Explore Rivers & Routes from A to Z

Oh The Fun You Can Have And The Places You Will Go -- When You Explore The Great Rivers & Routes Region In Southwest Illinois!

Looking for fun? Adventure? Relaxation? The Great Rivers & Routes region (which includes six counties just outside St. Louis) has you covered. And just to make it a bit more fun, we have decided to list from A to Z all the cool things the region has to offer. Start your next A to Z adventure now! (Please note that COVID-19 may impact hours of operation and the activities described here.)


Ariston Café in Litchfield, IL is one of the oldest restaurants on Route 66. With its neon signage and amazing menu it is sure to be a hit.


The BEALL Mansion, Alton, IL is an elegant turn of the century bed and breakfast that sits right in the middle of historic Alton. The BEALL also host weddings, reception, and other large gatherings.

Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville is UNESCO World Heritage site showcasing the prehistoric mound culture of Native Americans who lived in the framed American bottoms. Monks Mound is the largest prehistoric earthen structure in the continental U.S. Take a hike up this 100-foot tall mound for some great outdoor exercise!


Downtown Country Christmas in Jerseyville kicks off the holiday season with each business decorated in lights and a family-friendly festival designed to spread the holiday cheer.


Eagles! How could we not highlight the amazing birds that flock to the Mississippi River in our region every winter?

Bald Eagle in tree in southwest Illinois
It's all about the American Bald Eagles each winter in the Great Rivers & Routes region!


Ferries! Our region is home three different ferries that take you across the mighty and mystical Mississippi and the Illinois rivers. Go check out The Golden Eagle Ferry, Grafton Ferry, and the Brussels Ferry.


Grafton SkyTours is an opportunity to soar 300 feet in the air in an aerial chair lift. Did we mention fabulous views overlooking the Mississippi and Illinois rivers?


Horseradish! Do you know Collinsville is the Horseradish capital of the world? Love it or hate it that is still pretty cool! Or maybe it's hot!


Italian Fest in Collinsville is a great way to channel your inner Italian. Famous Italian food, drinks, and music are highlights along with that oh-so-popular Italian sport --Bocce Ball!

Italian Fest

Everyone's Italian in Collinsville each September during the annual Italian Fest.


Jazz - famous Jazz musician Miles Davis was born in Alton. You can even spot his life-sized bronze statue on 3rd street in the city's downtown entertainment district. DYK -- this is the only statue of the jazz great in the North American continent?


Kruta Bakery in Collinsville is on its fourth generation of family traditions serving up amazing baked goods. Many of the recipes, which originated in Europe, are still in use today.


Lake Lou Yaeger is the perfect place to enjoy the crazy summer heat. Great for boating, camping, and swimming. This spot will quickly become your favorite place!


McPike Mansion has some seriously loyal guests, even after death. The 1860s built mansion in Alton has a spot on the most haunted houses in Illinois list and has even been visited by The Ghost Adventures crew.


Nature. As in get outside and and breathe the fresh air and explore its wonders. The Watershed Nature Center in Edwardsville has a story to tell. Check out the outdoor delights at The Nature Institute in Godfrey; Audubon Center at Riverlands in West Alton; Pere Marquette State Park; and H. & B. Bremer Wildlife Sanctuary in Hillsboro.


Original Route 66, while the full mother road no long exists there are still pieces of the road you can drive and return to the glory days when Route 66 was bustling with excitement.


Quaint. The downtown shopping districts of Alton, Grafton, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Carlinville and so many other towns in our region that give you that small town, home grown, cozy feeling of supporting local shops.


Riverbend Axe Throwing, one of East Alton’s new attractions. Here you can throw a few beers back with your friends and get some axe throwing practice in.


Sky View Drive – In in Litchfield is one of the last remaining attraction from the original Route 66. Drive up and watch a retro movie and be carried back to the good ol' days!


Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge in Brussels in a great spot to take the whole family. Here you can hike trails, bike, canoe, fish, and see all the great wildlife in our region year round and during migration seasons.


Underground Railroad. Many parts of our region was once home to helping free slaves before the passing of the 13th amendment. You can still visit many spot in Alton that were vital in that process.


Village of Elsah, no this is not where Elsa fled to after freezing everything in Disney’s 2014 hit Frozen but it is a quaint village with picturesque beauty that has stood the test of time. Stop by to take a relaxing walking tour and maybe even meet a few locals.


Coffee Xpresso in Litchfield is the perfect place to get that morning cup of joe or that midday pick up me and you can even bring your favorite pup with you!


Yanda Log Cabin in Glen Carbon is now a historic site but once was home to blacksmith William Yanda, his wife, and their ten children. The Cabin has stood the test of time still standing 167 years after being built in 1853.


Zip lining! Grafton Zipline Adventures offers a thrilling zipling experience for both newcomers and old pros.

About the Author

Delilah Donaldson

Delilah Donaldson is a senior at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She joined the Great Rivers & Routes tourism Bureau as the Fall 2020 intern. She is a very active person and loves being part of as many exciting things as she can fit into her schedule. she is currently working towards a degree in public relations and plans to guide that degree to the entertainment world of publicity following graduation. She is also an actress and plans to keep acting and remain involved with the arts for as long as she can!