As the state capital of Illinois, the city of Springfield is loaded with attractions, from museums to government buildings and memorials. And if you’re most interested in history, you’ll find sites to explore that commemorate the role this town has played in Illinois and U.S. history. Plan a stop at these four historical attractions in the Springfield area if you’re interested in diving into the area’s incredibly rich heritage and influence.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
In addition to its status as the state’s capital, one of Springfield’s claims to fame is the fact that Abraham Lincoln lived here from 1844 to 1864. He later became the 16th president of the United States. At this site, you can visit the only home that Lincoln ever owned and go on a guided tour through the formal parlor, sitting room, backyard, outbuildings, Lincoln’s bedroom, and other spaces in the house. You can also take a virtual tour and plan out your trip online before you go.
If you’re interested in learning more about this iconic figure, go to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. The former has a collection of Lincoln’s documents and artifacts, and the latter features galleries, theaters, and displays celebrating the life, legacy, and lore of Abraham Lincoln.
Clayville Historic Site
If you’re interested in Springfield history outside of national politics, go to Clayville Historic Site. The location’s history dates back to 1819, when John and Betsy Broadwell arrived and later purchased land in the area. In 1824, John Broadwell built what is now The Broadwell Inn — the main attraction at the Clayville Historic Site. Visit for a free public tour to learn more, or check the calendar for events at the site during your visit.
Interested in architecture? The Dana-Thomas house is considered one of the most well-preserved examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “prairie period” style. People visit the site to learn more about the architect and to simply admire this impressive structure. Visit for a tour from 9 to 5 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays. Tours last about an hour and are free, though you have the option of paying a suggested donation.
Illinois State Capitol
The Illinois State Capitol building is a must-visit for those exploring Springfield for a closer look at state history. Here you can learn more about the operations of the state government and explore some of its trivia and history. You can also join a free group tour that departs from room 107 on the first floor.
If you’re spending an afternoon learning about the state’s government, you should also pay a visit to the Old State Capitol State Historic Site. This structure served as the state house from 1840 to 1876, and both Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama made their candidacy announcements at this location.
Springfield is an exciting town for history buffs. Visit for a closer look at state and national history, and enjoy learning more about the life of Abraham Lincoln and the legacy that he built — all of which began in Springfield. Add these spots to your itinerary, and look forward to exploring the rich history of this area.