Springfield, Illinois is the site of a number of attractions through which the life and times of President Abraham Lincoln are vividly represented. Lincoln began his political career in Springfield. Included are a national park site, his family home, and the conserved neighborhood surrounding it. The four-block Lincoln Home National Historic Site is closed to automobile traffic, forming a pedestrian court within the neighborhood in which the Lincoln home is situated.
This historic area has been authentically restored in every detail and even has streets with gas lamps and wooden sidewalks. In East Old State Capitol Plaza, visitors can view an original ledger of Lincoln’s account with Springfield Marine & Fire Insurance Co. The Old State Capitol is the site of Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech from his debate as a presidential candidate with his opponent, Stephen Douglas. The Herndon-Lincoln law office, the old capitol building; the newly built Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the train depot from which he departed to Washington are all sites to be visited. Lincoln’s burial mausoleum is north of Springfield, near the village of Petersburg. There is also a restored settlement of log cabins recreating Salem, the village in which Lincoln lived as a young man.
Springfield is the capital of the U.S. state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County. The city was founded in 1819, became the county seat in 1823, and received its city charter in 1840. It was made the capital of Illinois in 1837, and the Legislature convened there for the first time in 1839. Springfield is now an important government center. Its Governor’s Mansion, at Fifth and Jackson streets, is the oldest continuously occupied governor’s mansion in the nation and a center of Springfield’s social life since 1855. The city lies along two interstates, one of which was formerly known as highway 36; the other was historic Route 66.
Springfield was the birthplace of poet Vachel Lindsay. It was also the point of origin for the Donner Party, a group of pioneers who were tragically stranded in the Sierra Nevada during severe winter storms lasting many weeks. Springfield’s Dana-Thomas House is among the best preserved and most complete of Frank Lloyd Wright’s early “Prairie Houses”. It was built in 1902-04 and contains many of the original furnishings designed for it by Wright. In August, Springfield is the site of the Illinois State Fair. Springfield is also home to the Bunn Company, known for the manufacture of coffee-makers and supplies.
The Springfield campus of the University of Illinois is located on the southeast side of the city.
The corn dog on a stick originated in Springfield, where it was (and still is) called a Cozy Dog. For many years the popular Reisch Beer was brewed in Springfield. Another Springfield culinary invention consists of two pieces of thick, buttered Texas toast, topped with two hamburger patties, surrounded by a pile of French fries, with the entire creation being completely covered by mounds of cheese sauce. To order: just ask for a horseshoe sandwich.
B- City Information:
Time Zone: Springfield is in the central time zone.
When to Visit: Springfield enjoys moderate year-round temperatures. Average temperatures range from 70-80° in the summer months to 30-40° in the winter months.
Holidays Observed in Springfield:
New Year’s Day Jan. 1
Martin Luther King, Jr., Day 3rd Mon. in Jan.
President’s Day 3rd Mon. in Feb.
Memorial Day last Mon. in May
Independence Day July 4
Labor Day 1st Mon. in Sept.
Thanksgiving Day 4th Thurs. in Nov.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dec. 24 and 25
New Year’s Eve Dec. 31
How to Get There
Getting to Springfield is easy. By plane, Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport is linked with the international gateway airports of St. Louis Lambert and Chicago O’Hare for daily flights, as well as Midway Airport in Chicago.
Amtrak offers daily stops in Springfield between Chicago and St. Louis.
By car, take Interstate 55 (a.k.a. Route 66 for nostalgia lovers), just 200 miles from Chicago, and 100 miles from St. Louis.
Springfield Trolley: An old-fashioned, open-air trolley (closed and heated in the winter) with regular stops at the major historic attractions. Tickets are sold at several downtown locations. For a list of stops, ticketing locations and days of operation, call (800) 545-7300 or (217) 789-2360.
Mass Transit Buses: Public buses are available to most areas of the city. The buses run from 6am – 6pm, Monday through Saturday, except for holidays. For bus schedules and maps, stop by the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau at 109 N. 7th St., or call the mass transit office at (217) 522-5531.
Taxis: Several taxi companies offer service to and from the airport and train station, as well as to all areas of the city. Check the local yellow page listings for phone numbers.
C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library/University
112 North 6th Street
Mon, Tue, Thurs, Fri 9am-4:30pm; Wed 9am-8:30pm, Sat 8:30am-3:30pm
This library is home to the State of Illinois’ 46,000-item Lincoln Collection and also contains the Illinois State Historical Library and its 12 million items.
700 N. 4th St.,
Springfield, IL 62702
Tours: Thurs. 7pm, Fri. 1 & 3pm. Admission.
