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Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway
Cruise along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, where the Mighty Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers converge. The 33-mile byway begins in Hartford, leading you through Alton and bends along the forested river bluffs to its end point in Grafton, at Pere Marquette State Park.
Alton Hauntings Tours
Based on the book Haunted Alton by Troy Taylor, Alton Hauntings Tours offers an entertaining and spine-tingling trip into the unknown, taking visitors to the most authentic haunted places in Alton. Uncover the eerie folklore, ghostly tales and documented haunted spots on a three-hour walking tour of the city’s most haunted sites. Visitors will see sites that have become nationally known, like the old Alton penitentiary, First Unitarian Church, Enos Sanitarium and many others. The tours have been proven to be popular with ghost enthusiasts and history buffs alike, and nowhere else can you learn as much about the real, haunted history of Alton. Walking tours and bus tours are offered during two touring seasons – Spring & Summer and the Haunted Fall Season. Private tours are also available for groups of 20 or more. Reservations must be made in advance for all tours.
The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge
Built in 1927, Old Chain of Rocks was the fifth bridge to cross the Mississippi River, which shortened the distance between St. Louis, Missouri, and Edwardsville, Illinois by 15 miles.
National Great Rivers Museum
Located adjacent to the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, this museum is dedicated to telling the story of the Mississippi River, from its colorful history to its modern-day role as a major transportation corridor. The museum features kid-friendly, interactive and computer animated exhibits. Steer a towboat through the locks and dam via simulator, measure your water consumption or come face-to-face with river fish in the aquarium.
Henry's Ra66it Ranch
This quirky must-see Route 66 attraction, information center and souvenir gift shop is home to rabbits of all kinds, bunny and VW, as well as Mother Road memorabilia.
Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower
The Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower is dedicated to the duo's history-making journey, and serves as a gateway to the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway. The Corps of Discovery voyage began here on May 14, 1804, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Take the elevator up to the top of the 180-foot-tall tower, where you’ll step out to panoramic views of the swirling river waters (the view is particularly stunning at sunset). On platforms located at 50, 100 and 150 feet visitors learn about the early days of Hartford, as well as Lewis and Clark's journey.
J.E. Robinson Underground Railroad Tours
In the early 1800s, Alton became a safe haven for slaves escaping from the bonds of slavery. Because of the area's neighboring slave state of Missouri, runaways found refuge in the free land surrounding Alton. The tunnels of the Underground Railroad run deep beneath the streets along the "Alton Route." The area was a major stop along the Underground Railroad, hiding slaves in caves, barns and basements throughout Alton, Otterville and Jerseyville. Hear the slave's tales, feel their fear and learn about Alton's remarkable past on an Underground Railroad Tour. Tours available by appointment only.
Melvin Price Locks & Dam
Get the best view of Alton and the Mississippi River from eight stories in the air atop the Melvin Price Locks & Dam. Take a free guided tour and see towboats and barges as they push their way through this incredible structure. It's also a great spot to eagle watch in the winter.
Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater
The 4,000 seat Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater hosts a variety of events from community festivals to live concerts throughout the summer months. With the Mighty Mississippi River as a backdrop, bring your blanket and spread out for an evening under the stars. Check out our website for a list of upcoming events.
Eagle Watching in Alton
Illinois boasts the largest concentration of wintering American bald eagles in the continental U.S., and the Alton area is a great place to see them. Mingle with a live eagle at the National Great Rivers Museum. Get a bird’s-eye view from eight stories high as majestic eagles soar along the Mississippi River at the adjacent Melvin Price Locks & Dam. Or drive along on an exciting eagle-watching expedition with a nature expert at Pere Marquette State Park during Bald Eagle Days, held from late December through mid-February.
Enjoy three levels of action on the first riverboat casino in Illinois, with more than 1,000 of the most popular machines, from penny to $25 slots. Try your luck at the tables with blackjack, roulette, Caribbean stud poker, pai gow poker and craps.
Confederate Prison Site
Built in 1833, Alton houses Illinois' first state penitentiary. During the Civil War, the facility imprisoned thousands of Confederate soldiers. Partial remains of the structure can still be observed today.
Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail
Walk in the footsteps of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Civil War soldiers from both North and South. Experience the life of young Lincoln as a lawyer, duelist and orator. It was here that the final Lincoln-Douglas Debate took place, with the issue of slavery on the minds of spectators. It was here that Confederate soldiers were held captive, died and were buried. It was here that Alton resident and U.S. Senator Lyman Trumbull authored the 13th Amendment, putting an end to slavery in the United States. Experience the 11 historic sites interpreted along the Lincoln & Civil War Legacy Trail.
