Showing 1-96 of 1,061 items found in History
Starved Rock State Park
Seasonal waterfalls, awe-inspiring bluffs and rugged canyons dominate the storied landscape at Starved Rock. Rich with history and beauty, Starved Rock’s hiking trails meander through towering trees and scenic overlooks along the Illinois River. Outdoor activities include hiking, canoeing, paddle boat cruises, cross-country skiing, trolley rides, fishing and picnicking. Visitors can stay at the historic Starved Rock Lodge or in one of its cozy cabins.
Main Street Galena
Galena's historic Main Street -- named "Best Main Street in the Midwest" by Midwest Living magazine and one of America's Best Main Streets by Fodor's -- curves past nearly 100 19th-century storefronts. Galena looks much as it did during the time of the Civil War, although now the historic red brick buildings are home to charming boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. Galena is also known for its cozy lodgings, with quaint bed and breakfasts dotting the picturesque hillsides surrounding the town.
Livingston County War Museum
Walking through Livingston County War Museum is like taking a tour of the 20th Century, including artifacts, films, books, uniforms and weapons of several wars. The museum does not glorify war, but shows the best attributes of men and women caught up in war. In doing so, we respectfully honor the service of America's veterans, and the men and women from the area who served in the military.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
This museum is one of the most-visited presidential museums in the nation where visitors can experience the entire Lincoln story under one roof, from Abe's humble beginnings in an Indiana log cabin to his days as president in the White House. Be dazzled by two special effects theaters featuring historical ghosts and a Civil War battlefield, life-like vignettes that depict important moments in the president’s life, and artifacts that range from Lincoln’s stovepipe hat to an original copy of the Gettysburg Address.
Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway
The experiences you’ll find here are as unique, fun and memorable as the road is long. Route 66 defined a remarkable era in our nation’s history - and it lives on today in Illinois Route 66’s many roadside attractions, museums, restaurants - and the shining ribbon of blacktop we call The Mother Road. Illinois’ stretch of this mythic road boasts the highest density of kitschy, interesting things to do you’ll find from here to California. So, join us for the far out journey that never ends on Illinois Route 66.
The Field Museum
Discover Sue, the largest and most complete T. rex ever found! At the Field Museum you can also get a bug's-eye view in the Underground Adventure, descend into an Egyptian tomb, be dazzled in the Hall of Gems, come nose to nose with the infamous man-eating lions of Tsavo, and walk among dinosaurs in Evolving Planet.
Museum of Science and Industry
A world of discovery awaits at the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. Explore more than 800 exhibits, including the legendary U-505, a German submarine captured on the high seas during World War II; take off on a Boeing 727 airplane for a simulated cross-country flight; descend down a mineshaft for a tour of a realistic coal mine; and witness robots at work in a toy factory. Take a seat at the museum’s Omnimax Theater and watch awesome 3D flicks on a giant screen.
Caterpillar Visitor's Center
Opened in October 2012, this new visitor's center celebrates the long history of the Caterpillar Company. Visitors can explore the past by taking a journey back in time via historic photos and antique equipment. Visitor favorites include a 24-foot tall 797 mining truck that doubles as a movie theater and a product floor complete with simulators to explore its world-famous product line.
Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum
See the finest memorabilia associated with the history of the Mother Road in Illinois. Among the artifacts, you’ll find the bus and van of Route 66 icon, Bob Waldmire—a true legend of the Mother Road. During your visit, you’ll likely spot Bob’s brother, Buz Waldmire, sharing stories of his late brother’s famous travels up and down Route 66. Be sure to step around back for a great photo op in front of the World's Largest Route 66 shield and other great murals. Admission is free.
Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site
The Tomb is the final resting place of President Lincoln, his wife and three of their four children. It was constructed between 1869-1874 in Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery. Be sure to rub the nose of the bronze Lincoln bust at the entrance, which is said to bring good luck. Dogs are allowed on the site; they are not allowed inside the monument. Dogs must be under their owner's control, leashed, and cleaned up after at all times.
Buffalo Rock State Park
On the bluffs of the Illinois River, this small but charming park is home to an enormous outdoor sculpture. Mounds representing five earthen sculptures molded from Illinois clay, known as Effigy Tumuli, invite visitors to walk around and explore. All five subjects, including a snake, turtle, catfish, frog and insect are native to the Illinois River area. This State Park offers the ideal terrain for the beginner hiker.
