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Alton, IL & St. Louis Area

Attractions, Activities, Events & Happenings

15 Free (or Almost Free) Things to do Around Alton this Summer

There’s plenty to keep you busy around Alton, but we’ve narrowed it down to 15 top-notch attractions (in no particular order) that won’t break the bank!

1. National Great Rivers Museum – Alton, IL

Located next to the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, National Great Rivers Museum offers visitors the opportunity learn all about the Mighty Mississippi as well as its history and ecosystems through the museum’s educational and interactive exhibits. Tours of the locks are conducted daily at 10 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. Click here to read more.

National Great Rivers Museum
2 Lock and Dam Way
Alton, IL 62002
(618) 462-6979
Admission: FREE


 2. Alton Municipal Band Concerts – Alton, IL – June 4 – August 6

Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy some live music under the stars by Alton Municipal Band each Thursday evening at 8 pm at Riverfront Park (Alton Amphitheater) and each Sunday evening at 7 pm at Haskell Park. Alton Municipal Band’s Grand Finale Concert will be held August 6th at 8 pm at Lewis & Clark Community College.

Admission and parking are free.

Riverfront Park is located along Landmarks Boulevard in Alton, and Haskell Park is in the 1200 block of Henry Street in Alton; both parks are within just minutes of The BEALL MANSION. Book a stay at The Beall to receive special perks. Click here to see package details.

Lewis & Clark Community College
5800 Godfrey Road
Godfrey, IL, 62035


3. Grafton Riverside Flea Market – Grafton, IL

The most fabulous flea market on the river, Grafton Riverside Flea Market features over 50 vendors selling all types of items, including antiques, foods, tools, candles, furniture, and hand-crafted goods.

The flea market is open 9 am to 5 pm the 4th weekend of every month from March through October. Remaining dates are:

  • July 25th & 26th
  • August 22nd & 23rd
  • September 26th & 27th
  • October 24th & 25th

The prices are low, and admission and parking are free!

The Loading Dock
401 E. Front Street
Grafton, IL, 62037
(618) 786-3494


4. Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower – Hartford, IL

Step out onto decks at 50 feet, 100 feet, and 150 feet above the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, where Captains Merriwether Lewis and William Clark began their exploration of the West, and hear the story of their ground-breaking expedition. Click here to read more.

Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower
435 Confluence Tower Drive
Hartford, IL 62048
(618) 251-9101
Admission: $4 and under


5. Pere Marquette State Park – Grafton, IL

Pere Marquette State Park in scenic Grafton, IL has 8,000+ acres of magnificent scenery with hiking, biking, fishing, and even horseback riding!

Many activities are free while others may require a small fee. Click here to see a detailed list of activities at Pere Marquette State Park.

Pere Marquette State Park
13112 Visitor Center Lane
Grafton, IL 62037
(618) 786-3323


 6.  Great River Road 

With countless shops, eateries, and other attractions along the Great River Road, you’ll never be bored! Click here to see everything the Riverbend has to offer!

There’s so much to see and do – why not stay over at one of the area’s finest bed & breakfasts?


7. Alton Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market – Alton, IL – June 6 – October 17

Shop a cornucopia of fresh local food, as well as unique handmade items at the Alton Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market, each Saturday morning and Wednesday evening.

The prices are low, admission and parking are free, and you’ll help support local small farmers and artisans.

Alton Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market takes place at the corner of Landmarks Boulevard and Henry Street near Riverfront Park in Alton from 8 am – 12 pm on Saturdays and from 4 pm – 7 pm on Wednesdays.
The market is conveniently located just 2 minutes from The BEALL MANSION An Elegant Bed and Breakfast Inn.


8. Madison County Transit Bike Trails – Madison County, IL

#ExploreGreatRivers with Madison County Transit’s 9 scenic trails covering over 125 miles.

37 park and bike lots with direct access to the trail can be seen here.


9. Eckert’s Orchards – Grafton, Belleville, and Millstadt, IL

Throughout the summer and autumn, Eckert’s Orchard has numerous pick-your-own crops available. But the fun does not stop there! Eckert’s offers more entertainment for kids of all ages, and their parents! Other attractions include a petting zoo, pony and camel rides, miniature golf, FREE concerts on weekends (Belleville farm) and, of course, savory snacks for every taste.

There is no admission fee to pick your own crops; the crop is priced per pound. Special activities, such as pony and camel rides, require a small admission fee, and there are quarter-operated feed machines for the petting zoo.

***Belleville is the only farm that is open year-round. Grafton farm is scheduled to reopen July 20, 2015, and Millstadt farm is scheduled to open September 9, 2015.

Eckert’s Country Store & Farm (Belleville)
951 South Green Mount Road
Belleville, IL 62220
(618) 233-0513
Eckert’s Grafton Farm
20995 Eckert Orchard Road
Grafton, IL 62037
(618) 786-3445
Eckert’s Millstadt Fun Farm
2719 Eckert Lane
Millstadt, IL
(618) 233-0513


10. Hakuna Matata River Rambler Cruise – Grafton, IL

Cruise the Mighty Mississippi, learn its history, and take in the beautiful scenery along the Great River Road on the Hakuna Matata River Rambler Cruise, departing Grafton Harbor each Saturday at 4 pm, and each Sunday at 2 pm now through November 1st.

Admission: $18 and under

Grafton Harbor
215 Water Street
Grafton, IL 62037


11. Alton Museum of History & Art

Through the numerous exhibits, Alton Museum of History and Art shares the town’s rich past so that visitors may be able to discover for themselves the people, places, and events that influenced the community and the ancestors of Alton citizens.

Admission: $5 and under

Alton Museum of History & Art
2809 College Ave
Alton, IL 62002
(618) 462-2763


12. Annual Elsah Photography Exhibit – now through August 2

Amateur and professional photographers come together to present this annual exhibit, displaying photographs of the Village of Elsah and immediate areas in all seasons. The exhibit can be seen from 1 to 4 pm every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through August 2nd at Village of Elsah Museum.

Admission: FREE

Village of Elsah Museum
26 Lasalle Street
Elsah, IL 62028


13. Lewis & Clark State Historic Site & Interpretive Center (Camp Dubois)

Lewis & Clark State Historic Site showcases a realistic outdoor replica of Camp River Dubois, and much more. Be sure to visit the 14,000 square foot interpretive center, which houses a theatre, numerous interactive exhibits, and a 55-foot full-scale cutaway keelboat.

Admission: FREE, but there is a suggested donation of $4 for adults and $2 for children.

Lewis & Clark State Historic Site & Interpretive Center
1 Lewis and Clark Trail
Hartford, IL 62048
(618) 251-5811


14. Alton Parks

Alton boasts 1,400 acres of beautiful park space, not to mention the parks and recreational space in surrounding areas such as Godfrey and Grafton.

FREE parking is available


15. Alton Little Theater

Sit back, relax, and enjoy a good show at Alton Little Theater, which stages 3 plays and 2 musicals each season, summer to summer. (Did you know it’s the oldest (continuous) live theater company in the entire state of Illinois?)

Admission: $22 and under

Alton Little Theater
2450 Henry St
Alton, IL 62002
(618) 462-6562

To see even more attractions and activities in Alton and surrounding regions, visit our Area Activities page.

Professional Association of Inkeepers International   Illinois Bed and Breakfast Association    Alton Illinois Main Street    St Louis CVC St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission   Illinois Romantic Places Illinois Greater St. Louis