back to the tables in no time. In addition to gaming and dining, the Port of Joliet's Harrah's offers great bands in Stage 151 every Friday and Saturday. Offering tempting packages, Harrah's spices up the stay with giveaways and promotions that can be found on the casino's website. (events calendar)
The Port of Joliet's elegant and historic Rialto Square Theatre was opened in 1926, boasting Byzantine, Roman, and Greek architecture. The esplanade (inner lobby) was designed to recall the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. The rotunda features 18 Corinthian-style columns and a dome reflecting Rome's Pantheon.
Originally a vaudeville movie palace, the Port of Joliet's Rialto became a performing arts center in 1981 and was restored and renovated to reflect its early elegance. The "Jewel of Joliet" underwent a $5 million re-polishing in 2006. Not only does the Port of Joliet's Rialto Square Theatre host a throng of customers, it is home to a couple of ghosts! One is a young actress who performed there years ago. Another spectral couple is rumored to have fallen from the balcony.
The Port of Joliet's Rialto Square Theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many aficionados consider it to be one of the ten best theaters in the United States. Tours are available. Today, the Rialto hosts plays, concerts, and other performances. It is also home for the Rialto School of the Arts, hosting a variety of events and meetings.
Several miles of the Centennial Trail/I&M Canal Trail run through the Port of Joliet. The trail runs through the Port of Joliet Iron Works Historic Site in downtown Joliet. The old Joliet Iron and Steel Works was the second biggest steel mill in the United States, operating from 1869 until 1936 then reopening to close forever in the 1980s. Within the site is a mile-long hiking path with interpretive signs explaining the ruins and Joliet's history as the "City of Iron & Steel." The I&M Canal borders the site and attaches to the I&M Trail, a 61.5-mile trail along the old canal towpath. The Centennial Trail/I&M Canal Trail runs in three segments for some 12.5 miles between the Port of Joliet and the Cook County line.
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