O’Fallon, IL, located 16 miles east of St. Louis, is known for its proximity to big-city amenities with a small-town feel. While many visitors may come for the shopping and dining options, locals know that the city has so much more to offer. Here’s a guide to the city’s best-kept secrets, from hidden parks to unusual museums.
1. Rock Springs Park
Tucked away in a residential area, Rock Springs Park is a natural oasis in the city. With hiking trails, a lake for fishing, a playground, and picnic areas, it’s a great place to spend a day outdoors. The park also has a historical connection – the WPA built the lake and shelter in the 1930s, and the park was once home to a zoo and amusement park in the early 1900s.
2. O’Fallon Community Garden
For those with a green thumb, the O’Fallon Community Garden is a must-visit. Located behind O’Fallon City Hall, the garden offers 45 plots for residents to grow their own produce. The garden also hosts events and classes, and the produce is often donated to local food banks.
3. St. Clair Square Farmers’ Market
While St. Clair Square is known for its shopping, the mall also hosts a weekly farmers’ market during the summer months. Local vendors sell fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and more, making it a great place to support local farmers and try new foods.
4. O’Fallon Historical Society Museum
The O’Fallon Historical Society Museum, located in the former City Hall building, showcases the history of the city through exhibits and artifacts. Visitors can learn about the city’s industries, schools, churches, and more, as well as view a collection of vintage cars.
5. Jeff’s Local
One of O’Fallon’s newer hidden gems, Jeff’s Local is a farm-to-table restaurant that sources ingredients from local farms and vendors. The menu changes often to reflect what’s in season, but past offerings have included ramen bowls, burgers, and creative cocktails.
6. Hesse Park
Hesse Park is another hidden gem in O’Fallon, with a playground, walking trails, and a serene lake. The park is also home to the city’s Veterans Memorial, which honors those who have served in the military.
7. Eden Wildlife Refuge
Just outside of O’Fallon, the Eden Wildlife Refuge is a sanctuary for exotic animals that have been abandoned or mistreated. The refuge is home to tigers, bears, wolves, and more, and visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the animals and their stories.
From natural wonders to unique attractions, O’Fallon has plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Take some time to explore the city beyond its main shopping and dining areas – you never know what you might find.