Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In Cairo, Illinois

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Cairo, Illinois: Where Fun is Always in the Air – Best Things to Do and Places to Visit

Are you planning a trip to Cairo, Illinois? This small city located at the southern tip of the state has a rich history and plenty of fun activities to offer visitors. From exploring historic landmarks to enjoying outdoor adventures, there’s something for everyone in Cairo.

A Brief History of Cairo, Illinois Cairo has a fascinating history that dates back to the 18th century when French explorers first arrived in the area. The city played an important role in the Civil War and was a major hub for river transportation. Today, visitors can learn more about Cairo’s past by visiting museums and historic sites like the U.S. Custom House and Magnolia Manor.

Must-Visit Museums If you’re a history buff, you won’t want to miss the Cairo Customs House Museum and Cultural Center. Here, you can explore exhibits that showcase the city’s rich history, including its role in the Civil War and the Underground Railroad. Another must-visit museum is the Riverlore Mansion, which is home to a collection of artifacts and exhibits that highlight the region’s maritime history.

Key Takeaways

  • Cairo, Illinois has a rich history and plenty of fun activities to offer visitors.
  • Must-visit museums in Cairo include the Cairo Customs House Museum and Cultural Center and the Riverlore Mansion.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring the city’s parks and trails, while foodies will enjoy the local cuisine and shopping spots.

A Brief History of Cairo, Illinois

Ah, Cairo, Illinois. The city that’s so nice, they named it after the capital of Egypt. But did you know that this little town on the banks of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers has a rich and fascinating history?

Cairo was founded in 1837 and quickly became a major transportation hub, thanks to its strategic location at the confluence of two of America’s most important rivers. By the mid-19th century, Cairo was a bustling city with a thriving economy and a population of over 15,000.

But Cairo’s fortunes took a turn for the worse during the Civil War. The city was a key strategic point for the Union Army, and both Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant spent time there during the conflict. Unfortunately, the war also brought destruction and chaos to Cairo, and the city never fully recovered.

Today, Cairo is a shadow of its former self, but it’s still a fascinating place to visit if you’re interested in history. The city is home to several historical landmarks, including the U.S. Custom House and the Magnolia Manor. And if you’re a fan of Abraham Lincoln, you’ll be happy to know that Cairo is part of the “Land of Lincoln” historic district.

If you want to learn more about Cairo’s history, be sure to visit the Cairo History Museum. It’s packed with artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of this once-great city. And who knows? Maybe you’ll even discover a new appreciation for the place that’s been called “the city that time forgot.”

Must-Visit Museums

When you’re in Cairo, Illinois, you can’t miss out on visiting some of the amazing museums in the area. Here are two museums that you absolutely must visit:

The Civil War Museum

If you’re a history buff, then you’ll definitely want to check out The Civil War Museum. This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the American Civil War, and it features a wide range of exhibits that will take you back in time. From authentic uniforms and weapons to interactive displays, you’ll get a real sense of what it was like to live during this tumultuous period in American history.

One of the most popular exhibits at The Civil War Museum is the life-sized diorama of the Battle of Shiloh. You’ll feel like you’re right in the middle of the action as you watch soldiers charging across the battlefield. And if you’re lucky, you might even get to witness a reenactment of a battle!

Dinosaur Bones Exhibit

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? If you’re a fan of these prehistoric beasts, then you won’t want to miss the Dinosaur Bones Exhibit at the local history museum. This exhibit features a wide range of dinosaur bones and fossils, including some of the largest and most complete specimens in the world.

As you wander through the exhibit, you’ll learn all about the different types of dinosaurs that once roamed the earth. From the massive T-Rex to the gentle Brontosaurus, you’ll get a real sense of what it was like to live in a world dominated by these incredible creatures.

Whether you’re a history buff or a dinosaur enthusiast, these two museums are must-visit destinations when you’re in Cairo, Illinois. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring!

Top Landmarks and Historic Sites

When it comes to landmarks and historic sites, Cairo, Illinois has some real gems that you won’t want to miss. Here are a couple of our favorites:

The Willis Tower

Okay, so the Willis Tower isn’t technically in Cairo, but it’s close enough that we’re counting it. This iconic skyscraper was once the tallest building in the world, and it still towers over the Chicago skyline. If you’re feeling brave, you can even step out onto the Skydeck, a glass balcony that extends 4.3 feet from the side of the building. Don’t worry, it’s totally safe (we think).

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most iconic landmarks in the United States, and for good reason. This stunning monument pays tribute to one of our country’s greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln. The statue of Lincoln is massive, and it’s truly awe-inspiring to see in person. Plus, the surrounding National Mall is a beautiful place to take a stroll and soak up some history.

If you’re looking for more historic sites to visit, be sure to check out the National Register of Historic Places. This database lists over 95,000 historic buildings, districts, and sites that are worth visiting. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a fun day out, Cairo has plenty of landmarks and historic sites to explore.

