The first Lincoln-Douglas senatorial debate was held in Ottawa’s historic Washington Square on August 21, 1858. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas stood in this beautiful park to deliver the first of seven senatorial debates. It was estimated that 20,000 spectators gathered to witness this famous debate. The site of the debate is marked by a boulder and plaque, and a fountain topped by bronze statues of the “Railsplitter” and “The Little Giant” forms the centerpiece of the beautifully landscaped square.
Amenities: Amphitheater, Benches, 2 Boat Launches, 3 Docks, Fishing Area, Parking, Picnic Tables, Playground, Toboggan Run, Riverwalk, Shelters, Washrooms
In the winter bundle up and slide on down – the toboggan run is fun for the whole family! Bring your sled and enjoy a day in the snow at Ottawa’s Toboggan Run – Located on the east side of Allen Park.
Towering forty feet above the Illinois River and weighing an astonishing seventeen tons each, these two massive steel sculptures are now registered with the Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog and can be found in Ottawa’s own picturesque Allen Park. Created by native artist, Mary Meinz-Fanning, these historical art structures are fashioned from parts of Ottawa’s old Hilliard Bridge, originally built in 1933. The yellow sculpture is named “Reclining” and the red one is known as “Bending”. It was Fanning’s vision that both sculptures serve as a commeration to the old bridge. Come marvel at their unique construction as you stroll along the river.
Nature, History & Bikes, OH MY!
“History” is a snapshot in time. Layer those snapshots on top of each other, look through them an see the present. Awesome Ottawa Bike Tours are the only way to see this tableau. Visit the sights and hear the stories that have taken Starved Rock Country from an Indian trading post on the 1600’s to the vacation destination over 2.5 million visitors today.
As depicted on the flag of Ottawa, Illinois, our guided tour takes you through the for epochs of our history, the Indian; the French or Exploratory; the Pioneer; and the Present. Our 5-6 mile ( Easy) ride will take you to historically significant landmarks as well as little known areas lost in time. Over 2-3 hours, hear stories from citizens of the past to fully immerse yourself in the history of Starved Rock Country.
Awesome Ottawa tour guides are your personal concierge. Where is the best Manhattan or craft beer? Where is the best place to view wildlife? Where can we get Sushi? We can answer these and many more questions so you get the most out of your stay in our beautiful area.
There is no better way to experience Ottawa and Starved Rock Country than a personally guided bike tour through the flat, level streets, the easy trails and beautiful parks of Ottawa, Illinois. Leave the car, save the feet, tour by bike!
|The Bike Shop in Ottawa is a full service bicycle shop located on the I&M Canal on Chestnut Street. Rent a bike! If you want to test a bike style, or want to experience riding the trail but don’t have a bike, you can rent one! We have high quality bikes available to rent for $6 per hour. Helmets are required, and are available to rent for $1 per hour. Bring yours if you have one! Hours: Fri – Mon: 11am – 8pm Every other Tues: 11am – 8pm Closed Wed & Thurs|
William Dickson Boyce was a resident of Ottawa. He is remembered as the man who brought scouting to America. He was inspired by a chance meeting with a British Scout in a thick London fog. The boy showed him the way, saying that he was a Boy Scout and their motto was “Do a good deed everyday.”
Offering a wide range of shooting targets: Rifle Range, Shotgun Range, Plinking Pit. Range entrance fees are: Adult (age 16 & up) $25.00, Children (age 15 & under) $15.00. Open Season is April through September and hours are Monday & Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am-6pm.
Buffalo Rock State Park is located on a bluff which was once an island in the Illinois River. Now standing majestically on the north bank, this promontory affords a magnificent sweeping view of the Illinois River. Located approximately three miles west of Ottawa in LaSalle County, this 298 acre park has long been a favorite picnic area, as well as a nature lovers delight. The area of Buffalo Rock was the home of the Illinois Indians when Louis Jolliet, the French explorer, and the Jesuit missionary priest Father Jacques Marquette made their trip up the Illinois River in 1673. Later the Illinois Tribe was virtually annihilated in protracted warfare with the aggressive Iroquois.
