You likely recognize Springfield as the capital of Illinois, as well as where Abraham Lincoln spent some very formative years before being elected to the House of Representatives.
There’s also a lot more to see and lots of fun stuff to do.
These are the 32 best and most fun things to do in Springfield, IL.
Things To Do In Springfield, IL
1. Illinois Governor’s Mansion
Once known as the “Executive Mansion,” this estate is absolutely key to see among Springfield attractions.
For more than 160 years, it’s been the home of Illinois governors.
Although it’s gone under some rehabilitation over the years, the classic charm is still there.
So many amazing stories and influential people have lived within these walls.
You don’t have to just view this Springfield mansion from a distance, either.
There are tours available that let you explore all around this great building.
Sites like these emphasize what a historic city this is.
With beautiful construction and friendly guides, eager to share amazing facts about the estate, the Illinois Governor’s Mansion is one of Springfield’s top sites.
It’s available for tours every day from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
These tours are offered free of charge.
Address: 410 E Jackson St, Springfield, IL 62701, United States
2. Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site
From the outside, this building can look pretty humble.
However, it’s one of the coolest Springfield attractions, as Abraham Lincoln worked here when he practiced law.
It’s among the best activities for history buffs in Springfield.
This is especially important for sightseeing, as it’s the only law office building left that Lincoln worked at.
The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has kept it in fine shape.
You can tour it and imagine Lincoln working hard, doing his best to make a difference for his community and its people.
Many of the places to visit in Springfield have to do with Abraham Lincoln.
The Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site spotlights an important part of his life before becoming President.
You can visit it every day of the week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Address: Sixth & Adams Streets, Springfield, IL, United States
3. Washington Park Botanical Garden
Want to know what to do in Springfield, IL if you love nature?
The first place on your list should be the Washington Park Botanical Garden.
Amidst this gorgeous area, you’ll find more than 1,000 incredible flowers and other powerful sights.
With 9,000 square feet to explore, Washington Park Botanical Garden certainly gives you a lot to appreciate.
It truly is a place to stop and smells the roses, as well as cacti, evergreen trees, and others.
You can see plants within the greenhouse space and the conservatory.
Many of the best things to do in Springfield, IL are about getting in touch with your senses.
The Washington Park Botanical garden makes you feel so good to feel so much.
There’s no charge for admission, and they’re open on weekdays, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., as well as on weekends, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Address: 1740 W Fayette Ave, Springfield, IL 62704, United States
4. Edwards Place Historic Home
It’s truly amazing how many Springfield attractions are connected to Abraham Lincoln.
Case in point, the Edwards Place Historic Home.
While a lot of important activities happened here, it was especially significant for its role in the budding relationship between Lincoln and his future wife, Mary Todd.
The best thing to see at Edwards Place, which was also the home of Mary Todd’s sister, Elizabeth, is the “courting couch.”
Word is that Lincoln would be on this couch with Mary Todd, looking at her with total infatuation.
This piece of furniture was so significant to their relationship, it was even behind them when they got married there.
Otherwise, Edwards Place Historic Home is a magnificent building, still looking fresh after 180 years.
You can check it out from Tuesdays to Fridays, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and on Saturdays, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Admission is $5 for everyone older than 10 and free for everyone younger.
Address: 700 N 4th St, Springfield, IL 62702, United States
5. Illinois State Museum
The best place to learn a lot about multiple subjects in Springfield is the Illinois State Museum.
This is definitely among the most fun things to do in Springfield, IL as well.
You can emerge with your mind absolutely brimming at the new knowledge it has acquired.
There are lots of great things to see at the Illinois State Museum.
Among their top permanent collections are “At Home in the Heartland,” which chronicles stories of Illinois residents over the last several centuries, and “Peoples of the Past,” which is all about Native Americans in Illinois.
Your kids will be enamored as well, with the “Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum” being a great place for them to learn about things like fossils.
