Architectural Gems temples shopping historic sites US > Western Illinois > Nauvoo

13 Best Things To Do In Nauvoo, Illinois

Heena
Updated Oct 24, 2018

Nauvoo is a small city located on the banks of the Mississippi River near Fort Madison, Iowa. Its historic importance and religious importance to many religious groups attracts a large number of tourists and visitors. It is registered in the National Register of Historic Places of USA and the 2010 census stated that there was a population of 1,149 people in Nauvoo. There are many things to do while visiting the small city of Nauvoo, let’s check them out!

1. The Nauvoo Temple

800px new nauvoo temple
Source: Wikimedia

The Nauvoo Temple was built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and was the second church built by them. In the winter of 1846 it was finished and finally sold in 1848. The president of the church announced the rebuilding of the church in the year 1999. On 27 June 2002, the church was dedicated as the Nauvoo Temple, on the 158th anniversary of the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Its exterior is a reproduction of the first church but the interior is like that of a modern day LDS temple.

Public tours to this temple are not available but individuals are welcome to stroll the temple grounds.

Nauvoo Temple

Address: 50 N Wells St, Nauvoo

Website: Nauvoo Temple

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

2. Nauvoo Visitor Center


Nauvoo Visitor Center is the best way to start your visit of Nauvoo. Many short films are shown here like ‘Remembering Nauvoo,’ ‘Meet The Mormons,’ and ’Joseph the Prophet of Restoration.’ You can also gather information about the place by looking at a relief map from 1846, and study historic art and crafts displayed here.

This visitors center is open 365 days a year but do check their opening timings for the day before you head in. There, you can gather information on more than two dozen restored shops, homes and religious buildings restored in Nauvoo.

Nauvoo Visitor Center

Website: Nauvoo Visitor Center

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

3. Joseph Smith Historic Properties

The Joseph Smith Mansion House was constructed by Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS movement. In 1918, Joseph Smith’s grandson deeded the house to the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The RLDS Church still owns the mansion house and operates it as a tourist museum and a historical site. It is a part of the Nauvoo Historic District, a National Historic Landmark.

You can also take a guided tour for a small fee and explore the Smith family’s homes.

Joseph Smith Historic Properties

Website: Joseph Smith Historic Properties

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

4. Cultural Hall

You can experience the social life of old Nauvoo in the evening here, it’s the best place to be after the sun goes down. There is a play performed by local artists in the hall called ‘Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo.’ It depicts the life of the people of the city during its golden age. The play is performed throughout the year on special request.

This Cultural Hall also served as the headquarters for the Masonic Lodge and the Nauvoo Legion. The hall also had over 20 different uses such as church meetings, funerals, dances and more.

Cultural Hall

Address: 315 Main St, Nauvoo

Website: Cultural Hall

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

5. Jonathan Browning Gun Shop

Posted by Jonathan Browning on Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Jonathan Browning was a person who ran a successful gun repair business in Nauvoo. By visiting the Nauvoo home and gun shop of Jonathan Browning we can take a look at the beginning of the world famous Browning Arms Corporation. We can also see the creations of Browning’s here like his specially designed authentic rifles, handguns and shotguns. He is recognized as a man who invented the six shot repeater and the repeating rifle.

Jonathan Browning’s son, John Moses Browning, invented the automatic machine gun. The descendants Jonathan Browning also helped fund an authentic restoration of the Browning Home and Gunshop in the 1960s, which was one of the first buildings to be restored in Nauvoo.

Jonathan Browing Gun Shop

Website: Jonathan Browing Gun Shop

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

6. Nauvoo State Park

Nauvoo features a 149 acre State Park with RV and tent camping, hiking trails, shelter parks, play areas and a lake. Check out this view of the Nauvoo State Park this Spring!

Posted by Beautiful Nauvoo on Wednesday, 19 April 2017

As you traverse the city of Nauvoo, you will stumble upon Nauvoo State Park where both kids and adults can enjoy themselves. This park covers a 13-acre (5.2 hectare) lake with a mile (1.2 km) long shoreline. If you are a fishing lover, then you will definitely love this place. In addition to fishing, you can also enjoy boating, camping, and hiking. Do not expect a lot of visitors, since it is not a popular tourist spot in Nauvoo.

