Alton, Illinois is a charming small town that opened to settlers after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. It is a great destination for tourists and locals alike, offering a wide range of activities, attractions, and dining options. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone in Alton.
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or just looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, Alton has something for you. Read on to discover some of the best things to do in Alton IL.
World’s Tallest Man Statue
Alton, Illinois is home to the world’s tallest man, Robert Wadlow. Standing at 8 feet 11.1 inches, Wadlow was the tallest person ever recorded in history. Visitors to Alton can stand next to the world’s tallest man by visiting his life-size bronze statue in the heart of downtown Alton.
The statue was erected in 1985, and it stands at 8 feet, 11.1 inches, the exact height of Robert Wadlow. While visiting Alton, be sure to take a picture of yourself next to the world’s tallest man statue.
Argosy Casino in Alton is the perfect destination for those looking to test their luck. This gaming and entertainment venue offers the best in slots, video poker, table games , and more. A riverboat casino moored at downtown Alton’s base, Argosy Casino is a great spot for a night out with friends or a romantic evening.
With breathtaking views of the river and plenty of gaming options, Argosy Casino is the perfect spot for a fun night. Plus, the casino offers a variety of dining choices, from casual to upscale. The casino is smaller, which makes it a better place to hang out with family or friends while playing games and hoping to win big.
McPike Mansion is a historic building located in Alton, Illinois. Built in 1811, it is one of the most haunted places in the state. Several ghost stories say that ghosts roam the McPike Mansion property. Due to the house’s recent fame, it has been shown on TV shows about ghosts and scary places, and it is often included in Alton’s haunted tours.
The current owners of the land have opened it up for tours and are still working to fix it up. There are different events held in the mansion to raise money for these causes.
Gordon F. Moore Community Park
Gordon F. Moore Community Park is a sprawling, 285-acre park located in Alton, Illinois. The park offers a variety of recreational activities and attractions, from biking and hiking trails to a playground and sports field. The park offers plenty of opportunities to explore the outdoors, including a nature center, prairie, wetlands, and woodlands.
Gordon F. Moore Community Park also features a large lake with a beach, a fishing pier, and a boat launch. It has a nature trail next to a garden with about 50 different kinds of trees and bushes. Fans of football and golf come here to watch exciting games and tournaments. Its public golf course is considered to be one of the best in the Midwest.
National Great Rivers Museum
The National Great Rivers Museum is a great destination for those looking to learn more about the Mississippi River and its impact on the region. The museum features interactive exhibits about the river, its history, and the wildlife that lives in it. Inside the museum, there are 20 interactive and moving displays that show how people in the area have used this river for hundreds of years.
The Melvin Price Locks and Dam, which is also part of the museum, is a working dam that you can see. Because of this feat of engineering, bigger boats could go up the Upper Mississippi River. You can also try to move the water in the locks to see how the whole system works.
Nan Elliot Memorial Rose Garden
The Nan Elliot Memorial Rose Garden is a beautiful and fragrant attraction that has more than 150 different kinds of roses. The garden features different varieties of roses, including hybrid teas, floribundas, climbers, and miniatures. Visitors can wander through the garden and admire the stunning blooms, and inhale the heady scent of the gorgeous roses.
In the summer months, the garden is filled with vibrant color and sweet-smelling perfume. The Nan Elliot Memorial Rose Garden is a great spot for a romantic stroll, or a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Elijah P. Lovejoy Monument
The Elijah P. Lovejoy Monument is a memorial to Elijah P. Lovejoy, a newspaper editor, and abolitionist who was killed in 1837. Lovejoy was a staunch proponent of freedom of speech and the press, and his death was a pivotal moment in American history. The monument stands as a powerful reminder of the importance of freedom of speech and the press.
Visitors to the monument can learn more about Lovejoy’s life and legacy by taking a guided tour. The monument is a great spot to reflect on the importance of freedom of speech and to pay tribute to a great American hero.
