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

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Jacksonville, Illinois: Where Boredom Goes to Die – The Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit

Are you planning a trip to Jacksonville, Illinois and looking for some fun things to do and places to visit? Look no further! Jacksonville is a charming city with a range of interesting attractions, delicious eateries, and unique places to stay. Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or with family, there’s something for everyone in Jacksonville.

Exploring Jacksonville, Illinois is a must-do activity. Take a stroll through the historic downtown square, visit local museums, and enjoy the beautiful parks. You can also take a tour of the city’s historic homes and buildings, such as the Governor Duncan Mansion and the Eli Bridge Company factory. And don’t forget to check out the Big Eli Ferris Wheel in Community Park, which is run by the Jacksonville Rotary Club every summer.

When it comes to food, Jacksonville has plenty of lip-smacking eateries to choose from. From classic American fare to international cuisine, there’s something to satisfy every taste bud. And if you’re looking for unique places to stay, Jacksonville has got you covered. From cozy bed and breakfasts to rustic cabins, there are plenty of options to make your stay unforgettable.

Key Takeaways

  • Jacksonville, Illinois has a range of interesting attractions, delicious eateries, and unique places to stay.
  • Exploring the city’s historic downtown square, local museums, and beautiful parks is a must-do activity.
  • From classic American fare to international cuisine, Jacksonville has plenty of lip-smacking eateries to choose from.

Exploring Jacksonville, Illinois

Welcome to Jacksonville, Illinois! This charming city has plenty to offer for visitors looking for a fun and unique experience. Here are some of the best ways to explore Jacksonville:

Take a Stroll Downtown

One of the best ways to explore Jacksonville is by taking a leisurely stroll downtown. The city is known for its beautiful historic architecture, and you’ll find plenty of interesting buildings and landmarks to check out. Be sure to stop by the Governor Duncan Mansion, which was built in 1834 and is now a museum. You can also visit the Eli Bridge Company, which has been manufacturing Ferris wheels in Jacksonville since 1900.

Visit the Illinois College Campus

If you’re looking for a beautiful and historic campus to explore, look no further than Illinois College. Founded in 1829, this private liberal arts college is one of the oldest in the state. Take a walk around the campus and admire the beautiful buildings and landscaping. You can also visit the Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center, which offers a variety of fitness classes and activities.

Explore the Great Outdoors

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Jacksonville has plenty of options for you. Take a hike through the trails at Lake Jacksonville, or rent a canoe or kayak and explore the lake from the water. You can also visit the Morgan County Conservation Area, which offers hiking, fishing, and hunting opportunities.

Check Out the Local Art Scene

Jacksonville has a thriving arts community, and there are plenty of galleries and studios to explore. Check out the David Strawn Art Gallery, which features rotating exhibits of local and regional artists. You can also visit the Jacksonville Main Street Gallery, which showcases the work of local artists and hosts special events throughout the year.

Enjoy Some Local Eats

No trip to Jacksonville is complete without trying some of the local cuisine. Head to Lonzerotti’s Italia Restaurant for some delicious Italian food, or stop by Leo’s Pizza for a classic slice. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, be sure to try the famous Maid-Rite sandwich at the local Maid-Rite restaurant.

Attend a Local Event

Jacksonville is known for its lively events scene, and there’s always something going on. Check out the annual Morgan County Fair, which features carnival rides, live music, and plenty of food. You can also attend the Jacksonville Main Street Farmers Market, which runs from May through October and features local vendors selling fresh produce and handmade goods.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, or delicious food, Jacksonville has something for everyone. So grab your walking shoes and get ready to explore this charming city!

Lip-Smacking Eateries in Jacksonville

Jacksonville is a foodie’s paradise. From charming cafes to fine dining restaurants, you won’t be disappointed with the variety of lip-smacking eateries in this town. Here are some of the best places to satisfy your taste buds:

Charming Local Cafes

If you’re a coffee lover, you’ll be happy to know that Jacksonville has some of the best cafes in town. Head over to the Soap Co. Coffee House for a cup of their signature coffee and a slice of their delicious homemade cake. The cozy atmosphere and friendly staff will make you feel right at home.

Another great option is Our Town Books & Coffee. This locally-owned cafe serves up some of the best coffee in town, along with a selection of sandwiches, soups, and pastries. The best part? You can browse through their collection of books while sipping on your latte.

