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

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Clinton, Illinois: The Ultimate Guide to Fun and Adventure!

Clinton, Illinois, may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a trip, but this charming Midwestern town has plenty to offer. From outdoor adventures to historical landmarks, there’s something for everyone in Clinton. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, you won’t want to miss out on the best and most fun things to do and places to visit in Clinton.

If you’re looking for a night out, Clinton has plenty of options for bar hopping. From laid-back taverns to sports bars, there’s something for every taste. And if you’re a foodie, you’re in luck – Clinton is a paradise for food lovers. From classic American fare to international cuisine, there’s no shortage of delicious options.

But Clinton isn’t just about eating and drinking – it’s also a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With Weldon Springs State Park and Clinton Lake nearby, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, fishing, and boating. And if you’re looking for a unique experience, be sure to check out the local festivals and special events.

Key Takeaways

  • Clinton, Illinois, may be a small town, but it has plenty to offer visitors.
  • Whether you’re looking for a night out, delicious food, or outdoor adventures, you’ll find it in Clinton.
  • Don’t miss out on the town’s festivals and special events for a truly unforgettable experience.

Bar Hopping in Clinton

Ready to have a night out on the town? Clinton has plenty of bars to choose from, each with its own unique ambiance and drink selection.

First up, head over to the Wagon Wheel Tap. This classic dive bar is the perfect spot to start your night. With cheap drinks and a laid-back atmosphere, you’ll feel right at home. Make sure to try their signature drink, the Wagon Wheel Whiskey Sour.

Next, head over to the Lucky Star Saloon. This Western-themed bar has a great selection of beers on tap and a friendly staff. Don’t miss their weekly karaoke night, where you can show off your singing skills and maybe even win a prize.

If you’re in the mood for something a little more upscale, check out the Copper Penny. This trendy bar has a great cocktail menu and a chic atmosphere. Make sure to dress to impress if you want to fit in with the stylish crowd.

For a more laid-back vibe, head over to the Rusty Nail. This cozy bar has a fireplace and plenty of comfy seating, making it the perfect spot to relax with a drink. They also have a great selection of craft beers and delicious pub food.

No matter where you go, make sure to check out online reviews before heading out for the night. You don’t want to end up at a bar with terrible drinks and rude staff. And always remember to drink responsibly!

Foodie’s Paradise

If you’re a foodie, you’ll love Clinton, Illinois. This small town is packed with delicious eats that won’t break the bank. From fast and delicious burgers to savoring the lunch specials, there’s something for everyone.

Fast and Delicious Burgers

When you’re craving a burger, head to one of the local favorites. The burgers here are juicy and cooked to perfection. You won’t be disappointed. Here are some of the best places to grab a burger in Clinton:

RestaurantBurger Recommendation
The SpotClassic cheeseburger
Culver’sButterBurger Deluxe
The Clintonia EagleThe Eagle Burger

Savoring the Lunch Specials

If you’re looking for a delicious lunch, you can’t go wrong with the lunch specials at these local restaurants. From wings to fries, you’ll find something to satisfy your cravings. Here are some of the best places to grab lunch in Clinton:

RestaurantLunch Special Recommendation
The GalleyHalf-pound burger and fries
The Clintonia EagleWings and a side of fries
The SpotPulled pork sandwich and coleslaw

Don’t miss out on the delicious food in Clinton, Illinois. With so many options to choose from, you’ll want to try them all.

Outdoor Adventures

Looking for some outdoor fun in Clinton, Illinois? Look no further! There are plenty of adventures waiting for you in and around Clinton. Here are a few options to get you started:

Fun at Weldon Springs State Park

Weldon Springs State Park is a great place to spend a day outdoors. Take a hike on one of the park’s many trails, or pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it at one of the park’s picnic tables. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at fishing in the park’s pond. And if you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, take a stroll through the park’s beautiful gardens.

Boating at Carlyle Lake

If you’re looking for some fun on the water, head over to Carlyle Lake. With over 26,000 acres of water, there’s plenty of room to explore. Bring your own boat or rent one from the marina. You can also swim at the beach or relax in the sun on the sandy shore. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, try your hand at water skiing!

Hiking in Shawnee National Forest

For some serious outdoor adventure, head down to Shawnee National Forest. With over 280,000 acres of forest, there are plenty of trails to explore. Hike to the top of Garden of the Gods for breathtaking views, or take a leisurely stroll through the forest. And if you’re up for a challenge, try backpacking and camping in the forest overnight.

No matter what kind of outdoor adventure you’re looking for, Clinton, Illinois has something for everyone. So grab your hiking boots, your fishing rod, or your water skis, and get ready for some fun in the sun!

Special Events and Festivals

Clinton, Illinois is a hub of excitement and entertainment all year round, but it’s during the special events and festivals that the town truly comes alive. Whether you’re a foodie, music lover, or just looking for a good time, Clinton has something for everyone.