If you’re looking for educational activities, it’s easy to figure out what to do in Springfield IL.
The Illinois State Museum gives Illinois history its due.
Best of all, it’s free of charge.
Visit between Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Address: 502 S Spring St, Springfield, IL 62706, United States
Visiting other areas of Illinois? Why not check out some of the best things to do in Chicago?
6. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site
If you only have time to see one of the places to visit about Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, come to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.
He and Mary Todd spend 17 years living here.
Visiting here can give you a better sense of Lincoln before becoming one of the most influential figures this country has ever known.
This isn’t a modest log cabin, either.
The Lincoln Home has 12 rooms and a Greek-revival design.
Sure, it’s not the White House, but it’s a remarkable home in its own right.
The tours and film about Lincoln provide additional important context.
If you love learning about Lincoln, you know visiting his home stands among the top things to do in Springfield, IL.
Tours are given every day, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the winter and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the summer.
The visitor center offers free tickets.
Address: 413 S 8th St, Springfield, IL 62701, United States
7. Wm. Van’s Coffee House
All places worth visiting, whether they’re metropolises teeming with activities or modest small towns, should have at least one great coffee shop.
In Springfield, Illinois there are many excellent places to go to for coffee, but Wm. Van’s Coffee House has something really special about it.
The atmosphere is a big reason why people love it.
The building’s Italianate construction and the interior, full of funky art, is a delight.
Equally great is their menu, with great coffee and tea, as well as lots of delicious food, such as homemade pastries.
Wm. Van’s Coffee House has two locations in Springfield, and there could very well be more to come.
It’s great to come here early in the morning as you get ready for a day full of activities.
If you’re around 7th Street or South Grand Avenue, stop by Wm. Van’s Coffee House.
Address: 503 S 7th St, Springfield, IL 62703, United States
8. Old State Capitol
Although this Illinois Capitol building is no longer used for political business, it hasn’t been left to rot.
Used between 1839 and 1876, the Old State Capitol still has plenty of significance.
Chief among these is its role in Abraham Lincoln’s political career.
Lincoln served in Springfield as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives.
When he ran for the United States Senate, he delivered his legendary “House Divided” speech here.
You can explore the Old State Capitol either via a half-hour tour or on your own.
There’s a huge number of things to see and points of interest related to Illinois’ political past.
Even if the Lincoln connection wasn’t there, the Old State Capitol would still be worth visiting for things like its historic libraries and excellent restoration.
This attraction is free and opens every day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the exception of certain holidays.
Address: 526 E Adams St, Springfield, IL 62701, United States
9. Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon
Many of the best things to do in Springfield, IL can be found at Washington Park.
Along with the wonderful botanical gardens, there’s also the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon.
While you might not have never heard of a carillon, odds are you’ve seen depictions of them somewhere.
A carillon is simply an arrangement of bells inside a tower.
They’re controlled with a keyboard, and blissful sounds can ring out.
Quite often, you’ll see them in churches.
The one at Washington Park in Springfield is the fifth largest in the entire world.
The Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon is unique among Springfield attractions.
It’s a huge instrument that also feels like a citizen of the community.
You can tour inside to see its amazing bells and catch great views of the area from the observation deck.
Try to come in June, so you can attend the International Carillon Festival.
Address: 1740 W Fayette Ave, Springfield, IL 62704, United States
10. Vachel Lindsay Home
Abraham Lincoln is not the only person of significance who lived in Springfield.
A fun time can be had visiting the home of Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, the great poet.
Touring it is what to do for anyone who wants to see how an important writer lived.
Not only did Lindsay live here, but he was also born and died here.
His creative spirit and singular poetry made him a star of the medium.
With so many living artists inspired by Lindsay, it feels like he hasn’t left us.
The Vachel Lindsay House is great if you’re looking for tourist attractions centered on amazing individuals.
Make a plan to visit this weekend.
