Sunset over the Illinois River from the Spirit of Peoria riverboat cruise
The Palisades bordering the river
Biking along the Mississippi River
The Clark Bridge at sunset
Family outing to Pere Marquette State Park
The one-and-only Fast Eddie’s at night
Speeding along the Aerie's zip line in Grafton
Adirondack chairs overlooking the Mississippi River
Lewis and Clark Camp DuBois State Historic Site
Reading up on the Piasa Bird legend
- Major Airports:
- Lambert-St. Louis (STL)
Where history meets the road
Following the Lewis and Clark Route
It was in Hartford that Lewis and Clark prepared for their journey west, and it’s also where you’ll find the Lewis & Clark State Historic Site. Stocked with exhibitions, the site brings context to the intrepid explorers and their travels. Honor their memory at nearby Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower, a soaring three-level observation tower and monument to the expedition. Journey further down the Great River Road to encounter the mighty Mississippi River and see it from eight stories in the air on top of the Melvin Price Locks and Dam No. 26. Visit the National Great Rivers Museum, dedicated to telling the story of life on the Mighty Mississippi River and its influence on the region, at the base of the locks and dam. Commemorate more of the area’s rich history at the Elijah P. Lovejoy Monument, which remembers the notable abolitionist.
Stop to Explore Elsah and Grafton
Along Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, visitors are greeted by two quaint little towns, Elsah and Grafton. The entire village of Elsah is on the National Registry of Historic Places. With a population of around 100 people, the village is often referred to as the town where time stood still. Visitors to Elsah can escape back to the Americana of the early 1800s with quiet streets and 19th century stone homes.
Just beyond the river bend, Grafton rests under the Mississippi River bluffs and is home to several wineries, flea markets, antique shops, restaurants and views like no other along the river. See the Piasa Bird replica petroglyph on one of the bluffs while you’re there.
Perfect Place for Outdoor and Indoor Adventures
Whether biking, hiking, fishing, boating or taking in a round of golf, you’ll never run out of things to do and places to see around Alton. Head to Pere Marquette State Park, the largest state park in Illinois, with more than 3,230 hectares to explore. Hiking trails, fishing docks, horseback riding and the perfect spot for a picnic can be found within the park. See everything from bald eagles to trumpeter swans in the gardens, pond and aviary at Audubon Center at Riverlands. For some nightlife, try Fast Eddie’s Bon Air, a historic bar that has reinvented itself to become the area’s premier live music venue.
Jazz legend Miles Davis was born in Alton and a bronze statue honors his local ties.
Alton is often called the “Most Haunted Small Town in America."
Robert Pershing Wadlow, the world’s tallest man at 2.71 meters, was born in Alton.