Springfield Things to Do

  • A SPRINGFIELD MEDICAL CENTER
    A SPRINGFIELD MEDICAL CENTER
    by Rich62
  • EVEN WALMART HAS LINCOLN QUOTATIONS
    EVEN WALMART HAS LINCOLN QUOTATIONS
    by Rich62
  • SPRINGFIELD BUILDING
    SPRINGFIELD BUILDING
    by Rich62

Most Recent Things to Do in Springfield

  • WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo

    Illinois State Capitol

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Jan 18, 2014
    4 more images

    The current Illinois State Capitol is the second built in Springfield, which replaced Vandalia (itself the second capital city of the state) as capital. A magnificent building, and one of the tallest state capitols in the U.S., it nevertheless underwent some unfortunate modifications and deterioration over the years but is, as of 2013, in the midst of a major restoration that is taking some time. One can still visit it, but signs of work are evident. This is aimed in part at restoring some of the original decor that has been lost. The interior ranks as one of the most richly ornate capitols I have visited, along with those of California and Wisconsin - that is obviously not for all, and is not necessarily good or bad given that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but the rich decor is notable. It also, somewhat like California's capitol building, which is almost contemporaneous and only a few years older, has a definite mid-19th-century Victorian element in addition to the basic neo-classical character of the structure. California's strikes more as more Victorian with its plethora of wooden blinds and rich use of dark wood inside but this one has a more Victorian character than the others I have visited. Then, most other current capitols I have seen are newer.

    Also, although the structure is vaguely similar to the US and many other state capitols, due to the use of a central domed cupola on a neo-classical building, this one is definitely a bit unique in the colouring of the masonry and the uniquely tall, narrow cupola with slightly different shape.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo

    Lincoln-Herndon Law Office

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Sep 25, 2013
    2 more images

    Across the street from the Old Capitol is the law office of Abraham Lincoln and his law partner and biographer, William Herndon. The building has been preserved and now functions as a museum.

    Although little or no original furnishings exists (in contrast to the Lincoln home a few blocks away), it is still an interesting place, one can visit the rooms which functioned as the law office as well as the downstairs which operated a store and post office, and it does have the desk where Lincoln wrote his presidential election speech. There really is not much of great interest here except the building itself, but I find it worth visiting just to be in the building where they practiced law.

    Note that it has fairly limited hours of operation which are seasonal and fluctuate

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo

    Lincoln Home

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Sep 24, 2013
    4 more images

    This is the home of Abraham and Mary Lincoln, thankfully preserved essentially as it was thanks to the fact that their eldest son, Robert, donated it to the people for this very purpose.

    It is a phenomenal and moving site, with some of their original furniture, stove, etc, all giving an amazing and moving experience that one really must feel to fully grasp. In fact, the entire immediate neighbourhood has been preserved to complete the effect and this is a must-visit place not only in Springfield but in Illinois for anyone interested in history or the Lincolns.

    Another bonus is that tours are free, because Robert made that a stipulation when he donated the home. Several other homes are open as well.

    There is a visitor centre with map, gift shop, information, etc., and one must go there to get a tour ticket, although as noted the tours are free.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo

    Old State Capitol

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Sep 24, 2013
    4 more images

    In addition to the current capitol building, completed in 1876, Springfield still has the original state capitol building to be built in the town, called the Old State Capitol. Completed in 1839, this is much smaller and simpler, but a wonderful example of the more modest capitol buildings generally found during that era and somewhat unusual since not many states still have their old capitol buildings around. Illinois in fact has another surviving capitol building, in Vandalia to the east, which was the capital before Springfield.

    This is a lovely building, nicely maintained and operating as a museum. They sometimes have living history days and other events here. It's also next to the Lincoln law office and in the heart of downtown.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo

    Abraham Lincoln

    by WulfstanTraveller Written Sep 21, 2013
    Lincoln's Tomb
    3 more images

    Abraham Lincoln is intimately connected with this town. He rose to prominence as a lawyer and politician here, he was a key player the decision to make this the Illinois capital, he had his law office here, the only home he ever owned his here, and he is buried here. This makes Springfield a must-see place for anyone interested in Lincoln and the town abounds with fascinating Lincoln-associated places to visit. His law office is still here, right next to the old capitol, where he was a politician; his home is still here, carefully preserved as his son Robert gave it to the people, with original stove and other furniture; his tomb his here with Mary and their children (except Robert - buried in the national cemetery); the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is here. One can visit these easily as they are all fairly close to each other, the tomb being the only one that is any real distance from the rest.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • bocmaxima's Profile Photo

