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

Spread the love!

Decatur, Illinois: Where Fun Never Gets Old – Best Places to Visit and Things to Do

Welcome to Decatur, Illinois – a city that has something for everyone. Whether you are a history buff, nature lover, shopaholic, or foodie, Decatur has plenty of options to keep you entertained. This article will guide you through the best and fun things to do, as well as the places to visit in Decatur, Illinois.

A Peek into Decatur’s Rich History Decatur has a rich history dating back to the 1800s. The city was named after Stephen Decatur, a naval hero from the War of 1812. You can explore Decatur’s history by visiting the Hieronymus Mueller Museum, which showcases the city’s industrial past, or the James Millikin Homestead, which offers a glimpse into the life of one of the city’s founders.

Nature’s Bounty in Decatur If you love the great outdoors, Decatur won’t disappoint. You can take a stroll through the Rock Springs Conservation Area, which features hiking trails, fishing ponds, and picnic areas. For a more immersive experience, head to the Scovill Zoo, where you can get up close and personal with a variety of animals, including lions, giraffes, and monkeys.

Key Takeaways

  • Decatur has a rich history dating back to the 1800s, which you can explore by visiting the Hieronymus Mueller Museum or the James Millikin Homestead.
  • Nature lovers can enjoy the Rock Springs Conservation Area or the Scovill Zoo, which offers a variety of animals to interact with.
  • Decatur is a city that has something for everyone, from history buffs to nature lovers to shopaholics and foodies.

A Peek into Decatur’s Rich History

Ah, Decatur, the land of Lincoln and the home of James Millikin. You’re in for a treat as we take a trip down memory lane and explore the city’s rich history.

Let’s start with James Millikin, the founder of Millikin University. Did you know that Millikin’s mansion still stands today? It’s called the James Millikin Homestead, and it’s a must-visit for history buffs like you. Take a tour of the mansion and learn about Millikin’s life and legacy.

If you’re interested in transportation history, the Transfer House is a must-see. It’s a historic building that was once the center of transportation in Decatur. Back in the day, all the city’s streetcars and interurban trains passed through the Transfer House. Today, it serves as a museum that tells the story of Decatur’s transportation history.

But that’s not all. The Oglesby Mansion is another historic site that’s worth a visit. Built in 1874 for the Oglesby family, the mansion is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture. Take a tour of the mansion and learn about the family’s history and their contributions to Decatur.

Speaking of history, did you know that Decatur was once an important stop on the Historic Paris-Springfield Road? This road was traveled by Abraham Lincoln and other famous figures of the time. In fact, the Illinois Republican Convention was held in Decatur in 1860, and it was here that Lincoln was first nominated for president.

And last but not least, if you’re a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, you’ll be happy to know that Decatur is home to one of his designs. The Muirhead Farmhouse is a beautiful example of Wright’s Prairie School architecture, and it’s open for tours.

So, there you have it, a peek into Decatur’s rich history. Whether you’re interested in transportation, architecture, or politics, there’s something here for everyone.

Nature’s Bounty in Decatur

Are you a nature lover? Decatur has got you covered! With its abundance of parks, nature centers, and wildlife areas, you can explore the outdoors to your heart’s content.

One of the top spots to visit is the Rock Springs Conservation Area & Nature Center. Take a hike on one of the trails, and keep an eye out for the local wildlife. You might spot a deer, a fox, or even a bald eagle! And if you’re feeling adventurous, try out the zipline course.

If you’re in the mood for some water activities, head over to Lake Decatur. Rent a kayak or a paddleboard and explore the lake’s serene waters. Or, if you prefer to stay on land, take a stroll around the lake and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Nelson Park is another must-visit spot for nature enthusiasts. With its numerous walking trails, fishing spots, and picnic areas, it’s the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. And if you’re visiting during the summer months, be sure to check out the Splash Cove water park.

