Springfield (Illinois)

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Springfield is a city located in the center of the state of Illinois, USA. It is the capital of Illinois, not Chicago (as to avoid the Windy Cindy from having too much clout in the state) as well as the county seat of Sangamon County. Springfield is best known for its most famous resident, Abraham Lincoln, and the several historic sites related to him.

The Illinois State Capitol Building

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

I-55 approaches from the north and south. US-36 and I-72 approach from the east and west. Downtown has readily available curbside metered parking as well as an underground garage beneath the Old State Capital. Most attractions have ample parking in adjacent lots or garages.

By plane[edit]

  • Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (SPI)1200 Capital Airport Dr +1 217 788-1060fax: +1 217 788-8056. The airport is located on the northwest side of the city. There are regular flights to and from Chicago O'Hare International Airport into Springfield. From the airport, you will need to rent a car or take a taxi to get into the city. Many of the hotels also have courtesy shuttles. There is no bus service available.

By train[edit]

  • AmtrakE Washington and N Third Sts, toll-free: +1 800 USA-RAIL (872-7245). Daily 6AM-11PM; ticketing is available from 6AM-10:30PM. The station is located within walking distance of downtown and several local bus routes. Taxi service is usually available outside the station. Springfield is located on the line between Chicago and St. Louis. About five trains arrive per day from both Chicago and St. Louis. Some of the services regularly run behind schedule, so call ahead to check arrival and departure times.

By bus[edit]

  • Greyhound2351 S Dirksen Pkwy +1 217 544-8466. M-F 8AM-7PM, Sa Su 8AM-4PM. The bus station is located on the east edge of town. Note that the station does not have an attendant. If leaving from Springfield, make sure to buy your ticket online because the station is technically closed (buses still stop there but there is no Greyhound rep onsite). You can also bring cash or a credit card. The bus driver will allow you to board and purchase a ticket in the next town. You will need to arrange a cab or someone to pick you up when you arrive at this station. There is limited local transit (SMTD.org) service to and from the station with the nearest frequent bus stop east on Ash Street at Taylor Avenue (Route 11).

Get around[edit]

Local transit[edit]

  • SMTD928 S Ninth St +1 217 522-5531. M-F 6AM-midnight, Sa 6AM-6PM. The Springfield Mass Transit District operates local mass transit as well as paratransit, Access Springfield, six days per week, Monday-Saturday, except major holidays. 17 fixed routes cover the city, including the Historic Sites route, which serves tourist destinations. After 6PM, Routes 901-904 cover the city on an hourly basis. Currently the system is seeing major changes, so watch the website for daily changes and fares.

See[edit]