Art Gallery: Mon.-Fri. 10am-5pm, Sat. 10am-3pm
Closed on Major holidays
Once the home of Benjamin and Helen Edwards, this beautifully preserved Italianate mansion, built in 1833, is located in a park-like setting. In 1913, Edwards Place was deeded to the Springfield Art Association which now extends into the adjoining complex, housing an art gallery, school of art, and the Michael Victor II Art Library.
410 E. Jackson,
Springfield, IL 62701
Tue. & Thur. 9:30am-11am & 2-3:30pm
Closed on Major holidays
Home of the Illinois governor, seven U.S. Presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, have been received here. Three levels are open to the public including four formal parlors; a state dining room; ballroom; four bedrooms, including the Lincoln bedroom; and a library handcrafted from native American Black Walnut. (Mansion closed during official State functions.)
999 E Monroe St
Springfield, IL 62701,
(217) 544-8695 or (217) 788-1356
Daily Apr.-Aug. 10am-4pm.
“No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feelings of sadness at this parting.” These words were spoken by President-elect Abraham Lincoln as he embarked on his journey from his Springfield home to Washington, D.C. to serve as president of the United States. The Depot contains restored waiting rooms, exhibits of people and places dear to Lincoln, and a state-of-the-art video presentation recreating the 12-day journey to his inauguration.
The Lincoln Home Visitor’s Center
426 South Seventh St
Springfield, IL 62701
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except January 1st,
Thanksgiving, and December 25th.
The Lincoln home, the centerpiece of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, has been restored to its 1860s appearance, revealing Lincoln as husband, father, politician, and President-elect. It stands in the midst of a four block historic neighborhood which the National Park Service is restoring.
Vachel Lindsay Home
603 S. 5th St.,
Springfield, IL 62703
Closed: on Major holidays
Group tour by appt.
The 1879 birthplace of the native Springfield poet/artist, this house remained Lindsay’s only home until his death there in 1931. The house was built in the late 1840s; an early owner was C.M. Smith, whose wife, Ann, was the sister of Mary Todd Lincoln. Both Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln were frequent visitors.
Adams Wildlife Sanctuary – Springfield – Garden/Nature Park/Area
2315 E. Clear Lake Ave.
Admission is free.
A green oasis located in the center of town, the sanctuary is open for hiking or walking. The one mile nature trail is open from sunrise to sunset.
835 Capital Airport Dr.
This museum showcases the role of military aviation
Illinois State Capitol
2nd & Capitol
Hours of Operation: M-F: 8am-4pm S, Su: 9am-3pm
Closed on Holidays
The center of state government which houses offices of Governor, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer as well as House of Representative and Senate Chambers. Visitors can watch politics in action from balcony-level seating when legislature is in session.
D- Family Fun Attractions:
Jungle “O” Fun
3031 Koke Mill Rd.
Admission Price(s): Call for details
Hours of Operation: M: 10am-6pm T-S: 10am-9pm Su: 11am-6pm
Children’s indoor playground with 21-foot, 3-story soft play system, slides, ball pits and air bounce. One price,unlimited play.
Knight’s Action Park and Caribbean Water Adventure
1700 Recreation Dr. & Chatham Rd.
Waterpark – Adult: 16.95 Under 48″: 12.95 Dry Park – Varies w/ activity – Call
Dry Park Hours – Daily: 9am-9pm Waterpark Hours – 10am-7pm
Opening Date: 05/13/2002
Closing Date: 09/02/2002
Two parks at one location – A dry park and water park in one.
Henson Robinson Zoo
1100 East Lake Dr.
Adults: 3.00 Group adult: 1.50 Child: 1.25 Group child: .75 Senior citizen: 1.50
June-August – Daily: 10am-8pm Other months – Daily: 10pm-5pm
The Henson Robinson Zoo is home to over 300 animals and 90 species of animals.
Adventure Village – Amusement Park/Entertainment Center
Sangamon Ave. & Peoria Rd.
May through mid-September, Sat.-Sun. open Noon
Adventure Village is located inside the Main Gate at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. There is everything from Ferris wheels to carousels and many thrill rides.
E- Events & Entertainment:
Downtown Mardi Gras Celebration
Pre-Lenten Fun! Evening Sidewalk Parade-participation encouraged! Dress up and join the parade! Promotions and free beads at many locations (purchase may be required.) New Orleans foods and chicory coffee offered at many eateries.
Information: 217-391-0101 or 217-528-2234
Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum
Athletes in traditional Celtic kilts from across the United States participate in events including: the caber toss, hammer throw, weight for height, stone throw & sheaf toss. Admission charged for competition which begins at 9am, Music at 4pm provided by the St. Andrew’s Pipes and Drums. Information: 217-415-8324
Late April, early May
Springfield Air Rendezvous
Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport
Springfield Air Rendezvous features the BLUE ANGELS! The air show is affordable family fun for all. In addition to the action in the air with aerobatic performers & military demonstrations, the air show provides lots of fun and action on the ground too. Ground activities are everywhere from rock wall climbing to motion rides to great food to pedal airplanes for the smallest of air show fans to visiting with people from all over the world. Information: 217/789-4400
Pied Piper Downtown Architectural Walking Tour
Begins in front of Lincoln Herndon Law Office at 5 p.m.
