Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Recreation

Arts and Culture

If you enjoy history, there are many historic sites and museums to visit in Springfield and the surrounding area. One of the most frequented is the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site, about 20 minutes north of Springfield, is another popular destination. Along with the recreated village from the 1800s, the Theatre in the Park at New Salem hosts a variety of theatrical performances from April to August.

You can also enjoy the performing arts right here in Springfield. Ballet, live theatre, opera and orchestra, are all here during their respective seasons. The Illinois Symphony Orchestra’s season runs from October to April, and the Hoogland Center for the Arts regularly hosts both musical and theatrical performances. The center is also home to the Springfield Ballet Company, Springfield Muni Opera, and Springfield Theatre Center.

Springfield also has a vibrant visual arts community. The Prairie Art Alliance currently occupies the H.D. Smith Gallery inside the Hoogland. This one of several civic and commercial galleries to visit. The Springfield Art Association hosts the M.G. Nelson Family Gallery and also maintains the Michael Victor II Art Library with more than 3,500 books and DVDs. Both organizations are not for profit and conduct classes and community outreach.

To learn more, visit the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau website at


There is no shortage of things to do and entertainment in and around Springfield.

A few examples of the larger community events are the Illinois State Fair and festivals like the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival and the Springfield Area Highland Games & Celtic Festival. A quick check of the community calendar will yield plenty of events including lectures, meet-ups, open-mic nights, poetry and book readings, live music, film screenings, etc. For an up-to-date list of current events in and around Springfield go to

For movie buffs, there are several multi-screen theaters, the Route 66 Drive in and an Independent and International Film Series hosted by the Springfield Art Association. Among the more popular family attractions are the Henson Robinson Zoo, Knight’s Action Water Park, and the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

If you are looking to get away for day trip or weekend, you could explore Illinois. Take a drive down historic Route 66, visit Illinois Wine country, visit museums and historic sites or camp at one of our many parks. Another option could be to take a train ride to Chicago to catch a professional sporting event or concert. St. Louis and Indianapolis are also within a few hours. Several trains run to and from St. Louis daily and Indianapolis is about three hours by car.

If you want to learn more about places to go and things to do in Illinois, visit the official website of the Illinois Office of Tourism at


Among its many recreational amenities, Springfield has 32 parks, a 4200-acre lake and miles of running, walking and biking trails. For golfers, there are 10 area golf courses including “The Rail Golf Club” -- a Golf Digest Magazine 4-star rated course.

The following links are a snapshot of all the recreation options, not an exhaustive list.

Biking and Hiking




Lake and Water Activities


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