15 Best Things To Do In Effingham, IL

things to do in effingham illinois

Effingham is known as the “Crossroads of Opportunity.” With fascinating museums, beautiful recreation areas, and unique art attractions, there are plenty of opportunities for a good time in this central Illinois town. Here’s a list of the best things to do in Effingham, IL.

1. Unwind with friends at Effing Brew Company

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Don’t want to make dinner tonight? $0.75 wings tonight!!!! Kitchen is open until 10pm come join us!

Posted by Effing Brew Company on Wednesday, February 3, 2021

For a low-key night out with friends or family, one of the best places to go in the city is Effing Brew Company. This brewery on West Jefferson Avenue is owned by a veteran and serves bar classics like burgers and tap brews, along with cocktails and a special dinner menu. For your entertainment, this popular restaurant and hangout spot also hosts live music and offers activities like darts and various arcade games. Occasionally, there would be trivia nights, too!

Effing Brew Company

Address: 221 W Jefferson Ave, Effingham, IL 62401, United States

Website: Effing Brew Company

Opening hours: Tue - Wed: 3pm - 12am; Thu - Sat: 11am - 12am; Sun: 3pm - 9pm (closed on Mon)

2. Do a self-guided tour of the Sculptures on the Avenues

The streets of Effingham itself have been transformed into an attraction with Sculptures on the Avenues. Displayed throughout the city are more than 30 sculptures from different artists in the Midwest. These works are free for viewing with a self-guided walking tour. The sculptures begin at the city hall and go around downtown Effingham. These exhibits are changed yearly and aim to entice different tastes in art. The displays are meant to be accessible, and visitors are more than welcome to touch the sculptures!

Sculptures on the Avenues

Address: 198 E Jefferson Ave, Effingham, IL 62401, United States

3. Explore Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum

EffinghamCountyCourthouse EffinghamIL
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gerald Roll used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

A courthouse museum is, perhaps, one of the last places you’d expect to visit during your vacation, but Effingham County’s is a different story. Their museum features memorabilia from World War II veterans, tales from the wars, and so much more from Effingham’s history. The displays here are a collaborative effort between the county and its residents since a number of the artifacts shown are donated by families. Get to know Effingham, Illinois, and make the courthouse museum your next destination!

Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum

Address: 100 E Jefferson Ave, Effingham, IL 62401, United States

Website: Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum

Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)

4. Experience unique adventures at Effingham Axe Throwing

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

In need of a different kind of adventure on your trip to the city? Why not challenge yourself and pay a visit to Effingham Axe Throwing? It sure a unique place to bring the family together or spend a date night at. First-timers are welcome! All guests will be briefed and given a quick safety lesson, as well as a few tips and tricks on how to successfully throw your ax.

Keep in mind that admission to the establishment is only for guests 12 years old and above, so leave the little ones at home for now and let the adults come out and play!

Effingham Axe Throwing

Address: 306 S 4th St ste b, Effingham, IL 62401, United States

Website: Effingham Axe Throwing

Opening hours: Fri: 5pm - 9pm; Sat: 3pm - 10pm (closed from Sun - Thu)

5. Have a picnic at Bliss Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you ever need a place to relax and take advantage of a beautiful sunny day in Effingham, make your way to Bliss Park on West Clark Avenue. This park is the perfect hangout spot with your family with amenities like a picnic pavilion, a playground, and basketball courts. This attraction proves that you don’t have to spend a lot to make the most out of your trip. You can simply lay on your blanket and curl up with your favorite book. Bliss Park is also home to a memorial rose garden.

Bliss Park

Address: 201 W Clark Ave, Effingham, IL 62401, United States

Website: Bliss Park

Opening hours: 7:30am - 9:30pm (daily)

6. Taste a bit of Tuscany at a family-owned winery

Posted by Tuscan Hills Winery on Monday, June 28, 2021

Don’t know what to do in Effingham, IL, on your next romantic outing? Nestled in the heart of Effingham, Tuscan Hills Winery offers tastefully crafted wines. Since its opening in 2011, the winery has served as a community gathering place, where friends can lounge on the covered porch sipping sangria and families can munch on pizza. Stop by for a casual tasting session, or plan ahead and indulge in live music and revelry. The calendar at Tuscan Hills is always bursting with themed parties and other community gatherings. Along with unique vintages, craft beers, and cocktails, Italian treats can also be found on the bistro menu. Both Italian and Midwestern hospitality converge at Tuscan Hills Winery, as the friendly team fulfills their motto of “come as our guest, leave as our friend.”

Tuscan Hills Winery

Address: 2200 Historic Hills Drive, Effingham, IL, 62401

Website: Tuscan Hills Winery

7. Lounge on the shores of Lake Sara

Lake Sara
Source: Pixaby

This beautiful lake is the perfect place for a day of recreation and relaxation. Take a canoe, kayak, or motor boat onto the water, or simply fish from the water’s edge. This attraction in Effingham is stocked with bass, channel catfish, blue gill, and white and black crappie. There are over 27 miles (43 km) of shoreline to enjoy, whether you’re staying at the Lake Sara campground or just visiting for the day.

Lake Sara

Address: 15482 Wildwood Dr. Exit 160, Effingham, IL 62401

Website: Lake Sara

8. Marvel at the Cross at the Crossroads

Source: Photo by Flickr user Doc Searls used under CC BY-SA 2.0

While some of the roadside attractions in America veer towards the wacky and absurd, the Cross at the Crossroads was built as a token of faith. This architectural marvel stands nearly 200 feet (61 m) tall and greets the approximately 19 million travelers who pass through Effingham on Interstates 57 and 70 each year. View this Effingham tourist attraction from afar or travel to its base for a display of the Ten Commandments, a welcome center, refreshment area, media room, and chapel.