For a more rustic experience, check out the Sand Creek Conservation Area. This hidden gem boasts over 1,000 acres of natural beauty, including forests, prairies, and wetlands. Take a hike on one of the trails and immerse yourself in the tranquil surroundings.

And last but not least, don’t forget to visit Fairview Park. With its playgrounds, basketball courts, and disc golf course, it’s a great place to bring the whole family. And for the nature lovers, the park also features a beautiful lake and a variety of wildlife to observe.

Decatur truly is a nature lover’s paradise. So pack your bags, grab your hiking boots, and get ready to explore the great outdoors!

For the Love of Animals

You’re an animal lover and you’re in Decatur, Illinois. Lucky you! There are plenty of options for you to get your fix of furry (or feathered) friends.

First up, you can’t miss the Scovill Zoo. This local zoo has a wide variety of animals, from cheetahs to penguins. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of Bandit the cat, who likes to hang out around the zoo. Take a train ride around the zoo to get a closer look at the large animals and enjoy the scenery.

If you’re looking for a more immersive animal experience, head over to Sky Falconry in California. Wait, what? California? Yes, we know it’s not in Decatur, but hear us out. This unique trip allows you to get up close and personal with birds of prey like falcons and hawks. You’ll even get to hold them on your arm and watch them fly. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s worth the trip.

Back in Decatur, you can visit the Chevrolet Hall of Fame Museum, which has a collection of American-made cars from Chevrolet. But what does that have to do with animals, you ask? Well, some of those cars have some serious horsepower. And who doesn’t love a good pun?

Finally, if you’re looking for some outdoor fun with your furry friend, head over to Point Mallard Park. This family-friendly park has a water park, golf course, hiking and biking trails, and even batting cages. It’s the perfect place to spend a day with your four-legged friend.

So, whether you’re looking for a local zoo or a more unique animal experience, Decatur has something for every animal lover. Get ready to make some new furry (or feathered) friends!

Family Fun in Decatur

Looking for a family-friendly destination in Illinois? Look no further than Decatur! Whether you’re a local or just visiting, there are plenty of fun activities and places to visit that will keep the whole family entertained.

One of the top attractions for families in Decatur is the Children’s Museum of Illinois. This hands-on museum is perfect for kids of all ages, with interactive exhibits that allow them to learn and explore in a fun and engaging way. From a mini-grocery store to a construction zone, there’s something for everyone at this museum.

Another must-visit destination for families in Decatur is the Scovill Zoo. This small but charming zoo is home to a variety of animals, including giraffes, lions, and monkeys. Take a ride on the carousel or enjoy a picnic in the park while you’re there.

Looking for something a little more active? Check out the Rock Springs Conservation Area and Nature Center. This beautiful park offers hiking trails, fishing, and even a nature center where you can learn about the local flora and fauna.

No matter what your family’s interests are, Decatur has something to offer. So pack up the car and head to this charming Illinois town for a weekend of family fun!

A Shopaholic’s Paradise

Oh, you shopaholic! Decatur, Illinois is your paradise! Whether you’re into antique shops, shopping malls, or just browsing around, Decatur has got you covered.

If you’re looking for some unique finds, head over to the antique booths at the Decatur Antique Mall. You’ll find everything from vintage clothing to antique furniture. And if you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon a hidden gem!

For those who prefer shopping malls, Hickory Point Mall is the place to be. With over 50 stores, you’re sure to find something you love. And if you need a break from all the shopping, catch a movie at the mall’s theater.

But wait, there’s more! Downtown Decatur is home to a variety of specialty shops that cater to all tastes. Check out the selection of handmade gifts at the Blue Connection or the trendy clothing at Wildflour Artisan Bakery & Cafe.

And if you’re really looking for a unique shopping experience, don’t miss the annual Arts in Central Park event. This outdoor festival features local artists and vendors selling handmade crafts, jewelry, and more.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your wallet and get ready to shop ’til you drop in Decatur, Illinois!

Decatur’s Culinary Delights

You may not expect it, but Decatur is a hidden gem when it comes to food. From classic American cuisine to international flavors, there is something for everyone’s taste buds.

