Springfield, Illinois, located just over three hours from Chicago on historic U.S. Route 66, is the Capital of Illinois and home to the state’s most famous resident, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. Travel down the Mother Road from Chicago and experience this charming, real American city filled with world-class sites and attractions.
Include visits to some quirky Route 66 attractions as you travel your way to Springfield. Stop in Pontiac to visit the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum and see the many interesting murals throughout the city or treat your taste buds with incredible pie at The Palms Grill Café in Atlanta. The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway comes straight through Springfield’s city center and offers many unique sites and famous diners on America’s Road. Not-to-miss stops in Springfield include Cozy Dog Drive In, where the Waldmire family still serves the classic Cozy Dog they have been serving since their grandfather opened the restaurant in Springfield in 1949.
Traveling by car? Take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the quintessential American experience of the 1950s – at the Route 66 Drive In Theater, presenting movies on two screens April through September. Don’t forget the popcorn! Looking for more? Try Maldaner’s Restaurant, one of the oldest and nicest you’ll find on Illinois 66; Maid-Rite, America’s first drive-through restaurant; or Joe Rogers “the Den” Chili Parlor. Dare to try and have your name placed on the wall! When you depart Springfield, be sure take your photo on an original stretch of Route 66 brick road, dating back to 1931 and located on the National Register of Historic Places.
A visit to Springfield isn’t complete without exploring the life of Abraham Lincoln in the town he called home for 30 years. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, unlike any presidential museum in the U.S., uses special effect theaters and interactive exhibits to tell the story of Lincoln from his boyhood, through Presidency and his return to Springfield after his assassination.
After visiting the museum, tour the many Lincoln historic sites: the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Lincoln’s New Salem, the Old State Capitol, the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office and the Lincoln Tomb and Monument. “History Comes Alive”, a program taking place daily throughout the summer, explores Lincoln’s life and times with costumed performers, musicians and re-enactors at historic sites and museums throughout the city. You might just run into Old Abe himself!