Make Memories & Rediscover the Past
Tales of Illinois’ frontier days reverberate throughout the halls at the historic Gov. Duncan Mansion, as do the harrowing accounts of people escaping the chains of slavery and those who aided their quest for freedom at the city’s many Underground Railroad sites.
A legendary past flawlessly blends with new investment taking place around our revitalized downtown square, where new, independently owned businesses occupy storefronts that have stood over the city for generations — monuments to a storied past now fostering a thriving present and an exciting future.
Here, the area’s brightest artistic minds are highlighted — as are those who came before — in a stunning, Second Empire style mansion at the David Strawn Art Gallery. The latest blockbusters fill audience’s minds with excitement and wonder under a vintage, neon-lit marquee at the historic Illinois Theater, the city’s longest-running cinema. Live music and local flavors fill the air at Waters Edge Winery & Bistro. The melodic sounds of the Jacksonville Symphony Society and performances from the campus-run Illinois College TheatreWorks engross captivated audiences.
Our rich agricultural heritage lives on today as family farms carry on years of tradition while also helping to create the alluring flavors occupying repurposed spaces, from woodfired pizza in a refurbished storefront to locally sourced American fare at the city’s historic train depot. Experience the down-home, rustic charm of the agritourism destinations growing fresh blueberries and pumpkins, an indicator of the farming heritage that fuels our local economy and helps feed the nation.
Feeling adventurous? The city’s outdoor spaces at Nichols Park and Lake Jacksonville provide plenty of common ground to stretch out, bike, or hike through the natural, Central Illinois beauty — as well as some of the best bass fishing in the state. And in nearby Meredosia, nature lovers get up close and personal with wild bald eagles soaring high above the Illinois River. No matter what your idea of a good time is, you’ll find that creating your own experiences comes as easily as discovering the legends that came before.