Best Things To Do In Alton Il
For over 200 years, the city of Alton, Illinois, has been setting itself apart from other cookie-cutter tourist havens in the United States.
Travelers want to change their tourist habits, like visiting Alton because of its quirky historical landmarks and impressive natural attractions.
If youve had enough of the same old museums and rivers, you might want to pencil in an Alton trip soon.
Heres what Alton became in the past 200 years, give or take.
It became home to the worlds tallest man and the mythical man-eating bird called the Piasa.
Abraham Lincoln also fought his first and only duel in Alton.
During the Civil War, the city became a major home base for the abolitionists because it was just across Missouri, a slave state.
Alton is also known for its haunted houses, like the infamous McPike Mansion.
Its supposedly the most haunted house in the entire American Midwest.
If you like jazz music, youd also know Alton because its the birthplace of legendary jazzman Miles Davis.
Do you want to know more about Alton, IL? Check out this list below.
From Country Music To A Scarecrow Festival There’s Plenty To Do
The annual Scarecrow Festival takes places place this weekend in St. Charles
Illinois isn’t just the Land of Lincoln.
It can also be a land of fun.
Several events are happening throughout the state this weekend that are just a short drive or weekend trip away. Fall is the time for annual festivals, community events, and many adventures to find that perfect tranquil setting with the colors of the leaves on the trees.
Here are five things on this weekend that can make for a nice time.
This is the 36th year for the Scarecrow Festival. Scarecrows will be on display throughout downtown St. Charles, and Lincoln Park will serve as the spot to catch live entertainment.
Autumn on the Fox Arts and Crafts show it also part of the festivities.
Scarecrow Festival begins Friday, Oct. 8, and goes through Sunday, Oct. 10.
If you’re in the mood for some country music from the reboot era of the 1980s and 1990s, head over to Effingham to check out country music artist Dwight Yoakam.
He is best known for his hit songs, “Guitars, Cadillacs,” “Fast As You,” and “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere.”
Yoakam has also starred on the big screen in films such as “Sling Blade,” and “Wedding Crashers.”
If the a beer event isn’t enough for you to get enticed for this Murphysboro event, maybe the fact that 25 breweries will be on hand to share their crafts with visitors looking to dry different “cold ones.”
Revisit The Civil War At The North Alton Confederate Cemetery
After you visit the Alton Prison, you should head to the North Alton Confederate Cemetery to finish your Civil War tour.
The cemetery features a towering 58-foot-tall obelisk that commemorates the Confederate soldiers who died inside the Alton Prison.
Since there were no grave markers for the individual soldiers, they built a monument in 1908.
When you stand beneath the obelisk, you can read the names of the 1,354 dead Confederate soldiers who perished in prison.
These names also include the soldiers who died at the smallpox cemetery, located at Tow Island.
Youll need to go to the cemeterys northeast corner and look for a hill.
The obelisk stands on top of this hill.
Visit the North Alton Confederate Cemetery at 635 Rozier St., Alton, IL 62002.
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Remember Abraham Lincoln At The Lincoln
Alton is famous for hosting the final debate between Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, who was still a senator.
To honor the event, Alton built a monument along the Alton riverfront.
The Lincoln-Douglas Square was a reminder of Americas rich political history when great men debated freely about politics and society.
This debate happened outside the Alton City Hall, at the corner of Market Street and Broadway, as part of the famous 1858 debates between Lincoln and Douglas.
More than 6,000 people flocked to hear the senators argue during this final debate.
Visit Lincoln-Douglas Square at Broadway & Market St., Alton, IL 62002.
Lewis And Clark State Historic Site
A few minutes downriver in Hartford is the site of Camp Dubois, where the Lewis and Clark Expedition spent the winter of 1803-04 before heading west to explore the Louisiana Purchase.
It was here that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark prepared for their expedition to the Pacific Ocean, and the camp is remembered with an absorbing 14,000-square-foot interpretive center telling you all you need to know about this epic journey.
Among the exhibits are a full-scale 55-foot cutaway keelboat, numerous artifacts and a host of hands-on displays.
Outside is a replica of Camp Dubois and a reconstructed settlers cabin, while close by is the 180-foot Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower with striking views of the Missouri and Mississippi.
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Gordon F Moore Community Park
This spacious, 700-acre park is on the outskirts of Alton at 4550 College Avenue. Primed for active recreation, the Gordon F. Moore Park has a 27-hole public golf course, 10 baseball/softball diamonds, 8 tennis courts and 19 soccer fields.
These are all matched with no fewer than six play areas , an interactive fountain for children and concessions.