It’s open every day of the week, from 2 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Address: 603 S 5th St, Springfield, IL 62703, United States
11. Oak Ridge Cemetery
You might’ve seen the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., but there’s another very important one, located in Springfield, IL.
At Oak Ridge Cemetery, you can see where Abraham Lincoln was laid to rest.
It’s a fitting tribute to a legendary figure who changed the world for the better.
This is no ordinary gravesite.
It’s a 117-foot tall tomb with a dynamic inside design, complete with a rotunda.
Along with Lincoln, his wife and three of their kids together are buried here.
Another reason Oak Ridge Cemetery is one of the greatest points of interest in Springfield is how it honors people who’ve died in conflicts like World War II and the Vietnam War with memorials.
Coming here lets you be around greatness.
Hopefully, you won’t forget that proximity.
Address: 1441 Monument Ave, Springfield, IL 62702, United States
12. Illinois State Capitol
The Old Capitol Building wasn’t around for too long before it was taken out of commission.
However, the new one is definitely getting up there in the years.
It was completed in 1868, and it continues as one of Springfield’s premier tourist attractions.
The Illinois State Capitol looks gorgeous from the outside, especially with its prominent dome.
However, once you step inside and see the colorful design on the dome’s interior, you might be left gobsmacked.
Whoever knew so much could be done with stained-glass?
There are lots of other cool things to see here.
Take a tour so you can check out the Illinois House and Senate chambers.
Plus, you can see where the state Supreme Court deliberates in their chambers.
Touring the Illinois State Capitol is surprisingly fun.
It’s free to visit, and the tours are very compelling.
It’s open on weekdays, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., and on weekends, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Address: 401 S 2nd St, Springfield, IL 62701, United States
13. Dana-Thomas House
Sometimes, important places to visit are significant not for who lived there but for who designed them.
The Dana-Thomas House in Springfield is a perfect example of this phenomenon.
The man behind this building was Frank Lloyd Wright, the architectural genius.
His brilliance can be found through every piece of this home.
This home, completed in 1904, was an early part of Wright’s Prairie-style design.
It has nearly three dozen rooms, and over 250 glass doors and windows crafted with pure ingenuity.
It was built when Susan Lawrence Dana, a socialite, asked Wright to revamp her family home to help her be a better host.
Without a question, her guests had to have been blown away.
Even today, the Dana-Thomas House represents something incredible when it comes to nuanced architecture.
Frank Lloyd Wright knew how to make a building that was both out of this world but also practical and beautiful.
It’s what to see for truly feeling inspired by a home, and helps Springfield to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in the USA.
The Dana-Thomas House is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., all other days of the week.
Address: 301 E Lawrence Ave, Springfield, IL 62703, United States
14. Route 66 Drive In Theater
While drive-in theaters aren’t as ubiquitous as they were decades ago, they’re still great sources of entertainment.
The Route 66 Drive In Theater is a great retro attraction.
If you’re visiting Springfield in the summer, you owe it to yourself to check out a double feature here.
Seeing a drive-in movie is a lot of fun, and the Route 66 Drive In Theater is one of the coolest places to go for one.
You can enjoy a movie from the comfort of your vehicle.
You might think of seeing drive-in movies as a teenager.
Going to the Route 66 Drive In Theater is a top way to see a movie in Springfield.
This theater encapsulates what a drive-in should be.
Address: 1700 Recreation Dr, Springfield, IL 62711, United States
15. Cozy Dog Drive In
Another great drive-in in Springfield doesn’t show movies.
However, they do serve delicious hot dogs.
If you’ve ever had the hot dog on a stick known as a “Cozy Dog,” you can thank Cozy Dog Drive In, as this is where that culinary delight originated.
This is another fun place on Route 66.
While the first location opened in 1949, the latest one started in 1996.
However, the new spot is right next to the original one.
Other traditions that have been kept up are maintaining the family ownership and ensuring that the recipes stay right and the food stays delicious.