    Lincoln's Tomb

    by bocmaxima Written Apr 22, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Obelisk above Lincoln's tomb
    2 more images

    Who's buried in Lincoln's tomb? As the famous story goes, it could have been no one. After thieves attempted to dig his body up and hold it for ransom in 1876, Lincoln's body was moved several times and locked away to avoid further intrusion.
    The tomb sits at the back of a beautiful old cemetary on the outskirts of Springfield. It's open from dawn to dusk with the cemetary (although the tomb is only accessible later in the day), and is a fairly large site. It includes a famous statue of the head of Lincoln. It's said that it's good luck to rub the nose of the statue, which has resulted in an uneven tarnish and a bright gold nose contrasting the rest of the brownish head.
    What's interesting to me is that this is a state site as opposed to a national one. As a president that's featured on both a bill and a coin, it would seem his burial site would be more of national interest.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Paulie_D's Profile Photo

    Lincoln Home National Historic Site

    by Paulie_D Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A visit to Springfield is not complete without a trip to the house in which Abraham Lincoln lived from 1844 to the time he left to take up the US presidency in 1861.

    The home of Abraham and Mary Lincoln at Eighth and Jackson streets has been fully restored to the Lincoln period.

    The site is administered by the National Park Service and includes The Lincoln Home and 13 other historic houses preserved in a four-block, nineteenth-century setting.

    The park staff provides FREE scheduled guided tours of the Lincoln Home taking you through the each of the home's rooms and giving details who would have used them and provides a wealth of information.

    For more pictures and information.. Click Here

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tom_In_Madison's Profile Photo

    Frank Lloyd Wright Home

    by Tom_In_Madison Written Oct 17, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Front door, not hidden
    1 more image

    Dana-Thomas is a magnificent home Wright built way back around 1900. He was given an unlimited budget, and he put it to good use. This house is still as sturdy as he built it over 100 years ago. It has a bowling alley, skylight, library, many different levels in it, the rooms differentiated by lighting. Even the art he put in it is still there.

    Suggested donation of $5, well worth it. Tours hourly or so. Nice gift shop too

    Was this review helpful?

  • Sunshine64's Profile Photo

    Union Station - Visitor's Center

    by Sunshine64 Written Jul 12, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Union Station - Springfield IL
    2 more images

    The Visitor's Center for the Lincoln Museum is located in the restored Union Station. This beautiful old train station originally opened in 1898, and passenger train service ended in 1971.

    The beautiful clock tower was restored in 2006. It had been removed in 1946.

    Union Square is located behind the train station, across the street from the museum.

    Buy your tickets for the Lincoln Museum and Library here.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Sunshine64's Profile Photo

    Visit the Lincoln Museum

    by Sunshine64 Written Jul 12, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Lincoln Family in front of the Whilte House
    1 more image

    While you are in the heart of the Land of Lincoln, don't miss the Lincoln Museum - celebrating the man whom many say was the greatest American President.

    The typical museum type exhibits include everything you'd expect such as letters many artifacts from Lincoln's life. I also enjoyed the section on Washington society and Mary Todd's "competitors", which included a display of their various dresses. There's also a large exhibit on the Civil War, including individual soldier stories.

    While the traditiaonl museum style exhibits are wonder themselves, this musuem has taken advantage of the latest and greatest in technology in both interactive exhibits and presentations like "Ghosts of the Library" and "Lincoln's Eyes"

    The 2 man play about the night of Lincoln's murder was excellent. I'm not sure if it is a constant event, or was only presented for a limited time.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Lincoln Tomb

    by deecat Updated Apr 25, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Lincoln's Tomb
    4 more images

    At the request of Mrs. Lincoln after Abraham Lincolnwas assassinated in 1865, he was buried in Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery. Infact, Mary Todd, Tad, Eddie, and Willie Lincoln are all buried in the Lincoln Tomb. The oldest son, Robert, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

    When you visit this beautiful monument, you are given a brief orientation to the site, and then you walk [without talking] the corridors that lead to the burial chamber. Here in this peaceful atmosphere, you will see reduced-scale statues of Lincoln as well as excerpts from Lincoln's many speeches.

    This imposing monument was designed by sculptor, Larkin Mead. It was completed in 1874.(Photos #1, #4) Interestingly, there is a "receiving vault in which Abraham Lincoln was first buried while the final tomb was being completed. See Photo #4.

