A Piece of History

All Aboard! Illinois Main Street by Rail

From Amtrak’s hub at Chicago Union Station, you can embark on a journey to some of the region’s most unique and exciting destinations. Explore Illinois Main Street by Amtrak, the nation’s passenger rail system.

Before leaving Chicago, be sure to visit our inaugural neighborhood community districts, Portage Park and the Midway area. Portage Park (Six Corners Association) is located on Chicago’s northwest side and boasts numerous unique restaurants and businesses.  This is a thriving and diverse community. The Midway area is easily accessible by the CTA’s Orange Line.  The United Business Association of Midway represents 250 local business owners, many located in historic buildings. 

Approximately 90 minutes southwest of Chicago is Mendota. Summer is a great time to visit Mendota with frequent events at the Tri-County Fairgrounds and the National Sweet Corn Festival.

Travel west to Princeton, home of numerous antique shops. History buffs flock to the Lovejoy Homestead, a National Historic Landmark and site on the Underground Railroad. For fine culture, check out the many performances at Festival 56.

Next stop is Galesburg, home of Carl Sandburg and one of the nation’s first Main Streets. Galesburg is proud of its railroad history and you to can join in the fun during the annual Galesburg Railroad Days festival.

Southwest of Galesburg, Amtrak rolls into Macomb. There are more than 80 days of unique events each year including many athletic contests at Western Illinois University. Just a little further down the tracks is Quincy and the Mississippi River. Over 100 shops and restaurants thrive amongst the historic architecture of the downtown.

Amtrak is one of the best ways to travel to Fighting Illini games at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Memorial Stadium also hosts many large concerts and other sporting events each year. While in town you can also visit several local museums and theaters.

DuQuoin is one of the newest Illinois Main Street communities but boats one of the state’s oldest attractions, the DuQuoin State Fair.  Each year the summer ends with the thousands of people descend on DuQuoin to experience big name shows, watch champion horses race and, of course, eat funnel cakes.

The City of New Orleans train is one of the most famous Amtrak routes. While on your way to the Crescent City, stop off in Carbondale. The largest city in Southern Illinois offers something for everyone. After a long day of shopping and dining, go root for the Southern Illinois University Salukis. Railroad buffs should also check out the 1903 Train Depot.

Amtrak’s trains from Chicago to St. Louis stop in six Illinois Main Street communities. Dwight is a small town with a lot of history. Time your visit to include dinner at the Country Mansion, a true architectural jewel. Next stop is Pontiac and the Route 66 Museum and Hall of Fame. There are also over 400 acres of prairies, woods, river, creeks and ponds to explore. A little further down the tracks is Bloomington. Discover the rich history and culture of Central Illinois in downtown Bloomington.

Are you looking for Lincoln? Stop off in the only town named for the 16 th President while he was still alive. Adjacent to the Amtrak station is the Restaurant at the Depot, which features a three-room model train. Of course Illinois’ capitol city, Springfield, has many other Lincoln sites. The brand-new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library has one of the nation’s largest collections of material on Honest Abe. You can also visit Lincoln’s law firm, home and gravesite.

Just before seeing the lights of St. Louis, you will stop in Alton. Alton is your gateway to the Mississippi River. Learn more about the Mighty Mississippi at the National Great Rivers Museum. Winter visitors should look to the sky. You might catch sight of a Bald Eagle.

Information on all of Amtrak’s routes serving Illinois can be found here

All aboard!
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 Our Towns
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Illinois Main Street Calendar

PRIDE in Paxton Week - Downtown
PRIDE in Paxton week was started to cleanup the downtown.
pride 217-379-3388
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Downtown Carnival - Downtown Pontiac
Downtown Pontiac
Good Old Fashion Carnival on the Downtown Square.
P.R.O.U.D. @ 815-844-6692 or pontiacproud.org
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Click here for complete events list