15 Best Things to Do in Mount Vernon, IL

Mount Vernon, IL
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Are you looking for a vacation destination that has something for everyone in the family?

That’s not hard to look for, as Mount Vernon in Illinois has that and more.

Situated in Jefferson County, a few miles away from Evansville, Indiana, and St. Louis, Missouri, Mount Vernon has amazing attractions to complement its unique and colorful history.

The city was founded by Zadok Casey in 1817 and was named after the plantation of George Washington in Northern Virginia.

However, it was changed to Mount Vernon in 1848.

What's interesting is that prominent people in the country's history have spent a part of their lives in the city, including Abraham Lincoln, who argued one of his cases here.

On the lighter side of the city, it brims with fantastic activities and sights to see, especially since it’s been named the ‘Festival Arts City’ thanks to its motto—‘Creativity Redefined.’

You’ll find parks and recreational areas where you can go fishing, boating, and even hunting with your family.

For art lovers, exhibits abound in Mount Vernon that are ready to welcome visitors like you.

Golf enthusiasts can also have their piece of heaven, as there are two golf courses in the city.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 15 best things to do in Mount Vernon, IL:

Take Your Fill at the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts

Interested in the arts?

The Cedarhurst Center for the Arts is the place for you, located on E Richview Rd.

A non-profit arts organization by the John R. And Eleanor R. Mitchell Foundation, it is home to a significant collection of late 19th-century and early 20th-century exhibitions and American paintings.

It features local and international artists and an 80-acre sculpture park and holds the annual Art & Craft Fair, held on the weekends after Labor Day.

The foundation aims to encourage participation in and support for the city’s performing and visual arts as well as create opportunities for enjoyment of the arts.

Through the years, it has gained the support of everyone in the city.

Find Interesting Art Collections at the Mitchell Museum in Cedarhurst

Cedarhurst Center for the Arts houses the Mitchell Museum.

So, while you’re here, do make sure to spend some time exploring this museum to find two separate galleries that are home to contemporary art exhibitions.

One of the best things about the Mitchell Museum is that it’s not just for grownups, as it also has the Children’s Gallery that’s dedicated to helping children understand and appreciate the arts better.

Going around, you’ll be delighted to find artworks by Maurice Prendergast, Childe Hassam, and Mary Cassatt, to name a few.

If you’re not yet so much into the arts, who knows that this might awaken that passion in you.

Discover the Beginnings of Jefferson County at the Jefferson County Historical Village

This attraction is not your typical museum because it is a village by itself.

The Jefferson County Historical Village is dedicated to showing the place’s beginnings by featuring everything that reflects life in the area.

Go around and find furnished buildings with log houses in their midst.

Aside from that, you’ll be amazed to see a log church, a one-school room, a log jail, and functional print and blacksmith shops.

When you check out their general store, you can find tons of period merchandise as well.

Enjoy Fun Water Activities at the Aquatic Zoo Water Park

This is one place you can never resist.

Both the young ones and the young at heart can enjoy their time at the Aquatic Zoo Water Park, located on South 34th St.

If you want to just laze under the sun, you may do so and just enjoy watching the people around you.

You may also opt to try the Amazon Lazy River, which is a smooth current lazy river.

You can also go swimming in their 25-meter pool or try their zero-depth pool!

If you’re feeling more adventurous, why not get on the 266-feet dual rider tube slide or do the Jungle Chute, a body slide that generates about 3G forces.

Stay hydrated and pumped up by getting your refreshments from the Watering Hole, where a full concession menu awaits!

Pay Tribute to the Local Service People and Veterans at the Hall of Honor and Military Museum

Visit the Hall of Honor and Military Museum, located at the Mont Vernon Airport, to see how the city pays tribute to the men, women, and veterans who served their country and community during war and peace.

Explore the Colonel R.D. White Veterans Museum to find hundreds of pieces of military memorabilia collected during the times of conflict.

Marvel at the vintage munitions, weapons, uniforms, and K-rations that are on display alongside era magazines, newspapers, and letters.

Enjoy Tee Time at One of the Finest Golf Courses in Southern Illinois—Green Hills Golf Club

Don’t dare miss the Green Hills Golf Club in Mount Vernon, built in 1920 and located on E Fairfield Rd.

Over the years, the golf course has maintained its condition, featuring large lakes, natural creeks, and an abundance of trees.

Here, you will be playing on what is known to have the best putting surfaces, allowing players of all levels and skills to enjoy their game.

It also has a fully-stocked pro shop that sells clothing, accessories, and golf equipment at reasonable prices.

Plus, a PGA professional is always ready to help you choose your equipment and teach you a tip or two on how to improve your game.

With a full-service restaurant, you can always give in to your cravings post-game!

Give in and Indulge at the RARE Chop House

On South 10th St, you’ll find one of the best dining spots in Mount Vernon—the RARE Chop House.

You’re up for an exquisite dining experience at the region’s most exquisite restaurant.

RARE Chop House has unique and delectable dishes made by Chef James Rushing.

