If Illinois is the “Land of Lincoln,” Springfield is the epicenter. Abraham Lincoln made Springfield his home from 1844 to 1861 before becoming president. Springfield offers a multitude of attractions related to the iconic president, boasting more Lincoln sites than anywhere in the world.
Step into the past and the life of the Lincoln family when you visit the only home the Lincolns ever owned at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Stroll through the beautiful, historic neighborhood surrounding the home and tour Lincoln’s house for a rare glimpse into the life of Lincoln as a husband, father and neighbor.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is the official library and museum of the 16th U.S. president. Experience pivotal moments in Lincoln’s life and enjoy immersive displays and amazing shows that explore the human costs of slavery and war. View Lincoln and his family through artifacts not found anywhere else in the world. Numerous exhibits explore Lincoln’s life from his boyhood in a Kentucky cabin to his 1860 campaign for President of the United States.
A trip to Springfield is not complete without a visit to the Old State Capitol Historic Site, a reconstruction of the fifth State House. Serving as the State Capitol from 1840-1876 and during the 20th century’s Civil Rights movement, its restorers carefully recreated the building where Lincoln gave his famous “House Divided” speech. Enjoy a self-guided walk through the historic site and visit with staff to learn more unique details about the history of this site.
The Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site, designed by famed sculptor, Larkin Mean, is nestled in Oak Ridge Cemetery. Within the walls of this stunning granite monument is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife, Mary, and three of their four sons. (Lincoln’s oldest son, Robert, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.) At the entrance to the Tomb itself, there is a bronze bust of Abraham Lincoln; visitors from around the world have stopped to rub the nose of the statue for good luck.
Make a stop at the Lincoln Memorial Garden for a truly calming experience. Located on the shores of Lake Springfield and designed by landscape architect, Jens Jensen, this woodland and prairie garden has over five miles of trails that lead you on a journey through the Illinois landscape Lincoln would have known. Depending on the season you visit, you could be surrounded by springtime dogwoods in full bloom, colorful prairie wildflowers of summer, burnished autumn leaves, or snow-covered maple trees bursting with sap. Be sure to visit the Garden’s Nature Center and Split Rail Gift Shop.
Historic Route 66 runs through Springfield and is dotted with many unique stops, including Route 66 Motorheads Bar, Grill & Museum, a classic car restaurant with a themed menu, serving great food and delicious drinks against the backdrop of the Route 66 & Motor Museum. While there, snap a pic with the World’s Largest Outdoor Route 66 Shield!
The Cozy Dog Drive In is a traditional Route 66 diner that became a part of the history of The Mother Road, and the history of Springfield, when, in 1946, inventor Ed Waldmire introduced the “Cozy Dog”– the famous “hot dog on a stick.” The Waldmire family still makes this delicacy today. Inside the diner, located on Old Route 66 since 1949, you’ll find an amusing selection of Route 66 memorabilia, souvenirs, and delightful treats. Maldaner’s Restaurant is a creative American establishment with a focus on farm-to-table food. You will dine in a relaxed, semi-formal atmosphere in a historical Springfield building just two blocks from downtown hotels and Lincoln sites. Established in 1884, Maldaner’s is the oldest continually operated restaurant in Springfield on Route 66.
Plan to relax and enjoy one of more than a dozen wineries and breweries in the Springfield area. These locally owned businesses offer the best in craft beer, wines, and delicious noshes in beautiful settings, many with outdoor garden areas, live music, and special events.
Regardless of your interests, Springfield has you covered with a variety of sites, attractions, culinary delights, and a variety of accommodations to meet your travel needs.