In May, the town hosts the annual “Taste of Clinton” festival, where you can indulge in some of the best food vendors in the area. From classic burgers and fries to exotic dishes from around the world, this festival has it all. Don’t forget to try the famous Clinton-style hot dogs, which are a local favorite.

June is when the town really gets into gear with the “Summer Jam” festival. This is the perfect event for music lovers, with live performances from some of the best local and regional bands. The festival also features food vendors, craft beer, and plenty of activities for the whole family.

But the highlight of the summer is undoubtedly the August “Balloon Fest”. This festival is a must-see for anyone visiting Clinton during the summer. Watch as hot air balloons take to the skies and light up the night sky during the evening “glow”. During the day, there are craft fairs, food vendors, and plenty of other activities to keep you entertained.

No matter when you visit Clinton, there’s always something going on. Check the town’s events calendar to see what’s happening during your stay. And don’t forget to bring your appetite!

Historical Landmarks

If you’re a history buff, you’ll love exploring the many historical landmarks in and around Clinton. Here are two must-see attractions that you won’t want to miss.

Abraham Lincoln’s Legacy

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln once visited Clinton? It’s true! In 1858, Lincoln gave a speech in nearby Bloomington that would later become known as his famous “House Divided” speech. Today, you can visit the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington to learn more about Lincoln’s legacy in Illinois.

But that’s not all! If you’re willing to take a short drive, you can also visit the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, where Lincoln lived with his family for 17 years. The site includes a visitor center, museum, and several restored buildings that give you a glimpse into what life was like for the Lincoln family.

Route 66 and Navy Pier Attractions

Clinton is located just a short drive from two of Illinois’ most iconic landmarks: Route 66 and Navy Pier. If you’re a fan of classic cars and Americana, you won’t want to miss the Route 66 Association Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac. The museum features displays of vintage cars, gas pumps, and other Route 66 memorabilia.

And if you’re looking for a fun day trip, head to Navy Pier in Chicago. This iconic attraction offers something for everyone, from amusement park rides to boat tours of Lake Michigan. You can also visit the Chicago Children’s Museum, the Shakespeare Theater, or one of the many restaurants and shops located on the pier.

No matter what your interests are, there’s something for everyone in Clinton and the surrounding area. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to explore the best that Illinois has to offer!

Exploring the Prairie State

Illinois is a state with a lot to offer, from the charm of small towns to the buzz of Champaign-Urbana and the vibe of Chicago. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s always something new to discover in the Prairie State.

The Charm of Small Towns

If you’re looking for a more relaxed pace, there are plenty of small towns in Illinois that are worth exploring. Take a stroll through the historic downtown of Clinton, Illinois and enjoy the quaint shops and restaurants that line the streets. Visit the Sawmill Museum, which showcases the history of the lumber industry in the area, or take a hike along the Mississippi River at the Mississippi River Eco Tourism Center in Camanche.

The Buzz of Champaign-Urbana

For a taste of the college town scene, head to Champaign-Urbana. Home to the University of Illinois, this vibrant city is full of energy and excitement. Catch a game at Memorial Stadium or Assembly Hall, or explore the Krannert Art Museum on campus. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, be sure to stop by Black Dog Smoke & Ale House for some delicious barbecue.

The Vibe of Chicago

No trip to Illinois would be complete without a visit to the Windy City. Chicago is a world-class city with something for everyone. Take a stroll along the lakefront and check out the stunning views of Lake Michigan. Visit the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in the world, or take in a show at the iconic Second City comedy club. And of course, no visit to Chicago is complete without trying the famous deep-dish pizza.

So whether you’re in the mood for small town charm, college town energy, or big city excitement, Illinois has it all. Get out there and explore!

Unforgettable Views

Looking for some breathtaking views in Clinton, Illinois? You’re in luck! Here are some of the best places to visit for unforgettable views.

Overlooking Clinton County

If you want to get a bird’s eye view of Clinton County, head to the overlook at Weldon Springs State Park. It’s a short hike up to the top, but the view is worth it. From the overlook, you can see for miles in every direction. It’s especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves on the trees change colors.

Anderson Japanese Gardens

If you’re looking for a peaceful and serene view, you can’t beat Anderson Japanese Gardens. This beautiful garden is located in Rockford, just a short drive from Clinton. The gardens are meticulously maintained and feature a variety of plants, trees, and water features. Take a stroll through the gardens and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Japan.

Galena’s Scenic Beauty

Galena is a historic town known for its charming downtown area, but it’s also home to some stunning views. Take a drive through the rolling hills and you’ll see why this area is known for its scenic beauty. Stop at Horseshoe Mound Preserve for a panoramic view of the town and the surrounding countryside. It’s a great spot for a picnic or just to take in the view.

No matter which of these spots you choose to visit, you’re sure to be blown away by the beauty of Clinton, Illinois.

Local Businesses and Services

Clinton, Illinois has a variety of local businesses and services that cater to the needs of visitors and locals alike. Whether you’re looking for a bite to eat, a place to stay, or a unique shopping experience, Clinton has got you covered.