The Cross at the Crossroads

Address: 1900 Pike Ave, Effingham, IL 62401

Website: The Cross at the Crossroads

9. Brake for a break at My Garage Museum

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

This 1963 Daytona Blue #Corvette is #98 on our #100DaysofCorvettes list. Did you know - 1963 was the first year that air conditioning was offered? #CorvettePassion #MidAmericaMotorworks

Posted by MY Garage Museum & Retail Store on Thursday, June 28, 2018

For car enthusiasts, a visit to this museum is a detour worth taking. Gawk at rare and unique cars and take a peek at Corvettes that were used for research, experimental concept projects, iconic films and more. Although the exhibits are constantly changing, there are usually between 20-25 cars on display, so visitors can see vehicles like the unusual XP-819 prototype Corvette, the last C4 Corvette, or a custom VW Meyers Manx Dune Buggy. In addition to the cars, a collection of antique automotive memorabilia and collectibles are on display and the museum’s store is always the best bet for some unique gifts.

My Garage Museum

Address: 17082 N US Highway 45, Effingham, IL 62401

Website: My Garage Museum

10. Explore unique, natural ecosystems at Ballard Nature Center

Ballard Nature Center
Source: Photo by Flickr user lokieduc8 used under CC BY 2.0

For a day of family fun, head over to the Ballard Nature Center. Walking trails crisscross through distinctive Illinois ecosystems, giving you glimpses of woodlands, prairies, wetlands, and savannas. Explore the area with the guidance of the center’s naturalists or pack a picnic and relax at the spot of your choosing. Learn more about the area from the interactive exhibit room, where aspiring ornithologists can watch birds from a large window.

Ballard Nature Center

Address: 5253 E. US Highway 40 Exit 82, Effingham, IL 62411

Website: Ballard Nature Center

11. Get your hands messy at Frye Pottery Gallery

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Special Sale for your Holiday shopping#fryepottery#madeinshumway#madeineffingham

Posted by Frye Pottery on Friday, November 22, 2019

A passion for pottery inspired this studio that sits in a beautiful country setting. Follow the instruction of artists Tim and Pam Frye as you get behind the potter’s wheel and mold your own ceramics in one of their workshops. If you’re short on time, you can also tour the gallery and pick up one of the functional stoneware pieces or a stunning ceramic artwork.

Frye Pottery Gallery

Address: 19746 N. 1060th St., Effingham IL 62461

Website: Frye Pottery Gallery

12. Tour the Dr. Charles M. Wright House

Posted by Dr. Charles M. Wright House on Sunday, 18 November 2012

Get a glimpse of history on this tour, as you explore the house that once belonged to Charles M. Wright, a “horseback” doctor, and proprietor of the C. M. Wright & Co. private bank. The house, which was originally built in 1874, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a prime example of the Second Empire (Mansard) style, with Italianate style influences.

Dr. Charles M. Wright House

Address: Jackson and Main Street, Exit 82, Altamont, IL 62411

Website: Dr. Charles M. Wright House

13. Find your dream automobile at Heartland Classics Cars

Posted by Heartland Classics Cars, Inc. on Tuesday, 30 September 2014

If you have a love of classic vehicles, you must head over to Heartland Classics Cars. In this 30,000 square foot (9 km) showroom, over 200 cars and motorcycles are on display. View vintage classics in the museum or purchase the car of your dreams off the lot.

Heartland Classics Cars

Address: 1901 W Evergreen Ave, Effingham, IL 62401

Website: Heartland Classics Cars

14. Sit down for a fresh, organic feast at Firefly Grill

Summer is in the air today! ☀

Posted by Firefly Grill on Monday, 17 July 2017

The atmosphere at Firefly Grill emphasizes its eco-friendly initiative. Set on the peaceful shores of Lake Kristie, the menu is a composite of organic farm-to-table options. Most of the food is grown on-site, and the rest is sourced locally from artisan farmers and foragers. There is an emphasis on sustainability in everything they do here, from the recycled steel frame of the building to the garden’s composters to the sustainable seafood on the menu. When you sit down at this award-winning restaurant, savor the wholesome and soulful flavors of its wonderful, fresh, cuisine.

Firefly Grill

Address: 1810 Avenue of Mid-America, Effingham, IL 62401

Website: Firefly Grill

15. Take a walk along TREC Recreation Trails

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

So far we have 8 pretty awesome photos for our photo contest. Remember that you can submit pictures up to, and including...

Posted by TREC - Trail Recreation Effingham County on Saturday, October 27, 2012

Escape into nature and peruse the TREC Recreation Trails. Stroll along beautiful pathways and enjoy the peaceful nature of Effingham County. The paths are well-maintained and perfect for cyclists and horseback riders.

TREC Recreation Trails

Website: TREC Recreation Trails

Experience the beauty of Effingham

Enjoy life at a leisurely pace. Meander through museums, sit back and sample refreshingly natural food, and admire the peaceful ambiance along the lake’s shores. Effingham provides the perfect opportunity to do it all.

Frequently asked questions about things to do in Effingham, IL

1. What are the top attractions to visit in Effingham?

To make the most out of your Effingham trip, pay a visit to its top attractions, including My Garage Museum, Sculptures on the Avenues, Ballard Nature Center, and Heartland Classics Cars.

2. What are the most popular things to do in Effingham with family?

For a day of family fun in Effingham, some of the popular things to do with your loved ones are making your own ceramics at Frye Pottery Gallery, kayaking at Lake Sara, having a picnic at Bliss Park, and touring Sculptures on the Avenues.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Hannah is a freelance writer, list making aficionado, and world traveler currently based in Germany. She is an avid explorer, and believes in creating new experiences to put on her bucket list to...Read more

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