A nature trail connects a series of formal gardens and memorials, while the picture perfect Nan Elliott Memorial Rose Garden has a carillon, and you can come to hear the carillonneur give a concert on Sundays at 5 pm, Memorial Day weekend through September.
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Just 15 miles from St. Louis, Alton, Illinois is a nature lovers haven. Lying where the three great rivers meet Alton gives its visitors a great sense of adventure along with the convenience of crossing a magnificent bridge to enjoy St. Louis. For antiques enthusiasts, you could spend the entire day in Altons Antiques District. Alton also has an art scene where you can go to an exhibit at the local arts center or watch master pottery makers create beautiful pieces. There are multiple ways to enjoy the great rivers whether you want to take a river cruise or go to the museums to discover the history and significance of this region. Cross the amazing Clark Bridge over to Missouri and you can spend the day in St. Louis doing activities like a food tour, hot air balloon rides or zip lining. Dont forget to visit the Gateway Arch while youre there and witness the worlds largest arch and take a ride up to the observation deck. It will give you a view and is an experience you wont forget! Alton, IL will astonish you with its geographic beauty and entertain you with its close proximity to everything St. Louis has to offer. For an adventure and culture-filled getaway, come check out the best things to do in Alton, Illinois.
Opening hours: Tue – Sun: 10am – 8pm
Price: 5-20 USD
Melvin Price Locks And Dam
Visiting the National Great Rivers Museum youve got to take some time to behold the awe-inspiring dam and pair of locks right beside it.
Officially Lock and Dam No. 26 , this spectacular structure was built between 1979 and 1994 to replace the previous lock and dam.
The main lock here, using a vertical lift gate, is 1,200 feet long and 110 feet wide, and remains a state-of-the-art piece of navigation infrastructure.
The dams nine imposing tainter gates each measure 110 feet wide by 42 feet high. To gauge the full size of the locks and dam, be sure to take a guided tour when you visit the museum.
Late December through early March large numbers of bald eagles migrate to this area and catch fish at the dam.
Witness An Arts Revival In Alton At The Jacoby Arts Center
Musicians of bluegrass band, River Bend.Photo by Talia Long, courtesy of River Bend
Located within a historic building, come watch a show or walk through inspiring exhibits at the Jacoby Arts Center. This venue also hosts several classes that you could sign up for or simply come to support and enjoy the regions art.
Jacoby Arts Center
This wonderful pottery gallery invites visitors to come to witness the artistic process of their work. They not only create stoneware for everyday use but also catch fish in the local rivers, create moulds from them and then recreate ceramic fish. This art gallery is definitely not one to miss!
Mississippi Mud Pottery
Spend a few hours on a guided food tour through St Louis to taste some of the finest Midwestern cuisines. This tour takes you through one of St Louis hottest neighbourhoods to try local and international cuisine at its best. Youll leave with a happy belly and a big smile.
St Louis Delmar Loop 3-Hour Small-Group Food Tour with Guide
Duration: 3 hours
This amazing architectural feat is within a short drive from Alton, Illinois and can easily be a day-long visit. Travel up the arch in a ride like no other in the world or walk around the museum to understand its significance and history. This is a must see on your visit!
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See A Show At The Alton Little Theater
For two good reasons, this historic theater in Alton should be on your itinerary.
First, youll see terrific productions there, and second, youll also honor the theaters history.
After all, the Alton Little Theater began in 1933 and has become the state of Illinois longest-running community theater.
It has played for 88 straight seasons, too.
From the modest dream of English teacher Dorothy Colonius, this theater has inspired and delighted droves of audiences for several decades.
If you want to see a dazzling live show, grab a ticket at the Alton Little Theater.
You wont regret it.
Visit the Alton Little Theater at 2450 N, Henry St., Alton, IL 62002.
Adventure And Culture Await In Alton Il
Visiting Alton, Illinois means taking in the local river culture but also understanding the development that created the cities out west such as St Louis. With so many historical avenues to explore and such great opportunities for adventure, this is one trip you wont want to miss. Whether its the food scene you want to explore or the outdoors, Alton has tourist attractions that fit any interest.
Plan your trip today and make sure you check out these best things to do in Alton, Illinois to make every moment spent there worthwhile!
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Audubon Center At Riverlands
Just across the Mississippi in West Alton is the 3,700-acre Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, perfectly placed at the heart of the Mississippi Flyway.
This incredible migration corridor is used by more than 300 bird species, including more than 60% of all North American birds and 40% of the United States waterfowl species.
Riverlands has year-round residents like great blue herons, and seasonal visitors like trumpeter swans and bald eagles in winter, migrating warblers and shorebirds in spring and fall, and grassland birds like dickcissels in summer.
