Summer is upon us, and with it comes our desire to explore the outdoors, find new destinations to make memories and spend quality time with family and friends. Do you enjoy history, art, live music, great food or just playing like a kid again? If yes is your answer to any of these, then your next destination should be Galesburg.
Established in 1835, Galesburg has a rich and explorable history. Much of that great history is centered around the railroad industry. The Galesburg Railroad Museum lets you experience the heart and soul of railroading from 1854 to present day. Take a tour of a 1930 Baldwin built 4-6-4 Hudson 3006 locomotive, as well as a complete 1930 caboose. While there, make sure to see the full-size granite statue of President Abraham Lincoln located at the Amtrak station adjacent to the museum.
Continuing in the “Land of Lincoln” you can discover the impact President Abraham Lincoln had on our nation and his importance to the history of Galesburg by visiting “Old Main” on the Knox College campus. On October 7, 1858, Old Main was the setting for the fifth and final Lincoln-Douglas Debate. This historical landmark is the only remaining building from the debates.
In addition to being part of the “Land of Lincoln”, Galesburg is also part of the Ronald Reagan Trail. See the boyhood home of our former President as you visit the historical landmarks that played a vital role in Ronald Reagan’s early life in Illinois.
Speaking of boyhood homes, make sure you take a tour of the birthplace of our native son and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Carl Sandburg at the Carl Sandburg State Historic Site. Walk through the wooded park and garden where Sandburg and his wife lie beneath “Remembrance Rock.” Take time to also visit Galesburg’s public square to see the beautiful statue of Carl Sandburg and Nellie the Goat by acclaimed artist Lonnie Stewart.
If art is your love, a must-see is the Galesburg Community Arts Center. In its new location on Main Street, it is a place where everyone can connect and experience the arts through art-making, appreciation and live events.
Another gem of Galesburg is the Orpheum Theatre. Opened in 1916, it features a French Second Empire style facade and interior features such as classic Corinthian columns and an Italian Renaissance plaster frieze in the mezzanine hall. Originally built as a vaudeville house, the Orpheum hosted many early starts of stage and screen, including Jack Benny, George Burns and Houdini. In addition to hosting many local performing arts groups, including the award-winning Knox-Galesburg Symphony, the theatre features top touring theatrical, musical and comedic talent from around the country.
What if you want to experience the outdoors? Not a problem. The Lake Storey Recreational Area offers a variety of outdoor experiences for everyone. Take an afternoon and play one of the best public golf courses in Illinois, Bunker Links. Take the kids for a splashing good time at Lakeside Water Park. Enjoy a canoe or kayak exploration of Lake Storey or go hiking or mountain biking on one of the many Lake Storey trails.
Although the outdoors always make for a great vacation, sometimes the indoors can be just as fun and exciting. How good are you at solving puzzles? Can you think fast? If so, you should give The Downtown Escape a try. Use nothing but your wits and see if you can escape in under 60 minutes.
What if we can give you and your kids a place to not only have fun, but learn along the way? One of, if not the most visited attractions in Galesburg offers both. The Discovery Depot Children’s Museum is two floors of interactive and engaging exhibits. Science exhibits, water exhibits and an actual caboose are just a few of the things that will engage and entertain kids of all ages. It’s the perfect place for kids to let loose, have fun and learn. Discovery Depot will inspire wonder and excitement for learning.
There is no shortage of things to do in Galesburg, the hardest part is deciding what to do first!