Outdoor Adventures in Cairo

Looking for some adventure in Cairo, Illinois? You’re in luck! There are plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy. From hiking in Shawnee National Forest to kayaking on the Mississippi River, there’s something for everyone.

Hiking in Shawnee National Forest

Shawnee National Forest is a hiker’s paradise. With over 280,000 acres of wilderness, you’ll find plenty of trails to explore. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a trail for you. The Garden of the Gods is a must-see. It’s a stunning rock formation that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. You can also hike through the canyons at Giant City State Park. The trails wind through towering bluffs and lush forests, making for a truly magical experience.

Kayaking on Mississippi River

If you’re looking for a water adventure, kayaking on the Mississippi River is a must-do. The river is calm and peaceful, making it perfect for beginners. You’ll paddle past scenic bluffs and through quiet backwaters. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, river otters, and other wildlife. If you’re feeling brave, you can even try your hand at fishing. The Mississippi River is home to a variety of fish, including catfish, bass, and crappie.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your hiking boots and your kayak and head to Cairo for some outdoor adventure. Whether you’re looking to hike through the canyons or paddle down the Mississippi River, you’re sure to have a blast.

A Foodie’s Guide to Cairo

If you’re a foodie, Cairo has some great options for you. From classic Midwest eateries to modern restaurants, there’s something for everyone’s taste buds.

Best Restaurants in Cairo

When it comes to the best restaurants in Cairo, there are a few that stand out. First up is the Magnolia Grill, which serves up some of the best Southern-style cuisine in the area. The fried green tomatoes and chicken and waffles are must-tries.

For something a little different, check out Cairo’s newest restaurant, The Vault. This historic bank building has been transformed into a trendy eatery with a menu that includes everything from burgers to seafood.

If you’re in the mood for pizza, head over to Angelo’s Pizza. This family-owned spot has been serving up delicious pies for over 50 years. Be sure to try the famous “Angelo’s Special” pizza.

Classic Midwest Eateries

Cairo also has some classic Midwest eateries that are worth checking out. First up is the Riverhouse Inn, which has been a staple in Cairo since 1947. The menu includes all of your favorite comfort foods, like meatloaf and fried chicken.

For a taste of the past, head over to The Diner. This old-fashioned diner has been around since the 1950s and still serves up classic diner fare like burgers and milkshakes.

And if you’re in the mood for a good old-fashioned steak, head over to The Red Onion. This steakhouse has been around for over 40 years and is known for its juicy, perfectly cooked steaks.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, Cairo has plenty of options to satisfy your appetite. So grab your fork and dig in!

Nightlife and Entertainment

Cairo may be a small town, but it has a big personality when it comes to nightlife and entertainment. Whether you’re looking for a quiet drink or a night out on the town, there’s something for everyone.

Top Bars and Clubs

If you’re looking for a place to grab a drink, you won’t be disappointed. Cairo has a number of bars and clubs that are perfect for a night out.

The Brickhouse

This bar is the perfect spot for a laid-back night out. With a cozy atmosphere and friendly staff, you’ll feel right at home.

The Rustic Inn

If you’re looking for a lively atmosphere, head to The Rustic Inn. This bar is always packed with locals and visitors alike, and the drinks are always flowing.

The American Legion

This club is a great spot for a night out with friends. With live music and a dance floor, you’ll be sure to have a good time.

Live Music Venues

If you’re a fan of live music, you’re in luck. Cairo has a number of venues that host live music performances throughout the year.

The Riverfront Amphitheater

This outdoor venue is the perfect spot to catch a live performance during the summer months. With a beautiful view of the Ohio River, you’ll be able to enjoy the music and the scenery at the same time.

The Cairo Opera House

This historic venue is home to a number of musical performances throughout the year. From classical music to jazz, there’s always something going on at the Cairo Opera House.

The Historic Orpheum Theater

This theater is a true gem in Cairo. With a beautiful interior and a rich history, it’s the perfect spot to catch a live performance. Keep an eye on their schedule for upcoming shows.

No matter what your idea of a good time is, Cairo has something to offer. So grab your friends and head out for a night on the town.

Shopping Spots and Hidden Gems

When it comes to shopping in Cairo, Illinois, you might not think there would be much to see. But don’t let the small town vibe fool you! Cairo has some hidden gems and unique shopping spots that are worth checking out. Here are a couple of our favorites:

Antique Shopping on Route 66

If you’re a fan of all things vintage, then you’ll definitely want to stop by the antique shops on Route 66. You’ll find everything from old signs and gas pumps to vintage clothing and furniture. It’s like taking a step back in time! And who knows, you might even find that perfect piece to add to your collection.

Local Boutiques

If you’re looking for something a bit more modern, then head on over to some of the local boutiques. You’ll find unique clothing, accessories, and home decor that you won’t find anywhere else. And the best part? You’ll be supporting small businesses in the process. It’s a win-win!