Food is the center of lots of tourist attractions.
Cozy Dog Drive In will certainly have you feeling some warm sensations as you bite into their signature product.
On every day except Sunday, you can stop by here, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Address: 2935 S 6th St, Springfield, IL 62703, United States
16. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
The most comprehensive collection of documents about Abraham Lincoln can be found at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
As you would expect from a presidential library, this has immaculate archiving, preserving over 1,000 items bearing Lincoln’s signature.
Considering how important Lincoln was, every one of these items should be considered invaluable.
In the accompanying museum, accessible via skywalk, you can get a more immersive idea of Lincoln’s life.
It teaches about him growing up in a log cabin in Kentucky and how he dealt with the immense pressure of being President during one of the most difficult times in American history.
Seeing the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is what to do if you have any passion for history.
It’s one thing to know of or reading about Abraham Lincoln.
It’s quite another to be near all of these incredible pieces commemorating his life and career.
The museum is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. every day of the week.
The library closes at 4:30 p.m., and isn’t open on weekends.
Admission fees are $15 for adult guests, $12 for students with IDs and seniors, ages 62 and older, $10 for military members, and $6 for kids, between ages five and 15.
Address: 212 N 6th St, Springfield, IL 62701, United States
17. Air Combat Museum
Curious about what to see in Springfield, IL that’ll really get your adrenaline going?
The answer might be in the Air Combat Museum.
Aircrafts dating back to the 1920s are kept here, keeping their dignity and immense wow factor.
While you don’t have to be an aviation encyclopedia to have fun at the Air Combat Museum, it certainly can’t hurt.
In addition to the planes, there are also some ground-level combat vehicles to see here.
These are the kinds of vessels you might’ve never seen outside of a period film.
Military-based points of interest such as the Air Combat Museum really show how fantastic American fighting power is.
This museum is open only on weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
While there’s no charge for entry, you should consider donating.
Address: 835 S Airport Dr, Springfield, IL 62707, United States
18. Camp Butler National Cemetery
Pay your respects to lives lost in war at Camp Butler National Cemetery.
It’s a very poignant place, as Union soldiers trained and Confederate soldiers were imprisoned as the Civil War raged.
The graveyard is what survived, and other veterans have been laid to rest here.
If you’re visiting Springfield, IL for Memorial Day weekend or Veteran’s Day, you should visit this cemetery.
They have special ceremonies commemorating heroes on these days.
Otherwise, you can come to show your appreciation to specific soldiers or just the people buried here as a whole.
Not every part of a vacation has to be about entertainment.
Things like Camp Butler National Cemetery puts Springfield as one of the top places to travel.
This amazing cemetery is open from 8 a.m. to sunset every day.
Address: 5063 Camp Butler Rd, Springfield, IL 62707, United States
19. Elijah Iles House
You’ll be near so much wondrous history when you’re in Springfield, IL.
However, your sightseeing has to include a stop at the oldest building in the city.
The Elijah Iles House is a simple-looking home, but it’s role in Springfield’s story makes it far more exciting.
This house was constructed around 1837.
Its namesake, Elijah Iles, was the first shopkeeper in the county.
The home became part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
It’s undergone some exterior renovations, but much of it is authentic to its origins. You can go up the same stairs as Iles.
The Elijah Iles House is perfect if you’re looking for significant places to visit in Springfield, IL.
While it might just be the residence of a Springfield shopkeeper, it holds so much more importance.
Their hours are a bit limited, though, only operating on Wednesdays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.
Address: 628 S 7th St, Springfield, IL 62703, United States
20. Indigo Restaurant
Springfield at night is a different vibe, a quite lovely one, to be exact.
For a fine evening out, treat yourself and any guests to some fine dining.
Indigo Restaurant offers an eclectic menu where the common thread is excellence.
Many consider Indigo Restaurant to be the top eatery in Springfield, IL.