Food and Drink

If you’re feeling hungry, there are plenty of options in Clinton. From classic American diners to ethnic cuisine, you’re sure to find something that satisfies your taste buds. Some of the top-rated restaurants in Clinton include:

The Whistle Stop Cafe: This classic American diner serves up delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner options that are sure to please. Don’t miss their famous biscuits and gravy!

The Wagon Wheel: This family-owned restaurant offers a variety of comfort food classics, including burgers, sandwiches, and homemade soups. Be sure to save room for their delicious homemade pies.

El Vaquero: This Mexican restaurant is a local favorite, serving up authentic dishes like tacos, burritos, and fajitas. Don’t miss their homemade salsa and guacamole.


If you’re planning to stay in Clinton overnight, you’ll find a variety of lodging options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly motel or a luxurious bed and breakfast, there’s something for everyone. Some of the top-rated lodging options in Clinton include:

The Inn at Clinton: This charming bed and breakfast offers comfortable rooms and a delicious breakfast each morning. The inn is located in a historic building that dates back to the 1800s.

The Clinton Motel: This budget-friendly motel offers clean, comfortable rooms at an affordable price. The motel is located just a short drive from downtown Clinton.

The Holiday Inn Express: This modern hotel offers all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, including a fitness center, indoor pool, and complimentary breakfast.


If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, Clinton has got you covered. From antique shops to artisanal boutiques, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye. Some of the top-rated shopping destinations in Clinton include:

The Paper Forest: This locally-owned paper store offers a variety of unique paper products, including stationery, journals, and scrapbooking supplies. They also offer classes and workshops for those looking to get creative.

The Farmer’s Market: This outdoor market offers fresh produce, baked goods, and handmade crafts from local vendors. It’s a great place to pick up some souvenirs or gifts for friends and family.

The Antique Mall: This massive antique mall offers a wide variety of vintage and antique items, including furniture, jewelry, and collectibles. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon browsing and hunting for treasures.


Clinton has received high praise from visitors and locals alike for its friendly atmosphere, charming downtown area, and variety of attractions. One visitor on TripAdvisor raved, “Clinton is a great little town with lots of character and friendly people.” Another reviewer on Yelp said, “Clinton is a hidden gem in Central Illinois. I was pleasantly surprised by all the great restaurants and shops in the downtown area.” Overall, visitors to Clinton can expect a warm welcome and plenty of fun things to see and do.

Music Scene in Clinton

Clinton may not be known for its music scene, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great spots to catch a live show or listen to some tunes. Here are some places to check out:

1. Wishbone Bar & Grill

Not only is Wishbone Bar & Grill a great place to grab a bite to eat, but it’s also a popular spot for live music. From local bands to touring acts, you never know who you might see on stage. And if you’re lucky, you might catch one of their famous karaoke nights.

2. The Creek

Looking for a more laid-back atmosphere? The Creek is a cozy little bar that often has live music on the weekends. It’s a great spot to grab a drink and listen to some local talent.

3. The Clinton Area Showboat Theatre

Okay, so it’s not technically a music venue, but the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre does put on some great musical productions. From classic shows like “Grease” to newer hits like “Hamilton,” there’s always something worth seeing.

4. The Clinton Symphony Orchestra

If classical music is more your thing, be sure to check out the Clinton Symphony Orchestra. They put on several concerts throughout the year, featuring everything from Beethoven to Broadway.

5. The Clinton LumberKings

Okay, hear us out on this one. While the Clinton LumberKings are technically a minor league baseball team, they often have live music before and after games. Plus, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a hot dog and a beer while listening to some tunes on a warm summer evening.

So there you have it, folks. Whether you’re into rock, country, classical, or something in between, there’s something for everyone in Clinton’s music scene.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the craziest thing to do in Clinton, IL?

Well, you could always try to break the world record for the longest continuous game of Monopoly. Just make sure you bring plenty of snacks and a comfortable chair!

Where can I find the best burgers in Clinton?

Look no further than The Clintonia Eagle Drive-In. Their burgers are so good, they’ll make you want to flap your wings and soar like an eagle!

What’s the most unique attraction in Clinton?

Definitely the DeWitt County Museum. Where else can you see an old-fashioned barber shop, a one-room schoolhouse, and a collection of antique tractors all in one place?

What’s the best way to spend a lazy afternoon in Clinton?

Grab a book and head to Weldon Springs State Park. Find a cozy spot by the natural spring and let the sound of the water lull you into a peaceful nap.

Where’s the best spot to take a scenic walk in Clinton?

Eagle Point Park offers stunning views of the Mississippi River and the surrounding bluffs. Just watch out for bald eagles – they might steal your snacks!

What’s the most fun activity for a group in Clinton?

Get your game on at The Zone. With laser tag, mini golf, and arcade games, you and your friends will be entertained for hours. Just don’t forget to bring your competitive spirit!

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