15 Things to Do in Springfield Illinois: The Ultimate Guide

Things to Do in Springfield Illinois

Springfield, Illinois is a small city with a rich history and diverse culture. If you’re planning to visit this beautiful city, then you’re in for a treat. From the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum to the iconic Route 66, there’s something for everyone.

In this ultimate guide, we’ve listed down 15 things that you must do while you’re in Springfield, Illinois. Whether you’re a history buff or a foodie, there’s plenty to explore and experience here. So pack your bags and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of Illinois.

1. Unearthing History at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum

Explore the fascinating legacy of the 16th President of the United States at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Delve into history at the Illinois State Capitol, featuring the iconic Abraham Lincoln statue, and take a guided tour of the Dana-Thomas House, an exemplary showcase of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture.

Uncover the heritage of Route 66 at the Route 66 Drive-In Theater and Museum, and visit the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln delivered his historic “House Divided” speech in 1858. Don’t miss the botanical gardens and conservatory at Washington Park, offering a great time for all.

2. Taste Local Brews at Custom Cup Coffee

Taste Local Brews at Custom Cup Coffee
Custom Cup Coffee

Custom Cup Coffee offers a delightful array of locally brewed coffee, providing a unique and delicious experience for visitors. While in Springfield, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the historical significance of the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Additionally, make sure to take a guided tour of the stunning architectural masterpiece, the Dana-Thomas House. For nature enthusiasts, a peaceful walk or bike ride at Washington Park is a must. Lastly, be sure to stop by the iconic Cozy Dog Drive-In for a taste of their famous corn dogs.

3. Paying Respect at Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery

Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery
Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery

The Lincoln Tomb, a must-visit landmark in Springfield, Illinois, allows visitors to pay their respects to President Abraham Lincoln and his family at their final resting place.

The tomb features a visitor center with exhibits and artifacts related to Lincoln’s life and legacy and offers guided tours for a more in-depth experience. Situated in Oak Ridge Cemetery, the tomb is also the resting place of other notable figures from Illinois history.

4. Savor Local Cuisine at Obed & Issacs Microbrewery

 Obed & Issacs Microbrewery
Obed & Issacs Microbrewery

Indulge in the area’s culinary delights at Obed & Issacs Microbrewery, known for its delectable local cuisine and craft beer. After immersing yourself in the history at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, savor the flavors of Springfield and have a great time enjoying the south side’s offerings. With its old-school charm and delicious grill menu, Obed & Issacs Microbrewery is a must-visit for anyone traveling through Springfield, IL.

5. Architectural Marvels: Dana Thomas House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Dana Thomas House by Frank Lloyd Wright
Dana Thomas House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Designed by the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Dana Thomas House stands as a beautiful example of the Prairie School style. Springfield, Illinois is teeming with history and culture, offering a plethora of attractions for visitors.

From neoclassical architecture at the Illinois State Capitol to the significant historical site of the Old State Capitol, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous “House Divided” speech, there is a great deal to explore and appreciate in this richly historical city.

6. Comparing Illinois State Capitol Buildings

Illinois State Capitol Buildings
Illinois State Capitol Buildings

Comparing the Illinois State Capitol to other state capitol buildings, like those in Texas, New York, and California, offers an insightful perspective on architectural diversity. Witness democracy in action by attending a legislative session at the Illinois State Capitol.

Explore the surrounding area, including the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, for a great time. Capture photos of the stunning exterior and interior and learn about the Illinois State Capitol’s historical significance and political landscape.

7. A Nostalgic Trip Down Route 66

Nostalgic Trip Down Route 66
Nostalgic Trip Down Route 66

Explore Springfield’s Route 66 for a nostalgic adventure through history and America. Begin at the Cozy Dog Drive-In, where the corn dog was invented, and then visit Shea’s Gas Station Museum for vintage gas pumps and signs. Drive across the iconic Chain of Rocks Bridge and immerse yourself in the Route 66 Association Hall of Fame & Museum. Take a guided tour with Route 66 Tours and have fun exploring the quirky attractions at the Route 66 Arcade Museum.

8. Experiencing Nature at Washington Park Botanical Garden

Washington Park Botanical Garden
Washington Park Botanical Garden

Nestled in Springfield, IL, Washington Park Botanical Garden boasts a stunning array of flora, including roses, lilies, and tulips. Visitors can leisurely explore the garden’s tranquil ambiance or partake in guided tours and educational programs.

Noteworthy is the Conservatory, which houses a tropical rainforest, a cactus garden, and a butterfly house. The garden also hosts diverse events like plant sales, art shows, and concerts, offering a great time for all. Nature enthusiasts are sure to have a delightful and educational experience at this prairie-style gem.

9. Abraham Lincoln Long Nine Museum

Abraham Lincoln Long Nine Museum
Abraham Lincoln Long Nine Museum

Explore the rich history of Springfield by visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and the Illinois State Capitol building. Take in the stunning Prairie-style architecture of the Dana-Thomas House and enjoy a stroll through Washington Park, home to a botanical garden and historic monuments.

