About Pontiac

Pontiac, Illinois - A Small Town with Something for Everyone
Centrally located in Illinois, Pontiac offers its visitors a unique collection of interesting places and great things to see. Home of the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum, the Pontiac Oakland Automobile Museum and Resource Center, the Livingston County War Museum, and the Museum of the Gilding Arts, Pontiac has something to suit every taste.

We invite you to view our Pontiac video below.  You can find out more about Pontiac by using the links to the left or the category headers above.  You can contact us for further information by email or by phone: (815) 844-5847.
Pontiac city logo
Attractions and Points of Interest
There are 24 large, outdoor murals that are conveniently located in the historic downtown shopping district, and 9 Looking for Lincoln wayside story boards nearby. The Vermillion River frames several of Pontiac's many beautiful public parks, and during the summer, the Vermillion Players present live theatrical entertainments at Chautauqua Park. Pontiac's four museums are located in the downtown district, and the Pontiac Museum Complex houses an assortment of exhibits.

Architecture and Shopping

Heritage travelers who enjoy architecture will find much to like in Pontiac. The 1875 Livingston County Courthouse, the centerpiece jewel of the historic downtown area, is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful courthouses in Illinois. Around the courthouse square are some delightful shopping opportunities.  Most of our stores are housed in quaint, turn of the century buildings that have been a part of our historic downtown setting for decades. 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 which hosted Abraham Lincoln when he visited Pontiac as a lawyer traveling the judicial circuit.

Pontiac's History

History lovers will be entranced with Pontiac’s past. Pontiac’s early history includes visits from Abraham Lincoln, and a period of time when the city was one of the Midwest’s leading shoe manufacturers. Serving as the commercial, social, and political center of the area, Pontiac offered riverboat service for passengers and freight, early railroad service, and was strategically located on what was then known as the Pontiac Trail. Today, visitors typically arrive by car using either Interstate 55 or the more nostalgic Old Route 66. Amtrak service is still available and overnight visitors will find a selection of hotels here.

Small Town Hospitality

Visitors enjoy Pontiac’s small town hospitality, unique walking tours, quaint parks and, perhaps, a stroll through Humiston Woods, a stunning 300 acre nature preserve. Pontiac is the only Midwestern city to boast of having 3 swinging pedestrian bridges, and no visit is complete without crossing the Vermilion River on at least one of them. 

Downtown Entertainment

The downtown area buzzes with excitement with the variety of entertainments offered at the Eagle Performing Arts and Conference Center.  Dinner theater, music concerts, comedians, fashion shows, and other events are planned throughout the year.  Pontiac also enjoys annual street festivals, live outdoor 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. All of Pontiac's museums have maps and brochures available, and every traveler should pick up a VIP button to receive special discounts from many of the local shops. 

Pontiac’s Top Attractions

4 Great Museums

Admission Free to all museums, and we love donations
  • Livingston County War Museum
  • Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum and Resource Center
  • The new Museum of the Gilding Arts
  • Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum

Looking for Lincoln Story Trail Exhibits

9 historic markers/sites which explain Abraham Lincoln’s many and varied connections to the city.

Bob Waldmire Experience and Exhibits

One of Route 66's more unique characters, Bob lived as a traveling artist - making and selling his art along Route 66.  See his artwork, his "Road Yacht" home, and his road car - the VW Van that was the model for the character of Fillmore in the movie, Cars.  

Route 66 Scenic Byway Exhibits

6 wayside story boards telling the history of the Mother Road in Pontiac.

LIfe in the 1940s Exhibits

A look back at the home decor of the 1940s.  Includes a recreation of the Stage Door Canteen.

3 Swinging Pedestrian Bridges

The only place in Illinois to see 3 of these suspension bridges.

Historic Livingston County Courthouse and Downtown Shopping District

Architecture dating back to the 1800’s, and wonderful shops.

Murals on Main Street

Walking tour of 24 large, colorful, outdoor murals depicting the social, economic, and cultural history of Pontiac.

Places to Visit

Historic homes, Route 66 heritage sites, beautiful parks, and three swinging pedestrian bridges.

Dining and Lodging

Convenient, clean, and friendly restaurants and lodging options.