Itinerary: One and a Half Day I&M Canal History Tour

The Illinois and Michigan Canal played a huge part in forming today's midwestern cities, from Lemont down to LaSalle, the history is celebrated daily. Start your trip by learning about the early days in Illinois, visit museums, hear speakers and explore the famous Old Joliet Prison with stops for food made from the heart!


Day One

Start the day off in the charming town of Lemont. A visit to the historic town would not be complete without a visit to St.James at Sag Birdge which is where your journey will start. Be sure to make a stop for breakfast or your daily dose of caffeine in the downtown Lemont area! Plenty of local eats and treats to support here.




St. James at Sag Bridge The land of St. James played an important role as a look out for Indigenous People and later as a French Fort. The Church was later built by settlers with limestone from the nearby quarries.


Will county historical museum




Will County Historical Museum Located in the 1837 headquarters for the Illinois and Michigan Canal waterway, the museum strives to connect visitors the rich history of Will County and the I&M Canal.



The Public Landing Another building, vital to the I&M Canal construction, the Gaylord Building is now on the National Register of Historic Places and home to the popular Public Landing Restaurant. 



Old joliet prison north side entry way


Old Joliet Prison Beyond the forbidden walls, take a tour of the iconic gothic architecture, hear tales of some of the most notorious residents and the intricate history of the grounds.


Joliet Area Historical Museum Explore the rich history of the Joliet Area and the importance that the I&M Canal and Route 66 played in its history.





Downtown Morris and Canal Port Park The idealic Downtown Morris is filled with shops to explore, treats to indulge in and history to soak up. Just outside downtown, visit the Canal Port Park and read about the significance of Morris and the I&M Canal.


Tacos slider burgers and beer from Lone Buffalo Restaurant


Dinner at The Lone Buffalo Local favorites with a chef inspired twist, await you at the brewpub that pulls inspiration from the past for everything from their name and interior, to their food and beer menus.


Check in at a local area hotel, there are plenty to choose from! Here are some we recommend


Day Two

After a complimentary breakfast at the hotel, get ready for a morning full of local history that influenced the nation. Immerse yourself in the past while exploring the local museums and on a one-of-a-kind mule-pulled canal boat ride. Celebrate the end of your adventure with a warm meal and last minute window shopping before heading back on the bus to go home.




Ottawa Historical and Scouting Museum Home to one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America, Ottawa's museum showcases the evolution of the program as well as other important companies and residents from the Ottawa Area.

If you have a little extra time, another great museum to check out near by is the LaSalle County Historical Society location in Utica, IL. 




westclox museum image with 3 columns and historical items



Westclox Museum The company that began waking America up in 1885- the Westclox Museum tells the story of not only the company, but of the people who worked there.



canal tour with man and horse walking on I and M canal



Captain's I&M Canal Tour Step back into 1848 with our period-clothed “salty” boat crew and two friendly mules guiding you along the historic Illinois & Michigan Canal for an hour-long ride followed by a hearty hot meal in the I&M Canal Visitor Center.



Explore downtown LaSalle
Before returning home, take some time to explore downtown LaSalle.

Scenes from the Corridor