Delve into the past at the Old State Capitol building and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Immerse yourself in the life and times of Abraham Lincoln, from his early days in Illinois to his presidency.

10. Barack Obama Historical Marker at the Old State Capitol

Barack Obama Historical Marker

Explore the rich history of Illinois by visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and the Illinois State Capitol Building. Delve into architectural excellence at the Dana-Thomas House, a Frank Lloyd Wright design, and pay homage to the Lincoln legacy at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site. Take a stroll through the Washington Park Botanical Garden and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings.

11. Illinois Governor’s Mansion

Illinois Governor's Mansion
Illinois Governor’s Mansion

The Illinois Governor’s Mansion offers a glimpse into the state’s rich history and architectural heritage. From the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, visitors can explore the legacy of Abe Lincoln and the state’s political history.

The Dana-Thomas House is a must-see for its stunning Prairie-style architecture, while Washington Park Botanical Garden and Adams Wildlife Sanctuary provide serene natural escapes. It’s a great time to experience the old-school charm of Springfield, IL, and indulge in fun things with family and friends.

12. Illinois Police Officers Memorial

Illinois Police Officers Memorial
Illinois Police Officers Memorial

The Illinois Police Officers Memorial holds significant historical importance, honoring fallen officers. Located in Springfield, its architecture and design symbolize the bravery of law enforcement. The memorial hosts commemorative events and serves as a tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Visitors can pay their respects and participate in activities at this revered site. This memorial stands as a solemn reminder of the service and sacrifice of police officers in Illinois.

13. Illinois State Library

Illinois State Library
Illinois State Library

The Illinois State Library, established in 1818, is a significant resource for Illinois residents. Its extensive collection covers Illinois history, government documents, and genealogy research. The library hosts diverse events like author talks and book clubs, providing a great time for all visitors.

Moreover, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum collection within the facility houses presidential papers, artifacts, and memorabilia. Additionally, the library offers access to a vast collection of digitized historic documents and newspapers, making it a valuable resource for research and exploration.

14. Illinois State Military Museum

Illinois State Military Museum
Illinois State Military Museum

The Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield, IL, showcases the rich military history of Illinois and honors the men and women who served. With exhibits featuring weapons, uniforms, and vehicles from significant wars like World War I, II, Korea, and Vietnam, visitors can delve into Illinois’s role in the Civil War and view artifacts such as a captured Confederate flag.

The museum also houses a memorial for fallen Illinois soldiers and offers a research library for military history enthusiasts. Admission is free, yet donations are encouraged to support the museum’s operations.

15. Jubilee Farm

Jubilee Farm
Jubilee Farm

Jubilee Farm, a working farm advocating sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship, invites visitors to explore its 94-acre premises, featuring gardens, pastures, and woodlands.

The farm offers educational programs, workshops, and farm-to-table dinners using locally sourced ingredients, while guests can stay in the guesthouse with two bedrooms and a full kitchen. Open for tours and events, the farm allows visitors to purchase fresh produce from its on-site store.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-see attractions in Springfield, Illinois?

Experience the rich history of Springfield, Illinois at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Immerse yourself in the stunning architecture of the Illinois State Capitol building. Explore the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Dana-Thomas House. Other must-see attractions include the Old State Capitol, Lincoln’s Tomb, and the Henson Robinson Zoo.

Are there any free or low-cost activities to do in Springfield?

Yes, there are plenty of affordable or even free activities to enjoy in Springfield. Explore the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, take a leisurely walk through Washington Park or the Illinois State Capitol grounds, and don’t miss the reasonably priced admission to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

What are some recommended local restaurants to try in Springfield?

Looking for local dining options in Springfield? Here are a few must-try restaurants in the area. Indulge in comfort food and craft beer at Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery and Eatery, enjoy cozy breakfasts and bakery treats at Cafe Moxo, savor the famous horseshoe sandwich at D’Arcy’s Pint, or treat yourself to upscale dining at Augie’s Front Burner.

Is there public transportation available in Springfield for visitors?

Public transportation is available in Springfield for visitors. The city operates SMTD, a bus service offering fixed routes and a downtown tourist trolley. Visitors can also utilize ride-sharing services or rent a car to navigate the city.

Conclusion

There you have it, the ultimate guide to experiencing Springfield, Illinois! From exploring historical landmarks like the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum and Lincoln Tomb to indulging in local brews at Custom Cup Coffee and savoring delicious cuisine at Obed & Issacs Microbrewery, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply looking for a nostalgic trip down Route 66, Springfield has it all. Don’t forget to visit the Illinois State Capitol Buildings, the Dana Thomas House by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Abraham Lincoln Long Nine Museum.

Tell us, which activity are you most excited to try? Comment below and let us know!

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