The city of O’Fallon is in Southern Illinois’ Metro East region, a few short miles east from the Mississippi and St. Louis, Missouri.
So while there’s much to enjoy close, from a thriving downtown area, to charming landmarks, superb parks and a sprawling system of bicycle trails, you’re never far from the blockbuster sights and visitor attractions of one of the largest cities in the Midwest.
At the heart of local life and key to the local economy, is the Scott Air Force base, which dates back to World War I and has an outdoor museum with some impressive aircraft.
1. Downtown O’Fallon
At the very center of O’Fallon the railroad tracks are traced by trees and grassy areas. On either side of this corridor, in some handsome old buildings, are the many shops, restaurants and bars of downtown O’Fallon.
It’s fair to say that this district is in fine fettle, with unique shops for bikes/bike repair, gourmet specialty foods, comics, pet care, charcuterie, toys, flowers and more.
All around is a wide-ranging dining selection, whether you’re in the mood for pizza, BBQ, sweet treats, American cuisine or pub fare.
Downtown O’Fallon also has a new hub for events at O’Fallon Station, which we’ll come to a little later in this list.
2. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
Around a thousand years ago there was a majestic city not far from O’Fallon in Collinsville. At its peak in the 12th century CE, Cahokia was home to as many as 18,000 people, making it the largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico.
Preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a state historic site, dozens of earthwork mounds across 2,200 acres serve as reminders of this ancient city.
The most imposing of all is Monks Mound, begun in the first half of the 10th century CE and measuring 100 feet high and 775 feet wide.
The interpretive center on the site offers plenty of context, reconstructions, facts and figures and an array of artifacts recovered from the city.
3. St. Louis
Whatever your reason for coming to O’Fallon, the city known as the Gateway to the West will surely figure in your plans.
That status is symbolized by the magnificent and world-famous Gateway Arch (1965), the tallest structure of its kind in the world, at 630 feet.
The Saint Louis Zoo in picturesque Forest Park is often listed among the best on the planet, and the Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis Science Center and City Museum lead a packed field of worthwhile museums and educational attractions.
St. Louis is of course home to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, well worth a tour, and has big-time sports teams, from MLB’s Cardinals to the NHL’s Blues.
4. Vine Street Market
Right by the railroad tracks in the heart of downtown O’Fallon is a recent attraction established by the city’s parks and recreation department.
O’Fallon Station is an elegant, brick structure serving as a venue for public events, markets and celebrations throughout the year.
Vine Street Market, taking place here on Saturday mornings, is O’Fallon’s farmers’ market, where you can pick up local seasonal produce, meats, baked goods, dairy, pet supplies, freshly made food and beverages and all kinds of handmade goods.
The market is usually soundtracked by live music, and there’s also a drive-thru market on Tuesday evenings.
5. O’Fallon Family Sports Park
The city’s parks and recreation department maintains a first-class sports facility west of downtown and just off Interstate 64.
Spread across 200 acres, the O’Fallon Family Sports Park has been laid out to host league games, tournaments, exhibition games, clinics and camps, but also everyday recreation.
There’s a soccer complex here, with eight all-weather, lighted synthetic fields, and a baseball complex boasting eight lighted diamonds, with the same designer as the Cardinals’ Busch Field.
The park is also great for a family outing, offering two all-weather playgrounds, a splashpad, a fishing pond, four concession stands and a 2.1-mile path.
6. Scott Field Heritage Air Park
The United States Air Force Base next to O’Fallon dates back to 1917, making it one of the oldest continuously operating facilities of its kind in the country.
Scott Air Force Base has a key role as the headquarters of the Air Mobility Command (AMC) and the U.S. Transportation Command.
Like a small city, the base employs some 13,000 people and since the 2010s has been home to state-of-the-art cybersecurity squadrons.
For some background on the base you can visit the Scott Field Heritage Park, where you can view aircraft vital to the AMC’s operations, like a C-141 Starlifter, KC-135 Stratotanker, C-9 Nightingale and C-130 Hercules.
7. O’Fallon Community Park
The main park bordering downtown O’Fallon is the home of the city’s parks and recreation department and well-endowed with public amenities.
There’s the Memorial Pool, which we’ll talk about later in this article, but also the baseball facility Blazier Field, complete with bleachers.
