Springfield Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Springfield Trip Guide

Springfield delivers both serious history lessons and light-hearted slices of Americana. But the city where Lincoln got his start is known for informative sites that put a relatable face on a larger-than-life figure.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
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Lincoln Home National Historic Site
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Old State Capitol
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Lincoln Tomb National Historic Site
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Incredibly Delicious
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What to do

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Exploring a re-creation of the one-room cabin Lincoln lived in and catching a Lincoln-theme film in the Union Theater provide a good introduction to his life. (800) 610-2094; illinois.gov/alplm

Dana-Thomas House If you need a break from the Lincoln-mania, try a home tour. This 35-room house, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, contains the nation’s largest collection of Wright’s original art glass. (217) 782-6776; dana-thomas.org

International Route 66 Mother Road Festival Get your kicks on America’s Main Street during this car show and festival. (317) 236-6515; route66fest.com

Lincoln Home National Historic Site Tour the only home Abraham Lincoln ever owned. Lincoln and his wife, Mary, lived in this Greek Revival-style house from 1844 to 1861; the decor captures 1860s style. Tickets are required; pick them up for free at the nearby Lincoln Home Visitor Center. (217) 492-4241; nps.gov/liho

Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site Visit a reconstruction of the town Lincoln lived in for six years  (near Petersburg, 20 miles northwest of Springfield). Interpreters chronicle frontier life, and self-guided tours weave through a tavern, store, one-room school and timbered houses. (217) 632-4000; lincolnsnewsalem.com

Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site On free self-guided tours, docents answer questions about the lives and deaths of Lincoln and his family (all but son Robert were laid to rest here).  (217) 782-2717; lincolntomb.org 

Old State Capitol Take a free 30-minute guided tour of the building where Lincoln served in the Illinois Legislature, gave his famous “House Divided” speech in 1858 and his body laid in state following his assassination. (217) 785-7960; illinois.gov

Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon One of the world’s largest carillons features 67 cast-bronze bells in a single tower. Concerts take place Wednesdays and Sundays year-round, plus Saturdays in the summer. (217) 546-3853; carillon-rees.org

Springfield Walks Seasonal tours explore Lincoln’s life, death and family. The most popular is Lincoln’s Ghost Walk: Legends and Lore. (217) 502-8687; springfieldwalks.com

Where to eat

Augie’s Front Burner Entrees infused with seasonal flavors (like summer’s salmon with sweet corn and tomato) make this upscale restaurant a winner. augiesfrontburner.com

Ariston Cafe Find a wide-ranging menu of classic fare (Italian, Tex-Mex, Southern) 45 minutes south of Springfield (follow Route 66). (217) 324-2023; www.ariston-cafe.com

Cozy Dog Drive In Ed Waldmire Jr. created his “crusty cur” while serving during World War II then renamed it when he came home. (You’ll know it as a corn dog.) (217) 525-1992; cozydogdrivein.com

Incredibly Delicious Its flourless chocolate cake tops a menu of desserts and lunch fare in a homey setting. incrediblydelicious.com

Maldaner's It’s the place to go for a horseshoe sandwich: meat or veggies on toast, smothered with french fries and cheese sauce; served only at lunch. (217) 522-4313; maldaners.com

Saputo’s Southern Italian specialties like pasta, pizza and seafood star at this modest family-owned restaurant that’s been around since 1948. (217) 544-2523; saputos.com

Where to stay

The Inn at 835 A 1909 apartment building in the Aristocracy Hill historical district is now an elegant bed-and-breakfast. (217) 523-4466; innat835.com

The State House Inn We loved finding a boutique-style hotel with a piano lounge downtown. (217) 528-5100; thestatehouseinn.com

Wyndham Springfield City Centre The 369-room downtown hotel has an indoor pool, a Starbucks, two bars and three restaurants, including a steakhouse and grill. wyndham.com

More information: Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 545-7300; visit-springfieldillinois.com

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