Nestled in the heart of the Midwest, Effingham, Illinois, is a charming town with a rich history and a plethora of activities for visitors. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or a foodie, Effingham has something to offer for everyone. In this guide, we’ll explore the top things to do in Effingham, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this hidden gem.
- Visit the Cross at the Crossroads: One of the most iconic landmarks in Effingham is the Cross at the Crossroads. Standing at 198 feet, this massive cross is an impressive sight and holds the title of the tallest cross in the United States. Located at the intersection of Interstates 57 and 70, the site also features a visitor center and a peaceful garden, providing a reflective and serene atmosphere.
- Explore the Effingham Performance Center: For those seeking entertainment, the Effingham Performance Center is a must-visit. This state-of-the-art venue hosts a variety of events, including concerts, Broadway shows, and community performances. Check the schedule before your visit to catch a live performance and immerse yourself in the local arts scene.
- Discover the Firefly Grill: Effingham boasts some fantastic dining options, and the Firefly Grill is a standout choice for food enthusiasts. This farm-to-table restaurant offers a menu crafted with locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a fresh and flavorful dining experience. The picturesque lake view from the restaurant enhances the overall ambiance, making it a perfect spot for a memorable meal.
- Step Back in Time at the Effingham County Museum: Dive into Effingham’s history by exploring the Effingham County Museum. Housed in a historic former courthouse, the museum showcases artifacts, exhibits, and memorabilia that tell the story of the region. It’s a great place to gain insights into the cultural and historical evolution of Effingham and its people.
- Enjoy Outdoor Recreation at Lake Sara: Nature lovers will appreciate the recreational opportunities at Lake Sara. Whether it’s boating, fishing, or hiking along the trails surrounding the lake, there’s something for everyone. The scenic beauty and tranquility of Lake Sara provide the perfect backdrop for a relaxing day outdoors.
- Attend the Effingham Artisan Fair: If you happen to visit during the annual Effingham Artisan Fair, you’re in for a treat. This event showcases the talents of local artists and craftsmen, offering a unique opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind handmade goods. It’s a vibrant celebration of creativity that adds a cultural flair to your visit.
- Shop in Downtown Effingham: Take a stroll through the charming streets of downtown Effingham, where you’ll find a mix of boutiques, antique shops, and local businesses. Support the community by picking up souvenirs or discovering hidden gems in the small shops that line the streets.
- Golf at Cardinal Golf Course: Golf enthusiasts will find solace at the Cardinal Golf Course. This 18-hole championship course is beautifully landscaped and offers a challenging yet enjoyable round of golf. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, the Cardinal Golf Course provides a picturesque setting to perfect your swing.
- Attend Events at the Thelma Keller Convention Center: Check the schedule for events happening at the Thelma Keller Convention Center. This modern venue hosts a variety of conferences, expos, and community events throughout the year. Attending a local event is an excellent way to connect with the community and experience Effingham’s vibrant atmosphere.
- Savor Local Flavors at Tuscan Hills Winery: Wine connoisseurs should not miss a visit to Tuscan Hills Winery. Located just outside of Effingham, this winery offers a delightful selection of locally-produced wines. Take a tour, sample different varieties, and perhaps enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the winery’s scenic grounds.
- Explore the Effingham Railroad Museum: Delve into the region’s railroad history at the Effingham Railroad Museum. This museum showcases an impressive collection of artifacts, model trains, and exhibits detailing the crucial role of railroads in shaping Effingham’s growth and development.
- Take a Scenic Drive along Historic National Road: Effingham is situated along the Historic National Road, the first federally funded highway in the United States. Take a leisurely drive along this historic route to appreciate the charming landscapes, roadside attractions, and small-town charm that characterize the region.
- Participate in Festivals and Events: Effingham hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating everything from local culture to seasonal festivities. Check the local events calendar to see if your visit coincides with one of these lively gatherings. From music festivals to holiday parades, there’s always something happening in Effingham.
- Experience the Crossroads Nostalgia Park: Travel back in time at the Crossroads Nostalgia Park. This unique attraction features a collection of vintage cars, memorabilia, and exhibits that celebrate the nostalgia of the mid-20th century. It’s a fascinating journey through automotive history and a great stop for history and car enthusiasts alike.
- Attend a Performance at the Effingham County Courthouse: The Effingham County Courthouse occasionally hosts outdoor concerts and performances. Check the schedule to see if there’s an event during your visit. Enjoying live music or a theatrical performance against the backdrop of this historic courthouse adds a touch of charm to your evening.
Effingham, Illinois, may be a small town, but it packs a punch when it comes to offering diverse and enjoyable experiences. Whether you’re interested in history, the arts, or outdoor activities, Effingham has it all. Make sure to include these activities in your itinerary to ensure a fulfilling and memorable visit to this Midwestern gem.