ILLINOISouth is home to some AMAZING attractions, eateries, events and more – and now we have a new member community to add to that list! Charleston, Illinois became members of our bureau earlier this year, and we’re EXTREMELY happy to have them.
Charleston sits in Coles County, and as many of you likely know - is the home to Eastern Illinois University. Art and history are both huge draws to Charleston, providing plenty of things to see and do all day! The Lincoln Douglas Debate Museum is the only museum in Illinois retracing all the senatorial debates of 1858 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephan Douglas. The museum offers exhibits and interactive displays. Due to the current pandemic, the museum may not be accessible depending on when you are reading this – so please call 217-348-0430 for more information.
Another gem in Charleston is the Doudna Fine Art Center. The Doudna is currently limited use due to COVID-19, but it’s one of the premier places for music, theatre, art and humanities events – of course when there is no pandemic. There is also the Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University – which features outdoor exhibits to enjoy (all visitors must currently wear facemasks on campus). Another place to check out art is around the Charleston Square! You can take a walking tour of seven murals around the town square, information pamphlets about the murals are available at City Hall.
For outdoor adventure, there is one place that you’ll definitely want to visit while you’re in town. “Lake Charleston is a growing attraction,” says Diane Ratliff, Tourism and Special Events with the City of Charleston. “We have over 10 miles of trails, kayak launch, fishing docks, a large pavilion and playground. We also have a Bike Trail that stretches from the east side of Charelston all the way to Mattoon. It is paved and is used by many for walking or biking,” Ratliff adds.
Aside from art and history, there are also plenty of other things to keep you busy while in town. “Charleston has many restaurants from fast food to sit-down; from chain restaurants to family owned locations,” Ratliff explains. “We have several quaint shops on the Downtown Square including clothing boutiques, butcher shop, indoor flea market and other home décor shops. We also have several antique shops in town.”
We definitely recommend a visit to Charleston if you’re in the area! For more information on everything Charleston has to offer, visit https://www.charlestonillinois.org/tourism