Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Litchfield, IL

  • Published 2023/03/02

You can find the city of Litchfield in Montgomery County, Illinois.

It was the first town in the state to respond to the President’s summons when the Civil War broke out.

With support from a Litchfield company, the town formed the Seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

During the 1880s, people found oil and gas, dug two coal mines, and then built six railways over the years.

The construction of U.S. Route 66 helped start the continuous expansion of Litchfield.

Litchfield continues to draw people and gain popularity with the addition of more tourist attractions.

Here are the best things to do in Litchfield, IL:

Chill at the Historic Ariston Café

Exterior of the historic Ariston Café

StockPhotoAstur /

Ariston Café is Route 66’s oldest continually operating restaurant.

Route 66 Hall of Fame honored the Ariston Cafe and Adam family in 1992.

The National Register of Historic Places added the place to its record in 2006.

However, the café wasn’t always a Litchfield gem.

Close view of Ariston Café's exterior

StockPhotoAstur /

After settling in Carlinville, Illinois, in 1924, Greek immigrant Pete Adam opened Ariston Cafe.

The cafe’s first location was on Route 4, the precursor of Historic Route 66.

In 1929, the restaurant relocated to Litchfield and then moved into its current home in 1935.

Revisit History at the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center

Litchfield enjoys a long association with Route 66’s romantic past in American popular culture.

Stop by the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center to learn more about the city and its unique role in Route 66 history.

Visitors admire the building’s vintage architecture, including an external neon trim and a restored neon Suhling sign.

Route 66, railways, commerce, agriculture, and the military significantly impacted the town’s development.

The museum displays vintage autos and mementos of the area.

The renowned Vic Suhling Gas Station neon sign, lit after dark outside the Museum, is a must-see attraction.

Take Photos at Litchfield Greetings Tour Mural

What’s the first thing you should do when you arrive at Litchfield?

Visit the Litchfield Greetings Tour Mural.

The artist Victor Ving and photographer Lisa Beggs incorporated the Litchfield mural into the Greetings Tour Mural series.

It’s their second time painting a mural in Illinois in the form of a postcard.

You can find more than a dozen of these works on the iconic Mother Road corridor walls in towns like Santa Monica and Pasadena, California, and cities such as Oklahoma City.

The Litchfield mural is at 423 N. State Street, at the junction of Route 16 and State Street.

Bike along the Route 66 Hike and Bike Trail

Are you up for a stroll, a strenuous trek, or a test-your-mettle mountain bike ride?

Go to the Route 66 Hike and Bike Trail.

The trail spans around 6.6 miles.

Signage marks the trailheads, which you may find at any park or picnic area.

Trail markers and Route 66 Hike and Bike Trail Maps stand throughout the route.

Every picnic location the path goes through has restrooms open from April 1 through the last day of October.

Bring water and food with you.

Don’t forget to bring walking shoes that can handle the rough terrain.

Also, bring bug spray, a basic first aid kit, binoculars, and cameras.

Bask in the Sun at Milnot Beach

Milnot Beach is a great place to cool down on a hot summer day.

You may play beach volleyball, swim, float in the sea, or lay out a blanket and soak up the sun.

Milnot Beach offers a choice of snacks and rentals to help you make the most out of your time on the sand.

The Marina 1 snack bar is a great place to have a quick bite.

Jump off the high diving board.

Buy life jackets at Marina 1 to keep you and your family safe while you’re on the water.

Bring your rafts, noodles, and floats for an even more enjoyable day of sunbathing!

You can bring your own cooler of refreshments, for a reasonable fee.

Remember that Lake Staff will need to go over the contents of your cooler before you can visit the beach.

You can’t bring alcohol there, though; just bring food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Go Fishing at Lake Lou Yaeger

One of Litchfield’s most popular attractions is a 1,357-acre, 5.5-mile-long lake.

Find paths for biking, hiking, horseback riding, a public swimming beach, and a conservation area on the 4,641 acres of surrounding land.

Lake Lou Yaeger offers a wealth of things to see, do, and discover.

It’s also an excellent place for boating because there are no horsepower restrictions.

