A Blend of History and Modernity: Things to Do in Springfield, Illinois

Unveiling the Historical Layers of Springfield

Things to do in Springfield, Illinois, often start with diving into the city’s rich historical tapestry. Springfield is not just the capital of Illinois; it’s a city steeped in American history, primarily due to its association with the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a must-visit, offering an in-depth look at the life and times of this iconic leader. The Old State Capitol, another significant landmark, provides a glimpse into the political atmosphere of the past.

Washington Park is another site that history buffs would find intriguing. This park is not just a green space; it’s a living testament to the city’s past and present. It serves as a communal gathering spot and also features various historical monuments. The park’s design is a nod to the city planning techniques of yesteryears, making it a multi-dimensional experience for visitors.

Springfield’s historical significance doesn’t end with its buildings and parks. The city is also a key point on the famous Route 66, the historic highway that stretches from Chicago to Santa Monica. This road symbolizes American freedom and adventure, and Springfield’s role in this narrative is commemorated through various markers and events.

A Modern City with Timeless Attractions

The city offers a blend of modern entertainment and timeless attractions when it comes to places to visit in Springfield, Illinois. One of the most anticipated events in Springfield is the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival.

This annual gathering is a magnet for motorcycle and car enthusiasts from around the globe. The festival is not just about vehicles; it’s a celebration that includes a variety of food stalls and live music performances, making it a complete experience for all attendees.

The Henson Robinson Zoo is an excellent choice for families looking for a year-round destination. The zoo has many animals and offers educational programs for children and adults. It’s a place where families can enjoy watching animals and learn about wildlife conservation.

Springfield is not just a city of historical landmarks and annual festivals; it’s also a city that values its natural spaces. Washington Park, for example, is a historical site and a haven for nature lovers. The park features a botanical garden, several ponds, and walking trails, making it a perfect spot for those looking to escape the urban hustle.

The city’s connection with Route 66 also extends to its culinary scene. Springfield is known for its unique take on the American classic, the corn dog, known locally as the “Cozy Dog.” This dish is a must-try for anyone visiting the city and a testament to Springfield’s ability to blend the traditional with the contemporary.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site

The Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois, is near the Old State Capitol. It is the only home that Abraham Lincoln owned. This historic site also offers visitors a look at his life before becoming president.

A visit to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site is recommended in the spring or early fall. Although it is closed on holidays, the Lincoln Homestead buildings are open daily from 8:30 to 5 pm. They offered a glimpse of the neighborhood when the Lincoln family lived here.

The Lincoln Home is the centerpiece of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, operated by the National Park Service. The park has several areas to explore, including a four-block historic neighborhood.

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Best places to visit in Springfield - Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Best places to visit in Springfield – Lincoln Home National Historic Site

Visitors to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site can take a guided tour of the house. In addition, National Park Service Rangers conduct tours. These tours are limited to fifteen individuals.

Washington Park

Washington Park is a beautiful and historic park located in Springfield, Illinois. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this park is open to the public and offers various scenic areas.

There are many walking paths within the park. In addition to the scenic areas, the park also features a botanical garden, a carillon, and a rose garden. The Springfield Park District maintains these gardens.

Places to go in Springfield - Washington Park
Places to go in Springfield – Washington Park

The Washington Park Botanical Garden floral show is held during the spring. It features thousands of flowers in the gardens. This show is free to attend.

Check out the spring floral show at the Washington Park Botanical Gardens if you’re looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon.

In addition to the flower show, the Washington Park Botanical Garden hosts several other special events. The annual spring floral show started this weekend and will be held through April 17. For more information on the floral show, visit the website.

Old State Capitol

The Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, is a national historic site. John Francis Rague designed it in 1837 and built-in the Greek Revival style. A museum now stands where the capitol once stood.

When the new statehouse was built, it included an underground parking lot. Today, the building is surrounded by a replica fence from the 1800s. Also inside are the House of Representatives and Illinois Senate chambers.

Best tourist attractions in Springfield - Old State Capitol
Best tourist attractions in Springfield – Old State Capitol (1839-1876)

The building’s exterior is made from zinc, which gives it a silvery facade. In addition, you can see a stained glass replica of the state seal.

The building is part of the Central Springfield Historic District, an area of Springfield that preserves the city’s early history. Visitors can explore the building’s many rooms and read about the capitol’s history.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, is one of the most visited presidential libraries in the country. It offers the chance to learn about the life of the 16th president of the United States in a hands-on and immersive manner. In addition to the library’s permanent exhibits, it also features special effects and multimedia programs.

Things to do in Springfield - Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Things to do in Springfield – Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

There are several interesting artifacts, including a replica of the White House, a holographic theater, a full-scale replica of the boyhood home of Lincoln, and many other exciting items. Aside from the museum, there are also some excellent tours of historical Lincoln sites.

The library also has a store where you can purchase souvenirs. You can also have a delicious sandwich from the Subway restaurant for a small fee.

Dana Thomas House

The Dana-Thomas House is an architectural masterpiece designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was built in 1902-04 and is located on East Lawrence Avenue in Springfield, Illinois.

A socialite, Dana became known for her spectacular parties and unforgettable concerts. She was also a prominent philanthropist and community activist. In addition to being an heiress, she owned silver mines in the Rocky Mountains. Her wealth inspired her to make her home in Springfield, Illinois, a showpiece for the community.

Places to visit in Springfield - Dana-Thomas House
Places to visit in Springfield – Dana-Thomas House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Dana’s house is a Prairie-style home. This type of architecture is defined by its low, horizontal roofs and wide eaves.

The Dana-Thomas House contains many original furnishings and art glass. The house also has a large, central fireplace. Many stairs are found throughout the house.

The 2023 Illinois State Fair: A Retrospective Look

The 2023 Illinois State Fair, which took place from August 10 to 20, was a spectacular event that lived up to its reputation as one of the most attended events in Springfield, Illinois. The fairgrounds at 801 Sangamon Avenue were bustling with activities from 7 am to midnight, offering something for everyone.

Entertainment Galore

The Grandstand stage was a major highlight, featuring a diverse lineup of artists that catered to various musical tastes. Performers included Alanis Morissette, Old Dominion, REO Speedwagon, the Doobie Brothers, and even Nelly with Ashanti and Ja Rule. The Grandstand also offered premium Blue Ribbon Zone seating and exclusive pre-show parties for an enhanced concert experience.

Attractions and Activities

The fair was packed with a plethora of attractions and activities. The iconic Butter Cow, sculpted from 500 pounds of unsalted butter, was a must-see. The Route 66 Experience allowed attendees to walk through the iconic Illinois Route 66, and Conservation World offered a 30-acre wilderness experience.

Thrillville featured death-defying stunts, and Kid’s Korner was a haven for families with young children. Auto and horse racing events also took the stage, adding adrenaline-pumping action to the fair’s offerings.

The 2023 Illinois State Fair was a blend of tradition and modernity, offering a rich array of experiences that made it a calendar highlight not to be missed. From live music to thrilling attractions and family-friendly activities, the fair was a microcosm of what makes Springfield, Illinois, a great place.

Uncovering the Best Things to Do in Springfield, Illinois

When considering things to do in Springfield, Illinois, one can’t help but be amazed by the city’s ability to offer a blend of historical richness and modern-day attractions. From the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival, Springfield is a city that caters to a wide range of interests.

The options for those interested in places to visit in Springfield, Illinois, are equally diverse. Springfield offers something for everyone, whether it’s the historical Washington Park or the family-friendly Henson Robinson Zoo. It’s a city where history, culture, and modernity merge, making it a must-visit destination for travelers of all kinds.

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