Where is the Illinois River Road?
Traversing both east and west sides of the Illinois River from Ottawa, 150 miles south to Havana, the Illinois River Road has spurs to the communities of Princeton and Canton. The Illinois River Road corridor has over 100 natural and historic sites and numerous unique communities located throughout its 10-county region.

The Scenic Byway is conveniently located between Chicago and St. Louis, but just far enough to get away from it all. So get off the beaten path and see what the Illinois River Road has in store for you!


Princeton Photos
Princeton Kiosk

Experience the Princeton Gateway
Along the Illinois River Road

Located just off Interstate 80 and served by AMTRAK, Princeton is the place to start your trip back to the things that matter. Experience the Lovejoy Homestead, an important site on the Underground Railroad network to freedom and National Historic Landmark; cross one of Illinois' five remaining covered bridges; venture in any direction to enjoy nature; or visit the unique shops and stately homes that line Princeton's brick streets. Princeton has numerous festivals including their month-long Festival 56 Summer Theater. Visitors can explore one of Illinois' first wind farms, or the state's first "wind powered" high school in nearby Manlius.


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Princeton Gateway Itineraries

Below are PDF files containing predefined itineraries for the Princeton Gateway area. Please download and print these helpful guides for your journey. Each itinerary requires the use of the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader software available here.

Princeton Gateway Maps

Below are links to Princeton Gateway PDF maps to assist you in planning your journey. PDF maps require the use of the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader software available here.

Ottawa PhotosPrinceton Gateway Resources

Come say hello to Princeton sometime. Whether you're visiting for a day, a week or a lifetime, Princeton welcomes you. But, we're much more than just friendly; we've got a flare for the arts. Every summer, Princeton plays host to Illinois' largest summer festival, Festival 56. Each season brings a new array of exceptional comedies, musicals and theater classics, plus free outdoor performances of Shakespeare.

Princeton also has an interesting and quirky history dating back to 1831. The Owen Lovejoy Homestead, a stop on the underground railroad, still stands today on the eastern edge of town. Rev. Lovejoy, a dynamic and passionate abolitionist, occupied the Homestead from 1838-1864. He was a sponsor of the bill that would later become the Emancipation Proclamation.

Our famous Red Covered Bridge was built in 1863. This historic bridge crosses the Big Bureau Creek and is part of the Peoria-Galena Trail.

Speaking of trails, Princeton is the crossroads for the Ronald Reagan Trail, the Galena Trail, Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway, Amtrak and Interstate 80 which alludes to how easily accessible Princeton is from points North, South, East, and West.

Shopping in Princeton is relaxing, friendly, diverse and enticing enough to put a dent in your credit card. Our wonderfully walkable, old-fashioned Main Street offers two and a half miles of terrific shopping at more than 50 stores.

Come to Princeton and discover the way life should be.

Below are links to Princeton Gateway resources to assist you in planning your journey.

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