Top Things to Do in Springfield in 2023: Discover Must-See Attractions

Things to do in Springfield in 2023

If you’re planning a trip to Springfield in 2023, you’re in for a treat. This vibrant city has so much to offer, from historical landmarks to cultural institutions, outdoor attractions to family-friendly activities.

In this article, we’ll take you on a tour of the top things to do in Springfield in 2023. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there’s something for everyone in this dynamic destination.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the must-see attractions in Springfield in 2023
  • Explore the historical landmarks and cultural institutions
  • Immerse yourself in nature with outdoor attractions and activities
  • Taste the local cuisine and experience the music scene
  • Find family-friendly activities and nearby day trip destinations

Explore Historical Landmarks

Springfield is awash with historical landmarks that offer visitors a glimpse into the past of Illinois’ capital city. Here are a few must-visit historical sites that are sure to inspire and educate:

Landmark Description
Lincoln Home National Historic Site This well-preserved home was the only one Abraham Lincoln ever owned, and it’s where he lived for 17 years before being elected President of the United States. Visitors can tour the home and see the original furniture, décor, and personal items that belonged to Lincoln and his family.
Old State Capitol The Old State Capitol is a stunning example of Greek Revival architecture and was the seat of Illinois’ government from 1839 to 1876. It served as the statehouse during Abraham Lincoln’s time as a legislator, and it was also where he gave his famous “House Divided” speech.

But that’s not all! Other sites worth exploring include the Dana-Thomas House, the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site, and the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site. Springfield’s historical landmarks are a testament to the city’s rich cultural heritage and are sure to leave visitors with a newfound appreciation for the place where Lincoln once lived and worked.

Immerse Yourself in Nature

One of the best ways to experience Springfield is by exploring the great outdoors. The city is home to a number of beautiful parks and natural attractions that offer opportunities for hiking, biking, and boating. Here are some of the must-visit nature attractions in Springfield:

Attraction Description
Washington Park A 150-acre park featuring a botanical garden, a zoo, and numerous trails for hiking and biking.
Lake Springfield A reservoir offering opportunities for boating, fishing, and kayaking. The lake also has several campgrounds and picnic areas.
Lincoln Memorial Garden A 100-acre garden dedicated to the memory of Abraham Lincoln, featuring hiking trails and a variety of native plant species.
Knight’s Action Park An outdoor water park and amusement park featuring water slides, wave pools, and mini-golf.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an action-packed adventure, Springfield’s outdoor attractions have something for everyone. So be sure to pack your hiking boots, sunscreen, and sense of adventure, because Springfield’s great outdoors is waiting to be explored.

Discover the Arts and Culture Scene

If you’re interested in art and culture, Springfield has plenty to offer. The city is home to several world-class museums and cultural institutions that are worth exploring.

Illinois State Museum

The Illinois State Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in natural history, anthropology, and art. The museum’s extensive collection includes artifacts and exhibits on topics ranging from prehistoric life to modern-day Illinois. Don’t miss the giant mastodon skeleton in the Natural History section.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Learn about the life and legacy of one of America’s most revered presidents, Abraham Lincoln, at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The museum’s interactive exhibits and displays bring Lincoln’s story to life in a way that is both engaging and educational.

Both the Illinois State Museum and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum offer events and activities throughout the year, so be sure to check their schedules when planning your visit to Springfield.

Taste the Local Cuisine

When visiting Springfield, you cannot leave without trying some of the local cuisine. The city prides itself on its food, and there are several dishes that you simply must try.

At the top of the list is the horseshoe sandwich. This classic dish consists of Texas toast topped with a meat of your choice, usually thin-sliced ham or burger, and French fries. The whole thing is then smothered in a cheese sauce. It might sound like a heart attack on a plate, but trust us, it’s delicious.

If you’re looking for something a little less heavy, try a classic Maid-Rite sandwich. This loose-meat sandwich is made with seasoned ground beef and is a Springfield staple.

If you’re in the mood for pizza, head to Saputo’s. This local pizzeria has been serving up delicious pies for over 60 years. Try their famous thin-crust pizza or a stuffed pizza if you’re feeling hungry.

For dessert, be sure to try a slice of the famous Shoepeg Pie from Charlie Parker’s. This sweet cream pie is made with Shoepeg corn and is a Springfield favorite.

Experience Springfield’s Festivals and Events

Springfield is a city that knows how to celebrate. Its rich cultural heritage and vibrant community make it the perfect destination for those looking to have fun and experience something new. In 2023, Springfield will host a range of festivals and events that are sure to delight visitors of all ages.

Old Capitol Art Fair

The Old Capitol Art Fair is one of the biggest events in Springfield, attracting thousands of visitors every year. Held in May, this two-day event features over 100 artists from around the country showcasing their work. You can browse art, jewelry, textiles, and more, while enjoying live music, food, and drinks.

