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The Ohio River bridge.

Cairo (pronounced CARE-ro) is in Illinois on a small strip of land in between Missouri and Kentucky as well as the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, made famous in Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn".



The town was in former times a major port, but is now a semi-ghost town as a result of the decline of the river trade. During the American Civil War, it was used by U.S. Grant as a supply hub, but his military occupation of the town diverted much trade towards Chicago and Cairo could never quite get it back.

Get in

Map of Cairo (Illinois)

By car

  • US 51. Head south on US Highway 51 from Interstate 57.

By plane

  • 1 Cairo Regional Airport (CIR  IATA) (4 mi (6.4 km) northwest of town on the other side of the interstate.). Cairo Airport (Q60164879) on Wikidata Cairo Regional Airport on Wikipedia

Get around



The confluence of the Ohio & Mississippi rivers.
  • 1 Cairo Custom House Museum, +1 618 734-9632. 14th and Washington Ave. An American Civil War and local history museum. M-F 10AM-noon, 1-3PM. Old Custom House (Q15263764) on Wikidata Old Custom House (Cairo, Illinois) on Wikipedia
  • 2 Fort Defiance State Park. This once neglected state park has come back into better days thanks to local efforts. It looks out over the Ohio and Mississippi rivers as the two powerful water flows attempt to combine. Fort Defiance (Q5471046) on Wikidata Fort Defiance (Illinois) on Wikipedia
  • Safford Memorial Library, 1609 Washington Ave, +1 618 734-1840. M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-noon. Home to Civil War documents, antiques, and paintings.
  • 3 Magnolia Manor, 2700 Washington Ave, +1 618 734-0201. Magnolia Manor (Q11766243) on Wikidata Magnolia Manor (Cairo, Illinois) on Wikipedia


  • Levee Footrace, +1 618 734-4400. A 5000- and 10,000-meter run held on the Mississippi River Levee is held the second Saturday of November.
  • St Mary's Park. This city park once played host to Theodore Roosevelt, but now hosts the city's residents with recreation facilities.









Go next

Routes through Cairo
EffinghamMarion ← Jct to Metropolis  N  S  SikestonEND
CarbondaleCobden  N  S  MemphisJackson
SpringfieldSikeston  W  E  PaducahEvansville/Elizabethtown
East St. LouisCahokia ← Jct W  N  S  END

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