Springfield Tourist Information and Tourism

(Springfield, Illinois - IL, USA)

The small and unassuming city of Springfield rose to become the capital of Illinois in 1837. However, this city is not all about local government and politics, it is more surprisingly something of a living and breathing memorial to former US president Abraham Lincoln, its most famous ever resident.

In his early years, Lincoln practiced law right here in Springfield, between 1837 and 1861, before his meteoric rise to fame, and today, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site remains one of the city's biggest tourism offerings. Of course, the elegant domed Illinois State Capitol Building is another major tourist attraction, and interestingly, a city statute decrees that no other building here should exceed the capitol's height.

Tourists on holiday will find that the best way to explore downtown Springfield is on foot, with many of the principal sights being just a stroll from each other and also the centrally located Amtrak train station, on East Washington Street. Just a few blocks east of the train station, the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau on the corner of East Washington Street and North 7th Street is the place to visit for tourist information, maps and accommodation advice.

Springfield Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

The tourist attractions available in Springfield fall into a number of distinct categories, namely cultural, family themed, natural and evening entertainment, broadly speaking. A trip to Lake Springfield, on the southeasterly outskirts of the city, will reveal an array of recreational activities. This man-made lake came along in the early part of the 1930s, following the creation of the Spaulding Dam, and now features beach areas, boat hire, lakeside parks and lots of angling opportunities, thanks to its resident giant catfish.

Families will discover a number of fun attractions and activities available at Knight's Action Park on Recreation Drive, such as mini golf, baseball batting cages, pedalo boats, an amusement arcade, fairground-style rides and a water park, which comes complete with slides, a lazy river and a wave pool. Right next-door, the Route 66 Drive-In offers late-night movies from the comfort of your own vehicle. Touring shows from Broadway can sometimes be found performing at the Sangamon Auditorium, within the southeasterly campus of the University of Illinois, and for musicals and concerts, the open-air Springfield Municipal Opera amphitheater boasts a park-like location with the opportunity for picnicking and performances under the stars. More information about Springfield Tourist Attractions.

When you are sightseeing for landmarks in Springfield, the Illinois State Capitol Building will certainly stand out and this majestic building welcomes visitors Monday through Friday, with free admittance. Many people agree that the fine architecture and tremendous attention to detail makes this one of the most attractive state capitols in the United States, and interestingly, it is actually America's highest non-skyscraper capitol. Guided tours tend to last approximately 30 minutes, although you can easily spend a couple of hours exploring this stately structure and its beautiful landscaped grounds, learning all about its history. Completed in 1840, the Old State Capitol Building is another sight of note, with its Greek Revival facade and interesting past events, with both Lincoln and Obama speaking here to announcing their presidential intentions.

Since this is very much an Abraham Lincoln city, it makes sense to pay a visit to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, which is located on South 7th Street and has been owned by the state of Illinois following its kind donation in 1887. At the Oak Ridge Cemetery, the Lincoln Tomb is another hugely popular draw and boasts a towering obelisk, making this grand tomb very hard to overlook when you first arrive. Further landmarks include the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the Great Western Depot and the Nicholas Vachel Lindsay House, which is run by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and remembers the life and works of this acclaimed 'singing' poet. More information about Springfield Landmarks and Monuments.

Springfield's strong and fairly relentless presidential theme continues when it comes to the museums found within this state capital. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum contains information about the shocking assassination of the president in 1865 and remembers his famed Gettysburg Address speech. You may also like to visit the State Historic Site of the Lincoln Herndon Law Office, where a young(ish) and enthusiastic Abraham set up his successful law business with his partner in the year 1843, aged 34. Information about the state's earliest pioneers is on display at the Illinois State Museum on South Spring Street, as well as lots of Native American Indian relics and much memorabilia relating to the Civil War. Those interested in the classical arts should consider checking out the Hoogland Center for the Arts on South 6th Street, which occupies an old Masonic Temple and regularly plays host to exhibitions, plays, ballets and concerts by the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. More information about Springfield Museums and Springfield Art Galleries.

Springfield sits close to the very heart of Illinois and this means that if you have your own hire car, you can easily plan some excursions. Lying to the west is Jacksonville, which is connected by the I-72 and home to a couple of very old colleges. Head a little further westwards and tourists will discover the Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge and Pittsfield, and across the border in Missouri, the small town Hannibal, where strong links with renowned Huckleberry Finn author Mark Twain are quite the tourist magnet.

Interstate I-55 leads northwards to the small town of Lincoln, where highlights include the Edward R. Madigan State Fish and Wildlife Area, and also the Kickapoo Creek County Park. Roughly 90 minutes away is the city of Bloomington, to the northeast, where Grady's Family Fun Park and Miller Park Zoo are perfect for visiting families. At the nearby town of Petersburg, around 30 minutes to the northwest, more than half a million people come each year to check out the authentic reconstruction of a settlement from the early part of the 19th century. And if you are happy to leave early in the morning, then the sights, sounds and giant arch within the metropolis of St. Louis, Missouri, may well beckon, to the southwest. More information about Springfield Attractions Nearby.

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