Visit Springfield, IL
Springfield is the epicenter of Illinois’ “Land of Lincoln.” Abraham Lincoln made Springfield his home from 1844 to 1861 before becoming president. Springfield boasts more Lincoln sites than any other place in the world, and has many attractions that are related to the president.
Step into the past and live the life of the Lincoln family at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. For a rare glimpse into Lincoln’s life as a father, husband, and neighbor, take a stroll through the historic neighborhood around the home.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is the official library and museum of the 16th U.S. president. Enjoy immersive displays and incredible shows that show the human cost of slavery and war, as you explore pivotal moments in Lincoln’s life. Through artifacts that are not available anywhere else on the planet, you can see Lincoln and his family. Numerous exhibits explore Lincoln’s life from his boyhood in a Kentucky cabin to his 1860 campaign for President of the United States.
A trip to Springfield would not be complete without a visit the Old State Capitol Historical Site, a reconstruction and restoration of the fifth State House. Serving as the State Capitol from 1840-1876 and during the 20th century’s Civil Rights movement, its restorers carefully recreated the building where Lincoln gave his famous “House Divided” speech. Take a self-guided tour of the historic site. You can also visit the staff to learn more about the site’s history.
The Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site was designed by Larkin Mean. It is located in Oak Ridge Cemetery. This granite monument contains the final resting place for Abraham Lincoln, Mary Lincoln, and their three sons. Arlington National Cemetery is the burial place for Robert Lincoln, Lincoln’s oldest son. Visitors from all over the world stop to rub the noses of the bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln at the Tomb’s entrance for luck.
Stop by the Lincoln Memorial Garden to experience a truly tranquil environment. This woodland and prairie garden is located on the shores Lake Springfield. It was designed by Jens Jensen, a landscape architect. The trails take you through the Illinois landscape Lincoln would have loved. You might find springtime dogwoods, prairie wildflowers, summer colors, and burnished autumn leaves. Or, snow-covered maple trees, bursting with sap. It all depends on the season. Visit the Garden’s Nature Center or Split Rail Gift Shop.
Historic Route 66 runs through Springfield and is dotted with many unique stops, including Route 66 Motorheads Bar, Grill & Museum, a classic car restaurant with a themed menu, serving great food and delicious drinks against the backdrop of the Route 66 & Motor Museum. While there, snap a pic with the World’s Largest Outdoor Route 66 Shield!
The Cozy Dog Drive In is a traditional Route 66 diner that became a part of the history of The Mother Road, and the history of Springfield, when, in 1946, inventor Ed Waldmire introduced the “Cozy Dog”- the famous “hot dog on a stick.” The Waldmire family still makes this delicacy today. Inside the diner, located on Old Route 66 since 1949, you’ll find an amusing selection of Route 66 memorabilia, souvenirs, and delightful treats. Maldaner’s Restaurant in America is a creative American establishment that focuses on farm-totable food. The restaurant is located in a historic Springfield building, just two blocks from downtown hotels or Lincoln sites. Established in 1884, Maldaner’s is the oldest continually operated restaurant in Springfield on Route 66.
Relax and enjoy any of the more than a dozen wineries or breweries located in the Springfield region. These local businesses offer the best craft beer, wines, delicious noshes, and beautiful settings with live music and special events.
No matter what your interests are, Springfield has it all. There are many places, attractions, culinary delights and accommodations to suit your travel needs.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.