Lewis and Clark State Historic Site
The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site commemorates Camp Dubois, the 1803-1804 winter camp of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. It was at Camp Dubois that members of the Corps of Discovery prepared for their expedition to the Pacific Ocean. The 14,000 square-foot exhibit space contains six galleries that outline the background and history of the Lewis and Clark expedition from its conception to its meaning for today's America. Exhibits are kid-friendly, offering opportunities for hands-on engagement. A "reconstruction" of the winter camp, Camp Dubois, is located on the grounds near the visitor center. Its design reflects 1803 U.S. Army regulations for the construction of military posts. Interpreters are on-site daily in the camp to explain how the men prepared for the journey.
Pink Elephant Antique Mall
The Pink Elephant Antique Mall has many hidden gems. Open daily 9:30 am - 5:30 pm.
Begin your holiday celebration escaping from the chaos of the season and experiencing the enchantment of Christmas at the "Christmas Wonderland" holiday light display. The "Grandpa Gang" has been at it again transforming Rock Springs Park in Alton, Illinois into a Winter Wonderland. Visitors can drive through the park to view more than 2 million lights, cascading waterfalls of lights, lighted trees and displays, and visit Santa Claus in the Enchanted Forest. Christmas Wonderland 2009 will be open from November 27th through December 27th. The suggested donation is $7 for cars and small vans or $1 per person for vehicles holding more than 10 people. Carriage rides will be available first come first serve on weekends. For more information about Christmas Wonderland, call 1-800-258-6645.
Comfort, convenience and beautiful surroundings await you in this 1870's guest house located in the historic Christian Hill District. Enjoy private one or two bedroom units with secluded brick courtyards and cozy gas fireplaces. Located on State Street, the Haagen Haus is within walking distance to downtown shops, restaurants, the scenic byway, biking and walking trails, and the Argosy Casino.
Mineral Springs Haunted Tours
Take an eight-block tour of some of the haunted locations in downtown Alton, investigate the four floors of the Mineral Springs Hotel, be part of a seance and top the evening off with a tarot card reading. All tours begin and end at the Mineral Springs Mall. Tour options include New Moon Haunted Tours, Waking the Dead Walking Tours, Cemetery Tours and Haunted Overnights.
Beall Mansion - An Elegant Bed & Breakfast Inn
Indulge yourself at the Beall Mansion, a sumptuous Bed and Breakfast Inn located 12 blocks from the Mississippi River. Designed by Lucas Pfeiffenberger and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this elegant mansion features 18 ionic columns, eleven and a half foot ceilings, crystal chandeliers and marble and bronze statuary throughout. Let us pamper you with sumptuous feather beds, whirlpools for two, 24 hour "all you can eat" chocolate buffet, and optional gourmet breakfast in bed. Free Wi-fi. In room massage, spa, golf and corporate packages available.
Mac's Time-Out Lounge/Off Track Betting
Order off the extensive menu. Why not try the real Southern-style chicken and dumplings or meat-lover’s pizza? You’ll find fair prices, large portions & excellent dishes. Try eating outside at the comfortable terrace-style beer garden. Your whole family will have a pleasant dining experience. Place your bets at the off-track betting parlor. Stay late for a cold one.
Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail
Extending 20 miles from Alton to Pere Marquette State Park, the Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail runs parallel to the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway along IL Route 100, as well as the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The route is completely paved and takes cyclists through the towns of Elsah and Grafton. Comfort stations are available at Piasa Park, Clifton Terrace Park, Elsah, Grafton Visitors Center, Grafton Harbor public restroom and Pere Marquette State Park. This is a great ride for cyclist of all ages, including families looking for a free day of fun!
Jackson House - Alton
Jackson House offers a Victorian elegance in the main house, or secluded luxury in a guest house. Sink into a king-sized bed in the spacious master bedroom or snuggle under a quilt in the atmospheric Fireplace room. After slumbering in the loft of The Barn, enjoy the woodland landscape while lounging on the enclosed porch. In The Cave, a cozy earth house, you might bask in the glow of the fireplace, or in the summer, relax on the romantic patio.
Louis Latzer Homestead
Louis Latzer, the founder of the Pet Milk Company, built this homestead for his wife and family in 1901. The home had many modern features of the day, including running water pumped by hand to a holding tank in the attic, a manufactured gas light system, speaking tubes between many of the rooms and one of the first telephones in the community.
A destination port on the Mississippi with picnic area's, playground, outdoor pool. Within a half of a mile to Alton's historic antique district and the Argosy Casino.