city in Macon County, Illinois, United States

Decatur is a city in Macon county, Illinois. There are many examples of Frank Lloyd Wright's influence on the Prairie Style Architecture in Decatur.



Decatur is home to approximately 70,000 people in 2020.

Decatur has hot and humid summers, and cool to mild winters. The city experience on average 75.6 °F (24.2 °C) in July and 26.9 °F (−2.8 °C) in January, with a certain degree of snowfall and thunderstorms activity. The central location of Decatur between major cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis is one of the reasons people may choose to live and open businesses here. Some notable businesses include Caterpillar, Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (ADM), and Decatur Memorial Hospital.

Surrounding communities, such as Forsyth, located to the north, and Mt. Zion, located to the southeast, are adjacent to Decatur. Both communities provide the feel of small-town living--yet offer shopping malls, movie theatres, and many dining and recreation opportunities.

The city is named after the War of 1812 naval officer Stephen Decatur.



Founded in the early 1800s, Decatur is rich in history. President Abraham Lincoln spent 30 years in and out of Decatur, allowing the city to play a pivotal role in Lincoln’s political career. Three-time Illinois Governor and close friend Richard Oglesby nominated Lincoln for Presidency during the 1860 Illinois Republican Convention where the Main Street Bank and Trust’s parking lot stands today. Several of Lincoln’s “paths” through Decatur are marked with plaques and statues throughout the city.

The Chicago Bears started in Decatur. Originally named the “Decatur Staley’s”, the Bears were born here in 1920 as a company team for Staley Starch Works. “Black Bart”, the West’s most infamous stagecoach robber, and civil war hero, once lived in Decatur.

Get in

Map of Decatur (Illinois)

By plane

  • Decatur Municipal Airport. Air service to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. The Decatur Municipal Airport has been designated a Foreign Trade Zone and maintains a U.S. Customs Service office at the airport.

By car

  • Interstate 72, U.S. 51 and 36, and Illinois Routes 48, 121, and 105 connect Decatur. Cities such as Springfield, Bloomington, and Champaign are all a quick 45 minutes drive away, while larger cities, such as St. Louis, Chicago, and Indianapolis are about three hours away.
  • Clinton Lake (30 minutes north), created by Illinois Power Company as a cooling lake for its nuclear plant, is a vast 10,000-acre area operated by the State of Illinois. The 4,900-acre lake has 130 miles of shoreline, a beautiful 1,000-foot swimming beach, more than 300 campsites, boat and canoe launch points, a marina, and numerous hiking trails and picnic sites.
  • The Decatur Park District includes more than 48 parks covering over 2,000 acres. The park includes 63 ball diamonds, five award-winning public golf courses, two public swimming pools, dozens of tennis courts, playgrounds and pavilions, and public gardens. The district also serves people with disabilities with its Special Recreation programs and is the host of Region I Special Olympics.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture One of the most unique streets in the State of Illinois is Millikin Place, a neighborhood of several prairie-style homes, including the Irving residence at 2 Millikin Place, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Other homes on the street were designed and built by Marion Mahony and Hermann von Holst, members of Wright's design group. Although the homes are privately owned, they can be observed from the street.
  • Lake Shelbyville (30 minutes south) features over 11,000 acres of water, 172 miles of shoreline, and innumerable coves. Lake Shelbyville is a perfect host for a variety of activities, including boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, golfing, public beaches, and horseback riding.
  • Scovill Oriental Gardens, Anna Bethel Fisher Rock Garden, Rock Springs Center and Mari-Mann Herb Farm hold a host of opportunities for those outdoor lovers.
  • 1 Avon Theater, 426 N Water St. In downtown Decatur is the most successful independent movie theater downstate and has been featured in numerous national and international publications. The Lincoln Square Theater is the host of several theater productions, choirs, ballet troupes, high school groups, and professional solo performers throughout the year. Both of these theaters are also said to be haunted.  
  • 2 Millikin University, 1184 W Main St. A private university founded in 1901.  