Plus, they offer over 1,000 wines from all over the world to complement your meal.

Here, you will enjoy great food, wine, live entertainment, and company every time.

Be in the Midst of an Ocean of Lavender at the Lavender Farm

Love lavender?

The Lavender Farm, located on N 2 Mile Creek Ln, is the place to be.

Boasting an acre of a farm, you can see an ocean of 2,300 Lavender plants.

Currently, the owners, Kay and Richard Dorris, are growing three varieties of Lavender, including Super, Sachet, and Grosso.

In June, they offer U-pick Lavender as well as dried and fresh flowers and lavender and hydrosol, which are extracted from the plants.

Aside from that, you can also buy a variety of Lavender products such as bath soaps, soaps, sprays, bath balms, salves, essential oils, Lavender wands, and starter plants.

It will definitely be a Lavender kind of day at the Lavender Farm.

Devour Delicious Asian Dishes at the Asian Buffet

Skip the usual western meal and go Asian for a day!

The Asian Buffet, located on S 42nd St, is a popular restaurant in Mount Vernon, offering dine-in and take-out services.

Thanks to its outstanding Chinese cuisine and excellent service, many locals consider it a cornerstone in their community.

It takes pride in their modern interpretation of popular Chinese dishes, insisting on using only the freshest ingredients.

So, if you’re looking for egg rolls, soup, teriyaki, shrimp, or chow mein, you know where to go.

Get Great Finds at the Treasure Trove Resale

Don’t limit your shopping options to just malls and outlet stores.

For a change, go to Treasure Trove Resale, located on Broadway St, a store that sells second-hand items, including men's and women’s clothes and children’s clothing.

You can also find a wide assortment of household items for sale and other items you can take home.

The best part of shopping at Treasure Trove Resale is that you are not only buying items for a lower price but also helping the local Meals on Wheels program in Mount Vernon.

Smell the Delicious Smoke at Bandana’s Bar-B-Q

BBQ is important comfort food.

Wherever in the country, there is always a good restaurant that serves this food.

However, Bandana’s Bar-B-Q sets itself apart from other restaurants because of its 24-hour real wood pit smokers.

This encourages the diners to ‘smell that smoke,’  upping their appetite even more.

They guarantee juicy barbecue with each bite by hand-rubbing all meats with various herbs and spices prior to smoking.

This ensures that every inch of the meat is rich in flavor and aroma.

Each meal comes with side dishes like fried corn, coleslaw, grilled garlic bread, and potato salad.

Bandana’s Bar-B-Q is located on S 44th St and is the perfect place to bring the family to for a good and hearty meal.

Relax at the Stress Knot Massage

Halfway through your excursion to Mount Vernon, you might feel a little exhausted and stressed out from all the activities.

This is the perfect chance to experience the Knot Massage, the locals’ favorite go-to place for a good massage, located at S 42nd St Suite 6.

It’s recently been added as part of the Chiropractic Wellness Center of Mount Vernon but has already been providing wellness services in the city for 10 years.

It’s worth coming here because your masseuse stretches and untangles the knots in your muscles.

Try Your Hand in Bowling at the NU Bowl Lanes

Get off the tourist track and just enjoy a day of bowling with the family at the NU Bowl Lanes.

Located on N 17th St #3226, this 28-lane bowling center is friendly, clean, and modern, with well-trained staff.

Playing a game or two can help you get into the groove to compete with your friends.

While at it, get your drink and snacks from the snack bar, or you may also step into the Back Office Bar and Grill for a cold beverage while resting.

Think cold beer, delicious pizza, and the best burgers in the city!

You can also check out their arcade for new games, including hockey and racing cars.

Visit the Showroom of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles at the Roadhouse Harley-Davidson

Welcome to the dream of every motorcycle enthusiast—Roadhouse Harley-Davidson, located on N 44th St.

Check out their stocks and inventory or compare their latest Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Harley Trike models.

Wander around their showroom and appreciate how they design each model to meet the brand’s standards.

Who knows, you might come home with your own Harley-Davidson motorcycle?

Take the Family on a Day Out at the Veterans Park

On South 27th & Logan Streets is the Veterans Park, a great place to take the family for a day out.

Explore this 86-acre recreational park, featuring community gardens, tennis courts, basketball courts, shaded playgrounds, an in-line skating area, and a walking path around the lake.

With the right license, you can go fishing with the kids, too.

If you want to relax outdoors or laze in the gazebo, this park will surely give you wonderful sights to see.

You can also find at the entrance the memorial to the Veterans from all US conflicts.

The Veterans Park is the place where you can take your family for a great picnic experience that’s close to nature.

The kids will surely love it.

Final Thoughts

Mount Vernon is the perfect getaway if you want to leave the hustle and bustle of city life.

With fresh air, lots of dining options, culture, art destinations, and recreational parks, you will surely be able to relax and leave your worries behind.

Bring the kids and go on an excursion that’s like no other.

So, when thinking about visiting a new place, think of Mount Vernon, IL.