One of 41 around the country, the modern Audubon Center at Riverlands opened in 2011 and is a great resource for birdwatchers, with massive viewing windows, helpful staff and enthralling exhibits about Riverlands migrant and resident birdlife.
Epic Things To Do In Grafton Illinois
If youre looking for an exciting list of things to do in Southern Illinois, look no further than the small town of Grafton.
Although you may not think of it as the obvious choice, this beautiful town is an ideal spot to explore the outdoors, sample delicious wine, and have an amazing vacation.
Here we share a list of the best things to do in Grafton, Illinois.
If you plan on spending a weekend in Grafton,
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Grafton tourist attractions
|Discover nearby Alton||
The town of Alton dates back to 1818 and has had a long and rich history. Its a great place to visit for historic sites, quaint shops, and unique landmarks such as the statue of Robert Wadlow, the worlds tallest man. Wadlow grew to be 8 feet and 11 inches tall!
Here we share a list of the most fun things to do in Grafton Il.
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Fort Belle Fontaine County Park
The site of the first U.S military installation to be built west of the Mississippi can be found just a few miles south of Alton.
On the south bank of the Missouri, not far from the confluence, Fort Belle Fontaine was established in 1805.
As a trading fort, this was initially a hub for enlisted men and officers, and traders, trappers and settlers with American, French and Spanish backgrounds.
The trading post closed after a few years, and, after moving to the top of a bluff, from 1809 to 1826 Fort Belle had a military purpose.
The site of that fort lies within the 300-acre Fort Belle Fontaine County Park, which was improved in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration.
A notable holdover from that period is the grand staircase, leading up from the riverbank to the top of the bluff.
Things To Do In Alton
Its not quite the city that never sleeps, but from the time the morning sun illuminates the Mississippi River until the neon lights go dark in the Fast Eddies Bon Air sign theres something to keep you busy in Alton.
Shopping in the antique district, seeing where Abraham Lincoln stayed, worked and played or taking in a concert at the open-air amphitheater, the city is ready to show visitors a good time no matter what time it is.
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Elijah P Lovejoy Monument
The outspoken Presbytarian minister Elijah Parish Lovejoy published an abolitionist newspaper in St. Louis when Missouri was a slave state.
For his safety, following repeated threats and harassment by pro-slavery proponents, he relocated across the Mississippi to Alton in 1836.
He was no safer here, as although Illinois was of course a free state, Alton was a hotbed for slave-catchers and had strong economic ties to Missouri and St. Louis in particular.
In 1837 Lovejoy was murdered by a pro-slavery mob, mostly made up of Missourians, in an event that sent shockwaves through the country and made him a noted martyr for the abolitionist cause.
Visible for miles, the Lovejoy monument was raised in the 1890s and stands high on the river bluff. It features a 93-foot column, crested by a winged Victory, 17 feet tall, with four quotes by Lovejoy at the base.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Things To Do In Alton Illinois
1.& nbspWhat are the best attractions to visit in Alton?
Alton sure is a town full of surprises. There are many attractions to explore here and among the best ones are: i) National Great Rivers Museum, ii) Gateway Arch, and iii) Gordon F. Moore Community Park.
2.& nbspWhat are the best activities in Alton?
When in Alton, outdoor fun is guaranteed with its hit list of activities. Ensure to include these pursuits in your itinerary: i) ghost hunting at McPike Mansion, ii) biking at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, iii) cruising with Hakuna Matata River Cruise.
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Stroll Along The Riverfront
When you get to Grafton, head to the historic riverfront first. Its the perfect place to get your bearings and get your steps in! The paved path offers an easy, gentle walk with some incredible views. This is the place where you can see the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers join, and the pathway is lined with large concrete sculptures of the animals that make this area their home, including the catfish, snapping turtle, and frog. The faux candy-cane-colored lighthouse, built to commemorate the resilience of Grafton after the terrible flood of 1993, is the perfect spot for a selfie. And its here where you can drive your car onto a ferry that will take you over to Saint Charles County on the Missouri side of the river.
Play And Win At The Argosy Casino Alton
Why not drop by an actual riverboat casino, the Argosy, on your visit to Alton?
Perhaps trying your luck in a new place will boost your chances.
In 1991, the casino started as the Alton Belle, which became the larger Alton Belle II.
This boat traveled up the river until 1999, when Illinois said riverboats could stay docked permanently.
Today, the Argosy Casino remains on the docks.
Inside the Argosy Casino Alton, youll find 827 slot machines and 12 table games.
You can also take a break and grab a bite from the three dining options available.
Visit the Argosy Casino Alton at 1 Piasa St., Alton, IL 62002.
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