If you’re a foodie, then you can’t miss the annual Taste of History event. This event celebrates the rich culinary history of Decatur and features some of the best local restaurants. You can sample everything from BBQ to sushi, and even indulge in some sweet treats.

But even outside of the event, there are plenty of delicious options to choose from. Here are some of our favorites:

  • The Beach House: This waterfront restaurant offers stunning views and fresh seafood. You can’t go wrong with their crab cakes or fish tacos.
  • The Gin Mill: A local favorite, The Gin Mill serves up classic pub fare with a twist. Try their famous mac and cheese bites or the loaded tater tots.
  • La Gondola Spaghetti House: For a taste of Italy, head to La Gondola. Their spaghetti and meatballs are a must-try, and don’t forget to finish off your meal with a slice of tiramisu.
  • Krekel’s Custard: No trip to Decatur is complete without a stop at Krekel’s. This old-school custard stand has been serving up creamy treats since 1949. Try the classic vanilla or go for a flavor of the day.
  • Lock Stock & Barrel: This upscale restaurant offers a unique dining experience with its farm-to-table menu. The bacon-wrapped dates and pork belly are fan favorites.

Whether you’re in the mood for something casual or fancy, Decatur has it all. So grab a fork and dig in!

The Artistic Side of Decatur

You might not think of Decatur as a hub for the arts, but you’d be surprised! There’s more to this city than just cornfields and soybeans (although we do love our agriculture). So, put down that pitchfork and check out some of the artistic offerings in Decatur.

First up, we have the Kirkland Fine Arts Center. This venue is located on the Millikin University campus and hosts a variety of live performances throughout the year. From music and dance to theater and comedy, there’s something for everyone. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a show featuring some of the talented Millikin students.

If you’re more of a museum-goer, then you have to check out the Mueller Museum. This museum is dedicated to the history of the Mueller Company, a manufacturer of water distribution products. Okay, okay, we know what you’re thinking – “How is that artistic?” But trust us, the exhibits are surprisingly fascinating. You’ll learn all about the history of water distribution and see some pretty cool vintage products.

For a more traditional art experience, head to one of Decatur’s art galleries. The Madden Arts Center and Blue Connection Gallery both showcase the work of local artists. You never know what you might find – a stunning painting, a unique sculpture, or even some funky jewelry.

Lastly, we can’t forget about the Hieronymus Mueller Museum. Yes, it’s related to the Mueller Museum we mentioned earlier, but this one is all about Hieronymus Mueller himself. He was the founder of the Mueller Company and a pretty interesting guy. The museum is located in his former home and features exhibits on his life and work.

So, there you have it – Decatur’s artistic side. Who knew this little city had so much to offer? Next time you’re looking for something to do, skip the tractor pull and check out one of these cultural hotspots instead.

Events and Nightlife in Decatur

You might think that Decatur, Illinois is just a sleepy little town, but you’d be wrong. There’s actually a lot going on here, especially when it comes to events and nightlife. Whether you’re looking for a night out on the town or a fun event to attend, Decatur has got you covered.

One of the most popular events in Decatur is the Moscow Ballet’s Nutcracker. This annual performance is a holiday tradition that you won’t want to miss. The ballet is performed at the Decatur Civic Center and tickets can be purchased at the box office or online. Be sure to get your tickets early, because this event sells out fast.

If you’re looking for a night out on the town, Decatur has plenty of options. The University Club is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. This upscale bar and restaurant is located in the heart of downtown and offers a wide selection of drinks and food. The atmosphere is sophisticated, but not stuffy, so you can relax and enjoy yourself.

For a more laid-back night out, check out the Heroes section of Decatur. This area is home to a number of bars and clubs that cater to a younger crowd. Whether you’re looking for live music, dancing, or just a place to hang out with friends, you’ll find it here.

No matter what your idea of a good time is, Decatur has something for everyone. So why not plan a night out or attend one of the many events happening in town? You won’t be disappointed.

