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Great River Road in Illinois National Scenic Byway
Explore the heart of America! Follow the Mississippi River as it winds its way along Illinois' western border from Galena to Cairo. Experience over 550 miles of small towns, big cities, historic sites, recreational areas, cultural attractions and museums. Follow the green and white paddle wheel signs as they guide your next adventure!
Looking for Lincoln Audio Tour
This CD-based audio tour presents President Lincoln as a returning visitor, talking about the places he visited and their meaning to him. Whether you drive the route or enjoy the tour from your favorite armchair, the audio tour is a special and novel way to learn about the history of Lincoln and the role Bloomington-Normal played in his life. The CD can be purchased at the McLean County Museum of History
Miles Davis Statue
Miles Davis was born on in Alton, IL on May 26, 1926 and is noted as one of the most influential jazz muscians of the 20th century. Over his lifetime, Davis won nine Grammy awards and recorded more than 100 albums. In 2006 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Created by sculptor Preston Jackson, the bronze statue stands in the middle of the Miles Davis Memorial Plaza.
Behind the Curtain Tour - Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts
The fascinating history of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts comes to life in the Behind the Curtain historic tour program. Led by a group of specially trained docents, you'll not only see the beautiful neo-Classical interior design of the BCPA, but also learn all about the many technical and patron service updates achieved in the building's significant renovation. You won't want to miss this surprising, fascinating, and fun-filled look at one of Bloomington's historic and most thriving buildings. Bring your stories, your questions, and, above all, your curiosity. Behind the Curtain tours are one hour in length and can accommodate a wide variety of group sizes.
Bronzeville Visitor Information Center
The BVIC is an African-American heritage tourism destination that serves as the main orientation center for those visiting Bronzeville. Here, visitors, residents, students, researchers and entrepreneurs can receive an orientation and information on Bronzeville's rich history and culture.
Lemont Area Historical Society
Historic museum located inside of a national registered church built during the Civil War. We offer exhibits, tours and the "old stone church" chapel is available for rental of weddings and special occasion ceremonies.
History Comes Alive
Many sites and attractions in historic Springfield will be brimming with free live performances and fun activities that will transport you and your family back in time – to the Springfield Abraham Lincoln knew and loved. From storytelling and interaction with costumed interpreters to visits with Mr. Lincoln, himself, this is a trip to the past you won't want to miss! History Comes Alive will run through August 13th.
Cruisin' With Lincoln on 66
The main source for information about McLean County’s historic and modern attractions in the Bloomington-Normal area is the "Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66" Visitors Center. Located in Downtown Bloomington, the Visitors Center provides information on all of the wonderful attractions, events, dining and lodging available in McLean County. Their exhibits highlight two types of heritage tourism that is integral to Central Illinois: Historic Route 66 and Abraham Lincoln. The gift shop is filled with local products, memorabilia and more!
Villa Park Historical Museum
Built in 1929, the Villa Park Historical Museum building originally served the community as the Villa Ave stop for the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin electric train line and an appliance store. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Today, it houses relics and artifacts from Villa Park's past including articles from the Ovaltine Factory which once operated in Villa Park and Sears Catalog Homes in the area.
Woodland Palace at Francis Park
A must-see attraction in Kewanee is the Woodland Palace at Francis Park, the first “green” home in Illinois. This unusual home was built way ahead of its time and is filled with engineering wonders. Learn about the quirky and eccentric man who built and lived in the home. Fred Francis was an artist, poet, inventor, builder, mathematician, engineer, and a naturist. Francis started to build the home in 1890 and worked on it for the next thirty-six years. It features hand-carved molding, a water purification system, and is the first house in the state of Illinois to have air-conditioning without the aid of electricity. View the sophisticated achievements of disappearing windows, doors, and more. Visit a home where everything seems to work in harmony. Woodland Palace is open seven days a week from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. April through October 1.
Little Popcorn Store
A cherished landmark in the heart of downtown Wheaton, The Little Popcorn Shop is perhaps one of the most loved and narrowest stores in the Chicagoland area measuring 49 inches wide by 60 feet long. The store’s small, quaint space is like walking into a Norman Rockwell painting. Popcorn is freshly popped, candy lines the wall, and locals greet each other warmly while welcoming newcomers to this very special place called The Little Popcorn Shop.
Malta Historical & Genealogical Society
The Historical Society is a beautiful building available for rental capable of seating 70-80 people comfortably. With a full kitchen and AC it makes a great venue for any social gathering. Call 815-825-2330 to inquire on a rental date.
Ogle County Historical Society
Step back in time and view memorabilia that traces the history of Northern Illinois.
Old Settlers’ Day and Colony School Reunion
Celebrate the 169th anniversary of the Bishop Hill Colony and the 119th year of the Old Settler’s Association. Enjoy a traditional chicken dinner, the High Society Band Concert and program featuring Bishop Hill Colony descendants’ speakers. Sunday a reunion of students and teachers from the Bishop Hill Colony School takes place and memories are shared. Hours: 11:30 am to 3 pm.
Ernest Hemingway Birthplace
Visit the Victorian home where Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 and spent his early life.
Kewanee Historical Society
Founded in 1976, the group maintains the Kewanee Historical Society's Robert and Marcella Richards Museum, featuring numerous exhibits highlighting the colorful history of Kewanee. Open, May 1st to October 1st Thursday & Saturday, 1:30PM-4:00PM Open Everyday Labor Day Weekend
Carthage Jail & Visitor's Center
Built of native yellow limestome from 1839-1841, this was the site where Mormon leader, Joseph Smith Jr. and his brother were killed by an angry mob on June 27, 1844, resulting in the Mormons' famous trek west that led to the founding of Salt Lake City, UT.
This turn-of-the-century Victorian house was ordered through the Sears Roebuck catalog and assembled for only several hundred dollars.
Little White Church on the Hill Celebration Chapel
This restored 1894 country church boasts stained glass, original pews, pine flooring and authentic lighting. The outdoor chapel includes a cobblestone walk and wedding dove benches.
Beningo's was established in the early 1970s, the tradition goes on four generations, specializing in homemade dishes from scratch for your dining pleasure. Among restaurants in Bloomington, let Beningo's take the worry and stress out of your busy schedule by simply ordering our famous lasagna, or choose from our wide variety of authentic entrees that are sure to make your family dinner or party unique and delicious, but most importantly, enjoyable! Click through our website to view our menu, read about our history, and learn more about one of the most respected and beloved dining establishments and restaurants in Bloomington IL and in Central Illinois. Come by Beningo's today to try our signature "sweet Sicilian" sauce, true to our Sicilian heritage.
Lisle Station Park
An 1874 CB&Q Railroad Depot, an 1881 wooden caboose, a circa 1850s farmhouse and 1830s tavern/inn. Exhibits, historic gardens, and various programs offered. Meetings for 40-50.
Pioneer Sholes School
Restored, One-room schoolhouse serves as living museum. Open June to early September. Groups welcome by appointment. They actually sit at desks in the one room schoolhouse while a docent explains how teaching was done in 1872. They also participate in playing the games the students played during their recess periods.
This traditional one-story French Creole residence, built circa 1790, is considered to be one of the oldest surviving residences in Illinois.
Western Illinois Museum
See a regional collection of artifacts, historical documents and memorabilia representing Western Illinois history.