Decatur is home to approximately 75,000 people and covers over 42 square miles. Residents enjoy an average temperature of 31 degrees in the winter and 75 degrees in the summer, with enough rainfall, snowfall and sunshine to make everyone happy. The central location of Decatur is one of the main reasons so many people choose to live and open businesses here.
Surrounding communities, such as Forsyth, located to the north, and Mt. Zion, located to the southeast, are located within minutes for Decatur. Both communities provide the feel of small town living; yet offer shopping malls, movie theatres and many dining and recreation opportunities.
Founded in the early 1800s, Decatur is rich in history. President Abraham Lincoln spent 30 years in and out of Decatur, allowing the city to play a pivotal role in Lincoln’s political career. Three-time Illinois Governor and close friend Richard Oglesby nominated Lincoln for Presidency during the 1860 Illinois Republican Convention where the Main Street Bank and Trust’s parking lot stands today. Several of Lincoln’s “paths” through Decatur are marked with plaques and statues throughout the city.
The Chicago Bears started in Decatur. Originally named the “Decatur Staley’s”, the Bears were born here in 1920 as a company team for Staley Starch Works. “Black Bart”, the West’s most infamous stagecoach robber, and civil war hero, once lived in Decatur.
U.S. Route 51 from Bloomington. I-72E from Springfield. I-72W from Champaign Urbana.
- Decatur Municipal Airport. Air service to both St. Louis and Chicago. The Decatur Municipal Airport has been designated a Foreign Trade Zone and maintains a U.S. Customs Service office at the airport.
Interstate 72, U.S. 51 and 36 and Illinois Routes 48, 121 and 105, all connect Decatur. Cities such as Springfield, Bloomington and Champaign are all a quick 45 minutes drive away, while larger cities, such as St. Louis, Chicago and Indianapolis are only a short 2.5 hours away.
- Avon Theater, in downtown Decatur, is the most successful independent movie theater downstate and has been featured in numerous national and international publications. Lincoln Square Theatre is the host of several theater productions, choirs, ballet troupes, high school groups and professional solo performers throughout the year. Both of these theaters are also said to be haunted.
- Clinton Lake (30 minutes north), created by Illinois Power Company as a cooling lake for its nuclear plant, is a vast, 10,000-acre area operated by the State of Illinois. The 4,900-acre lake has 130 miles of shoreline, a beautiful 1,000-foot swimming beach, more than 300 camp sites, boat and canoe launch points, a marina, and numerous hiking trails and picnic sites.
- The Decatur Park District, includes more than 48 parks covering over 2,000 acres. The park includes 63 ball diamonds, five award-winning public golf courses, two public swimming pools, dozens of tennis courts, playgrounds and pavilions, public gardens and even an equestrian center. The district also serves people with disabilities with its Special Recreation programs and is the host for Area 10 Special Olympics, for a five-county area.
- Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture There are many examples of Frank Lloyd Wright's influence on the Prairie Style Architecture in Decatur. One of the most unique streets in the State of Illinois is Mueller Place, a neighborhood of several prairie style homes, including the Irving residence at #2 Mueller Pl., designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Other homes on the street were designed and built by Marion Mahony and Hermann von Holst, members of Wright's design group. Although the homes are privately owned they can be observed from the street.
- Lake Shelbyville (30 minutes south) features over 11,000 acres of water, 172 miles of shoreline and innumerable coves. Lake Shelbyville is a perfect host for a great variety of activities, including boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, golfing, public beaches and horseback riding.
- Scovill Oriental Gardens, Anna Bethel Fisher Rock Garden, Rock Springs Center and Mari-Mann Herb Farm hold a host of opportunities for those outdoor lovers.
There are plenty of local attractions to keep everyone busy. For art lovers Decatur is the home to over seven art galleries, highlighting both local and national artists. For those who are history buffs, museums such as Governor Oglesby’s Mansion, Mueller Museum, Macon County Museum and the Millikin Homestead will keep one busy for hours. The Scovill Children’s Zoo, home to the only pack of socialized wolves in Illinois, and the Children’s Museum of Illinois, offers fun for all ages. The Kirkland Fine Arts Center at Millikin University hosts nationally known musicians and entertainers, as well as university productions.
- With over 30 miles of shoreline, Lake Decatur has opportunities for fishing, sailing, boating, skiing, tubing and just relaxing. For those who enjoying biking or hiking, Rock Springs/Fairview Bikeway connects three area parks with a 3.2-mile, 10-foot wide trail.
- The Macon County Conservation District offers more than 3,200 acres of walking trails, prairies and abundant wildlife.
- Decatur is the host of more than 130 festival and entertainment events each year, including the Decatur Celebration, Illinois largest free family street festival, and the Farm Progress Show, the nation’s largest outdoor farm show.
- All-Star Diner, Route 121 south. A 50s style diner with nostalgic decorations. It is a 10 minute drive from Decatur Municipal Airport.
- Bizou, 255 N. Main, ☎ . M-Th 11a-2pm, 5-9pm; Fri 11a-2pm, 5-10p; Sat 5-10pm. Contemporary upscale restaurant. Excellent food and service. $$$.
- Del Carmen's Pizza East (The Pizza with Pizzazz), 221 N 22nd St., ☎ . Fri-Sat 4-11PM; Sun-Thur 4-10PM; M-F Lunch 11AM. Dine-in or Take-out. Hosts Larry & Martha Stanley since 1986.
- Krekel's. Classic Americana
- La Gondola. American interpretations of Italian classics.
- Pho Golden Bowl, 4280 North Prospect St, ☎ . The only Vietnamese restaurant in town. Specializing in delicious beef/chicken noodle soup, flavorful stir fry noodles, and traditional rice dishes.
- TapRoot Restaurant, 170 N. Merchant St., ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 11a-2pm; M-Sat 4-11pm. Contemporary American cuisine. Full service bar, banquet facilities. Children welcome, reservations recommended. $$.
- Country Inn & Suites - Decatur, 5150 Hickory Point Frontage Rd., ☎ , toll-free: . 72 guest rooms, indoor pool, fitness center, business center, free internet access, complementary breakfast. $119+.
- Decatur Conference Center and Hotel, 4191 W US Highway 36 (Wyckles Road), ☎ , fax: +1 217 422-9155. Conference Hotel with standard guest rooms, jacuzzi suites, and extensive banquet facilities. Great for business conventions.
- Hawthorn Suites Decatur, 2370 South Mt. Zion Road, ☎ . Business travelers will enjoy in-room business services, featuring an oversized work area complete with dual phone lines and data port, personal voice mail, daily complimentary newspaper and free High-speed Wireless Internet Access.
|Routes through Decatur|
|Hannibal ← Springfield ←||W E||→ Monticello → Champaign-Urbana|
|Hannibal ← Springfield ←||W E||→ Tuscola → Indianapolis|
|Bloomington-Normal ← Jct W E ←||N S||→ Vandalia → Carbondale|