Lucy Haskell Playhouse
If you’re looking for a unique experience, then you should check out the Lucy Haskell Playhouse. The Haskell Playhouse looks a lot like a real dollhouse that you can go into. John E. Hayner, a wealthy businessman, and philanthropist gave his granddaughter Lucy Jane Haskell a playhouse for her fifth birthday in 1885. The house has only one room, which is 14 feet long and 16 feet wide.
Lucy Haskell would only live in the house for four years before she died. When her mother Florence Hayner Haskell died, she gave the house to the city of Alton. Today, the house has been turned into a playground in honor of Lucy Haskell. The Haskell Playhouse was put on the National Register of Historic Places list in 1974.
The Alton Prison was a prison used by the Union during the Civil War. Built in 1833, it was the first prison dedicated solely to confining Confederate prisoners of war. During its operation, the prison housed 11,700 Confederate soldiers, treasonous citizens, and anti-government guerrillas throughout the conflict.
Many of them died during their imprisonment due to disease, malnutrition, and harsh treatment. Today, the prison has been transformed into a museum, offering visitors a unique look into the history of the Civil War. The museum features exhibits on the prison’s history, the prisoners, and their stories.
Visitors can also explore the grounds of the prison, including the guard towers and cemetery. The Alton Prison is a great place to learn about the Civil War and its impact on the region.
Jacoby Arts Center
The Jacoby Arts Center offers a variety of exhibitions, classes, and events year-round. It is home to a permanent collection of over 1,000 pieces of art, ranging from paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media. The center also features changing exhibitions that highlight local, regional, and national artists.
Visitors can explore the gallery and take part in hands-on activities such as painting, sculpting, and printmaking. In addition to the art, the Jacoby Arts Center also offers classes, workshops, and lectures for all ages. Whether you’re looking to explore and admire art or take part in creative activities, the Jacoby Arts Center is the perfect place.
North Alton Confederate Cemetery
The North Alton Confederate Cemetery is a solemn reminder of the Civil War. A 58-foot-tall obelisk stands in the cemetery to remember the Confederate soldiers who died in the Alton Prison. Since there was no way to mark the graves of each soldier, a monument was built in 1908.
When you stand under the obelisk, you can read the names of the 1,354 Confederate soldiers who died in prison. On this list are also the names of soldiers who died at the Tow Island smallpox cemetery. You have to go to the northeast corner of the cemetery and look for a hill.
Visitors to the cemetery can pay their respects to the fallen soldiers and learn about the history of the Civil War and the Alton Prison.
The Lincoln-Douglas Square is a public square located in the heart of Alton, Illinois. It is named after the famous debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas that took place in the city in 1858. The Lincoln-Douglas Square was a reminder of the rich political history of the United States when great men debated politics and society openly. During this last debate, more than 6,000 people came to hear the senators talk.
Alton Little Theater
The Alton Little Theater is the state of Illinois’ longest-running community theater. The theater is dedicated to producing shows for the community and has been entertaining audiences since 1933. The theater features a variety of shows, from comedies and dramas to musicals and revues.
The theater also hosts a variety of events, such as poetry readings, concerts, and more. The theater has a full-service bar, concession stand, and comfortable seating. The theater offers a variety of shows throughout the year and is a great place to spend an evening enjoying live entertainment.
Mississippi Mud Pottery
The Mississippi Mud Pottery is a great spot for those looking to get their hands dirty and learn a new craft. Located at 310 E. Broadway, the pottery studio offers classes and workshops on wheel-throwing, hand-building, and glazing. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned potter, the Mississippi Mud Pottery has something for everyone.
The studio also offers open studio sessions, where you can practice your skills and work on projects. The studio is also home to a gallery of unique handmade pieces for sale.