    There is a sculpture of Abraham Lincoln before you reach the tomb. Folklore says that if you rub the nose of Lincoln, it will bring you luck. Note in [Photo #5] how Lincoln's nose shines and is lighter than the rest of the statue due to all the rubbing over the years!

    Oak Ridge Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Illinois and the second-most visited cemetery in United States [after Arlington]. "Oak Ridge was named for the large stand of oak trees which flourished on the banks of spring Creek. Many of these historic oaks still remain to shade the grounds" This cemetery is 365 acres. There are four Illinois governors buried here as well as Lincoln's law partner, William Herndon.

    There is a special flag-lowering ceremony held each Tuesday evening during the summer by Civil War reenactment soldiers of the 114th Illinois Regiment. Then, the flag is given to one of the visitors.

    The Cemetery is open March through October on Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    November through February on Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed on Sundays, Mondays, and major holidays. Entrance to Lincoln's Tomb is FREE.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Seniors
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Illinois State Museum

    by deecat Updated Apr 23, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Proud Raven Totem Pole at the Entrance to Museum
    1 more image

    The Main photo shows a very unique Totem Pole called "Proud Raven" that features a carved Abraham Lincoln on top!

    Although The Illinois State Museum was not either Mickey or my favorite site, I do feel that it is worth seeing.There are three floors of exhibitions. The Museum Store with its unique selection of educations toys, books, cards, scientific games and high quality crafts is very nice and is located on the First Floor. Also on the first floor is an all new NATURAL HISTORY EXPERIENCE. It has hands-on interactives, thousands of authentic fossils and natural history specimens, life-size dioramas, audio and video effects. This exhibit explores 500 million years of environmental change in Illinois.

    The Second Floor has "At Home In the Heartland" which is an interactive exhibit that explores the history of family life in Illinois...it presents a picture of the lives of Illinois residents from the 18th century to the present. Another exhibit on the second floor is "Peoples of the Past" which uses Life-size dioramas that trace the evolution of Native American cultures in Illinois from 4,000 years ago through the 19th century. There are also Changing Exhibitions of fine and decorative arts.

    The Lower Level of the museum has the Morton D. Barker Paperweight Collection which presents Barker's large and presitgious collection of paperweights [most were created in post-Napoleonic-era France]. There is a great place for children on this floor called A Place for Discovery". It is a hands-on gallery where children can see, touch, create, and discover. Finally, this lower level has Changing Exhibitions of the many aspects of life and art in Illinois.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    See Three War Memorials in Oak Ridge Cemetery

    by deecat Written Apr 22, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial
    4 more images

    Do not miss seeing the three War Memorials in Oak Ridge Cemetery!

    The World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial was designed by Jess Poss, who collaborated with Isaksen-Glerum Architects. "The centerpiece of the granite and concrete structure is a 12 foot diameter globe sculpted by Dann Nardi and sinifies the global proportions of WWII" There are stainless steel buttons embedded in this globe which identify strategic/major battles in the European and Pacific Theaters of the war. Then there are black granite walls that cascade out from the white globe with a wonderful TIME LINE of this war. One of my favorite quotes engraved on the black granite is: "THE EYES OF THE WORLD ARE UPON YOU. THE HOPES AND PRAYERS OF LIBERTY LOVING PEOPLE EVERYWHERE MARCH WITH YOU" General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Photos 1 and 2.

    Illinois Korean War Memorial (1996) has a central design of a majestic bronze bell [12'X12') that features larger than life sculptures of men representing the four branches of the military..ARMY, NAVY, MARINES, AND AIR FORCE. The Granite base is inscribed with the names of 1,745 Illinois servicemembers that were killed in action during the Korean War.
    Mickey and I think that the best part of this memorial is the sound system that is installed under the memorial area, and it broadcasts timed musical selections every half hour. This memorial is on a 2 acre site, and it has its own sprinkling system, and public address system!
    There's a basement under the memorial which allows maintenance of the lights & speakers. Spot lights under the base illuminate this memorial at night. Professor Robert Youngman from the University of Illinois is the memorial Sculptor.
    The national tree of Korea is Rose of Sharon, and the people of Korea donated 400 trees that surround the Memorial [they bloom in late summer]. Photo 3