It’s all here at Lake Lou Yaeger, from paddle-boarding to kayaking to waterskiing and pleasure cruises.

Marina 1 sells everything you’ll need for a great day on the lake, including boat permits and other essentials.

Enjoy Date Night at Sky View Drive-In

Signage of Sky View Drive-In

Danita Delimont /

Litchfield Skyview is the perfect place for a romantic movie night.

This outdoor cinema theater opened in the spring of 1950.

Since its opening, the Litchfield Skyview has been one of only four drive-ins in the country located on the historic Mother Road.

Only one other Illinois drive-in can make this claim.

The Litchfield Skyview Drive-in is a Route 66 Hall of Famer, with a Wayside Exhibit at the entrance.

Located on the Scenic Byway is an exhibit that chronicles the stories of the property’s patrons and the property’s history.

Enjoy various community activities, from school plays to scavenger hunts, at the historic drive-in.

Honor the Nation’s Heroes at Litchfield Veteran’s Memorial Garden

Established in 2007, the Litchfield Veterans Memorial Garden honors the brave men and women who served in the military.

Find it on the east side of Library Park, behind the Carnegie Library.

You can find the names of soldiers who fought from World War I to Afghanistan inscribed on granite stones arranged in a long beautiful arc.

It is a peaceful spot for contemplation with many seats and a flagpole nearby.

In order for your name to be inscribed on the granite memorial, you need a 214 military record and proof of residency in Litchfield.

Make a Splash at Litchfield Memorial Pool

Visit the public pool at Litchfield Memorial Pool for wholesome family fun.

Choose from the large pool, baby pool, “zero-depth” splash area with mushroom fountain, diving boards, and shower house.

Join morning and evening staff-led “Swim and Trim” workout programs, aquatic basketball, and swimming lessons to stay in shape.

Lifeguards watch over the pools, so don’t worry if you can’t swim.

Grab a quick bite to eat at one of the many concession stands around the park.

Enjoy a Cozy Picnic at Walton Park

Walton Park is a city-owned public park in Litchfield.

Walton Park is a great place to go hiking, picnicking, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Park facilities include a 40-acre lake surrounded by a covered bridge and fountain, four pavilions with BBQ grills and picnic tables.

It also has playground equipment, a lighted baseball/softball diamond, a basketball court, horseshoe pits, and a disc golf course.

Additionally, a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk connects the lake’s two observation decks, where visitors may take in the scenery, animals, and sunsets.

You can’t swim there, but you can fish.

Paddle a rowboat or a canoe, or drive a boat with a trolling motor on the lake.

Tee Off at Litchfield Country Club

Golfers of all abilities will enjoy Litchfield Country Club‘s scenic vistas and challenging terrain.

The course opened in 1922.

Its longest tees on the course play to 2,982 yards for a 35-par score.

On Ryegrass, the course has a rating of 34.5 and a slope rating of 123.

You’ll find the bar and restaurant and the pool at the clubhouse.

The course also has changing rooms, lockers, and showers.

Additionally, it offers golfing services, including on-site golf instruction and golf equipment rentals.

Ride a Horse at the Blake Lowry Equestrian Campground

This campground suits equestrians and horses perfectly.

However, it’s open to the public.

There are 30 rustic campsites at the equestrian campground.

The campgrounds are within a 25-mile radius of unmarked routes.

The 25-site Equestrian Campground contains a fire pit and poles for tying lines.

Sites with and without electricity are also available.

The southern side of the camp has a water faucet and access to the horse paths.

Showers are available at the campground’s shower building.

Go Camping at the Kamper Kompanion RV Park

This RV park provides guests with a pleasant haven from the pressures of daily life.

From the park, you can drive to St. Louis, Missouri, and Springfield, Illinois, in less than an hour.

The park spans ten acres, with back-in and pull-thru sites that can accommodate RVs of various sizes and designs.

Despite its proximity to I-55 (exit 60), the campground offers a peaceful environment free of intrusive freeway noises.

Kamper Kompanion wants to make guests feel as comfortable as possible, whether they stay for a night or longer.

