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Springfield, Illinois - a city guide

Abe LIncoln awaits in Springfield, Illinois
Abe LIncoln awaits in Springfield, Illinois
by Doug Bardwell

Springfield, Illinois was Abraham Lincoln’s home town. Just about anywhere you walk, you could be tracing his footsteps from a century ago. Many of the places that he made famous are still here and you can visit most of them.

In Search of History

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

More than 40,000 square feet of exhibits and movie theaters present Lincoln’s story in the most memorable ways. Photography is allowed in the central court area only.

The perfect photo op awaits as Lincoln and his family (in wax) pose for untold number of pictures.

Trace Lincoln’s history from childhood through his presidency, starting at this cabin, similar to the one where he grew up.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

This library contains a reported 12 million items, but is primarily used only for reference by scholars and historians, not for casual browsing. Need something specific, they’ll look it up for you.

[Check here for the illustrated version of this article.]

Lincoln – History to Hollywood – in Union Station

Opened in January 2014, and scheduled to be open for five years, this is the recreation of two sets from the Hollywood blockbuster Lincoln by Stephen Speilberg.

See Mary Lincoln’s bedroom and costumes worn by Sally Fields, who played Mrs. Lincoln.

See Abraham Lincoln’s office, complete with table, children’s toys, maps and memorabilia dutifully replicated from the originals. Clothing worn by Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln is also on display.

In Search of Food

For some fabulous food, try any of these three, tested and approved establishments:

American Harvest Eatery

3241 W. Iles; Springfield, IL 62711

Top rated restaurant in Springfield – you’ve gotta try the Sea Scallops if you like seafood. Served with a cauliflower puree, melted fennel, pork belly, hazelnuts and a cider gastrique.

Obed & Isaacs Microbrewery & Eatery

500 South 8th Street; Springfield, IL 62701

A wide selection of hand-crafted beers and ales compliment the nice selection of food available. Their specialty is the Horseshoe – and open faced sandwich of thick sliced texas toast with a choice of meat, smothered with their “secret sauce” and then topped with crispy French fries. I enjoyed the Corned Beef version

Maldaner’s Restaurant

222 South 6th Street; Springfield, IL 62701

Oldest continuously operating restaurant in town. I opted for and loved the Pistachio crusted Wild Salmon with an Asian glaze, served over a medley of Shiitake mushrooms, red onion and asparagus served with mashed potatoes.

Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about travel destinations across the country and around the world at Feel free to drop him a line at with suggestions for future stories. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here. For travel ideas in Cleveland and around the world, check his Calendar of Events. To see his travel photo collection, see

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