But wait, there’s more! Cairo also has a few hidden gems that you won’t want to miss. Check out the Cairo Custom House Museum for a glimpse into the town’s history and architecture. And if you’re a fan of outdoor adventures, then you’ll definitely want to check out Trail of Tears State Forest for hiking, camping, and more.

So, whether you’re in the mood for some antique shopping or want to support local businesses, Cairo has something for everyone. Just remember to keep your eyes peeled for those hidden gems!

Where to Stay in Cairo

When it comes to finding a place to stay in Cairo, Illinois, you’ll be happy to know that there are a few options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for luxury hotels or budget-friendly options, you’ll find something that suits your needs.

Luxury Hotels

If you’re looking for a little bit of luxury during your stay in Cairo, then you’re in luck. There are a few hotels that will make you feel like royalty.

The first hotel that comes to mind is the River Rose Inn Bed and Breakfast. This beautiful Victorian-style mansion is located right on the Ohio River and offers stunning views of the water. The rooms are spacious and elegantly furnished, and the breakfast is to die for.

Another great option is the Magnolia Manor. This historic mansion has been beautifully restored and offers luxurious rooms and suites. The hotel also features a restaurant and bar, a fitness center, and a spa.

Budget-Friendly Options

If you’re traveling on a budget, don’t worry. There are plenty of options for you in Cairo, too.

One of the best budget-friendly hotels in Cairo is the Super 8 by Wyndham. This hotel offers clean and comfortable rooms at an affordable price. It’s also conveniently located near many of Cairo’s top attractions.

Another great option is the Days Inn by Wyndham. This hotel offers comfortable rooms, a fitness center, and a complimentary breakfast. Plus, it’s located just a short drive from the Ohio River and Fort Defiance State Park.

No matter which hotel you choose, you’re sure to enjoy your stay in Cairo, Illinois.

Planning Your Trip to Cairo

So, you’re planning a trip to Cairo, Illinois? You’re in for a treat! This small town is full of surprises and has plenty of fun things to do and places to visit. But before you hit the road, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Travel Tips

First things first, let’s talk about getting to Cairo. If you’re coming from Chicago, take I-57 South and get off at Exit 1. If you’re coming from Springfield, take I-55 South to I-57 South, and then get off at Exit 1. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Now, if you’re on a cross-country road trip, Cairo is a great place to stop and stretch your legs. There are plenty of gas stations and restaurants along the way, so you won’t have to worry about running out of fuel or food. Plus, Cairo is a popular tourist destination, so you’ll find plenty of accommodations to suit your needs.

Getting Around Cairo

Once you’re in Cairo, you’ll need to figure out how to get around. The best way to see the town is by car, so if you didn’t drive, consider renting one. There are plenty of car rental companies in town, and you can easily find one that suits your budget.

If you don’t want to drive, there are other options. You can take a taxi or use a ride-sharing service. There are also a few local bus companies that offer tours of the town’s points of interest.

Now that you know how to get to Cairo and how to get around, it’s time to start planning your itinerary. Check out TripAdvisor for the best places to visit and things to do in Cairo. From historical landmarks to outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone.

So, pack your bags, hop in the car, and get ready for an adventure in Cairo, Illinois!

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the deal with Cairo, Illinois? Is it safe to visit?

Well, Cairo, Illinois is a small city located at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. It’s known for its rich history and beautiful architecture, but unfortunately, it’s also known for its high crime rate. But don’t let that discourage you from visiting! As long as you take the necessary precautions and stay aware of your surroundings, you should be fine.

Are there any decent hotels in Cairo, Illinois?

Yes, there are a few hotels in Cairo, Illinois that are worth checking out. The River Rose Inn Bed and Breakfast is a charming and cozy option, while the Super 8 by Wyndham Cairo IL is a more budget-friendly choice. Just be aware that there aren’t many options, so make sure to book in advance.

What’s left to see in the abandoned city of Cairo, Illinois?

Despite being largely abandoned, there are still some fascinating sights to see in Cairo, Illinois. The most popular attraction is the Cairo Custom House Museum, which showcases the city’s history and culture. You can also check out the historic Magnolia Manor, or take a stroll through the beautiful Elmwood Cemetery.

Looking for something unique to do in Southern Illinois, any suggestions?

If you’re looking for something unique to do in Southern Illinois, you’re in luck! One option is to take a scenic drive along the Great River Road, which offers stunning views of the Mississippi River. You can also explore the Shawnee National Forest, which is home to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the state.

Is the crime rate in Cairo, Illinois scarier than a horror movie?

Okay, let’s not get carried away here. While the crime rate in Cairo, Illinois is higher than average, it’s not exactly a horror movie. Just be smart, stay aware of your surroundings, and take the necessary precautions, and you should be fine. And who knows, you might even fall in love with the city’s unique charm and character!

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