Audrey and Harry Lesner, otherwise known as The Budget Savvy Travelers, are full-time travelers and digital nomads. Born and raised in Chicago, their passion to show others how to break free without breaking the budget. They are the proud winners of the 2019 Top Budget Travel Blog.
Designed by John M. Van Osdel in the Italianate style, the Illinois Governor’s Mansion is one of Springfield’s top architectural attractions. The mansion is the official residence of the First Family of Illinois. However, it’s also used as a museum for visitors, a working office, and a prominent venue for community, educational, civic, and professional events.
Constructed in 1855 and originally opened in January 1856, it is one of the three oldest continuously occupied governor’s mansions in the country. It also is one of Illinois’ oldest historic residences.
Although the residence is often used for state meetings and dinners, the Mansion also serves as a house museum. This is because the parlors, libraries, sitting rooms, and bedrooms are presented as they may have looked in the 19th century. During the holiday season, the Mansion is beautifully decorated including over a dozen towering Christmas trees.
It is interesting to note that the governor and his family are not obligated to live in the Mansion. Instead, the family resides in a private, 7-room apartment located on the second floor.
Tours of the Mansion are organized by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and led by professionally trained volunteers deemed "interpreters." Visitors are asked to meet at the Jackson Street gate where an interpreter will greet you.
Reservations are required for all guests entering the Mansion. Additionally, visitors over the age of 18 must supply a passport or government-issued photo ID to enter the grounds. Please note, self-guided tours are not allowed. However, all tours are free of charge and last about an hour.
Starting in 1999, the mansion has undergone a series of renovations. Part of the remodel included a visitor center and making the mansion ADA compliant.
The mansion is located just a ten-minute walk from the State Capitol Building and the Dana Thomas House. Many visitors decide to find parking and tour all three major Springfield attractions.
Cover image by Teemu08 is licensed under (CC BY-SA 3.0).