  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum112 N 6th St +1 217 558-8844, toll-free: +1 800 610-2094. Daily 9AM-5PM. This stunning museum features extremely rare artifacts to Lincoln & others around him. Completely 21st Century (in a good way), this has to be a must see. $7.50/5.50/3.50/Free (Adults/Seniors 62+ & Military (with ID) & Students (with ID)/Children 5-15/Children under 5).
  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site426 S Seventh St +1 217 492-4241 ext 266. Daily 8:30AM-5PM except 1 Jan 1st, 4th Th of Nov, and 25 Dec. The site features Abraham Lincoln's residence of 17 years, beautifully restored to its 1860 appearance. Entry to the home itself is only by ranger guided tour, but tickets can be obtained at the Visitor Center desk, and admission is free. The Visitor Center also offers an orientation film, along with other exhibits that change periodically. In addition to the home itself, a four block area has been preserved to look as it would in Lincoln's time period. Several of the other homes feature exhibits as well.
  • Lincoln-Herndon Law Office (Sixth and Adams Sts),  +1 217 785-7960. Daily, 16 Apr-Labor Day, 9AM-5PM. Tu-Sa, 5 Sep-15 Apr, 9AM-5PM. Closed most holidays. Featured here is the only surviving structure where Lincoln maintained working law offices. It has been restored and features an historical exhibit on the first floor. Guided tours are available, with a suggested donation. The building is located just a stones throw away from the old state capitol, a great convenience for both Lincoln and the modern traveler.
  • Old State Capitol. 1 Old Capitol Plaza, +1 217 785-7960 - Daily, 16 Apr-Labor Day, 9AM-5PM. Tu-Sa, 5 Sep-15 Apr, 9AM-5PM. Closed most holidays. This building served as the seat of the Illinois state government from 1839-1876. It was here that Mr. Lincoln served his final term in the Illinois House of Representatives, and where he gave his famous "House Divided" speech. He used some rooms in the capitol as his presidential campaign headquarters. On 3–4 May 1865, an estimated 75,000 mourners filed past Lincoln's body as it lay in state in Representatives Hall, located in the capitol building. Guided tours are available, the last one will begin 45 minutes before closing. The tour takes about 30 minutes, and a 15-minute orientation video is also available. The entire building is handicap accessible.
  • Lincoln Tomb (Oak Ridge Cemetery),  +1 217 782-2717. Daily, Mar-Oct, 9AM-5PM. Tu, Jun-Aug, 7PM-8PM. Daily, Nov-Feb, 9AM-4PM. Closed most holidays. Lincoln's Tomb is located within Oak Ridge Cemetery, the second most visited cemetery in the United States, after Arlington National Cemetery. Within the large monument is the final resting place of Lincoln and most of his immediate family. The small receiving vault where Lincoln's casket was originally placed is also located nearby. The tomb's interior is handicap accessible, but the exterior upper deck is not.
  • Lincoln Depot, 10th & Monroe, +1 217 544-8695 or +1 217 788-1356 Daily Apr-Aug, 10AM-4PM. This restored railroad depot, located a few blocks from Abraham Lincoln's home, was where he started his inaugural journey to Washington, D.C. On 11 February 1861, a large crowd gathered outside to watch him board a special presidential train.
  • Illinois Korean War MemorialOak Ridge cemetery +1 217 782-2177. Apr-Aug 10AM-4PM.
  • Dana-Thomas House301 E Lawrence Ave +1 217 782-6776. W-Su 9AM-4PM. *TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR REPAIRS* Prairie style house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that has been fully restored and preserved as a museum. Decorated with hundreds of pieces of original art glass and furniture designed by Wright for this location. The house was designed as a showplace for a Springfield socialite and it continues to impress visitors today. $5 adults / $3 children suggested donation.
  • Lincoln Memorial Garden2301 E Lake Dr +1 217 529-1111. Daily sunrise to sunset. Informal woodland garden designed by Jens Jensen. Consists of one hundred acres along Lake Springfield with more than five miles of nature trails populated by native Illinois wildflowers and trees. Also includes the Ostermeier Prairie, which is a restored century old farmstead. Free.
  • Abraham Lincoln's New Salem State Park (In Petersburg, 20 mi/32 km NW). Daily. This reconstruction of over two dozen 1830's log cabin houses at their original sites where Lincoln lived as a young man for over six years. Period costumes, oral historians and an attached evening theatre (see Performances link at this site) make this village of interest for all ages.

Do[edit]

  • Route 66 Drive-in1700 Recreation Dr (Exit 93 off I-72),  +1 217 546-8881. dusk F Sa nights May-Sep. Well attended, family oriented drive-in with two screens, each showing a double feature. $6, Ages 4-12 $4, Ages 3 and under free.
  • The Muni (Springfield Municipal Opera), 815 E Lake Dr +1 217 793-6864. This non-profit community theater stages four musicals each summer at their outdoor amphitheater. The organization has been active at this location for more than 50 years, which testifies to the fine productions. Park-like setting has areas for pre-show picnics. Reserved seats and lawn are both available.
  • Hoogland Center for the Arts420 S 6th St +1 217 523-2787fax: +1 217 523-4895. A wide variety of music, dance and drama performances are staged at this downtown arts center. There is also art gallery space and a local artisans shop. Free evening and weekend parking in the ramp next door. Within walking distance of several restaurants downtown
  • Sangamon AuditoriumOne University Plaza (on the campus of the University of Illinois at Springfield),  +1 217 206-6160fax: +1 217 206-6391, e-mail: . A large venue that hosts big-name national touring acts of music, dance, broadway theater, etc.

