A Small Town with Something Special
Centrally located in Illinois, Pontiac offers visitors a unique collection of interesting places to see and appealing things to do. Home of the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame & Museum, the Livingston County War Museum, the International Walldog Mural and Sign Art Museum, the Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum and Resource Center, and the new Museum of the Gilding Arts, Pontiac has something to suit every taste.
There are 23 large, outdoor, painted murals that are conveniently located in the historic downtown shopping district, and nine Looking for Lincoln wayside story boards nearby. The Vermillion River frames several of the city’s beautiful public parks, and during the summer, the Vermillion Players present live theatrical entertainment at the historic pavilion located in Chautauqua Park.
Route 66 heritage travelers will find much to enjoy in Pontiac. The city is home to the premier Illinois Route 66 museum, and visitors from around the globe learn about the history of the Mother Road while in Pontiac. The Bob Waldmire collection is a part of the Pontiac Route 66 museum, and visitors are invited to appreciate the vagabond lifestyle of one of Route 66’s most unique characters, and then take a walk through Waldmire’s famous “Road Yacht” – an experience not likely to be forgotten. Pontiac has five Route 66 Scenic Byway roadside exhibits, highlighting the road’s impact on the community. And don’t forget to get that keepsake photo of you, your friends, and your car in front of the world’s largest painted Route 66 shield, located on the back wall of the Illinois Route 66 museum.
If historic architecture is what you seek, the newly restored 1875 Livingston County Courthouse, jewel of the historic downtown area, is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful courthouses in Illinois. Additionally, there are several historic homes, including the Jones House, the oldest brick home in Pontiac; the Yost House Museum; and the Strevell House, a carpenter gothic, wood-frame home that hosted Abraham Lincoln when he visited Pontiac as a lawyer traveling the judicial circuit.
Visitors will also enjoy Pontiac’s small town hospitality, unique walking tours, quaint parks and, perhaps, a stroll through Humiston Woods, a stunning 120-hectacre nature preserve. Pontiac is the only Midwestern city able to boast three swinging pedestrian bridges, and no visit is complete without crossing the Vermilion River on at least one of them. The downtown area buzzes with excitement with a variety of annual street festivals, live entertainments, classic car shows, and fairs. Softball tournaments, drama in the park and other outdoor events are scheduled throughout the spring, summer and fall in Pontiac. Heritage travelers, antique hunters, and art lovers will always find something unique in Pontiac.
The Pontiac Visitors Center has maps and brochures available, and every traveler should pick up a VIP button to receive special discounts from many of the local shops.