Springfield, IL is a great town to visit. There are plenty of things to do in Springfield, IL, from exploring the history and culture to enjoying some of the amazing attractions. Here are some of the best things to do in Springfield.
Visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
If you love American history, then the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is not to be missed. Providing a comprehensive look at the life of one of our country’s greatest leaders, the museum offers everything from interactive exhibits to an impressive collection of artifacts. Step back in time and learn all about our 16th president at this world-renowned museum.
Admission Hours: Mon-Sun 9 am-5 pm
Cost: $15/adult, $10/ children ages 5-15
Tour the Illinois State Capitol Building
Springfield is the state capital of Illinois, so be sure to tour the beautiful State Capitol Building. It’s an architectural work of art, built in 1888 and designed in the French Renaissance style, a notable departure from the Greek Revival style used for most capitols. The building was constructed to be taller than any of its rival state capitols. It wasn’t until 1940 that the Texas State Capitol surpassed it in height. Inside you can find bronze statues of Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas and Ulysses S. Grant, among many others. If you only have time to stop at one attraction during your visit to Springfield, make it this one.
Visit the Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Lincoln Home National Historic Site is easily one of the most historically significant sites in the state and a major attraction for Springfield. Abraham Lincoln lived in Springfield for 17 years, from 1844 to 1861, when he moved to Washington D.C. to become the 16th President of the United States. This is the only home that Abraham Lincoln ever owned, and it’s open for tours year-round. The house was restored to how it looked in 1860, with most of its items kept as original, including his bed and blanket chest.
Visit the Dana-Thomas House
Dana-Thomas House is a historic house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is one of the best examples of his Prairie School style of architecture. The house was built in 1902 for Susan Lawrence Dana, and it is now a State Historic Site. The house has been called “the jewel box” and “a living work of art”. Visitors can tour the house, and there is also a museum on the property. All tours must be reserved online at least 24 hours in advance, and tour groups are limited to eight people. Tickets range from $15-$25 dollars depending on your age and what kind of tour you choose to take.
Pay Your Respects at the Oak Ridge Cemetery
Oak Ridge Cemetery is a great place to visit. Not only is it beautiful, it is also the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary and three of their children. In addition to visiting the Lincoln Tomb, you can also tour President Lincoln’s Home and other historic Springfield sites. Hours: 9am – 5pm daily. Cost: Free Admission (fees for some guided tours)
Take a Ride at Route 66
Route 66 is one of the most iconic roads in the United States. The 2,448-mile long highway stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles, passing through eight states along the way, including Illinois. The road was originally built in 1926 as a way to connect the major cities on the East and West Coasts. Route 66 quickly became a popular route for road trippers and families looking to escape the bustle of city life. This iconic road has also been featured in countless movies and TV shows, and is a must-see for any traveler.
Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon
Seeing the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon is one of the most unique and beautiful things to do in all of Springfield, Illinois. The Carillon is a set of bells that are played using a keyboard, and the sound produced is simply gorgeous. The carillon is located in Washington Park, and it is definitely worth taking the time to visit. In addition to playing an array of popular songs, including “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and “New York, New York” the instrument is also used for weddings and special events like Fourth of July celebrations. It is truly a magical place to hear the bells ringing.
Illinois State Museum
The Illinois State Museum can be found in downtown Springfield and covers a variety of topics on the history of Illinois. The admission to this museum is free, although donations are accepted at the door. With a variety of exhibits about geology, paleontology and Native American artifacts, this museum provides visitors with a range of information on Illinois’s natural history. For those interested in more specific events from Illinois’s past, there are also dioramas depicting early settlers and displays on baseball.
Washington Park Botanical Garden
If you’re visiting Springfield, Illinois, here’s a quick rundown of some of the best things to do in Washington Park Botanical Garden.
Founded in 1897, this garden is a wonderful testament to the evolution of Springfield and its residents. It serves as a lovely oasis for all types of people who appreciate flowers. Learn (and enjoy!) the rich history of this park by stepping into the visitor center or following one of the many interpretive trails. This park has six buildings or structures that represent different eras in its history, from Victorian to modern. Walk through each building and marvel at their unique styles.
Did you know that these tall trees were planted in 1894? They were planted by two men who were paid $100 each for their work, which was more than enough money to buy a small house at the time!
Things to Do in Springfield, IL With Kids
If you’re looking for things to do in Springfield, IL with the little ones, we have a few options that might be of interest to you.
- Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum. This one-of-a-kind museum that celebrates the power of play. The museum features a variety of interactive exhibits and activities that encourage visitors of all ages to explore, create, and imagine.
- Henson Robinson Zoo. It is a great place to see all kinds of animals, like lions, tigers, bears, and more. The zoo also has a great educational program that will teach you about the animals.
- Cozy Dog Drive In. The drive in is known for its hot dogs, which are served on a stick. Cozy Dog also offers a variety of other food items, including burgers, fries, and ice cream. Visitors to Cozy Dog can also purchase souvenirs at the gift shop.
Things to Do in Springfield, IL
There are plenty of things to do in Springfield, Illionois. If you are a fan of Abraham Lincoln, there are many places around the city you will definitely want to visit. If you like history, there is a lot to see in Springfield. And if flowers are your thing, the botanical garden is a nice place to visit. Don’t worry, kids won’t be bored either! So, when are you planning your next trip to Springfield?
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