The central Illinois town of Springfield is not only the state capitol, but also the home of Abraham Lincoln, one of America’s greatest presidents. Lincoln’s legacy is everywhere including the National Park Service run village just south of downtown. The downtown area is very walkable and full of signs describing details about the history and role the 16th President played in the city.


Mr. Lincoln’s neighborhood (aka Lincoln Home National Historic Site) is a National Park Service run tribute to the late President. The pedestrian only area highlights the famous homes of Mr. Lincoln and others. NPS also runs a film on the history of President Lincoln. You will find it at 426 S. 7th Avenue. There is no admission charge. Try and schedule a free tour if you can. Check out the National Park Service brochure for more information.

Other things to do:

·       Tour the beautiful Illinois State Capitol.

·       Visit the Lincoln Presidential Museum and the Lincoln grave site known as Lincoln’s Tomb.

·       Enjoy the wildflowers and trails just south of downtown along Lake Springfield.

·       The Illinois State Museum (502 S. Spring Street) is free and showcase’s the state.


The Clique Bar downtown is your LGBTQ+ bar. They have a great happy hour and a friendly crowd of locals. Check their Facebook page for events. You will find them at 411 East Washington right downtown.


Mark your calendars. Springfield’s Pridefest will be May 18. It features the 11th Annual Club LaCage Drag Show as well as Drag Queen Bingo. Details at


Springfield is served by rail from both Chicago and St. Louis as well as a train that goes south to Texas on the Texas Eagle which features a dome car. The trains in Illinois now operate at 100 mph + and service is frequent. The station is right downtown. Book your trip at

Springfield is just 2-3 hours south of Chicago and just ninety miles north of St. Louis.

Flying is an option right into Springfield or you can fly to St. Louis and drive up.


I stayed at the Carpenter Street Hotel (525 N. 6th Street) Inn just north of downtown. It’s basic and affordable and walkable to the attractions. They even offered me a lower rate than the one I booked at when I checked in – unheard of in the industry. It’s near a nice locally owned grocery store, County Market (210 E. Carpenter),  which has food to go and a great salad bar. Work out at the nearby new YMCA that sells day passes until 4 p.m. Check your bill, though. They charged me 3 nights instead of 2 and also charged the incorrect rate the second night. (Yes, I got it corrected.) Also, they charge the full amount at check in (not at check out like most hotels).

Other options are available but check the Trip Advisor reviews of them before booking. Especially the Wyndham (the white circular high rise downtown) as well as the property across the street which both get dubious reviews. The only other hotel I recommend downtown is the State House Inn. There are other hotels east of downtown along the freeway. I have stayed at the Crowne Point but get a room not facing the freeway (I-55).


Illinois Times is your weekly with local events and happenings and has details on all of the above attractions. Rich in history, and a fun gay bar. Springfield, Illinois is worth a visit

About the Author

Bill Malcolm is the nation’s only LGBTQ+ syndicated value travel columnist. Residing in Indianapolis, he travels with a focus on the local and value orientation.