You’ll definitely understand why they’ve been in business for more than 20 years when you try things like their duck enchiladas, Canadian lobster, and sushi.
Be sure to save room for their scrumptious cheesecake as well.
Eating at Indigo Restaurant is what to do if you want to have fun with fine dining.
Make a reservation soon if you’re going to be in Springfield this weekend.
They’re open every day except Sunday and Monday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Address: 3013 Lindbergh Blvd, Springfield, IL 62704, United States
21. Great Western Depot
Abraham Lincoln’s presence could turn ordinary places like Great Western Depot into historical icons.
At this Springfield train station, Lincoln gave a stirring speech before heading to Washington, D.C., where he was to begin his presidency.
Trains no longer leave from Great Western Depot, but it still bears a legendary status.
When you visit Great Western Depot, use your imagination.
Picture yourself in a crowd of thousands, watching this great man speak as he readies himself for national leadership.
Apparently, this speech was delivered spur-of-the-moment.
Of course, if you know anything about Lincoln, you know he had a way with words.
Today, Great Western Depot draws in visitors looking for the best Lincoln-related spots in Springfield.
It’s one of the most meaningful places to see in Illinois.
Visit Great Western Depot if you’re looking for fun historic sites in Springfield this weekend.
Address: 930 E Monroe St, Springfield, IL 62701, United States
22. International Route 66 Mother Road Festival
If you’re looking for really special and fun things to do in Springfield, IL, come to the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival.
Every year, motorcycle and car enthusiasts descend upon Springfield for this lively event.
Being near all these incredible vehicles could give you some memories of “Easy Rider” or inspire you to shop for a vintage car yourself.
They have over 1,000 vehicles to check out, and even seeing a selection of these can be overwhelming.
Alternatively, you can just have fun enjoying the food and taking in the live music.
Whatever you choose, this event is some of the most fun you can have in Springfield today.
International Route 66 Mother Road Festival is a Springfield event that’s hotly-anticipated every year.
Each event is awesome, and you can learn a lot about vintage cars and motorcycles.
Springfield has great places to visit year-round, but this festival sadly only comes once a year.
23. Henson Robinson Zoo
Henson Robinson Zoo is the place to be for a fun day out with the family.
Having just passed its 40th anniversary, this zoo continues to impress.
You can see species from far beyond your shores at the Henson Robinson Zoo.
Animals from every continent except for Antarctica are at the Henson Robinson Zoo.
Even so, you can find penguins here, African penguins to be exact.
You can also see lemurs, cougars, boa constrictors, and other fantastic creatures.
Go to the Henson Robinson Zoo if you love animal-focused tourist attractions.
This Springfield zoo really comes through for animals and guests alike.
Their hours of operation vary based on the time of year.
Address: 1100 E Lake Shore Dr, Springfield, IL 62712, United States
24. Incredibly Delicious
It’s definitely bold to name an eatery “Incredibly Delicious.”
However, Incredibly Delicious earns its name through its marvelous menu.
Whether you want something sweet or savory, you should come away from this Springfield shop licking your lips.
Incredibly Delicious sits inside the Howard K Weber House, an Italianate building that dates back to the 19th century.
This provides a relaxing mood.
As you enjoy a croissant or quiche at this French bakery/café, you can admire the vintage building and all the great art adorning it.
If you have pending nuptials in Springfield, Incredibly Delicious also specializes in great wedding cakes.
Even an average day can be made into a special occasion when you’re at Incredibly Delicious.
They’re open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. between Mondays and Fridays and from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
Address: 925 S 7th St, Springfield, IL 62703, United States
25. Engrained Brewery & Restaurant
For a fun meal in Springfield that’s also made with integrity, come to Engrained Brewery & Restaurant.
You’ll not only enjoy one of the best meals in Springfield, but you’ll also enjoy the benefits of farm-to-table eating.
Engrained Brewery & Restaurant guests are at an advantage before they even look at the menu.
