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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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.
A 5,000 sq. ft. laser tag arena and a 2,500 sq. ft. game arcade is conveniently located by hotels and restaurants off I-64.
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 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.
The Pink Elephant Antique Mall has many hidden gems. Open daily 9:30 am - 5:30 pm.
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.
Surfing in Illinois? Yes! The FlowRider creates a perfect wave for surfing and body boarding. Water slides, a lap pool, the lazy river, a sandy play area and "Monsoon Mountain" make for a family adventure.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Gateway features mini-golf, go-karts, an arcade, bumper boats, a kiddie track and Rudy's Restaurant.
The restaurant is known for charbroiled burgers, homemade pies and hearty breakfasts, particularly biscuits and gravy made with fresh sausage from locally produced hogs. The decor follows a diner theme with a black-and-white checkered floor and red vinyl seat cushions on chrome booths, tables and chairs. Walls are lined with vintage signs, photos of old vehicles and other Route 66 memorabilia and even has an outdoor patio.
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.
Fast Eddie’s Bon Air in Alton is like no other. Over 4,000 half barrels of beer and thousands of cases of cans, bottles and liquor quench the thirst of our patrons every year. Some even say that Bon Air is the #1 volume bar in the world. A food bar serves an assortment of grilled burgers, Big Elwood Steak on a stick, bratwurst and boiled shrimp all sold at the same low prices as when they were added nineteen years ago.