|Come have a blast canoeing on the Fox River with C & M Canoe Rental. The Fox River is very scenic and fun to canoe. You, your family and friends can enjoy canoeing, fishing and swimming. Open Spring through Fall – 7 days a week Now available – Primitive Camping! The lower Fox River is one of the most scenic canoeing areas in the Midwest. It is known for sandstone cliffs, abundant wildlife, and scenic seasonal views. This back to nature area is a great way for the novice paddler to get their feet wet. The friendly people at C & M Canoe Rental can supply you with everything you need for your 2-3 hour or 2 day canoe outing. Canoeing rental rates include the use of a 17-foot river canoe, paddles, life jackets and transportation to a launch spot.|
|Open May through October, Catlin Park’s 333 acres are a mix of pine and deciduous forests, prairie grasses, rugged ravines, winding stream beds, deer in abundance, wild turkeys, birds, squirrels, and rabbits. The park’s well-organized trail system hosts 14 distinct trails plus numerous connector trails. These trails course throughout the park’s habitats, including its various streams and ponds. The trails are used by horseback riders, hikers, joggers, birdwatchers, and photographers. The well-groomed trails are perfect for novice horses or riders, yet challenging enough for more seasoned riders. Adjacent to a 120×60 ft. horse arena is an obstacle course used by the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Mounted Search and Rescue Posse. This course, which provides various desensitizing activities for training horses, is open to the public. Parking areas, picnic shelters, playground equipment, water, and outdoor restrooms are strategically located throughout the trail system.|
|Its a have-to-be-there-to-feel-it kind of place. The thrill of true wildness. The comfort of age, unhurried growth, deep roots. The mystery of what you will find at the leafy bottom of the next ravine. A place where the voices of Native Americans who walked this land long before you blend with the voices of today and tomorrow in a chorus of awe and admiration. Dayton Bluffs is part of Starved Rock County, Ottawa Visitors Center, and is supported by Heritage Harbor Resort. Explore this beautiful area just a short drive from the suburbs. For more information and to pursue your land preservation options, please contact our Director of Land Protection, Dan Lobbes 630-428-4500, Ext. 25.|
|Take your family out for a fun-filled game of bowling! Bowling Bumpers are available for the little ones! Dettore’s Town Lanes is open from 10 a.m. – 12 a.m. Monday through Friday, 11a.m. – 12a.m. Saturday, and 11a.m.-6p.m. on Sundays. Snack Bar and Grill are located inside!|
|Get the whole family involved with an invigorating game of Disc golf! Enjoy the fresh air and scenic views along the Fox River while playing disc golf on our 9-hole course at Ottawa’s Fox River Park. Test your precision at each hole as they weave around different obstacles or just toss for fun. No need to call a head for a “tee time” because Ottawa’s disc golf course is FREE and open to the public. Free scorecards and course maps are available at the Ottawa Visitors Center. But don’t forget your disc!|
Roast! See! Sip! Visit Famous Coffee Roasters, conveniently located in the 807 Building housing Jeremiah Joes Coffee! See how beans are received from overseas shippers, are selected and how roasting converts the raw product into your favorite beverage. Tour includes your own take-away sample and coupons for coffee and sweet treats all available at Jeremiah Joes. Sit back, relax and smell the coffee!
Famous Coffee Roasting Company
807 LaSalle Street
Ottawa, Illinois 61350
Tours By Appointment Only
|This early engineering marvel carried waters of the Illinois & Michigan Canal over the Fox River. The Fox River Aqueduct is the largest aqueduct along the I&M Canal Corridor. Built in the 1840s by David Sanger & Sons Construction Co. of Ottawa, the aqueduct spans a length of 464 feet. Supported by seven towering piers constructed of Joliet limestone, the aqueduct was once considered the eighth wonder of the world.|
Amenities: Bikeway/Hiking, Boat Launch, Boat Parking, Circular Basketball Courts, Docks, Fishing Area, Open Space, Picnic Tables, Playground, Shelter, Washrooms, Water Play Area, 9-hole Disc Golf Course –
|The Place to Ride! Fox Valley Off Road is a subsidiary of Motor Pro Inc. which also owns Megacross.com. This is a DHV park and is for motorcycles, and 4-wheel ATV’s only. Hours of operation are Saturday & Sunday 10am – 5pm. Prices are: Adult Riders – $20.00 and Youth Riders 12 & under $10.00. Rentals are not available.|