You can also visit the Nauvoo State Park Museum, a house that was built by Mormons in the 1840s and remodeled by Icarians. This building was later owned by the Rheinberger family, which now serves as a museum. It exhibits artifacts from different periods such as the Native American occupation of the region and the time when Nauvoo Blue Cheese was introduced in the 1930s.

Nauvoo State Park

Address: 980 S Bluff St, Nauvoo, IL 62354, USA

Website: Nauvoo State Park

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

7. Wilford Woodruff Home

Refuge Ramble participants. Join us, our Ramble will continue every 1st and 3rd Wednesdays through April! (Photo: USFWS)

Posted by Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge on Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Wilford Woodruff was the fourth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You could say that this home is the finest and the most well-preserved brick house of the 1840s. After its completion, the family wasn’t able to move in and the house was sold in April 1846. It was the first home to get renovated in 1969. It is now open as a display place for the possessions of Wilford Woodruff.

Wildford Woodruff Home

Website: Wildford Woodruff Home

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

8. Heber C. Kimball House

Heber C. Kimball was a potter, an apostle and a blacksmith who lived in Nauvoo in one of the brick houses. Kimball moved into the home with his family in 1845 when it was still unfinished. They were able to live in the house for only a very short period as they had to leave for the West with the Mormon exodus. He preached in England in the 1830s and brought the converts to Nauvoo to live. In 1954 Heber C. Kimball’s grandson again purchased the home and got it restored.

Heber C. Kimball House

Website: Heber C. Kimball House

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

9. Trail of Hope

The Parley Street in Nauvoo which leads to Mississippi River is called the Trail of Hope. Along the length of the street, there are 30 marker boards having quotes from people who had to leave their homes in Nauvoo. Walking down the street and reading the markers is a memorable event and sheds light on what the pioneers felt when they were forced from Nauvoo. The story behind its name is that there was supposedly more than a thousand Latter-day saints who walked down Parley Street.

Trail of Hope

Address: Parley St, Nauvoo

Website: Trail of Hope

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

10. Bagpipe and Brass Band


Nauvoo’s bagpipe band was originally called Joseph’s City Band. The brass band at Nauvoo was formed in 1842 and the band performed at public concerts and other events. The brass band was recreated in 2002 and now young missionaries come to Nauvoo to play in the brass band every summer. They perform on the streets of Nauvoo on horse drawn bandwagons daily in summer.

Bagpipe and Brass Band

Website: Bagpipe and Brass Band

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

11. Free tour of Baxter’s Vineyards

Happy Valentines from the Baxters! Hot chocolate this afternoon (don't worry, wine later!).

Posted by Baxter Winery on Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Illinois’s oldest vineyard is situated in Nauvoo and it is Baxter’s Vineyards. The vineyard has been producing quality wines since 1851. Here you can take a self-guided tour of the winery, along with the gift shop. There is a bar named The Wine Barrel in the winery, which serves Baxter’s wines and various spirits.

Free tour of Baxter's Vineyards

Website: Free tour of Baxter’s Vineyards

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

12. Family Living Center


The best educational and family friendly place in Nauvoo is the Family Living Centre. At this place, you can learn to produce everyday things which the saints made here. You can try learning candle making, rope making, and many other crafts. There are no charges for anyone who enters the Family Living Centre, so it’s a great, cheap family outing.

Family Living Center

Address: White St, Nauvoo

Website: Family Living Center

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

13. Antiquing in Old Nauvoo

The new growth in the gardens tells us spring is coming soon! Now is the time to plan your summer visit to...

Posted by Historic Nauvoo on Saturday, 11 March 2017

One of the best antique stores in Hancock County is located in Nauvoo itself. The antiques here come from auctions around the area and far off places too. There is a large selection of collectibles and out of print books in Neff’s Old House Books Store.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nauvoo and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Nauvoo

An entertaining journey

Summer is the best time to enjoy your trip to Nauvoo, although Nauvoo saints would be welcoming you with full hearts during any time of the year. Many sweet memories can be made here, that you will keep with you long after you return home.

This article was originally published on May 17, 2017

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

800px new nauvoo temple
Still Need Travel Insurance?

You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101

*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.

Originally from India, and currently exploring the world by information and people's like/dislike. Believes beauty in each and every place. Storyteller, expressive writer, loves traveling and...Read more

Top 3 activities to book in Nauvoo

Have a question? Ask fellow travellers and travel experts here.
Explore Nauvoo
Good things are meant to be shared!