Learn[edit]

  • The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) [1] is the newest of the University of Illinois's three campuses. Founded in 1970 as Sangamon State University, the University of Illinois Springfield claims a student body of 5,000 and a vibrant, modern prairie-style campus.

Buy[edit]

  • Recycled Records625 E Adams St (Near the Hilton Downtown),  +1 217 522-5122fax: +1 217 525-2917, e-mail: . M-F 9AM-5:30PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su Closed. One of the largest independent record stores in the nation including a huge selection of new and vinyl. Also a buy/sell store dealing in DVD's, Cd's, stereo equipment and more! A must see in the downtown area.
  • Prairie Archives522 E Adams St (downtown on the Old Capital Plaza),  +1 217 522-9742. M-Sa 10AM-5PM. Friendly used bookseller with an extensive, widely-varied inventory. Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War are specialties of the shop. You can get lost for hours here.
  • Pease's Candy. A local candymaker still run by the original family now in its fifth generation. Chocolates, caramel, fudge, nuts, hard candy, etc.
  • State and Laurel (E of MacArthur Blvd),  +1 217 523-3721. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 11AM-5PM.
  • Parkway Pointe Shopping Center (off Veterans Pkwy),  +1 217 793-9868. M-Sa 9AM-9PM, Su 11AM-5PM.
  • Sangamon Center North (off Sangamon Ave),  +1 217 528-2810. Mo-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 11AM-5PM.
  • Penny Lane Gifts2901 S MacArthur Blvd +1 217 787-2996. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 11AM-6PM. Rock T-shirts, posters, mirrors, candles, incense, smoking supplies, crystals, adult toys, figurines.
  • Ergadoo1320 S State St +1 217 544-9466. Educational toy store and teacher's supply. Lots of clever games and imaginative toys. Also children's art supplies.
  • Southern Illinois University School of Medicine801 North Rutledge +1 217-545-8000. This school, founded in the 1970's and affiliated with Memorial Medical Center and St. John's Hospital, has as its mission to provide doctors for central and southern Illinois.

Eat[edit]

One of the legendary food items that is part of the heritage of Springfield is the horseshoe sandwich. The horseshoe sandwich originated in Springfield, Illinois sometime in the early 20th century at the Leland Hotel. You can get horseshoe sandwiches at most Springfield restaurants, at some restaurants in central Illinois, and at a few restaurants in other parts of the state. Horseshoes are not generally served outside of Illinois.

A traditional horseshoe is two hamburgers each on a piece of toast with fries and cheese sauce over the top. Variations now include broiled(or deep fried) tenderloins, shaved ham, shaved chicken and even vegetarian variations. A pony shoe is half a horseshoe - a sufficient quantity for most people.

Budget[edit]

  • Charlie Parker's700 North St +1 217 241-2104. Extra tasty American diner food served in a quonset hut decorated with rock-n-roll memorabilia. $5-12.
  • Cozy Dog Drive In2935 S 6th St +1 217 525-1992fax: +1 217-525-8539, e-mail: . M-Sa 8AM-8PM. One of the original restaurants on historic Route 66. Their specialty is the Cozy Dog, a cornbread-encased wiener known elsewhere as a corn dog. $3-8.
  • Feed Store516 E Adams St (Old Capitol Plaza),  +1 217 528-3355. M-Sa 11AM-3PM. Known for their large selection of soups made fresh daily. Also serving sandwiches, salads and desserts. $6-12.
  • Head West Sub Stop (Multiple locations). Tasty submarine sandwiches and a jam-band soundtrack. These hippies can make a great sandwich. $4-7.
  • Joe Roger's Chili820 S 9th St +1 217 522-3722. M-Sa 11AM-4PM. One of the classic Springfield chili parlors. Their chili is mixed to order with or without beans, with or without meat and available with six different levels of spiciness. Eat a bowl of the hottest style, the JR Special, and get your name on the wall. Yes, in Springfield it is proper to spell it with only one "l". $4-8.
  • Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop118 N Pasfield St +1 217 523-0723. M-F 10AM-4PM, Sa 11AM-3PM. Classic fast food restaurant serving distinctive loose meat sandwiches of spiced ground beef. Claims to have the first drive-thru window in the country. $4-7.
  • Vic's Pizza2025 N Peoria Rd +1 217 522-2464. Thin crust pizza and a few basic pasta dishes.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Darcy's Pint661 W Stanford Ave +1 217 492-8800. M-Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-11PM, Bar open until 1AM. Typical Irish style pub with better than typical fare. They make a little extra effort with the food and it shows. Good place to try a horseshoe. Very busy at typical meal times. $8-16.
  • Holy Land Diner107 W Cook St +1 217 544-5786. Vegetarian friendly restaurant offering Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food. Buffet served weekdays at lunch plus Friday and Saturday evenings. The Friday buffet contains some meat and the Saturday buffet is vegetarian. The hand made baklava is superb. $6-12.
  • Incredibly Delicious925 S 7th St +1 217 528-8548fax: +1 217 528 7355. French inspired bakery and cafe with artisanal bread and tempting desserts located in an old Italianate house. Sandwiches, salads and quiches also served for lunch. All-butter croissants are a specialty. $5-10.
  • Saputo Twins Corner801 E Monroe St +1 217 522-0105. M-F 10:30AM-11PM, Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-10PM. Serving the same well-made basic Italian food that has remained a local favorite for decades. $10-15.