Knight's Action Park
The theme park offers miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages, carnival rides and an arcade. While the water park features a wave pool, bumper boats, water slides, paddle boats and a lazy river. Catch a movie at the old-fashioned drive-in, adjacent to Knight's.
Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site
Step back in time and explore historic New Salem just as Lincoln knew it. This meticulously reconstructed 1830s village is where Lincoln lived as a young adult, studied law and began politics. Everything from the people to the blacksmith’s workshop gives visitors a glimpse into what pioneer life was really like when young, burly Abe was throwing down his axe.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Get an intimate look at Lincoln during a tour of the Lincoln Home, the only house he ever owned. The Lincoln family lived here from 1844 until they left for Washington. The Lincoln Home is located in a historic four-block neighborhood that looks much as it did in the mid-1800s, complete with wooden sidewalks. A visitor center and restored neighboring homes display exhibits that tell the story of Lincoln’s time spent with his wife, children and friends in Springfield.
Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive
The Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive Associates invite you to come to Fulton County, Illinois and enjoy the natural wonders of the Spoon River Valley. Spoon River has carved a wide scenic valley through Fulton County as it flows from London Mills to the south and east where it joins the Illinois River near the southeastern corner of the county. The Spoon River became nationally known from the work of Edgar Lee Masters, author of the noted Spoon River Anthology. Come on out the first two full weekends in October. There are over one hundred miles of scenic routes on the Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive to be enjoyed on this driving tour with beautiful fall colors. There will be food, arts, crafts, entertainment and flea market. Visit 17 villages and historic sites!
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
Illinois' only United Nations World Heritage Site. This 2,200-acre site preserves the central section of the largest prehistoric Indian city north of Mexico. An Interpretive Center presents a coherent account of this sophisticated prehistoric culture. Climb Monk's Mound, see the film and life-size village. Don't miss annual events that focus on Native American culture.
Burpee Museum of Natural History
Come explore Burpee Museum and its award-winning exhibits such as Jane: Diary of a Dinosaur, called one of the ten most important dinosaur discoveries in the past 100 years. Burpee Museum also features Homer, a sub-adult or "teen-age" Triceratops. Four floors of exhibits include Windows to Wilderness, a woolly mammoth skeletal cast, Pennsylvanian coal forest, a Native American exhibit, Geoscience, and a viewing lab.
Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co.
We operate Chicago’s premier Hop On Hop Off ® city sightseeing tours in the classic red & green Trolleys and fun-filled Double Decker buses. We also offer private group transportation for special events such as weddings, parties, and corporate outings. For 19 years the Hop On Hop Off® sightseeing tour has been the gold standard for entertaining and informative tours. Covering 13 miles and 14 stops, the Signature Tour is an eye-popping adventure through the heart of Chicago, giving you the option of Hopping On and Off at your choice of stops to visit the hottest retail, cultural, and family attractions. Summer tours include neighborhood tours and night tours.
Original Brick Road
This beautiful 1.4 mile long piece of restored hand-laid brick road is a segment of 66 done in 1931 and placed over a concrete roadbed. Route 66 at its best.
Visit Superman Square in Metropolis to have your picture taken with the 15-foot-tall statue of the Man of Steel. A statue of Lois Lane is located nearby. Across the street is the Super Museum, showcasing rare Superman memorabilia and selling superhero souvenirs.
John Deere Pavilion & Store
Experience innovations of the present and the future while appreciating the heritage of the past at the free attraction in downtown Moline, Illinois. See vintage machines and climb aboard new ones, operate a simulated excavator or dozer, explore exhibits on how technology helps people shape and care for the land and enjoy interactive ways for kids to learn about farming and infrastructure. The John Deere Store stocks a large collection of genuine John Deere merchandise.
Go on a one of a kind country adventure you'll never forget! Become pioneers for a day on a real 1800s farm and village. Miniature train rides, pony rides, petting zoo, pioneer craft demonstrations, and special events. In the Discovery Barn see chickens, sheep, piglets, baby goats and more.