Illinois State Fair

The Illinois State Fair is a longstanding tradition in Springfield and a must-visit event in 2023. Held in August, this 11-day fair is one of the largest state fairs in the country. Visitors can enjoy carnival rides, games, and competitions, as well as live music, food, and agricultural displays.

Route 66 Mother Road Festival

If you’re a fan of classic cars and vintage Americana, the Route 66 Mother Road Festival is the event for you. This three-day event, held in September, celebrates the iconic highway with a car show, live music, food, and more. You can take a trip down memory lane and experience the nostalgia of the early days of Route 66.

Sangamon County Fair

The Sangamon County Fair is a fun-filled event for the whole family. Held in June, this four-day fair features carnival rides, games, and agricultural displays, as well as live music and entertainment. Kids will love the petting zoo, pony rides, and other activities designed just for them.

As you can see, Springfield has a lot to offer when it comes to festivals and events. Whether you’re a fan of art, music, or classic cars, there’s something for everyone in 2023. Don’t miss out on these fun-filled experiences that will make your trip to Springfield truly unforgettable.

Shop ’til You Drop

Looking for some retail therapy during your trip to Springfield? You’re in luck! The city offers a variety of shopping destinations that cater to all tastes and budgets.

Shopping Mall Description
White Oaks Mall Featuring over 100 stores and restaurants, White Oaks Mall is the premier shopping destination in Springfield. From fashion and beauty to electronics and home goods, you’ll find everything you need under one roof.
Prairie Crossing Shopping Center Conveniently located near several hotels, Prairie Crossing Shopping Center is a great place to shop for groceries, pharmacy items, and household essentials. It also has a few clothing and accessory stores.

If you’re looking for unique and specialty items, you might want to check out some of the local boutiques and markets. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Springfield Vintage – A vintage clothing store that also sells records, books, and art.
  • The Card*ologist – A specialty store for all things paper, including greeting cards, stationery, and gifts.
  • Old Capitol Farmers Market – An outdoor market that sells fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade crafts.

Make sure to bring your walking shoes and a full wallet, because shopping in Springfield is a real treat!

Unwind in Springfield’s Parks and Gardens

Need some fresh air and sunshine? Springfield offers a variety of parks and gardens to enjoy, each with its unique features and attractions.

Washington Park

Washington Park is Springfield’s largest and most popular park, spanning over 150 acres. It offers numerous amenities, including a lake, a botanical garden, basketball courts, and playgrounds. The park is perfect for a picnic, a leisurely stroll, or a family day out.

Lincoln Memorial Garden

The Lincoln Memorial Garden is a stunning 100-acre woodland garden that pays tribute to Abraham Lincoln. The garden features hiking trails, beautiful flora and fauna, and a peaceful atmosphere that allows visitors to reconnect with nature.

Knight’s Action Park

Knight’s Action Park is a popular spot for families, with attractions like a water park, a wave pool, and a mini-golf course. The park is surrounded by nature, providing visitors with a relaxing and fun-filled day out.

Adams Wildlife Sanctuary

The Adams Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautiful nature preserve located within the city limits. Visitors can walk along the trails and see various species of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. The sanctuary is an excellent place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Centennial Park

Centennial Park is a charming neighborhood park that offers plenty of green space and a variety of recreational activities. It features an outdoor performance space, a playground, a skate park, and a basketball court. The park is perfect for an afternoon picnic or a morning jog.

With so many parks and gardens to choose from, Springfield has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a quiet escape or a fun-filled day out with the family, Springfield’s parks and gardens won’t disappoint.

Delve into Springfield’s Music Scene

If you’re a music lover, Springfield has a vibrant music scene that you won’t want to miss. From jazz to rock to country, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the best venues and events to check out during your visit:

The Legacy Theatre

This newly renovated venue hosts a variety of concerts and shows throughout the year. From national acts to local performers, the Legacy Theatre is a must-visit for music lovers. Check their schedule to see what’s happening during your visit.


If country music is your thing, head to Boondocks. Located just outside of Springfield, this venue features live music on the weekends. Grab a cold drink and enjoy the show!

Illinois State Fair

The Illinois State Fair is not only a great place to enjoy carnival rides and fair food, it also hosts a lineup of top-notch musical acts. From classic rock to modern pop, the State Fair has something for everyone.

Don’t forget to check out the local music scene as well. Many bars and restaurants throughout Springfield feature live music on the weekends. Ask a local for recommendations or check local listings to find the perfect spot for a night out.

Family-Friendly Activities in Springfield

Springfield is a great destination for families looking to enjoy fun-filled activities together. Here are some of the top family-friendly attractions you shouldn’t miss:

1. Henson Robinson Zoo

The Henson Robinson Zoo is a popular attraction that offers a close-up look at a variety of animals from around the world. The zoo features over 90 species of animals, including big cats, primates, and birds of prey. Kids will love the petting zoo, where they can interact with friendly goats, sheep, and llamas.

