As Illinois’s sixth most populous city and President Abraham Lincoln’s hometown, Springfield has plenty of fascinating activities that reflect the important role it played in America’s history. Travelers can expect an engaging visit in Springfield complete with sites such as Abraham Lincoln’s home, the presidential library, the state capitol building, and much more.
1. Lincoln Tomb
Towards the northern end of the city limits lies the Oak Ridge Cemetery, and within the confines of this cemetery is the final resting place of former President Abraham Lincoln and his family. The large structure is an extensive mausoleum topped with a 117-foot high (36 meter) obelisk. In front of the tomb is a bronze sculpture of Lincoln’s head which visitors often rub the nose of for good luck, resulting in the nose maintaining its shiny appearance. The tomb is open to visitors daily from 9am to 5pm, the gates to the cemetery open at different times depending on the time of year, so check the website linked below to schedule a good time for your visit.
Address: 1500 Monument Ave, Springfield, IL 62702
Website: Lincoln Tomb
2. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Located in the city’s center, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library seeks to document the life and death of former president Lincoln. It is one of the most visited presidential libraries, and combines classic and modern methods to achieve its accumulation of knowledge. The library also features extensive collections on the American Civil War. The library is open daily from 9am to 5pm. The library is strictly for research and reference and therefore guests are unable to check items out like at regular public libraries, but guests can make copies of some items.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Address: 112 N 6th St, Springfield, IL 62701
Website: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
3. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
Right across Jefferson Street is the Presidential Library’s matching institution: the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. After opening in 2005, this is the most visited of all presidential museums and is also the largest. The museum features original items and documents related to President Lincoln, and brings the story of the 16th President of the United States to life with living exhibits. The museum is open daily from 9am to 5pm with ticket sales ending at 4pm. Admission is 15 USD for adults, seniors over age 62 are 12 USD, and military are 10 USD. Children ages 5 through 15 are 6 USD, and those 4 and under get in for free. Students can gain admission for 12 USD with proof of ID. Visitors can purchase tickets online or at the museum entrance.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
Address: 212 N 6th St, Springfield, IL 62701
Website: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
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4. Lincoln Home National Historic Site
The Lincoln Home National Historic Site was the home of the adult Abraham Lincoln before he became President. The structure is a part of the presidential memorial and historical district that encompasses the four blocks around the home itself and the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is open daily (except for New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day) from 8:30 am to 5pm. The home is a popular spot for travelers during the summer months so the National Park Service, which looks after the site, recommends visitors come early to avoid missing out on a ticket for that day. Admission to the home is free, and tickets can be acquired at the Visitor Center. An important thing to note is that unfortunately only the first floor of the home is wheelchair accessible.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Address: 413 S 8th St, Springfield, IL 62701
Website: Lincoln Home National Historic Site
5. Lincoln Statue
If you go west on E Capitol Avenue, eventually you will run into the property of the Illinois State Capitol building, and right out in front is a large full body statue of Abraham Lincoln. The creator of this statue, Andrew O’Connor, is actually the son of the creator of the Abraham Lincoln that is seated at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The pose for the statue is meant to be a replication of how Lincoln looked when he left Springfield and boarded the train that would take him to Washington. A great opportunity for a photo op!
Address: S 2nd St, Springfield, IL 62756
6. Dana Thomas House
Another product of the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Dana Thomas House is a great stop for architecture fans. Also featured in the article “Best Things To Do Within A 30-Minute Drive Of Elmwood Park, Illinois” Frank Lloyd Wright’s impact can be seen in many places through Illinois. The Dana Thomas House is a great example of Wright’s combination of Prairie Style architecture, and Japanese inspiration. The home is open for tours Wednesday through Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Depending upon the season, there may also be tours on Monday and Tuesdays 10am to 2pm. The tour of the home lasts about 1 hour. The last tour for each day will leave at 3:45 pm. There is no admission price, but it is highly suggested that guests donate; the recommended donation price is 10 USD for adults, and 5 USD for children.
Dana Thomas House
Address: 300 E Lawrence Ave, Springfield, IL 62703
Website: Dana Thomas House
7. State Capitol Building
The Illinois State Capitol Building is the home of the executive and legislative branches of the Illinois State Government. The building was designed by Cochrane and Garnsey, in the French Renaissance style of architecture. To book a tour of the building guests should call the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau at +1 8005457300.
State Capitol Building
Address: 301 S 2nd St # 300, Springfield, IL 62706
Website: State Capitol Building
8. Illinois State Museum
Located in central Springfield, just a 10-minute walk from the Dana Thomas House is the Illinois State Museum. This museum features a variety of natural history exhibits in addition to an extensive art collection. Exhibits include features on: history of America’s Heartland, Native Americans, the environment of Illinois, and even an impressive collection of antique paperweights. The museum also has many exhibits that are on temporary stay, and therefore will be cycled out for new ones. The museum is open Mondays through Saturdays 9am to 4:30pm and Sundays 12pm to 4:30pm. Admission for adults is 5 USD, children, seniors, veterans, and Museum Society Members all have free admission.
Illinois State Museum
Address: 502 S Spring St, Springfield, IL 62706
Website: Illinois State Museum
Bonus! Leisurely fun at Henson Robinson Zoo and Knight's Action Park & Caribbean Water Adventure
Your time in Springfield doesn’t have to be all about historical sites. The Henson Robinson Zoo and Knight’s Action Park are two great locations for some relaxed family fun. The Henson Robinson Zoo is a 15-minute drive outside the city center, at a park that sits on Lake Springfield. The zoo is home to over 90 species of animals from Australia, Africa, Asia, as well as North and South America. The zoo states that its mission is to help foster a community that cares about the conservation of the environment and animals around the world. Admission for adults is 6.25 USD, children ages 3-12 are 4.50 USD, and seniors (age 62 and older) are 4.75 USD. Group rates are available for parties with 10 or more individuals.
Knight’s Action Park is a fun local amusement park that features two sections: The Splash Kingdom and the Action Park. The Splash Kingdom has 7 water slides, a 20,000 square foot (1,858 square meter) wave pool, and relaxing lazy man river. The Action Park features batting cages, go-karts, an indoor arcade, Ferris wheel, mini golf, and a full-scale golf driving range. Admission for adults to the water park is 27.95 USD, children shorter than 48 inches of height (121 centimeters) and seniors over the age of 60 are 21.95 USD, and infants ages 2 and under are free.
Henson Robinson Zoo
Address: 1100 E Lake Shore Dr, Springfield, IL 62712
Website: Henson Robinson Zoo
Knight's Action Park & Caribbean Water Adventure
Address: 1700 Recreation Dr, Springfield, IL 62711
A historic hometown
If you’re heading through central Illinois, Springfield is definitely a must-see location. With so many historic sites that are either free or very affordable, it is a great stop for travelers on any budget. And when you’re learning about the city’s history, taking some time to relax at the community zoo or amusement park is a great way to end a thought-provoking day spent in Illinois’s capital city.
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