Are you considering making Alton, Illinois, your new home? This historic city along the banks of the Mississippi River has a lot to offer, but like any move, it’s essential to be well-prepared.

Moving to Alton, IL, can be an exciting adventure. By doing your research and preparing adequately, you can ensure a smooth transition and make the most of your new life in this charming city with a rich history and a welcoming community.




July 21, 1837

Brief History of Alton

Alton, located in Madison County, Illinois, has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1818. The area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Illini and the Piasa. The city gets its name from the town of Alton in New Hampshire.

In the early 19th century, Alton became an important river port due to its location on the Mississippi River. It served as a hub for steamboat traffic and played a significant role in the region’s economic development.

Alton’s history is intertwined with various significant events. One of its notable claims to fame is its connection to the Underground Railroad. The city became a crucial stop on the Underground Railroad network, aiding fugitive slaves in their journey to freedom. Alton’s proximity to the free state of Illinois made it an attractive destination for escaping slaves seeking refuge.

Alton takes pride in its rich history, particularly its connection to the Underground Railroad, the abolitionist movement, and the Civil War era. The city preserves and celebrates its historical sites, including the Elijah P. Lovejoy Monument and the Alton Museum of History and Art.

The city’s location on the Mississippi River has greatly influenced its culture. The river has been a vital aspect of the city’s identity, supporting its early growth as a river port and continuing to provide opportunities for recreation, scenic beauty, and riverboat cruises.

Alton is known for its quirks and specialties that make it unique. One such specialty is the Piasa Bird, a legendary creature depicted in a mural on a limestone bluff. The Piasa Bird has become an iconic symbol of Alton. Additionally, Alton is famous for its haunted history, and ghost tours exploring the city’s reputedly haunted locations are popular with visitors.


Things To Do in Alton

Take a Scenic Drive Down the Great River Road

Alton is located along the Mississippi River, and driving along the Great River Road offers breathtaking views of the river and surrounding landscapes. Stop at the many scenic overlooks, parks, and historic sites along the way.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, the Great River Road promises a rejuvenating adventure like no other. So, buckle up, roll down your windows, and let the tranquility of this iconic road and the serenity of the Mississippi River wash over you, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Explore the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site

Embark on a captivating journey through history at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site in Alton, Illinois. Nestled along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, this site serves as a living tribute to the legendary expedition of Lewis and Clark, who charted the uncharted West more than two centuries ago.

Step into the past as you explore meticulously recreated replicas of the expedition’s camp and learn about the daring adventures, challenges, and discoveries that shaped the course of American history. Walk in the footsteps of these intrepid explorers and gain insight into their encounters with indigenous cultures, diverse wildlife, and the untamed wilderness of the frontier.

With immersive exhibits, interactive displays, and knowledgeable guides, the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site offers an educational and awe-inspiring experience for all ages. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an outdoor lover, or a curious traveler, this site provides a window into a pivotal moment in American exploration.

Take a Riverboat Cruise

Step aboard and set sail on a journey through time and beauty as you embark on a riverboat cruise in Alton, Illinois. The mighty Mississippi River, steeped in history and natural splendor, serves as your liquid highway through the heart of the Midwest.

As you glide along the tranquil waters, you’ll be transported to an era of Mark Twain and steamboat tales. The gentle lapping of the river against the boat’s hull and the soothing hum of the paddlewheel create a serene ambiance, perfect for relaxation and reflection. Take in the breathtaking scenery, including lush riverbanks, dramatic bluffs, and picturesque river towns that dot the shoreline.

Alton Top Five’s


  • Alton Amphitheater

  • Alton Marina

  • Alton Little Theater

  • National Great Rivers Museum

  • Alton Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market


  • Bossanova Restaurant & Lounge

  • Bluff City Grill

  • Franco’s Restaurant

  • Brown Bag Bistro

  • Gentlin’s on Broadway


  • Rock Spring Park

  • Gordon F. Moore Community Park

  • Haskell Park

  • Riverview Park

  • Glazebrook Park