Doc’s Soda Fountain
Located on historic Route 66, this was originally a pharmacy built in the 1880’s. The soda fountain was added to the business in the 1950’s. Stop in for an old-fashioned treat or ice-cream. Doc’s is also open for lunch and dinner.
Apple River Fort State Historic Site
Apple River Fort State Historic Site, located in Elizabeth, Illinois, is the site of one of the battles fought during the Black Hawk War. Black Hawk and his 200 warriors attacked the hastily erected fort on June 24, 1832. His story and that of the early settlers are told.
Volo Auto Museum
The most under priced attraction in the area! 36 acres of family fun. See 300 classic, antique and muscle cars, including the country's largest display of Hollywood TV and movie cars! Experience the Military Combat Zone, a life-like battle scene with rare military vehicles and weapons. Shop 5 Antique Malls. Take a Haunted Trolley Tour. Enjoy great food in a Betty Boop themed diner and more. All in one location!
Black Hawk State Historic Site
Wonderful for families, friends for outdoor recreation. Additionally, the Watch Tower Lodge has hosted thousands of wedding receptions and offers a lovely setting in the beautiful historic park. This wooded, steeply rolling 208-acre tract, borders the Rock River in the city of Rock Island. Prehistoric Indians and 19th-Century settlers made homes here, but the area is most closely identified with the Sauk nation and its great warrior, Black Hawk. Voted one of the "7 Wonders of Illinois," this pristine park offers beautiful trails for hiking and walking only. Picnic areas are also available. While at the park be sure to visit the Watch Tower Lodge that houses a large reception area and the John Hauberg Indian Museum. The museum features Sauk and Meskwaki Native American Indian artifacts and displays depicting the four seasons and life of these tribes. A new exhibit tells the story of the Sauk and Meskwaki—how they came to live in the Quad City area, why they no longer live here, and, as the piece de resistance, a four-by-eight-foot scale model of the city of Saukenuk one of the largest Native American Indian settlements in the United States.
Polk-a-Dot Drive In
The Polk-a-Dot Drive In was founded over 50 years ago has become one of the most memorable attractions along Illinois Route 66. Stop in and see the collection of memorabilia and enjoy a great meal.
Here I Have Lived Exhibits
View over 40 outdoor interpretive exhibits placed throughout the downtown area to experience Springfield as Abraham Lincoln knew it. Each exhibit is intended to capture a moment in time for Lincoln and how he was affected by the people, places and events he encountered in his hometown. Each story is accompanied by graphics or photographs and a medallion that is symbolic of that particular story. Visitors are encouraged to collect rubbings of each medallion.
History Comes Alive
Every day for 12 weeks this summer, you’ll be able to take a step back in time as you participate in a whole array of living history performances and programs that will both delight and educate about the Springfield Abraham Lincoln knew and loved for most of his life. From Civil War encampments to White House kitchen chats with Mr. Lincoln himself, there’s something for everyone. Some events may have a fee.
Visitors can enjoy a dazzling music, light and water show at the Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain, one of the largest fountains in the world. Located at Columbus Drive, shows runs from dusk to 11pm every hour and lasts for 20 minutes. Operates April through mid-October.
This 500-acre park offers vast formal gardens, picnic grounds, a top-ranked public golf course and two museums: Robert R. McCormick Museum and First Division Museum. Enjoy a wide variety of programs and events throughout the year, such as festivals, lectures, concerts and workshops.
Fort de Chartres State Historic Site
This former French military stronghold has been partially rebuilt and turned into a museum. Regular living history events shed light on colonial life in Illinois, and include 18th-century crafts, food, music, hundreds of historically dressed participants, flintlock rifle and musket contests, cannon and mortar competitions, traders and much more. There are also guided tours of the 1800 Creole House, which was designed in the French-American Transitional Architecture style.
CITY:Prairie du Rocher
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.
A Chicago tradition for 83 years. Breakfast all day. Homemade pastries, bread and famous omelettes. Fresh squeezed O.J. Outstanding fresh daily lunch specials. Milk Duds for the ladies! One block west of Union Station. Mon.-Sat. 5:30am-3pm; Sun. 7am-3pm.
Old State Capitol State Historic Site
The Old State Capitol is a reconstruction of Illinois' fifth statehouse, the first to be located in Springfield. It is here that Lincoln practiced law, served as a legislator and gave his famed House Divided speech on slavery in 1858. The building served as the seat of state government and a center of Illinois political life from 1839-1876. The current State Capitol Building is the center of state government, where visitors can watch Illinois politics in action when the legislature is in session.
