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Things to Do in Illinois

In contrast to it’s largest city, Chicago, find a long list of things to do at parks downstate. Many showcase natural and manmade attractions and outdoor activities – Fort Massac, Cave in Rock, Giant City, Cahokia Mounds, Carlyle Lake, Wildlife Prairie, Black Hawk, Apple River Canyon, Mississippi Palisades and Starved Rock, among others. While agriculture is a major industry, the state capital of Springfield highlights attractions tied to Abraham Lincoln. Chicago is home to major museums emphasizing art, science and industry, natural history and history, plus an aquarium and zoo. Take the interstate or back roads and discover restaurants featuring locally grown farm products. Lodging includes hotels, motels, inns and B&Bs.
Things To & DoVacation IdeasPlaces to StayVideos

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library

212 North Sixth Street
Springfield, Illinois
The presidential museum's permanent exhibit is comprised of two Lincoln journeys, a treasures gallery, Mrs. Lincoln's attic - a hands-on play area for children ages 3-12 and their families - and an ask Mr. Lincoln area.

Two theater presentations are offered: one is the story of Lincoln as told from an artist's perspective; the other is a holavision production that discusses the relevance of history and artifacts. At the time of its opening, the museum was twice as large as any...
Hours & Admission
Museum (admission): daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed major holidays. Library (free): daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Photo Courtesy: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Illinois State Capitol

401 South Second Street
Springfield, Illinois
Constructed in the 1860s, the capitol is the current home of the Illinois legislature and houses many state government offices. It rises 461 feet above the city, took 21 years to complete, and cost $4.5 million. The building, which has several huge paintings, also contains the hall of governors and a bronze figure representing Illinois welcoming the world to the Colombian Exposition of 1893.

The Howlett Building is part of the capitol complex and was erected to commemorate the...
Hours & Admission
Capitol: Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Closed major holidays. Free.
Photo by: Heather Hayes. Photo Courtesy: Office of Illinois Secretary of State

Washington Park Botanical Garden

1740 West Fayette Avenue
Springfield, Illinois
The botanical garden is one of the region's major horticultural attractions with 20 acres featuring more than 1,800 species of plants in 10 specific garden areas, plus a conservatory.

The garden highlights annual beds, a rockery, cactus garden, civic garden, monocot garden, perennial border, peony collection, rose garden, shade garden and a Roman cultural garden.

Hours & Admission
Monday to Friday 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. Free.

Adams Wildlife Sanctuary

2315 East Clear Lake Avenue
Springfield, Illinois
A 30-acre green oasis, located in the center of town, is a sanctuary for nature watching. Hike the one-mile nature trail to learn more about native species. The park is also the home of the state Audubon chapter.
Hours & Admission
Dawn to dusk. Free.

Adventure Village - Amusement Park

801 Sangamon Avenue
Springfield, Illinois
While the Illinois State Fair is only open the third week of August, the rides at Adventure Village, located inside the main gate at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, are open all summer long. Find everything from Ferris wheels to carousels and many thrill rides.
Hours & Admission
May to mid-September, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. Admission.

Air Combat Museum

835 South Airport Road
Springfield, Illinois
This museum showcases the role of military aviation and features a Mustang P-51 and a Vought F4U-5N Corsair.
Hours & Admission
Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed major holidays. Free; donations welcome.

Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War Museum

503 South Walnut Street
Springfield, Illinois
Organized by direct descendants of Civil War veterans of the Union Army or Navy, the museum seeks to preserve the history and artifacts of the war and that era, especially military memorabilia.
Hours & Admission
May to September, Tuesday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., October to April, Tuesday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Closed major holidays. Free; donations welcome.

DuSable Museum of African American History

740 East 56th Place
Chicago, Illinois
The DuSable Museum of African American History was the first museum of its type in the country (founded in 1961 as the Ebony Museum of Negro History) and is the only major independent institution in Illinois established to preserve and interpret the historical experiences and achievements of African Americans. In 1968, the museum was renamed after Jean Baptist Pointe DuSable, a Haitian fur trader who was the first non-native American permanent settler in Chicago.
Hours & Admission
Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. Admission.

Edwards Place

700 North Fourth Street
Springfield, Illinois
Built in 1833, the former home of Benjamin and Helen Edwards is the oldest house on its original site in Springfield and is currently a historical museum, art gallery, art school and library.

The Italianate-style house contains many furnishings and decorative pieces typical of a fine Victorian house of the 1800s. Abraham Lincoln gave several political speeches from the porch balcony, while the spacious grounds provided the perfect setting for political rallies at which both Lincoln and Stephen...
Hours & Admission
House: Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Gallery: Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Closed holidays. Free; donations welcome.

First Presbyterian Church

321 South Seventh Street
Springfield, Illinois
One of the church's most significant non-religious items is the pew that the Lincoln family paid to occupy for some 10 years prior to his becoming president. Windows created by Louis Comfort Tiffany are also on display.
Hours & Admission
June to September, Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed major holidays. Free; donations welcome.
Information subject to change without notice.
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