Travel iconic Route 66 to Springfield, Illinois, for a getaway filed with compelling history, vibrant arts and architecture, and culinary delights paired with local wine and beer. Groups can visit the Illinois State Capitol, tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana-Thomas House, snap photos at roadside along Route 66, and learn about Abraham Lincoln, one of America’s most beloved presidents.
Visit Springfield is a one-stop shop for tour operators. The bureau offers lead sourcing for overnight accommodations, meal site suggestions and reservations, and booking for all tours at sites that require them. Check out these Springfield, Illinois, itinerary stops on your next tour.
The Dana-Thomas House is one of the most unique and lavish structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright during his early Prairie period. The home was built for Springfield socialite Susan Lawrence Dana, who was known for her hospitality and unforgettable parties and concerts, as well as her community, social, and political involvement. Perhaps the most complete of all early Wright dwellings, the house was never significantly altered and has over 100 pieces of original Wright-designed oak furniture and 250 examples of art glass light fixtures and lamps. The barrel-vaulted dining room and gallery/ballroom are two of the most photographed spaces in the history of American architecture. Connecting the main living quarters to the gallery and library is a 60-foot pergola hallway beneath which is a bowling lane, billiard room, and walk-in vault.
Illinois State Capitol
The first legislative session was held here in 1877, as the growth of the state had increased the need for more file storage and office space than the Old State Capitol allowed. Today, the building is the center of Illinois government and is topped with a 405-foot dome. Visitors can watch Illinois politics in action from balcony-level seating when the legislature is in session.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
In 1861, Abraham Lincoln left his home of 17 years—the only home he ever owned—to serve as the 16th president of the United States. The Lincoln Home, where he lived during his years as an Illinois lawyer, has been completely restored to its 1860 appearance and reveals much about Lincoln as a husband, father, neighbor, and politician. Tours of this national treasure are conducted by National Park Service rangers. Free tickets are required for house tours and may be obtained at the Lincoln Home Visitors Center, which also houses a scaled model of 1860 Springfield. A variety of historic exhibits are located throughout the four-block neighborhood surrounding the Lincoln Home and can be viewed on a self-guided basis.
Within the walls of this stunning granite monument is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife, and three of their four sons. (Lincoln’s oldest son, Robert, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.) Designed by famed sculptor, Larkin Mead, and completed in 1874, this beautiful landmark is nestled in Oak Ridge Cemetery. At the entrance to the tomb itself, there is a bronze bust of Lincoln, and visitors from around the world have stopped to rub the nose of the statue for good luck.
Motorheads Bar, Grill, Museum & Entertainment Complex
If you are a fan of vintage gas station signs, Route 66 memorabilia, or classic cars, this is the place to visit. Walk around and see signs and items from Springfield’s historic past, including several items from Shea’s Gas Station Museum, the Sonrise Donut sign, motel signs of Springfield’s past, and the can’t-miss “World’s Largest Route 66 Sign.”
Credit: Seth Adams