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Charleston, Illinois

Central States transportation is ready and anxious to take you to Charleston, Illinois! During your visit there, you will experience the rich heritage and the many cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities available throughout the community. Charleston offers a diversity of attractions, while maintaining their friendly, small-town hospitality. You will enjoy the community so much that you may want to make Charleston a regular stop in your future travels. So, take your time, explore and fall in love with Charleston, the Friendly City!

Charleston, Illinois Whatever your interests, Charleston, Illinois, has something to offer everyone -- Lincoln historical sites, theatres, shopping and dining, outdoor fun, affordable lodging, concerts and festivals, art galleries and murals, just to name a few. Charleston is also the home of Eastern Illinois University.

For additional information about Charleston, or to obtain a free Visitors' Guide, e-mail the Charleston Chamber of Commerce or visit the Charleston Tourism website.


Looking for Lincoln -- Charleston has teamed up with 9 other Central Illinois communities to develop a new heritage tourism project known as Looking for Lincoln based on the stories of Abraham Lincoln's life and times throughout the area. Through active participation in the program and partnerships between community leaders and residents, local businesses, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the Illinois Bureau of Tourism, and a number of governmental agencies, this unique heritage tourism project will eventually offer the world a more comprehensive look at Abraham Lincoln before he took his place in history.
Life-of-Lincoln Map 1.  
Mount Pulaski
Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln's Log Cabin Log Cabin -- Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site was the 1840s home of Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln, father and stepmother of our 16th president. Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer living in Springfield by the time his parents lived here, but he did visit them periodically.
Working Farm -- Today, Lincoln Log Cabin is an 86-acre historic site that is owned and operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Division of Historic Sites. The site includes an accurate reproduction of the Lincolns' two-room cabin that was constructed on the original cabin site in 1935 as a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) project. A working living history farm has been developed around the cabin; and a second farmstead, the Stephen Sargent Farm, has been moved to the site to help broaden visitors' understanding of 1840s rural life in Illinois. One mile north is the Moore Home State Historic Site, a reconstructed frame home where Abraham Lincoln bid his stepmother farewell in January of 1861 before leaving to assume the Presidency. Lincoln Log Cabin

Lincoln Log Cabin

Theatres -- From musical concerts and recitals to movies to live theatrical groups, Charleston has a variety of theatres to entertain you.
  • The Amphitheatre, located in Kiwanis Park at Division Street & Jackson Avenue, is the perfect place to enjoy the arts. Each Thursday evening, from mid-June to mid-July, the Community Band brings a variety of musical talents and styles to the park. Plays and concerts are also scheduled throughout the year.
  • In addition, the Village Theatre is the performance site for many theatrical groups.
  • The Eastern Illinois University Department of Music offers a wide variety of recitals and concerts year round in Dvorak Concert Hall housed in the Doudna Fine Arts Building.
  • Current films are shown in a comfortable, fun atmosphere at great prices at Will Rogers Theater, an Art Deco style movie theatre named after the famous entertainer.
  • Also, located in the historic Courthouse Square, the Charleston Alley Theatre, features amateur theatre at its best in an intimate setting offering a wonderful mix of old and new drama.
Family, Fun, and Festivals -- Charleston enjoys four fabulous and distinct seasons; and no matter what the season, there's always a reason to visit this charming, historic city.
  • A fine arts festival, Celebration, launches the Spring season on the campus of Eastern Illinois University with crafts, fine arts booths, and live musical entertainment. Children will love the special artistic activities designed with them in mind.
  • The Sheep to Clothing and Heirloom Garden Fair, held in May, launches the 1845 adventures at Lincoln Log Cabin, where period dressed interpreters demonstrate 19th-century life on the prairie.
  • Concerts in the Park usher in the summer season. Each week, on Thursday evenings, from mid-June to mid-July, the Community Band brings a variety of musical talents and styles to the park. Bring your chairs and blankets and enjoy live entertainment.
  • With its central location in Morton Park on Lincoln Avenue, Red, White and Blue Days, Charleston's oldest festival, attracts many visitors. This two-day event features a wide variety of activities for the whole family.
  • Join us for the 4th of July Parade. Later on July 4th, it's time for Coles County's Spectacular Fireworks Display at the Coles County Airport.
  • Also in July, there's more family fun at the Coles County Fair, the oldest continuous fair in the state of Illinois. From dozens of carnival rides to the grandstand entertainment, all ages find fun and excitement at the fair!
  • Harvest Frolic and Agricultural Fair at Lincoln Log Cabin takes place the first weekend in October. This two-day event features dozens of activities, delectable foods, live 1845 entertainment, itinerant tradespeople and much more.
  • The Round Barn Bazaar is held at the Halsey Farm just a few miles south of Charleston, the last weekend in September and first weekend in October. Crafters gather in this historic round barn to offer Christmas crafts, candles, jewelry, clothing and glassware.
  • Downtown historic Charleston joins in the fall season celebration with Oktoberfest. The Courthouse Square takes on a different look. You will enjoy bratwursts, pretzels and other German delicacies while listening to great German music.
  • All ages will also find fun and excitement at Eastern Illinois University Homecoming! And if you still have time, just look around and indulge in our beautiful fall colors; the fall season is yet another Charleston attraction in and of itself.
  • The annual Christmas in the Heart of Charleston festival on the second Saturday after Thanksgiving is a thrill for the young at heart. The Courthouse Square is bustling with activities. Merchants around the Coutrhouse Square decorate in the spirit of the season.
  • Lincoln Log Cabin and the Moore Home celebrate a simple Prairie Christmas of the 1860s the second weekend in December.

Celebration fine arts festival

Community Band

Sheep to Clothing and Heirloom Garden Fair

Coles County Fair

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