Grab Unique Items at Litchfield Pickers Market

Are you into antiques, vintage, and collectibles?

Go to the Litchfield Pickers Market to grab things made before 1980!

The market opens on the second Sunday of every month, from May through October.

You can buy antiques, treasures, to upcycled and reconditioned things.

It is also open to anyone who wants to sell their vintage items.

Stay Among Nature at Lazy Days Campground

Litchfield has some of the best campsites within Illinois because of its natural areas.

And one of them is Lazy Days Campground.

This pet-friendly campground has diverse campsites for all your camping preferences.

Complete with primitive sites, tent areas, and grounds for RV, the campground features two multi-use ponds.

The site also has a horseshoe pit and a comprehensive playground for youngsters.

Your adventurous camping experience starts now!

Lazy Days Campground is on Interstate 55, which is 10 miles away from Lake Lou Yaeger.

Marvel at the Monarch Butterflies at the Route 66 Prairie

If you’ve got time to be outdoors and marvel at nature, then the Route 66 Prairie might just be the ideal stop for you.

This monarch-filled preserve takes pride in its native Illinois prairie habitats.

This preserve came to be because of the efforts of Natural Area Guardians and the Route 66 Monarch Flyway partners.

Make your way across the native prairie grass while trying to spot some colorful monarchs in flight.

You might want to capture the aesthetically-pleasing sight you’ll see for years to come, so be sure to bring your camera with you.

The Route 66 Prairie sits at the intersection of the cities of Litchfield and Carlinville on East Frontage Road.

Shop through Unique Antiques at Nana’s Hidden Attic

When it comes to antiques and rare trinkets and memorabilia, Nana’s Hidden Attic has the best items for you.

The vintage store has about 70 booths for a wide range of collectibles.

Looking to expand your travel collections?

You’ll find glassware, jewelry, and home decor to commemorate your travels at Litchfield.

Who knows?

You might just find the next gift for a loved one at this store.

Nana’s Hidden Attic serves the surrounding areas of Litchfield, including Springfield, Peoria, and Decatur.

This store is on West Frontage Road.

Break a Sweat During the Litchfield Triathlou Triathlon

One of the most anticipated events in Litchfield is the Litchfield Triathlou Triathlon.

This annual event blends swimming, biking, and running events for a spectacular race.

Started as a city tradition in 2010, the city together with RaceMaker Productions established the first triathlon.

This early September event also offers a half-distance triathlon that became a part of the event in 2017.

Whether you prefer the sprint version of the triathlon or the Olympic-like length, you are sure to have fun competing with other athletes.

Prepare your wetsuits, biking helmets, and running shoes for this one-of-a-kind event!

The Litchfield Triathlou Triathlon takes place at Lake Lou Yaeger Beach House on Beach House Trail.

Flaunt Your Skating Tricks at Litchfield Skate Park

Litchfield Skate Park on North Jackson Street is the go-to spot for many bikers and skaters wanting to improve their craft.

Spanning 100 feet, this skate park comes with a fence and a contemporary modular concrete ramp system.

This system comes with a series of jump ramps, platforms, ledges, and benches for the ultimate daredevils.

Get your skate gear ready for the stunt practice of a lifetime.

Litchfield Skate Park is free to the public.

And you can find it at the northeast section of Schalk Field.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Birdwatching at Shoal Creek Conservation Area

In 1990, Litchfield built the Shoal Creek Conservation Area on the southeast shore of Lake Lou Yaeger to protect Southern Illinois biodiversity.

Find it in nearby Butler, 11 minutes away from Litchfield.

Multiple hiking routes, ranging in complexity from simple to moderate, connect the park’s 266 acres of hickory and till-plain oak woods, prairie grass, and rivers.

Naturalists and photographers flock to the region for its abundance of flora and fauna.

For example, Shoal Creek is home to more than 700 plant and animal species and 74 identified bird species, including the migratory American bald eagle and white-tailed deer.

Bring binoculars!

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for an easy-to-access location with stunning scenery and pleasant attractions, go no further than the hidden gem of Litchfield, Illinois.

Start planning your trip today!

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