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Tourism

The area contains key tourist attractions—including history and heritage, monuments and museums.

The Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home is Dixon’s primary tourist attraction. The Reagan family moved to Dixon and to this house on December 6, 1920. President Reagan had lunch with his family and celebrated his 73rd birthday in this home on February 6, 1984. It was during this return trip to Dixon that he dedicated the restored home and said, “Everyone has a place to come back to, and for me, that place is Dixon, Illinois.” The facility offers guided tours, a visitor center and gift shop.

The Dixon Welcome Center overlooks the scenic Rock River directly across from the beautiful new riverfront project, “Heritage Crossing.” The Welcome Center also contains the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition interpretive exhibit. Heritage Crossing is a “downtown” gathering place with a life-size bronze statue of Reagan entitled “Begins the Trail” and features trails, performance space and restrooms.

The Dixon Historic Center is a History Research and Learning Center housed in President Ronald Reagan’s boyhood South Central School. Beautifully restored with the dedicated support of the townspeople and Reagan’s colleagues, the Center is proudly affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and is honored to be associated with the Library of Congress. Ronald Reagan's restored Sixth Grade Classroom and the Reagan History Room join the Auditorium, the Surround-Sound Theater and the Museum Store as significant spaces to tour, learn from and enjoy. Exhibits include other important Dixon historic connections such as Chautauqua, John Deere and the Walgreen Family.

Wings of Peace and Freedom was a gift to Dixon from a Bulgarian immigrant and Chicago businessman who admired President Reagan’s role in ending the Cold War. Located in Tanev Park, the sculpture is surrounded by gardens, a replica of the Berlin Wall and a tri-part mural that depicts Reagan’s legacy and his famous speech at Berlin’s Brandenberg Gate.

Veterans Memorial Park, dedicated to all Veterans of Military Service, contains a Howitzer, Anchor, M-60 Tank, Cobra Helicopter, 9/11 Memorial and Legacy Stone Walkway containing names of local area veterans. The Victory Memorial Arch on Galena Avenue has honored veterans of U.S. wars since 1919.

The Lincoln State Memorial is the only known statue of Abraham Lincoln in military uniform. The 23-year-old Lincoln is depicted as Captain of the Sangamon County Volunteers, and stands tall on the north bank of the Rock River at the site of Fort Dixon (where soldiers served during the Blackhawk Indian War of 1832). The John Deere Historic Site, Amboy Depot Museum and the Lincoln Highway Museum are other area tourism sites.

Dixon is home to a number of festivals throughout the year; the annual Dixon Petunia Festival (held the week of July 4th) is the oldest and largest. This festival celebrates Dixon as the “Petunia City”—in honor of the tens of thousands of pink petunias planted along city streets.

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