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.
Located in the heart of Springfield, the Illinois State Capitol houses the legislative and executive branches of the government of the U.S. state of Illinois. Since Illinois was admitted to the United States in 1818, this is the sixth building to serve as the capitol.
It was designed in the French Renaissance and Italianate style by Cochrane and Garnsey, a Chicago-based architecture and design firm. On March 11, 1868, the ground was broken for the new capitol. It was finally completed twenty years later with a total cost of $4.5 million dollars.
Today, the State Capitol building houses an office for the Governor of Illinois, various committee rooms, and the chambers for the Illinois General Assembly, which is made up of the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate. From above, the capitol building is in the shape of a Greek cross with four equally sized wings. It's most impressive structure is the tall central dome which features scenes from the state's history, stained glass windows, and a replica of the Illinois state seal in the dome's oculus. For additional information, a handy visitor guide can be accessed in the link below.
Visitors should head to the Information Desk to sign up for a guided tour, which begins in the Capitol Rotunda. During a typical visit, guests can see the House and Senate galleries, the Governor’s reception area, the Hall of Governors and the Old Supreme Courtroom. On weekdays, tours run every half hour from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. On weekends tours run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tours do not run from noon to 1 p.m.
Tours of groups of 15 people or more are by appointment only. Tours may be booked online via the link below or by calling 217-789-2360. The Capitol building is closed on Thanksgiving and the Friday after, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Easter Sunday.
The Visitor Information Center is located one block west of the Capitol building on 425 South College Street. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Onsite, there are public restrooms, a picnic area, and limited free parking. The Visitor Information Center is closed on weekends. In May, the Old State Capitol grounds are used as the venue for the annual Springfield Old Capitol Art Fair.
Cover image by Jim Bowen is licensed under (CC BY 2.0).