Best Places for a Quick Bite

If you’re in a hurry and need a quick bite to eat, Jacksonville has you covered. Muggsy’s Fine Dining is the perfect spot for a quick lunch or dinner. They serve up some of the best sandwiches and burgers in town, and their fries are to die for.

Another great option is Leo’s Pizza. This family-owned pizzeria has been serving up some of the best pizza in town for over 40 years. Their thin crust pizza is a must-try, and they also offer a selection of sandwiches and salads.

Fine Dining in Jacksonville

If you’re in the mood for a fancy night out, Jacksonville has some great fine dining options. Lonzerotti’s Italia Restaurant is a local favorite, serving up some of the best Italian cuisine in town. Their homemade pasta and sauces are a must-try, and their wine selection is top-notch.

Another great option is The Hamilton’s. This upscale restaurant offers a menu full of delicious dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients. From their steak to their seafood, everything on the menu is sure to impress.

No matter what you’re in the mood for, Jacksonville has something to offer. So, go ahead and indulge in some of the best eats in town. You won’t regret it!

Unique Places to Stay

If you’re looking for a unique place to stay in Jacksonville, you’re in luck! This charming town has a variety of options to choose from, whether you’re looking for a historic inn, a cozy bed and breakfast, or an affordable motel.

Historic Inns

For a truly unique experience, consider staying in one of Jacksonville’s historic inns. These charming properties offer a glimpse into the town’s rich history, and many have been beautifully restored to their former glory.

The Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast is a great choice for history buffs. This beautiful Victorian mansion was built in 1874 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It features four luxurious guest rooms, each with its own private bath.

Another great option is the Duncan Mills Memorial Suite, located in a historic building that was once home to a prominent Jacksonville family. The suite features a spacious living room, fully equipped kitchen, and two bedrooms, making it perfect for families or groups.

Cozy Bed and Breakfasts

If you’re looking for a more intimate and cozy experience, Jacksonville has plenty of bed and breakfasts to choose from. These charming properties offer personalized service and a homey atmosphere that you won’t find in a larger hotel.

The Tuxhorn Inn Bed & Breakfast is a cozy and welcoming property located in the heart of Jacksonville. It features four guest rooms, each with its own unique style and charm. Guests can enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast each morning, as well as complimentary snacks and beverages throughout the day.

Another great option is the Bogie’s Main Street Inn, which is located in a beautifully restored historic building. The inn features six guest rooms, each with its own private bath, as well as a cozy common area where guests can relax and socialize.

Affordable Motels

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of affordable motels in Jacksonville that offer comfortable and convenient accommodations.

The Super 8 by Wyndham Jacksonville is a great choice for budget-conscious travelers. This motel offers clean and comfortable rooms, as well as a complimentary breakfast each morning.

Another good option is the Motel 6 Jacksonville, IL, which offers simple and affordable accommodations. The motel features comfortable rooms with modern amenities, as well as a 24-hour front desk and free parking.

No matter what your budget or preferences, Jacksonville has a unique and charming place to stay that’s perfect for you.

Cultural Attractions

If you’re looking to add some cultural flavor to your trip to Jacksonville, you’re in luck. This city is home to a variety of artistic and historic attractions that will keep you entertained and informed.

First on the list is the David Strawn Art Gallery. This gallery is home to a diverse collection of artwork from local and regional artists. You’ll find everything from oil paintings to sculptures to mixed media pieces. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a special exhibit or event while you’re there.

Theater Scene

If you’re a fan of the performing arts, you’ll love the theater scene in Jacksonville. The Playhouse on the Square is a great place to catch a play or musical, and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra puts on some amazing concerts throughout the year. And if you’re looking for something a little more unconventional, check out the Jacksonville Improv Group for some laughs.

Historic Neighborhoods

Finally, don’t miss the chance to explore Jacksonville’s historic neighborhoods. The Duncan Park Historic District is home to some beautiful Victorian homes, and the West State Street Historic District has some great examples of early 20th-century architecture. Take a stroll through these neighborhoods and imagine what life was like in Jacksonville in years past.

Whether you’re an art aficionado or just looking for something new and interesting to do, Jacksonville’s cultural attractions won’t disappoint. So go ahead, get cultured.

