The first time I visited Springfield, Illinois, I wanted to know if there was any unique local food I should try. My boyfriend, a Springfield native, told me about the horseshoe: two pieces of Texas toast, two hamburger patties, Welsh rarebit cheese sauce, topped off with a mountain of french fries. My response was something between shock and admiration: I had a feeling I was going to like this place. We’ve since been back a number of times, and along the way, I’ve compiled a list of favorites things to do and see in the capital city.
Eat Springfield-style I’ve already mentioned the horseshoe. Ask around town and people get emotional about where to find the best one: They wax poetic about the versions at D’Arcy’s Pint and Maldaner's or the breakfast horseshoe at Charlie Parker’s. Another Springfield creation is chilli—note the extra l, which many locals insist on (aside from the spelling, I’m still not clear on what makes it different from other chili). As with the horseshoe, everyone has a favorite chilli parlor. And then there’s Cozy Dog. In the 1940s, this restaurant began putting cornbread batter-dipped dogs on a stick and frying them. With that, the Cozy Dog was born; it grew to become a hit on Route 66. For a local favorite on the lighter side, head to Incredibly Delicious bakery and enjoy a sandwich on their, yes, incredibly delicious fresh-baked bread or a slice of their unforgettable flourless chocolate cake.
See a Wright delight The 72nd house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright makes for a gorgeous detour. Take an hour-long tour of the Dana Thomas House to explore 12,000 square feet—35 rooms—of craftsmanship. The home holds the largest collection of site-specific glass and furniture created by the architect.
Photo by Jamie Bartosch
Explore Lincoln land To delve into the Lincoln legacy, visit the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Lincoln Tomb and War Memorials State Historic Site.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Take in the view The Wyndham Springfield City Centre towers 30 stories above the city. Head to the Pinnacle Club on the top floor for sparkling views of the State Capitol Complex below. Make that view even better with dessert or a fun drink, like the Godiva Peppermint Patty.
Room at the Inn When I'm in town, I stay at the Inn at 835, a local landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places. At the classic revival-style inn, the rooms have a comfortable, antique charm, like a visit to grandma’s house. Except at my grandmother’s house I never had my own balcony, fireplace or jet tub. With affordable rates, a complimentary wine hour and breakfast, and a friendly staff who can direct you to the city’s best restaurants, this inn is a definite win.