The Jacksonville and greater Springfield, Illinois area offers a wide variety of places to visit, dining options, and sightseeing venues. Our locally owned shops are open during posted hours and we love it when you shop local! From clothing boutiques to books to home decor and antiques, we have something for everyone! Several of our locally-owned restaurants offer seasonal outdoor seating, and many bars offer live music from time to time.
Things to See and Do
Stay, Eat Out, Explore and Experience the Jacksonville Area
Waters Edge Winery and Bistro is a terrific concert and event venue and Springfield Beer Company is open in The Plaza where you’ll also find unique shops, a Virtual Escape Room and The Vault for axe throwing. You may choose to dine in a restored train depot at Proud Richard’s, enjoy a great view at Kitchen 63 at K’s Creek Golf Club or eat Irish food, BBQ, fried chicken and burritos at our local diners and pubs. Plan to stay an extra day and make the short drive to Springfield to see the Lincoln sites or a short drive west for some winter eagle-watching. Check our packages for special shopping and dining discounts.
Outdoor Activities range from races at the Jacksonville Speedway to skateboarding in Community Park. Drop your kayak in Lake Mauvaisterre or go fishing at Lake Jacksonville, one of the best bass fishing lakes in the state. Enjoy a Friday night outdoor concert in Central Park or catch one of the headliners during the Morgan County Fair.
If you prefer a more sedate pace, stroll our historic neighborhood guided walking tour then sit in the backyard swing to view all the stars. Jacksonville offers neighborhoods with a multitude of architectural styles. Long walks and slow drives are a great way to see some stunning examples of architectural styles, both residential and commercial. We will be happy to provide a brochure that offers a map of our local Underground Railroad (UGRR) sites. Visit our terrific local museums and historic sites. Enjoy art shows at the Strawn during their winter season. Illinois College hosts concerts and theater.
The Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is a terrific source for the latest list of things to see and do in the Jacksonville Area.
Love to Learn about the Past?
- Visit our Underground Railroad sites – Jacksonville has more than anywhere else in the state.
- See the home of General Grierson, a Civil War hero, and listen to Voices of Jacksonville presentation, then visit General Grierson’s grave site in Jacksonville East Cemetery.
- Tour the Governor Duncan Mansion, the only existing Governor’s Mansion outside Springfield.*
- Follow the steps of Abraham Lincoln as you explore the Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits.
- Take a ride on our Eli Bridge Ferris Wheel in Community Park.*
- Walk through the Prairie Land Heritage Museum with its restored church, school and blacksmith shop.
- Take a walking tour and enjoy the historic neighborhood surrounding our inn.
Devoted to the Arts and Culture?
- Attend a Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra concert at Rammelkamp Chapel on the Illinois College campus.
- Tour the Illinois School for the Deaf Alumni Association Museum displaying items from ISD’s rich history.
- See a live performance at Lovejoy Hall.*
- Attend a performance on the IC campus, with respected speakers and musical performances.*
- Check out a Gallery Opening at the David Strawn Art Gallery.
- Tour the Gallery or one of our local museums.*
- View a first-run movie at Illinois Theater, one of the longest-running theaters in the area.
- Experience our annual Summer Concert Series and other events downtown in Central Park.*
Need Lots of Action and Activity?
- Ride the Eli Bridge Ferris Wheel at City Park on a summer Sunday afternoon.*
- Play a round of golf at one of our local golf courses or go fishing in Lake Jacksonville, one of the top bass fishing lakes in Illinois.
- Go bowling or roller skating.
- Watch our Friday night stock car races at the Jacksonville Raceway, a high-banked dirt oval track at the Morgan County Fairground.*
- Bike or jog through historic neighborhoods with their remarkable architectural styles.
- Hit one of our major events.* Jacksonville recently hosted the CABA 15u World Series at our own Future Champions Sports Complex, formerly Lenz Field, NBRA boat races on Lake Jacksonville, and go-kart races around the downtown square.
- Take the kids to Play-For-All Park, an extraordinary playground and splash pad where children with and without disabilities can learn together through play.
- Go to Nichols Park, the largest of our parks, with an Olympic-size swimming pool*, a large well-equipped playground and The Links, an 18-hole golf course winding through the park.
- Catch a college football game!* The Illinois College Blueboys, a D3 team, play just two blocks from our Bed & Breakfast.
Interested in Education?
- Walk around the block to the campus of Illinois College, founded in 1829, with its Beecher Hall, the oldest collegiate building in the State of Illinois and the state-of-the-art Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center.
- Go down the street to find the former MacMurray College campus, dating its history from 1846 when a group of Methodist clergymen, led by Peter Cartwright and Peter Akers, founded it as the Illinois Conference Female Academy. The first class was held in 1848 and the final commencement in 2020.
- Illinois School for the Deaf celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2014 and is just a two-block walk from Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast.
- Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, with its comprehensive academic program with an emphasis on the development of independence and pre-vocational skills, is less than two miles away.
Prefer to Shop ‘Till You Drop?
Spend the day visiting our local shops and farmer’s markets, then come back for a relaxing evening at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast. Put your feet up and enjoy some time on the front porch, in the front parlor listening to the baby grand piano, or relaxing in your own private sitting room.
- Visit one of our many locally owned specialty stores, including All Occasions Flowers & Gifts, Home Girls, Our Town Books and Just Good Trade.
- Buy artwork, pottery and gifts from one of our art galleries.