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.
World's Largest Catsup Bottle
This 170-foot-tall bottle that resembles a Brook's Catsup Bottle served as a water tower for the catsup manufacturer after being constructed in 1949. A popular roadside attraction, it makes for a great photo op.
Chicago Pedway Tour
The Chicago Pedway Tour will lead you through the Pedway, the backdrop for an amusing and enlightening tour of some of the hot-spots (or a least warm-spots) of downtown Chicago. The tour focuses on interesting anecdotes and tales about some of the great buildings downtown, but it’s also a study of the city underneath the city. The Pedway is a strange and wonderful place and adds so much to the city’s personality. These are great tours for Chicagoans who want to learn more about the city and for tourists who want a full Chicago experience without ever going outside. The tour is 90 minutes and is $20. Monday/Thursday/Saturday at 10:30 am. Please note: the start location for the Monday and Thursday tour is at 40 W. Lake St. in the “Gallery of Shops.” The start location for the Saturday tour is at start at Block 37 – 108 N. State St.
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.
David Davis Mansion
The David Davis Mansion was the home of Judge David Davis, the friend, mentor and campaign manager for Abraham Lincoln. The elegant 36-room Victorian home tells the story of the generation that led the United States through the Civil War and early years of Reconstruction. Take a tour of the lavishly decorated mansion, where you’ll learn about the important friendship between Davis and Lincoln, and get a peek at what life was like for a wealthy Victorian-era family.
Chicago History Museum
The Chicago History Museum is a major museum and research center for Chicago and American history. From permanent galleries to special exhibitions and exciting programs, people of all ages are able to experience the past and better understand the present. Please call for museum hours, pricing and exhibitions.
Galena Carriage Co.
Historic carriage rides, dinner rides, "romance and roses" rides. Friday-Saturday evenings, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Seasonal sleigh rides. Reservations recommended.
DeSoto House Hotel
Stay the night at the DeSoto House Hotel on Galena’s Main Street, which dates back to 1855 and is Illinois’ oldest operating hotel. The DeSoto has hosted such notable guests as Abraham Lincoln (who spoke from a hotel balcony to the assembled crowd below) and served as the presidential campaign headquarters for Ulysses S. Grant. The hotel features 55 Victorian-style guest rooms, three restaurants and boutiques.
Children's Museum of Illinois
Kids can shimmy up Luckey's Climber, make a giant bubble and pretend to be whatever they can imagine, from a pilot to a scientist. The museum's permanent exhibits complement temporary exhibits and projects.
The Gemini Giant is a landmark statue on U.S. Route 66. The 30 foot tall statue is named after the Gemini space program and holds a silver "rocket ship" in his hands, while sporting an astronaut's space helmet that looks more like a welding mask.
Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site
This Italianate home was presented to U.S. Grant in 1865 and opened to the public in 1904. Furnishings original.
The Super Museum houses the mythical caped hero from the big green planet. The museum is filled with a $2.5 billion collection spanning 60 years, honoring the most famous hero of all time.
World's Largest Covered Wagon
The Railsplitter Covered Wagon, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest covered wagon in the world, is located on the front lawn of the Best Western Lincoln Inn, near historic Route 66. A statue of Abe Lincoln reading a law book sits in the huge wooden wagon, which stands 24 feet tall.
Dana-Thomas House by Frank Lloyd Wright
One of the best-preserved examples of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie design, this 35-room mansion contains some 100 pieces of original Wright-designed furniture and stunning art glass. Photo copyright Doug Carr, courtesy of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens
Tinker Swiss Cottage is a historic house museum located in the heart of Rockford, Illinois. The museum complex contains the historic house museum, barn, and carriage house from the Tinker family. In addition, the property is the home of the founding site of Rockford and contains a Pre-Columbian Native American conical mound. Robert Tinker's inspiration for the Cottage came during his tour of Europe in 1862, where he fell in love with the architecture of Switzerland. In 1865, Robert began building his Swiss Cottage on the limestone bluff overlooking Kent Creek.Robert surrounded his Swiss Cottage with over 27 acres of trees, vines, winding pathways, flowerbeds, and gardens. A three-story Swiss inspired barn was added to the property which housed cows, chickens, and horses.