Old Bakery Beer Company
The Old Bakery Beer Company is a great spot for those looking to sample some of the best craft beers in the area. Located in downtown Alton, the brewery has been operating since 2015 and is dedicated to producing organic beers. They are passionate about brewing and strive to create unique beer flavors that everyone can enjoy.
The brewery offers a wide selection of beers, from IPAs to stouts and everything in between. In addition to its all-organic beer selection, the brewery’s restaurant and tasting room serve soups, salads, and sandwiches that change with the seasons and are made to go well with beer.
On the menu, there is something for everyone, including a few vegan and vegetarian options. If you don’t want a tasty organic craft beer, their bar menu has local wine, soda, and cocktails.
Alton Square Mall
The Alton Square Mall is a great spot for shoppers looking for unique items and great deals. The mall offers a variety of stores, from clothing and accessories to specialty items. Visitors to the mall can find clothing, shoes, jewelry, and much more. The mall is also home to a variety of restaurants, allowing visitors to grab a bite to eat while they shop.
The mall also features a variety of entertainment options, such as a movie theater, bowling alley, and arcade. With its variety of stores, restaurants, and entertainment options, the Alton Square Mall is the perfect spot for a day of shopping and fun.
Village of Elsah
A short drive upriver will take you to a cute old village that was put on the National Register of Historic Places as a whole in 1973. It looks like a giant time capsule and hasn’t changed much since it was built. Elsah reached its current size in 1861 and is stuck between a small gap in the river bluffs.
It is still home to about 100 people, and it has a lot of photo-worthy stone buildings. Here, there are 48 buildings that make up the historic district. The old commercial district is especially well kept, with all but one of its buildings from before 1861 still standing, including four old taverns.
Madison County Transit Confluence Trail
Madison County is unique due to its extensive network of public bike trails that connect the county’s numerous quaint villages, tourist hotspots, and natural attractions like the Mississippi River. The Confluence Trail follows the path of the river from Alton to Granite City for just over 20 miles. It was recently given repair funding.
The Melvin Price Locks and Dam, the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, the Missouri-Mississippi Confluence, and the Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower are just some of the attractions along the way.
The Clark Bridge is a steel truss bridge that spans the Mississippi River, connecting Alton, Illinois and West Alton, Missouri. It was built in 1994 and is the first cable-stayed bridge in the United States. It is also the longest cable-stayed bridge in the entire country at 4,620 feet. The bridge has four lanes and is a vital link in the transportation system between St. Louis and Southern Illinois.
The Clark Bridge is a sight to behold, and it is a great spot for photography. It is also a great spot for fishing and wildlife watching, as it is home to a variety of birds and other wildlife. If you’re looking for a great view of the Mississippi River, the Clark Bridge is the perfect spot.
Fort Belle Fontaine County Park
A few miles south of Alton is where the first US military installation west of the Mississippi was built. Fort Belle Fontaine was built in 1805 on the south bank of Missouri, not far from the confluence. As a trading fort, this was once a meeting place for soldiers, officers, traders, trappers, and settlers from the United States, France, and Spain.
After a few years, the trading post closed, and from 1809 to 1826, Fort Belle was used for military purposes after it was moved to the top of a bluff. The Works Progress Administration worked in the 1930s to improve the 300-acre Fort Belle Fontaine County Park, which is where that fort is.
It’s a bit of a climb to get to this small park, but you’ll be glad you did when you get there. Riverview Park is on the Mississippi, on top of the limestone bluffs. It has a beautiful view of the river and the faraway wetlands on the other side. With the compass points in the ground at the main lookout, the park faces southwest, so this is a beautiful place to be at sunset.
A gazebo is just a short walk from the edge of the bluff. In the summer, concerts and other events are held there.
Alton, Illinois is a charming small town with plenty of activities and attractions for visitors and locals alike. From exploring the outdoors to learning about history, there’s something for everyone in Alton. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or just looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, Alton has something for you.
From the world’s tallest man to the Old Bakery Beer Company, there’s something for everyone in Alton.