Sculpture at Abramaham Lincoln's Tomb
Old State Capital
Credit: Panoramio

Visit Historic Springfield

Just two hours south of Chicago, lies a hidden treasure of historic sites, classic scenery and family entertainment.  Springfield, Illinois is not only the state capital, but also home to one of the nation's most famous presidents, Abraham Lincoln.  This claim to fame is proudly displayed on the state's license plates via the "Land of Lincoln" motto. 

When you do venture south of Chicago, here is a list of places you won't want to miss:

  1. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum - open in 2005, the museum contains Lincoln documents, interactive exhibits on the Ford Theatre and the Gettysburg Address, and is located just across the street from the wonderfully preserved Old State Capital, where Lincoln and Barack Obama announced their bid for presidency.
  2. Lincoln's Tomb - the final resting place of the 16th president, his wife and three of his four children.  View the famous bronze cast of Lincoln, as well as the World War II Memorial and the Korean War Memorial.
  3. Dana Thomas House - One of the greatest works of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this 1902 house is open for tours daily and will not disappoint.  It is a special favorite during the holidays. 
  4. New Salem State Park - just outside of Springfield, this 19th century colony where Lincoln lived and worked prior to his claim to fame in Springfield. 
  5. Lincoln's Historic Home - Visit the house where Abe lived with his wife for 16 years before moving to Washington DC.  A preserved four block area will set you back in time as you walk the street from Lincoln's home to his famous law office.
  6. Knight's Action Park - unwind with the kids after viewing the historic sites with miniature golf, go-carts, arcades, batting cages, driving range and an outstanding water park.

No discussion of central Illinois can go without mention of the famous HorseShoe.  A local point of pride, stop in any restaurant and order this hometown staple.   Not exactly a definition of healthy nutrition, the horseshoe boasts two pieces of toast, topped with your choice of meat, followed by a hearty dose of fries, all smothered in an abundance of cheese sauce.  If you're in the mood for a lighter meal, just request a "ponyshoe", which is a smaller version of the horseshoe.       One thing not to do: ask the origin of this famous dish.  More than one eatery in town boasts this claim and have been known to get quite defensive if challenged.  Just enjoy your meal and reminisce about "four score and seven years ago."

Springfield, IL

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Springfield, IL, USA