- Preserve the past with antiques from the Peddler, Antiquarius I and II and the local Antique Malls.
- Sip a specialty coffee at The Soap Co. Coffee House.
- Buy yourself the gift of relaxation, spending some time at one of our spas.
- Shop at a major retailer, including Bath & Body Works and JC Penney.
Love Good Food?
Our local restaurants are doing their best to comply with pandemic requirements. Please call ahead to verify that your favorites are open. We try to stay up-to-date on current options and we are happy to make recommendations. We’re also happy to set china place settings at our dining room table if you prefer to carry in or order delivery.
- Let us make your reservation to dine at Proud Richard’s, located in a restored train depot, and Kitchen 63, located at K’s Creek Golf Course. Both chefs focus on modern American style preparations.
- The Little Stove is a cozy eatery, wine bar, and market. It’s a great place for lunch or happy hour, and you can shop for delicious Italian imported goods and house-made foodie favorites.
- Mulligan’s downtown is known for their Irish Nachos and the Pony Shoe, a regional specialty.
- Leo’s Pizza offers an authentic Italian pizza and pasta experience, and KJB’s builds terrific burritos and has just added a juice bar.
- Elm City Roastery is a coffee shop that offers hand-crafted coffees, espresso, and drinks that feature their single-origin coffee, roasted on site. Soap Co. Coffee House if another option for coffee and tea.
- From the Brick House BBQ to Shiraz Cafe and Wine Bar, our downtown has locally owned restaurants that are great for casual dining.
- We have other locally owned and national eateries outside of downtown. Rudy’s Grill is known for their fried chicken buffet and Mangia Restaurant offers a wide variety of entrees.
- Recognizable chain “fast-food” restaurants are located along Morton Avenue.
Have Work to Do?
- Just blocks from downtown Jacksonville, Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast is a great home base for your work in and around town. Springfield is just 30 miles to the east.
- Nestle, Reynolds, and Passavant Hospital are located within a couple of miles.
- Lap desks, protected power strips, Wi-Fi, and a full business center make it convenient to telecommute while you’re here.
- Take advantage of our complimentary day pass to a local health club.
- When your work day is done, change into your running shoes and stroll or jog along our tree-lined street with its stunning historic homes.
- Visit one of our great locally owned restaurants or have a pizza delivered to the B&B. We’ll even provide a china plate and fork, if you’d like!
- Plan on a great night’s sleep! No neighboring room doors slamming, $3 sodas, or kids racing through hotel halls. Instead, we offer peace and quiet, high-quality bedding on comfortable mattresses, and complimentary snacks and hot and cold beverages just steps outside your door.
- No need to spend your per diem on breakfast. We offer hot and fresh gourmet breakfast at no charge. If you need to leave early, we’ll provide a healthy “Breakfast to Go.”
Insider Tips and Staff Picks for Lunch & Dinner
Innkeeper Gwenn and her assistant Kelly make it their mission to regularly check out local restaurants so that they can make personal recommendations to Blessings guests. They say it’s just one part of the innkeeper’s role ensuring memorable hospitality at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast. (That’s their excuse, anyway!)Read More...
- Gwenn’s favorite restaurant, hands down, is Lonzerotti’s Italia, affectionately known as Lonzo’s. She recommends starting with sausage ravioli or crab cakes and a salad, then choosing Lonzerotti’s salmon, steak or rigatoni carbonara.
- Casey recommends Lonzo’s bread and Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. With Lonzo’s bread. Lots of bread!
- Glenn is a fan of Lonzo’s Lasagna, fried chicken at Rudy’s and Norma’s, and steak or salmon at Muggsy’s and K’s Creek.
- It’s easy to talk Mary into going to lunch at Annabelle Lee’s Tea Room. Gwenn recommends their chicken salad plate with frozen cranberry salad. Plus, she says it’s fun to shop the Transfer Shops and Abigail’s Flowers & Gifts while you’re there!
- Kelly is partial to KJB Pinthouse where they’re currently offering burritos “as big as your head” for lunch and supper, along with “homemade salsa to die for.”
- Lynsey is new to town, but she’s already discovered some favorites. She’s partial to Lonzo’s, and Leo’s for authentic Italian pizza. She also recommends Charlie’s for ice cream and sandwiches and the Soap Co. Coffee House.
- Jan, one of our Blessings Christmas elves, regularly purchases bottles of Lonzerotti’s Italian dressing to take home with her when she visits. Lonzerotti’s dressing is sold at local grocery stores.
Ask us for recommendations when you arrive. We’ll often know the daily specials and sometimes even off-menu items to recommend. For the longest time, The Horseshoe, a Springfield area favorite, was an off-menu item, but as menus have been updated and we’re seeing it show up more often.
Visit Abraham Lincoln Sites in Springfield, Illinois
Jacksonville is a quick 40-mile drive to the Abraham Lincoln home in Springfield, IL. Make Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast your home base as you visit Lincoln’s Home, his tomb, and Lincoln’s New Salem in Petersburg.
Springfield area Lincoln historic sites include the following:
- Lincoln Home National Historic Site (U.S. National Park)
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
- Lincoln Depot, where he gave his famous Farewell Address
- Lincoln Family Church, which houses the original Lincoln family pew
- Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices
- The Old State Capitol
- The Lincoln Tomb
- Springfield Lincoln walking tours and guided tours
- Lincoln’s New Salem Historic Site
*Please be sure to check each exhibit’s open hours during the Coronavirus pandemic.