Outdoor Adventures in Decatur

Are you an outdoor enthusiast looking for some adventure in Decatur? Well, you’re in luck because there are plenty of exciting activities to do in the great outdoors!

First up, let’s talk about hiking. If you’re up for a challenge, head to the Lincoln Trail Homestead State Park and Memorial. Here, you’ll find over 162 acres of stunning natural beauty. The trails are well-maintained, but watch out for the occasional squirrel or chipmunk crossing your path!

If you’re looking for some points of interest, check out the Rock Springs Conservation Area. This beautiful park is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and even coyotes. Take a stroll around the lake or have a picnic with your family and friends.

For those water-related products, look no further than Lake Decatur. Rent a boat, kayak, or paddleboard and spend the day on the water. Don’t forget your sunscreen and a hat, though – you don’t want to get too burnt!

One of the most iconic spots in Decatur is the Central Park Fountain. It’s the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day. Bring your swimsuit and take a dip in the fountain – just don’t forget to be respectful of others around you!

Lastly, if you’re looking for things to do, head to the Scovill Zoo. This family-friendly zoo has a variety of animals, including lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). You can even feed the goats and sheep at the petting zoo.

So, there you have it – some of the best outdoor adventures in Decatur. Get out there and explore all that this beautiful city has to offer!

Decatur Online

You may be wondering what Decatur has to offer online. Well, wonder no more! Decatur has a variety of online resources to help you plan your trip and make the most of your visit.

First up, the official Decatur Convention & Visitors Bureau website ( is a great place to start. Here, you’ll find information on local attractions, events, and accommodations. You can also request a visitor’s guide, which is a handy tool to have on hand during your stay. Plus, their website is mobile-friendly, so you can easily access it on the go.

If you’re looking for reviews on local businesses, TripAdvisor ( is a great resource. You can read reviews and see photos from other travelers to get an idea of what to expect. Plus, you can leave your own review after your visit to help other travelers out.

Social media-savvy travelers will be happy to know that many Decatur businesses have a presence on Facebook. By following your favorite attractions and restaurants, you can stay up-to-date on their latest news and events. Plus, you may even score a deal or two by following their pages.

And last but not least, if you have any questions or concerns during your visit, don’t hesitate to reach out to Decatur’s customer service team. They’re there to help make your trip as enjoyable as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the wildest thing to do in Decatur, IL?

If you’re looking for some wild and crazy fun, head over to Scovill Zoo. You can get up close and personal with all kinds of animals, from lions to llamas. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try the zipline that flies over the zoo!

What are some hidden gems in Decatur, IL?

Decatur has some great hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered. Check out the Hieronymus Mueller Museum to learn about the history of Decatur’s most famous manufacturer. Or, take a stroll through the Rock Springs Conservation Area and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Can you recommend any quirky activities in Decatur, IL?

If you’re looking for something a little offbeat, try the Escape Decatur room. You and your friends will be locked in a room and have to solve puzzles and clues to escape. Or, check out the Avon Theater, a historic movie theater that still shows classic films.

What’s the most Instagram-worthy spot in Decatur, IL?

For the perfect Instagram shot, head to the Millikin Homestead. This beautiful Victorian mansion is surrounded by lush gardens and is the perfect backdrop for a photo. Or, head to the Scovill Sculpture Park for some unique and colorful sculptures.

Where can I find the best local cuisine in Decatur, IL?

If you’re looking for some delicious local cuisine, head to the Beach House. This waterfront restaurant serves up fresh seafood and other tasty dishes. Or, try the Lock, Stock, and Barrel for some mouthwatering barbecue.

What’s the most interesting historical fact about Decatur, IL?

Did you know that Decatur was once home to the largest manufacturer of fire hydrants in the world? The Mueller Company produced over 70% of the fire hydrants in the United States at one point. Now that’s a hot piece of trivia!

Spread the love!

Scroll to Top