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.
Bob's Civil War Fort
Tucked away in the rolling hills of Germantown is a Civil War Fort. There is a jail, civil war cannons, a stage coach, a livery, log cabins, and much more.
The Palms Grill Café
The Palms Grill Cafe was a well-known restaurant during the heyday of Route 66. Recently the cafe was revitalized and reopened, and is serving up delicious nostalgia from the fabled Route 66 era. The Palm’s Grill Café has been baking pies and feeding hungry travelers and residents for decades. Their pies are so delicious they've even won a few state pie competitions. Saddle up to the counter or take a seat at a table; either way, the pie and coffee with the community atmosphere is enough to make any first-timer feel like a regular. Conveniently located right across the street is the towering Bunyon’s Statue, another one of Route 66’s famous Muffler Man Statues.
Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site
This is the only remaining structure where Abraham Lincoln maintained working law offices. Lincoln and his final law partner, William Herndon, operated from the top floor of the building from 1843 to 1852. Filled with clutter and makeshift furniture, the offices draw a vivid picture of what a normal day was like for Lincoln and Herndon. Today the building includes a visitor center, federal courtrooms and attorney offices. ***Closed for historic renovation. Plans are to reopen in late 2015 with a restored dry good store, Lincoln's law office and federal court exhibits.***
Amish Country Tours with ACM Tours
ACM Tours is a full service, receptive tour guide company with many special services available at no additional cost. We literally open the door to fabulous Illinois Amish Country! We are ready to assist you with meals, attractions, lodging and step on guide service. We have available trained, professional, local step-on guides who are well versed in the history, customs and folklore of this most unique part of Illinois.
Galena Trolley Tours
City tours of Galena, tour of homes and nightly ghost tour. Group services and charters. Original tour company since 1988.
Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours
Try a segway tour, where you'll enjoy fantastic views of Chicago's famous attractions. Explore Chicago by day or night with friendly tour guides.
Paul Bunyon Hotdog Statue
Standing 19 feet tall and clutching a giant hot dog, this Paul Bunyon statue, not “bunyan” purposely spelled with an “o”, is one of Route 66’s mythic Muffler Man Statues. A few of these giants still proudly grace the roadsides of historic Route 66. This one is located in Atlanta, just across the street from the Palms Grill Café, which features fine fare from The Mother Road’s golden age.
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.
Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup
Guided tours offered during February and March that show syrup making by the "Boiling Down" process. Gift store stocked with syrup as well as Route 66 memorabilia.
Midway Village Museum
The museum campus consists of a Victorian village with 26 historical buildings filled with artifacts of the era as well as several beautiful 19th century gardens that depict life in northern Illinois from 1890 to 1910. Interpreters in authentic period dress are available seasonally for guided tours. The main museum building holds large group meeting rooms and exhibit space with a number of permanent exhibits reflecting Rockford's history and culture. Special events throughout the year include a World War II re-enatment, Sock Monkey and Scarecrow Harvest Festivals, and more. Free recreational path located on property.
Stroll downtown Springfield and check out shops that carry everything from Lincoln souvenirs to one-of-a-kind jewelry and fresh-made fudge. Downtown is also host to many events and festivals throughout the year.
Peoria Riverfront Museum
Opened in October 2012, this brand new 80,000 square-foot building is a world-class facility located on Peoria’s downtown riverfront. The museum features a 3D giant screen theater and digital planetarium, as well as history, science, art and achievement exhibits for all ages.
Obama Family Home
The Obama family home is a lovely red brick manse located on a tree-lined street in the historic Kenwood neighborhood, near the University of Chicago. Chicago Neighborhood Tours regularly offers tours of the area.
Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion
Located on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus, Krannert Art Museum is the second-largest fine art museum in Illinois—placing it among the top tier of university art museums nationwide. The museum’s diverse permanent collection contains over 10,000 works of art, and represents the cultures of African, Asia, Europe and the Americas. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum features outstanding temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
Route 66 Drive In
Restored and reopened drive-in located along historic Route 66 in Springfield. Single screen drive-in with double features nightly.