As well as these you’ll find ample open green space, baseball diamonds, a basketball court, tennis courts, a playground, walking paths, pavilions, a BBQ grill, a community center and free-WiFi access.
There are four pavilions in all, available for rental by residents and non-residents.
8. MCT Goshen Trail
The MCT (Madison County Transit) takes care of more than 140 miles, linking 20 communities and allowing you to travel extensively across the county without needing a car.
To make things even simpler, the network was also developed with public transport in mind, so you’ll never be far from a bus stop or MetroLink station.
Most of the trails are on the rights of way of former industrial railroads, which the MCT started acquiring in the early 1990s.
One path local to O’Fallon is the Goshen Trail, on the namesake road that was built in the early 1800s to supply Madison County’s early settlers with salt.
Running north from Kyle Rd in O’Fallon for almost 20 miles, the Goshen Trail is paved with asphalt and connects with no fewer than five other MCT trails.
9. Gateway Classic Cars
This classic car dealer in O’Fallon has a gigantic showroom that doubles as an automobile museum.
For some this spectacular inventory will be a nostalgic walk down memory lane, or it might spark a little inspiration for potential buyers hoping to add to their collection.
Spanning more than a century, and in impeccable condition are Chevrolets, Fords, Mopars and a wealth of European cars.
Each vehicle comes with an interesting write-up, as well as engine and performance specifications. The sales staff are knowledgeable and will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
10. Rock Springs Rotary Park
Around a mile east of downtown is another lovely park, this one geared more towards passive recreation.
Two creeks on the Rock Spring Branch flow through the west and south side of this park, and then meet in the southwest corner.
The remainder of Rock Springs Rotary Park is wide open space that can be navigated via a trail system with two loops, one mile and half a mile long respectively.
There’s a pavilion here for picnics, as well as the Rock Springs Nature Center, which offers a fire pit.
Residents with puppers can make the most of the fenced dog park, with a big supply of poop bags, toys and its own water spout.
11. Marcus O’Fallon Cinema
The Marcus Theatres chain, which has locations across the Midwest, operates this 15-screen cinema in O’Fallon.
When we wrote this article the cinema had recently undergone a thorough renovation. Among the new additions are Dreamlounger recliners in all of the auditoriums, guaranteeing seven feet of legroom between rows.
There are also three SuperScreens and an UltraScreen, with oversized screen, Dolby Atmos sound and heated Dreamloungers. Check the website for listings, as well as specials such as $5 Tuesdays.
12. O’Fallon Memorial Pool
A summertime favorite, O’Fallon has an outdoor public pool complex on the northern side of Community Park.
This is open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, and is made up of two main pools. First you’ve got an L-shaped 25-meter lap pool for serious swimmers but also carefree recreation, as there’s a shallow entry area.
For toddlers, infants and parents there’s a shallow wading pool, which is shaped like a scallop shell and has a rainfall fountain at the center.
The complex has ample space, with sun loungers and a concession area selling snacks and drinks.
13. Centerfield Park
This family fun park on the west side of O’Fallon opens for the summer season and offers a variety of attractions to keep kids entertained.
There are two 18-hole miniature golf courses, a choice of go-karts for all ages, batting cages of varying speeds, bumper boats and a large, air-conditioned game room.
Centerfield Park also has a concession stand, for treats like hot dogs, pretzels, nachos, ice cream and sodas. Discounts are available on attractions with a “value card”, and the park also caters to birthday parties.
14. World’s Largest Catsup Bottle
If you have a taste for vintage novelty architecture there’s a great example a few minutes away in Collinsville.
High above Route 159 you’ll find the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, a smart disguise for a water tower built in 1949 for the nearby Brooks catsup plant.
The story goes that Brooks’ president, Gerhart. S. Suppiger came up with the idea of having the tower designed like a Brooks catsup bottle.
The plant was sold off in the early 1990s, but the tower remains and following a restoration in 1995 was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
15. Hesse Park
This well-kept public park sits just east of the O’Fallon Family Sports Park and like its neighbor is packed with amenities.
There’s a large, recently updated playground, four pavilions, a series of perfectly maintained pickleball courts, tennis courts, a basketball court and baseball diamonds.
Pavilions are available to rent, March through October, and there’s a bike trail running down the east side, cutting through Hesse Park and looping through a wetland area just to the northwest.