Springfield, Illinois: The Land of Lincoln- a hidden travel gem just a few hours south of Chicago is today’s travel destination! There are a lot of Springfields in the United States (34 I think). For example, my last two posts were about Springfield, Ohio. Today; however, we are going to focus on an itinerary to the Springfield that is the capital of Illinois.
When most people think of Illinois they think only of Chicago, which is an awesome vacation as I posted about here. Many don’t realize there is more to see and do in Springfield Illinois: The Land of Lincoln.
Springfield, Illinois is where President Abraham Lincoln lived…
and so an awesome destination to learn more about this great man. What’s more, Illinois’ capital city is only 1.5 hours away from St. Louis, MO. It is also near Hannibal, MO home of Mark Twain which is a great little side trip.
Your first stop…
should be the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. This museum is impressive enough to make you feel like the trip was well worth the drive. The multi-media shows are fun and the exhibits really pull you into Lincoln’s life.
Next on the Lincoln trail…
is The Lincoln Home Visitor Center/ Lincoln Home National Historic Site. You need to go into the interesting and interactive visitor center to get a free ticket to tour Lincoln’s home. Next, you can walk around the rest of the restored neighborhood exhibits on your own.
The next stops on your Springfield, Illinois bucket list should include the…
Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site (also see the Lincoln family statues nearby)
Old State Capitol State Historic Site (this is where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous “House Divided” speech)
Edwards Place Historic Home (restored home from the time period of Lincoln, and friends of the Lincoln’s lived here)
Lincoln’s Tomb (rub the statue’s nose for good luck!)
If you really want to round out your Lincoln experience…
take a 30-minute detour to St. Petersburg, IL and visit Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site for a step back in time.
To get a taste of the capital city these buildings really impress…
Illinois State Capitol (Capitol tours include the House and Senate galleries, Governor’s reception area, Hall of Governors and Old Supreme Courtroom)
Illinois Governor’s Mansion (Public tours are open most weekdays from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Reservations are required)
Dana Thomas House (If you are a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes, this is a good one!)
For a break and to walk some beautiful trails, try…
Lincoln Memorial Garden (does not allow dogs, shows off the landscape Abraham Lincoln would have grown to love )
Washington Park (does allow dogs, rolling terrain, wooded areas, and two lagoons, the Rees Memorial Carillon and the Washington Park Botanical Gardens)
For some amusement, check out…
Scheels (includes an aquarium, a candy store, a café, they allow dogs inside, indoor and outdoor sports items for sale, exhibits)
Knight’s Action Park & Caribbean Water Adventure (water park)
The Illinois State Museum (displays Illinois’ past to the present utilizing natural history, history, art, and anthropology exhibitions)
If you happen to be there at the right time you must stop in to see…
The Illinois State Fair (Big-name concerts, and a cow made out of butter)
Springfield IL Festivals – (Old Capital Art Fair, Downtown Springfield Funfest, Downhome Music Festival, Edwards Place Fine Art Fair, Fat Ass 5k, Rock the Dock Independence Day Celebration, Downtown Springfield Farmers Market/Outdoor Yoga, Paint The Street Festival, see a musical at the Muni, Lincoln’s Funeral Procession Reenactment)
The places I recommend to grab a bite to eat include…
Cafe Moxo (hip downtown eatery)
Charlie Parker’s Diner (old school diner)
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant (amazing food and atmosphere)
In addition, ( I need to throw in a few more) – Obed and Isaac’s (especially fun is their outdoor Bocce Beer Garden – pet and bicycle-friendly – offering bocce, bean bags, darts, games, and wood-fired pizza), downtown’s amazing classic – Maldeners which was established in 1884, and there is a good reason it is still going strong, and lastly, Incredibly Delicious (a quaint historic setting for breakfast, lunch or brunch- so delicious).
Finally, watch these youtube videos from The Studio Show to get to know the local art scene.
This rounds out your Springfield Illinois: The Land of Lincoln itinerary. So, I hope you can travel there soon!