Education and History

Jacksonville, Illinois is steeped in history and education, with a variety of attractions that will keep you entertained and informed. Here are some of the must-visit places for history buffs and those who love to learn:

Illinois College

If you’re looking for a great place to get an education, look no further than Illinois College. Established in 1829, this liberal arts college has a rich history and a commitment to academic excellence. With over 50 majors and minors to choose from, you’re sure to find a program that suits your interests and career goals. Plus, with a beautiful campus and a vibrant student community, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make friends and get involved.

Woodlawn Farm Underground Railroad Site

History comes alive at the Woodlawn Farm Underground Railroad Site, where you can learn about the brave men and women who risked their lives to help slaves escape to freedom. This historic site was once a stop on the Underground Railroad, and today it offers guided tours, educational programs, and exhibits that bring this important chapter of American history to life. You’ll be amazed by the stories of courage and sacrifice that you’ll hear.

Governor Duncan Mansion

Step back in time at the Governor Duncan Mansion, a beautifully restored historic home that dates back to 1834. This stunning mansion was once the home of Joseph Duncan, the sixth governor of Illinois, and today it offers visitors a glimpse into what life was like in the early 19th century. With period furnishings, beautiful gardens, and knowledgeable guides, this is a must-visit attraction for anyone who loves history and architecture.

Whether you’re a history buff, a student, or just someone who loves to learn, Jacksonville, Illinois has plenty to offer. From Illinois College to the Woodlawn Farm Underground Railroad Site and the Governor Duncan Mansion, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to explore the past and learn something new. So why not plan a visit today?

Outdoor Activities

When it comes to outdoor activities, Jacksonville has got you covered. There are plenty of options to choose from, whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the lake or an adrenaline-pumping adventure.

Fishing at Lake Jacksonville

If you’re a fan of fishing, then Lake Jacksonville is the place to be. This beautiful lake is stocked with a variety of fish, including bass, crappie, catfish, and more. Grab your fishing gear and head out to the lake for a day of fun in the sun. Don’t forget to bring your fishing license!

Community Park Adventures

Community Park is the perfect place to spend a day outdoors with your family. With plenty of green space, picnic areas, and playgrounds, there’s something for everyone. Take a hike on one of the park’s many trails, or challenge your friends to a game of basketball or volleyball. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out the park’s zip line or high ropes course!

Bass Fishing Spots

Looking for the best bass fishing spots in Jacksonville? Look no further than the Great Outdoors! With plenty of lakes and rivers in the area, there are plenty of opportunities to catch that trophy bass you’ve been dreaming of. Some of the best spots to try include Lake Jacksonville, Mauvaise Terre Lake, and the Illinois River.

So whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the lake or an adventure in the great outdoors, Jacksonville has something for everyone. Get out there and explore all that this beautiful city has to offer!

Shopping in Jacksonville

If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, Jacksonville has got you covered! From unique local shops to commercial shopping centers, there’s something for everyone.

Unique Local Shops

If you’re looking for something one-of-a-kind, Jacksonville has plenty of unique local shops to explore. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • The Soap Co. Coffee House and Gift Shop: This charming shop offers a variety of handmade soaps, lotions, and other bath and body products. They also have a selection of gifts and a cozy coffee house where you can relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.
  • The Soap Co. Candle Emporium: Another gem from The Soap Co. family, this shop specializes in handmade candles in a variety of scents and styles. They also offer candle-making classes if you’re feeling crafty.
  • Crazy Daisy Boutique: This trendy boutique offers a carefully curated selection of women’s clothing, accessories, and home decor. You’re sure to find something you love here!
  • The Soap Co. Boutique: Yes, another Soap Co. shop! This one offers a variety of unique gifts, home decor, and accessories. It’s the perfect place to pick up a souvenir or gift for someone special.

Commercial Shopping Centers

If you prefer a more traditional shopping experience, Jacksonville has several commercial shopping centers to choose from. Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Jacksonville Plaza: This shopping center is home to several large retailers, including Walmart and Dollar Tree. It’s a great place to stock up on essentials or pick up a few household items.
  • Lincoln Square: This outdoor shopping center features a variety of stores and restaurants, including Kohl’s, Hobby Lobby, and Buffalo Wild Wings. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon shopping and dining.
  • Jacksonville Mall: This indoor mall features a variety of stores, including JCPenney, Bath & Body Works, and Victoria’s Secret. It’s a great place to beat the heat or cold and get some shopping done.