There are plenty of local attractions to keep everyone busy. For art lovers Decatur is the home to over seven art galleries, highlighting both local and national artists. For those who are history buffs, museums such as Governor Oglesby’s Mansion, Mueller Museum, Staley Museum, Macon County Museum and the Millikin Homestead will keep one busy for hours. The Scovill Zoo, home to the only pack of socialized wolves in Illinois, and the Children’s Museum of Illinois offer fun for all ages. The Kirkland Fine Arts Center at Millikin University hosts nationally known musicians, entertainers, and university productions.

  • With over 30 miles (48 km) of shoreline, Lake Decatur has opportunities for fishing, sailing, boating, skiing, tubing, and just relaxing. For those who enjoy biking or hiking, Rock Springs/Fairview Bikeway connects three area parks with a 3.2-mile, 10-foot-wide trail.
  • The Macon County Conservation District offers more than 3,200 acres of walking trails, prairies, and abundant wildlife. These parks include Rock Spring Conservation Area, Friends Creek, and Fairview Park.
  • Decatur is the host of more than 130 festival and entertainment events each year, including the Decatur Celebration, Illinois' largest family street festival, and the Farm Progress Show, the nation’s largest outdoor farm show.
  • Four Star Family Restaurant, 1100 IL-121, Mt Zion. A 1950s-style diner with nostalgic decorations. It is a 10-minute drive from Decatur Municipal Airport.
  • Krekel's. Classic Americana
  • 1 La Gondola, 2825 N Water St, +1 217-875-4888. Tu–Th 11AM–7PM, F Sa 11AM–9PM, closed Sun–Mon. Family-owned restaurant offering American interpretations of Italian classics. Hot and cold sandwiches, pasta, and lots of made-from-scratch bread. The takeout menu offers spaghetti and meat sauce sold by the half gallon (two liters) for about $20 and a family-size salad for $10, so if you've got your own plates and utensils, you can serve four people for $30. For dine-in options, expect to spend $10–15 for a big sandwich at lunch and $15–20 for pasta at dinner ($10 for child-size spaghetti with a small drink).
  • 2 TapRoot Restaurant, 170 N. Merchant St., +1 217-330-6365, . M-F 11AM-2PM, M-Sa 5-9PM. Contemporary American cuisine. A full-service bar, and banquet facilities. Children are welcome, and reservations are recommended.
  • 3 The Gin Mill, 124 E Prairie Ave, +1 217-330-8073. A fine-dining restaurant in downtown Decatur, reservation is recommended.


  • 1 Decatur Brew Works, 102 E. William St.
  • 2 Door 4 Brewing Co., 1214 W Cerro Gordo St.
  • 3 Golden Fox Brewing LLC, 2874 N Dinneen St.


  • 1 Country Inn & Suites - Decatur, 5150 Hickory Point Frontage Rd., toll-free: +1-866-460-7456. 72 guest rooms, indoor pool, fitness center, business center, free internet access, complimentary breakfast. $119+.
  • 2 Decatur Conference Center and Hotel, 4191 W US Highway 36 (Wyckles Road), +1-217-422-8800, fax: +1 217-422-9155. Conference Hotel with standard guest rooms, jacuzzi suites, and extensive banquet facilities. Great for business conventions.
  • Hawthorn Suites Decatur, 2370 South Mt. Zion Road, +1 217-864-9311. Business travelers will enjoy in-room business services, featuring an oversized work area complete with dual phone lines and data port, personal voice mail, complimentary daily newspaper and free High-speed Wireless Internet Access.

Go next

Routes through Decatur
HannibalSpringfield  W   E  MonticelloChampaign
HannibalSpringfield  W   E  TuscolaIndianapolis
RockfordBloomington ← Jct W   E  N   S  VandaliaCarbondale
PeoriaLincoln ← Jct N   S  N   S  MattoonGreenup

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