Traveler: Springfield’s Lincoln Attractions

These sites rival D.C.’s for historical interest.

The Civil War sesquicentennial, which wraps up this year, sparked a renewed interest in all things Lincoln, and there’s no better place to indulge one’s fascination than Springfield, Illinois, home of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum (212 N. 6th St., 217-558-8844). The attraction is so entertaining, you might think Disney helped develop it. A scaled replica of the White House contains a corridor lined with viciously snarky political cartoons popular during Lincoln’s administration. There are also two high-tech special-effects theaters and an animated map of Civil War battles.

Walk a few blocks to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site (413 S. 8th St., 217-492-4241), where the legend and his family lived; the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office (1 S.E. Old State Capitol Plaza, 217-785-7289); and Lincoln’s Tomb and War Memorials (1500 Monument Ave., 217-782-2717). To keep with the theme, dine at nearby Obed & Isaac’s (500 S. 6th St., 217-670-0627)—the restored building was once home to Lincoln family friends. Order the “horseshoe,” a layering of toast, meat, fries, and cheese sauce.

All of these landmarks are open throughout the month, including Presidents’ Day. On February 12, you might have a chance to chat up history scholars convening for the Abraham Lincoln Symposium at the Old State Capitol (1 S.W. Old State Capitol Plaza, 217-785-9363), where even casual Lincoln fans can appreciate the site’s history: Both Abe and Barack Obama announced a run for president there.


Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum


Drive Time: 3.5 hours

Stay: The Inn at 835 (from $129; 835 S. 2nd St., 217-523-4466) and the Pasfield House Inn (from $125; 525 S. Pasfield St., 217-525-3663) are both charming B&Bs in a walkable location

Listen: The Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon (217-546-3853) in Washington Park is one of the world’s largest. Free concerts take place on Wednesdays and
Sundays at noon.