Beautiful, historically rich and welcoming, Springfield, the capital city of Illinois (located 200 miles outside of Chicago) offers Midwest hospitality in addition to state-of-the-art meeting facilities and amenities. Meeting planners choose this city for its affordability, range of Springfield event venues and accessibility. Visitors can reach Springfield via its Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, located just three miles outside of the downtown district. Once in downtown, visitors can navigate the city and its many attractions via the Springfield Mass Transit District bus system, which provides direct access to the city's historical attractions.
Central to American history, Springfield is known as "the land of Lincoln" as it served as the home of Abraham Lincoln until he left for the White House in 1861. Springfield celebrates this heritage at such sites as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library, New Salem and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. In fact, more than one million people visit Springfield's Lincoln sites each year.
Getting down to business, Springfield hosts thousands of meetings, events and gatherings every year. Up to 9,000 meeting attendees may convene at Springfield's 62,000-square-foot Prairie Capital Convention Center, which features 40,000 square feet of column-free exhibit space, 16 soundproof meeting rooms and parking for more than 2,000 cars. The convention center is located adjacent to the 310-room President Abraham Lincoln Hotel and Conference Center, which offers an additional 13,000 square feet of meeting space, and across the street from the 365-room, 30-story Hilton Springfield, which offers 50,000 square feet of meeting space.
Meeting groups can also gather at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, located just outside of downtown Springfield. The 366-acre site features 29 indoor buildings, a one-mile oval dirt track, barns and agricultural buildings, grandstands and more than 250 campsites. Event facilities include the two-level Exhibition Building, which has a 34,800-square-foot main floor, 25,744-square-foot mezzanine and 2,720-square-foot gallery, featuring iron framing, brick walls and segmented arched windows. Other fairgrounds meeting spaces include the 39,000-square-foot Orr Building, which features a central fountain and large windows, as well as the 6,400-square-foot Artisans Building, complete with beautiful restored floors.
For smaller group functions and events, look no further than Springfield's Land of Lincoln attractions. The 215,000-square-foot Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library is among the most visited of all the presidential libraries, as well as one of Springfield's best special event locations. The museum documents the life of Lincoln and the course of the Civil War in life-size settings and exhibits and houses such artifacts as White House china and Lincoln's stovepipe hat. Groups can hold private events in such spaces as the museum's 4,500-square-foot plaza rotunda, which accommodates up to 500 guests and features a full-scale recreation of Lincoln's boyhood cabin and replica of the White House.
Groups may also gather at the 700-acre New Salem historic site, a reconstruction of the village where Lincoln spent his early adulthood. Groups can tour the site's log houses, mills, tavern and other historic structures, as well as rent shelters along the Sangaman River or convene at New Salem's 200-person amphitheater.