Chicago Food Planet Tours
Take the 3-hour food tasting and cultural walking Chicago tours, which combine delicious food and drink tastings with some serious fun in Chicago’s most delicious, off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods. Suitable for all age groups and fitness levels, you’ll experience delectable foods from one-of-a-kind specialty food stores and ethnic eateries while receiving an insiders view into the culture, history and architecture that defines the Windy City. Walk away with new culinary perspectives, big smiles, satisfied taste buds and the confidence to continue exploring the areas where locals live.
Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field Tours
Get an insider’s look at this historic American landmark that has enchanted baseball fans for almost a century. Each 90-minute guided tour shows guests the clubhouses, bleachers, press box, dugout, field, and more.
McLean County Museum of History
Founded in 1904, the museum is housed in a magnificent courthouse that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located in downtown Bloomington, the museum reveals the lives of the people who shaped McLean County, including those who encountered and knew Abraham Lincoln.
University of Illinois Arboretum
The University of Illinois Arboretum is a living laboratory, including plant collections and facilities that support the teaching, research and public service programs of several units throughout campus. Central to the Arboretum was the development of the "All American Selection Trial Gardens" established by a bequest from Miles C. Hartley in the early 90s. Other highlights of the Arboretum include the Welcome Garden, Hosta Garden, Kari Walkway and native ponds plantings, the Idea Garden, sponsored by Champaign County Master Gardeners, and the Japanese Tea and Dry Gardens at the Japan House.
Pink Elephant Antique Mall
The Pink Elephant Antique Mall has many hidden gems. Open daily 9:30 am - 5:30 pm.
Old State Capitol-Illinois Tourist Information Center
Located in the Old State Capitol where Abraham Lincoln gave his "House Divided" speech. Here you'll find tourism information for the whole state. Many free events and performances throughout the year.
Ruebel Hotel & Restaurant
Located near the convergence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers is Grafton - a little town steeped in history. In the heart of that history is the Ruebel Hotel. The Ruebel was built in 1884, caught fire in 1912 and was rebuilt and completely renovated in 1997. The Ruebel Hotel has a magnificently restored bar from the 1904 Worlds Fair in St. Louis. The Ruebel Saloon offers excellent food and a great variety of beer and wines.
Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum & Resource Center
The history of the Oakland and Pontiac car brands as seen through 15 classic cars, dealer artifacts, a complete print library and memorabilia. Free admission-open year round.
Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket
The Chicken Basket in Willowbrook opened in the summer of 1946 on Historic Illinois Route 66. Dell Rhea’s chicken has been bringing visitors from around the world on a regular basis for years.
Historic Swinging Bridges
Three bridges which cross the Vermillion River. Built as early as 1898 and one of the most popular attractions in Pontiac. Bridge 1 connects Riverview Drive and Play Park. It was built in July 1898 by Joliet Bridge Company with an iron structure, 190 feet long and 4 feet wide and supported by cables swung from masonry piers. The current bridge is a wooden structure. Bridge 2 connects the Play Park and Chautauqua Park - Eden M. Johnson Memorial circa 1926. Bridge 3 connects the south side and Riverside-Humiston Park. It was built in connection with the adjoining park, circa 1978: Illinois Contractors, Inc.
Spirits of Bloomington Historic Ghost Tours
The Spirits of Bloomington Historic Ghost Tours feature guides dressed as President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln who reveal fascinating tales, myths and paranormal accounts of McLean County.
Illinois Railway Museum
The award winning Illinois Railway Museum (IRM), open from April through October, celebrates railway preservation with electric cars, steam trains, diesel trains, trolley buses and motor buses operating throughout the grounds. This museum was the film location for all of the scenes on the train and at the railroad depot in A League of Their Own.
Elihu B. Washburne House State Historic Site
Washburne was a popular congressman/friend of Lincoln and Grant. Grant's election news was received in the library via telegraph.
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.
Grosse Point Lighthouse
Built on the shores of Lake Michigan by the United States Government in 1873 after several shipwrecks demonstrated its need, this was the lead lighthouse marking the approach to Chicago. In 1999, Grosse Point Lighthouse was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service; the first lighthouse on the Great Lakes to carry that status. The Garden Club on Evanston maintains wildflower and butterfly gardens on its property.
Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home and Visitors Center
Tour the restored home that the Reagan family resided in from 1920-1923, and meander through the Visitor Center and Gift Shop which features books and gifts highlighting the Reagan legacy. The tour includes the four-room Presidential Timeline exhibit and the viewing of a Reagan biographical video.
LaSalle Canal Boat & Lock 16 Visitors Center
Mule pulled canal boat rides with period clothed storyteller, open May-October. The year-round visitor center includes exhibits, programs, visitor information, cafe and gift shop.
Mayslake Peabody Estate
Tour Mayslake Hall, a Tudor Revival style mansion, formerly owned by coal baron F.S. Peabody. Witness restoration in progress at this nationally registered historic building by renowned architect B. Marshall. Portiuncula Chapel is available for weddings.
Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum
See the finest collection of memorabilia from the historic Mother Road in Illinois. The free-admission Hall of Fame features nostalgic photos and displays, plus attractions that include Route 66 artist and icon Bob Waldmire's bus and van, and the world's largest Route 66 shield.
A visit to Wagner Farm affords you the opportunity to take part in and experience first-hand the workings of a genuine American farm. Wagner Farm is an 18.6 acre farm preserved for the educational and recreational enjoyment for all. See how bread was made in a wood cook stove, hear the rooster making time with his crow or milk one of the farm’s many cows. Explore the world of agriculture and rural life as it existed in 1920-1950’s.
Looking for Lincoln Exhibits
Pontiac’s historic connections to Abraham Lincoln date back to Lincoln’s early days as a young lawyer traveling the 8th Judicial District. Lincoln visited Pontiac many times, represented a number of local citizens in legal actions, and made connections here that helped him to rise to prominence in state and national politics. Nine outdoor story boards help tell the stories associated with Lincoln's many visits to Pontiac. Pick up a map at the Visitor Center.
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.
Lincoln's Family Pew
Abraham and Mary Lincoln maintained a family pew in their place of worship. You can quietly view the pew and beautiful Tiffany stained glass windows in the First Presbyterian Church.
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.
Ewing Cultural Center
Located on the wooded Sunset Hill estate of the late Hazle Buck Ewing, the Ewing Cultural Center encompasses the open-air Theatre at Ewing (summer home of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival), the elegant Ewing Manor (which is open for tours) and the beautiful Genevieve Green Gardens.
Old Illinois Passenger Depot Railroad Museum
Built in 1903 by the Illinois Central Railroad, the Old Railroad Passenger Depot has since been restored and now serves as home to the Carbondale Train Museum. Filled with information, artifacts and souveniers, the museum contains significant facts relating to Carbondale's history. Ring the bell of an original train car from the Illinois Central Railroad, which still sits on the track!
Trolley Car #36
Trolley Car #36 is a turn-of-the-century, open-air trolley, the kind your grandparents might have taken to work, except you don't have to go to work. Board the Trolley at the Trolley Station in Riverview Park (on Thursdays, board at Nicholas Conservatory), ride along Madison Street beside the scenic Rock River Recreation Path, stop for a brief visit to the Eclipse Lagoon and Gardens, travel to the Symbol, then turn around and return to the Trolley Station. Trolley Car #36 is wheelchair accessible; however, the trolley is limited to 2 wheelchairs per ride.
Enchanting Linmar Gardens is nestled in a hillside overlooking the historic town of Galena. The secluded 3.5-acre garden is situated on natural outcroppings which have been enhanced with hand-built terraces. Meander on a guided tour along paths through a collection vibrant annual and perennial flowers including hostas, viburnums, conifers, grasses and daylilies.
Historic Vaudeville Movie Theatre listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Wide variety of performances.
Chicago Neighborhood Tours
These half-day bus excursions celebrate the history, stories, traditions, and most importantly, the people of our great city. Tours departing weekly from the Chicago Cultural Center. Explore Chicago's neighborhoods with local tour guides. All tours are conducted by motorcoach and by foot, and depart from the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 East Randolph Street. Check in at 9:30 am in the main seating area behind the Randolph Cafe. Unless otherwise specified, tours do not include lunch or refreshments. All tours are $30 for adults and $25 for seniors/students/children, with the exception of Taste of the Neighborhoods ($50/$45). Cash and major credit cards are accepted. Chicago Neighborhood Tours is presented by the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture.