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Alton, Illinois

Small-town charm on the edge of metro St. Louis

Jewel of the Riverbend

This is the Riverbend region. It’s where the mighty Mississippi River cuts a long, beautiful curve between two states, interrupting its southward flow and turning back north to accept the waters of the Illinois River, then veering east for a few miles and finally south again to welcome the Missouri River.

And there sits Alton, a scenic and rustic town founded in 1818. At one time in the 19th century, Alton was growing faster than St. Louis, 20 miles to its south. Today, Alton benefits from retaining a natural small-town feel and lifestyle, along with easy access to its neighbor’s metropolitan amenities.


Alton and the Riverbend region are home to strong elementary and secondary education systems, scenic biking and hiking trails, 16 city parks with sports fields and playgrounds, charming and tasty restaurants, several state historical sites and a vibrant local music scene befitting the birthplace of the legendary jazz artist Miles Davis. The Riverbend has all of that, plus the perks of inclusion in the St. Louis metro area:

  • More than a dozen excellent four-year colleges and universities
  • Regular daily, round-trip train and bus service to Downtown St. Louis
  • Short drive to St. Louis Lambert International Airport
  • Easy access to major tourist attractions such as the Gateway Arch, Six Flags St. Louis and the Forest Park Zoo
  • Championship pro sports teams in the baseball Cardinals and hockey Blues
  • World-class arts and entertainment

For more information, check out Photo credit: Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau

Note: Business hours and activities may have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please call ahead or check websites for up-to-date info.

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