Join Anthony Rubano of IHPA in a walking tour discussing the architectural styles, materials, and treatments that make up historic Downtown Springfield. Information: 217-544-1723
3rd Week in May
Illinois Highland Games and Celtic Festival
State Fair Grounds
Celebrate Celtic history, spend a day and go back 400 years in history. Dance, music, athletics, vendors and food. Largest ethnic festival in downstate Illinois.
Third week in May
Old Capitol Art Fair
Captial Plaza, Springfield, IL
Rain or shine, the Old Capitol Art Fair is held on the plaza in downtown Springfield. Two days filled with fine art with nearly 200 artistsFood vendors, live entertainment all weekend.
Hot Rod Power Tour
Illinois State Fairgrounds
The Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour is the ultimate Hot Rodders’ vacation. Imagine cruising across America with the staff and editors of Hot Rod Magazine, along with all the icons of the automotive industry. The attention of over 40 million automotive enthusiasts will focus on these seven days in June where the rubber meets the road and the pages of the magazine come alive. Over 3000 cars will stop in Springfield at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The Hot Rod Power Tour is a family event and is free to the public. Information: (317) 236-6522
International Carillon Festival, featuring concerts by international carillonneurs Information: Phone: 217-753-6219
Washington Street Jazz
between 5th and 6th Street on Washington St. in Springfield
Several jazz and blues bands play on two outdoor stages, entertaining audiences of all ages. Festive summertime cuisine is available for purchase. Chance to win prizes. Silent Auction and 50/50 raffle.
For information: 217-753-3519
Hot Rod Super Nationals
Illinois State Fairgrounds
For Information: (317) 236-6522
Hot Rod Super Nationals boasts over 3000 cars, consisting of 4 different types: Street Machines-personalized or customized two-wheel drive vehicles encompassing the years of 1949 to the present day; Street Rods–vehicles manufactured prior to1949, designed for street use; Hot Rods-American made vehicles, rebuilt or modified for a higher performance and distinctive functional appearance; Custom Cars-Restyled for a more distinct appearance.
Participants have thirty seconds to perform and the competition is judged by crowd reaction. Admission is charged.
Old Capitol Blues & BBQs
Washington Street Downtown
Full line-up of local and national blues bands. Sample BBQ from over 20 contestants in a baby-back rib cook-off. Admission charged.
Late August-early September
LPGA State Farm Classic
Rail Golf Course
LPGA State Farm Classic is held annually at the Rail Golf Course. Over 140 of the best women golfers in the world convene in Central Illinois to compete for a $1.,300,000 purse. There are many ways
Late September-early October
International Route 66 Mother Road Festival
Downtown Springfield, Illinois
Hundreds of high quality vintage cars from around the U.S. and Canada fill the streets of historic downtown Springfield for a 3-day celebration of the cars, food, music, & friends of the heyday of U.S. Route 66. Information: 1-866-RTE-66IL or 217-422-3733
Harvest Celebration at the Old Capitol Farmers’ Market presented by St. John’s Hospital
Adams Street Downtown
In celebration of another successful market season, we are hosting a fun, family event featuring Jack-o’lanterns on display, musical entertainment by Second Harvest, Trick-or-Treat the Market, and seasonal crafts for sale. Free.
Evenings at the Dana-Thomas House
Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site
The fully decorated Frank Lloyd Wright designed mansion is open for evening viewing until 8 p.m. on each of three nights. On the Sunday before Christmas the site is lit with 850 luminary sacks. Live music each evening.
Arts and Entertainment
University of Illinois at Springfield
One University Plaza, MS PAC 397
Springfield, IL 62703-5407
Ticket Office: 217.206.6160
Sangamon Auditorium is the venue for a wide variety of cultural and educational professional arts activities of high quality. It serves audiences on the campus of the University of Illinois, in Springfield, in Sangamon County and in the surrounding areas, reflecting a broad representation of music, theater and dance in all their forms. Groups performing include the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Springfield Ballet Company.
The Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon
Within the open tower hang 67 cast bronze bells covering a range of 5 1/2 chromatic octaves. The total weight of the bells is 82,753 pounds; the largest weighs 7 1/2 tons, while the smallest weighs 22 pounds. Regularly scheduled concerts are given each Sunday afternoon throughout the year, with the addition of a Wednesday evening concert during the summer months. Tours of the tower are given on a daily basis (Closed Monday and Tuesday) from Memorial Day to Labor Day and on weekends after September if weather permits. An annual festival in early June features concerts by internationally known carillonneurs.