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When traveling through Illinois, you’ll be faced with certain decisions – explore the rich local history, take in a ballgame, or feast on famous local cuisine. Some try all three, but if you want a more historical approach, get read to explore.
Venture into central Illinois and visit Springfield, home to the Old State Capitol Historic Site. Nearby cities like Lincoln, and Monticello yield easy and swift access to the Old Capitol, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. If you’re visiting nearby Macomb, be sure to make the scenic drive south to Petersburg, home to Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site.
Des Plaines is a fun little city with a unique claim to fame – it’s the home of the very first McDonalds restaurant. Visit today and check out the McDonalds Store No.1 Museum. Near the Illinois-Missouri border is Hartford, a small town just south of nearby Alton. A charming and quaint southern Illinois village, Hartford is home to the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site. When visiting, be sure to tour the Winter Camp at the Visitors Center of the Lewis and Clark Historic Site.
Head to northern Illinois and explore the region west of Chicago. Here, you’ll find Dixon, a friendly city set near Annawan and Oglesby that’s home to the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home and Visitors Center.
A trip into Chicago yields a refreshing afternoon at the Frank Lloyd Wright Frederick C. Robie House, considered to be a cornerstone of functional, modern form. While in Chicago, sports fans can experience all the history and lore while touring Wrigley Field, legendary home of the Chicago Cubs. And any trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower.
Located in Wilmette, the Bahá'í House of Worship for the North American Continent is found in the northern region of the Chicago metropolitan area near the city of Evanston. Set on Lake Michigan, the house is also known as the Mother Temple of the West.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Bahá'í House of Worship was completed in 1953 and is currently the oldest and largest surviving structure of its kind. Seating up to 1,192 visitors, the features a bookstore, library, research area, and media room – and is one of Seven Wonders of Illinois.
Found in Rock Island, the Black Hawk State Historic Site is located in northern Illinois on a scenic bluff overlooking the Rock River. Hosting the historic village of Saukenuk, this Illinois state park is best known as the birthplace of Black Hawk – a famed Sauk warrior.
Set near Interstate 74 and Moline, the site is also home to the John Hauberg Museum of Native American Life – featuring dioramas, replica, and Black Hawk artifacts. The Black Hawk Historic Site also offers the Singing Bird Nature Center – ideal for avian enthusiasts.
The Carl Sandburg Historic Site is the birthplace of the Pulitzer-Prize winning poet, writer, editor and singer. Adjacent to the home is the visitor center housing the museum, gift shop and small theater. The annual spring Sandburg Days Festival honors this famous son of Galesburg. For over 40 years, students have attended Galesburg's Carl Sandburg College - earning associate degrees and participating in occupational programs.
Best Western hotels offer convenient locations near the historic site and several other attractions including the historic Orpheum Theatre, the Galesburg Civic Art Center, the Galesburg Antiques Mall and the Soangetaha Golf Course. Make yourself at home in Central Illinois.
Make the most of your next visit to Illinois. Head north and check out the city of Galena, home to the Dowling House. Constructed in the Single Pen style of architecture in 1827, the two story Dowling House features limestone walls, and was the home of John Dowling and his son Nicholas.
The Dowling House is the oldest home in all of Galena. During the time when Dowling and his son lived in the home, they occupied the top level, while the first floor was used as trading post. Today, you can enjoy a guided tour of the Dowling House – see historic artifacts, and rooms depicting what life was like in the early 19th century.
An Illinois State Historic Site, the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site is set in the capital city of Springfield in central Illinois. Operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the structure was built in 1822, and houses the former office of then-lawyer Abraham Lincoln.
The Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site is currently open to visitors on a seasonal basis. The site offers an exhibit hall, Tinsley Dry Goods Store gift shop, and 20-minute guided tours of the Lincoln-Herndon building.
Set in Oak Ridge Cemetery, the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site is found in the capital city of Springfield in central Illinois. Lincoln's Tomb is a mausoleum and final resting place of Mary Todd Lincoln, three children, and President Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln's Tomb is both a U.S. National Historic Landmark and an Illinois State Historic Site, and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The tomb is marked by 117-foot high obelisk and sculptor of Lincoln’s face.
Completed in 1860, the Ulysses S. Grant Home is located in northern Illinois in the city of Galena. Former home of United States president and Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant, the site is now a museum set in the Grant Home Historic Neighborhood.
The Ulysses S. Grant Home is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and a Illinois State Historic Site along with being listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the museum hosts the U. S. Grant Pilgrimage, Lamplight Tours, and the First Lady Julia Grant statue.
An Illinois State Historic Site, the Old State Capitol State Historic Site is located in the capital city of Springfield in central Illinois. The state’s fifth capitol building, the structure was built in 1837, and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The setting of candidacy announcements for Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, the Old State Capitol is divided into the Illinois State House and the Courthouse. Features include a 30-minute guided tour, 15-minute orientation video, and onsite events like the Abraham Lincoln Symposium, the annual Civil War Encampment, and the Old Capitol Art Fair.
From mid-May through mid-November, you'll have the chance to tour the historic Belvedere Mansion & Gardens in Galena. Make travel plans for your next visit to Illinois and head for the northern region – Galena is a charming city, rich in history and culture.
Constructed in 1857, the Belvedere Mansion features 22 lavish rooms. Enjoy a tour of these rooms and much more at the Belvedere Mansion. Keep an eye out for the "Kitties in Residence" – several friendly cats live at the Belvedere Mansion, and they'll be happy you stopped by.