2. Knights Action Park

Knights Action Park is a water and amusement park that offers plenty of thrilling rides and attractions for all ages. The park features a wave pool, water slides, go-karts, mini-golf, and batting cages. Kids will love the kiddie rides and playgrounds, while parents can relax in the shade or enjoy a game of volleyball.

3. Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site

Take a step back in time and explore the pioneer village of Lincoln’s New Salem. This historic site offers a glimpse into the life of Abraham Lincoln and the early settlements of Illinois. Visitors can tour reconstructed cabins, interact with costumed interpreters, and learn about pioneer life through exhibits and demonstrations.

4. Illinois State Museum

The Illinois State Museum is a great place to introduce kids to science and history. The museum features interactive exhibits on geology, anthropology, and natural history, as well as artifacts and displays that showcase the state’s cultural heritage. Kids will love the hands-on activities and special events that take place throughout the year.

5. Springfield Park District

The Springfield Park District offers a wide variety of outdoor activities for families to enjoy. From hiking and biking trails to playgrounds and picnic areas, there is something for everyone. The district also hosts special events like movies in the park and outdoor concerts.

With so many family-friendly activities to choose from, Springfield is the perfect destination for a memorable vacation with your loved ones. Book your trip today and start making unforgettable memories!

Explore Nearby Attractions

Springfield is surrounded by scenic towns and historic sites that are perfect for day trips. If you have extra time during your stay, consider checking out some of these nearby attractions:

Destination Distance from Springfield Highlights
Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site 20 miles Reconstructed pioneer village, hiking trails
Route 66 Museum (Pontiac) 40 miles Exhibits on the history of Route 66, vintage cars
Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site (Lerna) 60 miles Log cabin where Lincoln’s father lived, hiking trails
Illinois Railway Museum (Union) 120 miles Largest railroad museum in the US, train rides

These are just a few of the many nearby attractions that you can explore during your visit to Springfield. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or culture, there’s something for everyone within driving distance of the city.


Springfield, Illinois, is a city with something for everyone. From historical landmarks and outdoor adventures to museums, festivals, and delicious local cuisine, there is never a dull moment in this vibrant Midwestern city. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or exploring on your own, you are sure to find activities and attractions that will make your trip unforgettable.

Be sure to add these top things to do in Springfield in 2023 to your itinerary. Don’t forget to explore the nearby attractions and take advantage of the city’s diverse music scene. With so much to see and do, your trip to Springfield is destined to be a memorable one.


Q: What are the top things to do in Springfield in 2023?

A: In 2023, you can discover a variety of must-see attractions in Springfield. From exploring historical landmarks to immersing yourself in nature, there’s something for everyone.

Q: What historical landmarks can I explore in Springfield?

A: Springfield is home to several historical landmarks, including the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Old State Capitol. These sites offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history and are worth a visit.

Q: What outdoor attractions and nature activities are there in Springfield?

A: Springfield offers plenty of outdoor attractions and nature activities. You can visit places like Washington Park and Lake Springfield for hiking, biking, and boating.

Q: What arts and culture experiences can I discover in Springfield?

A: Springfield’s arts and culture scene is vibrant. Museums like the Illinois State Museum and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum showcase exhibits and events that are worth exploring.

Q: Where can I taste the local cuisine in Springfield?

A: Springfield is known for its local cuisine. You can try popular restaurants and dishes, including the famous Springfield horseshoe sandwich.

Q: What festivals and events are happening in Springfield in 2023?

A: Springfield hosts various festivals and events in 2023, such as the Old Capitol Art Fair and the Illinois State Fair. These events offer a range of activities and attractions.

Q: Where can I go shopping in Springfield?

A: Springfield has numerous shopping destinations, including malls, boutiques, and local markets. You can enjoy unique shopping experiences and find popular stores.

Q: What parks and gardens can I visit in Springfield?

A: Springfield’s parks and gardens provide a tranquil retreat. You can unwind and enjoy the city’s green spaces, along with their features and amenities.

Q: Where can I enjoy live music in Springfield?

A: Springfield’s music scene is vibrant, with venues showcasing live performances by local musicians and bands. You can immerse yourself in the city’s musical offerings.

Q: What are some family-friendly activities in Springfield?

A: Springfield offers a range of family-friendly activities, including attractions like the Henson Robinson Zoo and the Knights Action Park. There are plenty of options for both kids and parents to enjoy.

Q: What nearby attractions can I explore from Springfield?

A: If you’re looking for day trip options from Springfield, consider visiting nearby attractions like the Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site and the Route 66 Museum in neighboring towns.