Splurge[edit]

  • Fritz's Wagon wheel2709 S MacArthur Blvd +1 217 546-9888. Tu-Su 4:30PM-10PM. American style supper club serving steaks, seafood, ribs, etc. $10-25.
  • Gateway to India3115 Chatham Rd +1 217 726-6890. Indian Cuisine. The lunch buffet is tasty and economical. $10-15.
  • Maldaner's Restaurant222 S Sixth St +1 217 522-4313. 11AM-2:30PM, 5PM-10PM. Landmark fine dining (since 1884) convenient to many of the historic sites. Menu emphasizes local and organically grown foods. Seasonal al fresco dining available. Lunch is a particularly good value with a special menu of soups, salads and sandwiches. Reservations recommended for dinner. Lunch $5-10, dinner $15-30.
  • Old Luxembourg Inn1900 S 15th St +1 217 528-0503. Tu-Su 4:30PM-10PM. Family owned steak house popular with locals and visiting politicians. In the 60+ years this restaurant has been open, the surrounding neighborhood has had ups and downs, but the Old Lux has remained consistently good. $8-25.

Drink[edit]

  • Forty-Niner Bye-Bye518 N Bruns Ln +1 217 787-4937.
  • Marlys9 SW Old State Capitol Plz (downtown),  +1 217 522-2280.
  • Brewhaus (downtown).
  • Bar None (downtown).
  • Stella Blue (Above Sebatians Hideout downtown).
  • Floyd's Thirst Parlor210 S 5th St (downtown),  +1 217 522-2020.

Sleep[edit]

  • Comfort Suites2620 S Dirksen Pkwy +1 217 753-4000. Featuring 91 double and king suites each with distinct sleeping and work/leisure areas.
  • The State House Inn a Clarion Collection Hotel, 101 E Adams, +1 217 528-5100. A hotel rich in history as well as a signature style and modern technology.[2]
  • Maple Crest Bed & Breakfast, in nearby Petersburg by Abraham Lincoln's New Salem Village, +1 217 632-0128, [3].
  • Abraham Lincoln International Hostel, 421 E Jackson, +1 217 522-8828.
  • Hilton Springfield700 E Adams St +1 217 789-1530. Located in downtown Springfield, the Hilton is thirty stories tall. The cylinder-shaped black and white building is the tallest in Springfield.

Stay safe[edit]

Its homicide rate is fully 66% LOWER than several Illinois cities. Visitors to the capitol city will find an inviting, friendly community that has been ranked 6th least expensive to live in the entire United States. The cost of touring Springfield's many historic sites is more than reasonable, as well, because most Lincoln sites are free.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Springfield
St. LouisLitchfield  S I-55.svg N  ShermanBloomington-Normal
HannibalJacksonville  W I-72.svgnoframe E  DecaturChampaign-Urbana
St. LouisLitchfield  S US 66 (historic).svg N  ShermanBloomington-Normal


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This city travel guide to Springfield has the status usable. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page