Bloomington-Normal has a new source for information about McLean County attractions, both historic and modern. The Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center is located at 200 North Main Street in Bloomington, IL, on the ground floor of the McLean County Museum of History in downtown Bloomington. Both the Museum and the Visitors Center are accessed via our ground-level south entrance on West Washington Street. Bike parking is available on the entrance plaza, and parking for cars can be found one block south on Front Street at the Lincoln Parking Deck. Free 90-minute street parking is available throughout downtown. Street parking is free all day on weekends
Our 1,200 sq. ft. Visitors Center has been designed to highlight two types of heritage tourism integral to central Illinois: Historic Route 66 and Lincoln tourism. The Visitors Center features an exhibit that compare the experiences of Lincoln in his travels with those of automobilists during the golden days of Route 66. The exhibit features stories about dining, lodging, and traveling during the two eras. It also includes two short videos. Cruisin' on Route 66 with Abraham Lincoln is a light-hearted look at the downtown Bloomington locations with ties to Lincoln. Lt. Chester Henry's experiences as an Illinois State Police trooper on Route 66 are detailed in Cruisin' on Route 66 with Chester Henry. Visitors can enjoy both features in our mini-auditoriums. The auditoriums use vintage seating original to the building's former life as a courthouse.
A bus loading zone is located outside the West Washington Street entrance, and bus parking is available by contacting the Visitors Center/Museum at (309) 827-0428. For adult tours, your tour group coordinator may contact our Director of Marketing and Community Relations. For student tours, please contact the Museum's Education Department. Both can be reached at (309) 827-0428.
Accessible restrooms are available in the Visitors Center. A snack area with seating and tables is also available for guests.
The Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center gift shop features:
You can also grab a cold soda from our vintage Pepsi machine!
Our Visitors Center provides information on all of the wonderful attractions, events, dining, and lodging available in McLean County. Information is available at our registration desk, in brochure stands, and at our digital kiosk. Volunteers and staff are also available to answer questions or help with directions to popular tourist sites.
Visitors Center patrons will also have an opportunity to tour the award-winning McLean County Museum of History, which features three floors of exhibits and interactives that tell the story of McLean County people and places. For Route 66 fans, the Museum contains a fun photo opportunity called I Got Busted on Route 66 which utilizes the former courthouse's original holding cell. The Museum will soon feature a gallery devoted to Lincoln's connections to Bloomington and his ascent to the presidency; the Abraham Lincoln in McLean County gallery is set to open in late spring of 2016.
The Museum's Stevenson-Ives Library and Archives is located on the second floor and offers a reference desk for research on local history and genealogy.
An elevator is accessible for guests, and a limited number of wheelchairs is available.
There is a charge to visit the Museum, except on Tuesdays when we have free admission and extended hours from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. For more admission and hours information, click here.
The Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center project was funded through a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity/Illinois Office of Tourism Marketing Partnership Grant, with additional funding from the McLean County Museum of History, the Bloomington/Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the County of McLean, and the Public Building Commission of McLean County