Once you catch a glimpse of that menu, however, you should be salivating.
Founder Brent Schwoerer grew up on a farm, so he knows all about quality ingredients.
This extends to their beer, which can bring out the flavor of items like the blackened salmon Caesar salad even further.
Engrained Brewery & Restaurant shows there’s always a place for food made with care and that fresh and local is best.
Springfield residents are lucky to have such a great place to eat and drink.
Engrained Brewery & Restaurant operates between Tuesdays and Sundays between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Address: 1120 Lincolnshire Blvd, Springfield, IL 62711, United States
26. Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum
Learn about the incredible stories of African Americans in Springfield at this museum.
The Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum goes deep into this legacy.
Its exhibits reveal the vital role of Black Americans in Illinois and beyond.
There are exhibits for world-renowned figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama here.
However, there are also ones for more unsung figures, such as the Walker Family.
This family was among the earliest Black settlers in central Illinois.
The Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum shows how much African Americans have done for American history.
Come here to be inspired by the greatness of these people.
You can also learn about aspects of Black history you might’ve not known a whole lot about.
Address: 1440 Monument Ave, Springfield, IL 62702, United States
27. Long Nine Junction
Located at the Old State Capitol Plaza, Long Nine Junction is a Springfield restaurant famous for its comfort food made with real class.
There’s plenty of homey charm here, but with a refined attitude that sets it apart.
If you’re seeking new twists on old favorites in Springfield, be sure to come to Long Nine Junction.
Grab a sandwich at Long Nine Junction for an excellent lunch.
Among their selections are the Cubano, the Fifth Street Turkey, and the grilled cheese.
This is like the mother of all grilled cheeses, with white American, cheddar, provolone, and swiss served on garlic focaccia.
Long Nine Junction also serves wonderful salads and soups as well as hearty “Meals in a Bowl.”
This Springfield eatery shows just how good a simple meal can be when made with care.
They’re open between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., from Tuesdays to Fridays.
Address: 5 W Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield, IL 62701, United States
28. Daughters Of Union Veterans Civil War Museum
It’s no accident that so much from the Civil War has been preserved.
Thanks to institutions like the Daughers of Union Veterans Civil War Museum, pieces from this monumental conflict can still be observed today.
Visit this Springfield museum for a great education on the American Civil War.
This museum has been around for a very long time.
It was established in 1885 and has done an excellent job of preserving items such as photos, correspondance, weapons, and clothing.
There’s also a gift shop, which sells many books on the Civil War.
You can also visit the memorial garden, designated in honor of people who founded and support the museum, as well as those who have fought for this country.
The Daughters of Union Veterans Civil War Museum is among the finest musems in Springfield, as well as the best Civil War museums period.
They’re open between Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
All guests are admitted for free.
Address: 503 S Walnut St, Springfield, IL 62704, United States
29. Springfield Walks
There’s no better way to get in touch with a city than on-foot.
Springfield Walks is a tour company that brings you and other pedestrians through the amazing world of this city.
They talk about some amazing history, including some pretty occult stuff.
More can be learned about Abraham Lincoln through “The Lincoln Experience.”
However, you can also get a spookier lesson through “Lincoln’s Ghost Walk.”
Even if you chalk it all up to superstition, there’s no denying these stories are pretty creepy.
Springfield Walks give you the opportunity to both enjoy the wonderful outdoor atmosphere of Springfield and learn some great stories.
The tour guides bring the past to life and keep the entire group, from kids to grandparents, enraptured.
Look up upcoming tours with Springfield Walks, and prepare to be amazed by what’s happened in this city.
Start Planning Your Trip To Springfield, IL
Springfield, Illinois is overflowing with fun and powerful places to visit.
If you’re studying Abraham Lincoln, you’ll have numerous sites to see.
See as many of these great sites as you can, and remember to really appreciate the history of it all.
Remember also, that you have what it takes to make history, whether through standing up for the right cause or helping people in a time of need.