No matter what your shopping style is, Jacksonville has something for you. Happy shopping!

Events and Festivals

Looking for some fun events and festivals in Jacksonville, Illinois? Look no further! Here are some of the best events and festivals to check out in the area.

Morgan County Fair

If you’re looking for some classic county fair fun, the Morgan County Fair is the place to be. From carnival rides and games to live music and delicious fair food, this annual event has something for everyone. Don’t miss the livestock shows, tractor pulls, and demolition derbies, too. It’s a great way to spend a summer day with your family and friends.

Sporting Events

Are you a sports fan? Then you’ll love Jacksonville’s sporting events. Whether you’re into football, basketball, or baseball, there’s always something exciting happening in the area. Check out a game at the Illinois College or MacMurray College, or head to Lenz Field for some youth baseball action.

Concert Calendar

Looking for some live music? Jacksonville has a great concert calendar with plenty of options for all music lovers. From local bands to big-name acts, you’re sure to find something that suits your taste. Check out performances at the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra or the Illinois College TheatreWorks.

No matter what you’re into, Jacksonville has something for everyone. So grab your friends and family and head out to one of these fun events and festivals. You won’t be disappointed!

Contact and More Information

So, you’ve decided to visit Jacksonville, Illinois? Great choice! Here’s some contact and more information to help you plan your trip.

Contact Information

If you have any questions or need assistance during your visit to Jacksonville, here’s who you can contact:

  • Jacksonville Convention & Visitors Bureau: Call them at (217) 243-5678 or visit their website at
  • Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce: Call them at (217) 245-2174 or visit their website at
  • City of Jacksonville: Call them at (217) 479-4615 or visit their website at

More Information

Looking for more information about Jacksonville? Here are some resources to check out:

  • Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau: Visit their website at for information about attractions, events, dining, lodging, and more.
  • Jacksonville Journal-Courier: Check out the local newspaper at for news, events, and more.
  • Jacksonville Main Street: Visit their website at for information about downtown Jacksonville, including shopping, dining, and events.

And don’t forget to check out the brochures and maps available at the Jacksonville Convention & Visitors Bureau and other locations throughout the city. Happy exploring!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it true that Jacksonville, Illinois is the best place to find the world’s largest corn cob?

Yes, it’s true! You can find the world’s largest corn cob in Jacksonville, Illinois. It’s a 24-foot-tall ear of corn, and it’s a must-see attraction for any corn enthusiast. You can even take a selfie with it, but be warned, it might make your other corn photos look small in comparison.

Are there any hidden gems in Jacksonville, IL that tourists often overlook?

Absolutely! The Governor Duncan Mansion is a beautiful historic home that’s often overlooked by tourists. It’s a great place to learn about the history of the area and take in some beautiful architecture. Another hidden gem is the Nichols Park Pool, which is a great place to cool off on a hot summer day.

What’s the most unique attraction in Jacksonville, Illinois?

That’s a tough one, but we’d have to say the Eli Bridge Company Ferris Wheel. It’s the last hand-crafted Ferris wheel in the United States, and it’s been in operation since 1929. It’s a true piece of American history, and it’s a lot of fun to ride too!

Any recommendations for a delicious meal in Jacksonville, IL?

If you’re looking for a great meal in Jacksonville, you can’t go wrong with Lonzerotti’s Italia Restaurant. They serve up delicious Italian food in a cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for a night out. And don’t forget to try the garlic bread, it’s to die for!

Are there any festivals or events in Jacksonville, IL that are worth checking out?

Absolutely! The Morgan County Fair is a must-see event that takes place every summer. It’s a great place to see some livestock, ride some rides, and enjoy some fair food. Another great event is the Downtown Art Fair, which showcases the work of local artists and craftsmen.

What’s the best way to spend a lazy afternoon in Jacksonville, Illinois?

If you’re looking to relax and unwind, we recommend taking a stroll through Community Park. It’s a beautiful park with plenty of walking trails, picnic areas, and even a lake. You can also rent a paddleboat and spend some time out on the water. It’s the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon in Jacksonville.

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