    The Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial was designed by the winner of a contest judged by 44 veterans and their families. They chose the design by twenty-year-old, Jerome Lager of Breese, Illinois. This Memorial has a circular plan without a front, back, or sides which symbolizes the UNITY OF ALL FIGHTING MEN AND WOMEN. When you visit, you are able to enter the interior courtyard from any direction, "just as Illinois servicement came from all parts of the state". There are 5 black granite walls upon which 2,970 names of those who died or are still missing were etched. The 5 walls, one for each of the 5 branches of service. An ETERNAL FLAME burns atop the Memorial where the gray granite walls converge. The inscription on the outer walls reads: TO THOSE WHO DIED: HONOR AND ETERNAL REST, TO THOSE STILL IN BONDAGE: REMEMBRANCE AND HOPE, AND TO THOSE WHO RETURNED: GRATITUDE AND PEACE Photos 4 & 5.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Seniors
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Executive Mansion

    by deecat Updated Apr 22, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Executive Mansion in Springfield, Illinois
    4 more images

    We were fortunate that this beautiful Executive Mansion has reopened to the public since Governor Quinn has taken over the office. The Mansion is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is FREE.

    The Executive Mansion is the home of the Illinois governor. It was noted in our tour that seven U.S. Presidents [including Abraham Lincoln] have been received here.

    Our tour includes three levels that are open to the public. We saw four formal parlors; a state dining room; the ballroom; four bedrooms, including the Lincoln bedroom See Photo #4.
    This bedroom has overnight guests of the First Family. It has an ornately handcarved set of furniture that was once owned by the Abraham Lincoln family. We also saw the library [see photo #3]. It is paneled in solid native Illinois Black Walnut.

    The home is a red brick Italianate mansion that has been home to Illinois governors since 1855. It was renovated, and the beautiful staircase was brought back to its original design.
    Govern Quinn uses 6 rooms in the mansion for his private use and are not on the tour.

    Because they do not allow photographs within the mansion, I bought two postcards which I used to show the beauty of the interior.

    The grounds of this Executive Mansion are just beautiful, and since it was April when we toured it, we were impressed by the Spring flowers. See photo #5.

    If you are in Springfield on a Tuesday or a Thursday, be sure to tour this lovely mansion.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Illinois State Capitol

    by deecat Updated Apr 22, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Illinois State Capitol
    4 more images

    Designed in the shape of a Greek Cross, this Illinois State Capitol is the sixth [we had one in Kaskaskia, three in Vandalia, and two in Springfield].

    Be prepared for a required check-in with Capitol Police/security officers at each entrance.
    Once inside, requestion a tour at the Information Desk; tours are every half hour. There are no tours from noon until one p.m..

    Our tour included the House and Senate galleries, Governor's reception are, Hall of Governors, and the Old Supreme Court Room. They avoided putting us on a tour with school children [thank goodness]. There were only four of us on the tour, which is ideal.

    PHOTOGRAPHS:
    1. Outside view of the Illinois State Capitol.
    2. Beautiful Rotunda's Dome Stained Glass
    3. Lovely Main Staircase.
    4. Statue of Stephen Douglas emblazoned with natural light.
    5. Mickey seeming miniscule next to Lincoln's statue in front of Illinois State Capitol.

    The First Floor Rotunda area is impressive with a beautiful statue sculpted by Julia Bracken. It was too dark to capture a good photo...it's a statue in the center of the rotunda that represents the welcoming of people to the Columbian Exposition in 1893.

    This marvelous building is filled with original paintings from areas in Illinois. One of my favorites wasFort Dearborn at the mouth of the Chicago River [first floor, south corridor].

    Ceiling murals are also attractive, especially on the first floor, east corridor with:
    Charity Holding a horn-of-plenty
    Faith is a Woman of religion holding a cross
    Hope is a classic woman seated with an anchor looking out to sea

    Anothing wonderful painting that I loved was on the first floor: "The Rise of Chicago, Rebirth After the Great Fire".

    Mickey and I enjoyed looking at the Hall of Governors on the second floor which is Portraits of previous Governors. We tried to figure out which ones we remembered.

    Both the Senate Room and the Representative Room are absolutely beautiful. When they are in session, you are able to sit in a viewing area and watch and listen. It's interesting that the House chamber has been completely redone as is larger, by far, than the Senate chamber.

    Our tour was informational, even educational, and gave us a great opportunity to see where our state representatives and senators work.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Springfield

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

86 travelers online now

Comments

Springfield Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Springfield things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Springfield sightseeing.

View all Springfield hotels