Word is out about O’Fallon, Missouri. According to Money magazine, O’Fallon residents really know how to live. In 2012 the St. Louis suburb ranked among the top 100 on the magazine’s list of “Best Places to Live” in America. Travelers to the city of 80,000 will agree that the qualities that earmark O’Fallon as a great place to live also make it a fabulous getaway.
Much of the fast-growing city’s appeal stems from its sense of community and celebration of American tradition. Several must-see attractions not only preserve local heritage but also commemorate significant events in American history.
Two popular attractions portray O’Fallon’s patriotic spirit. One is the First Responders 9/11 Memorial. The 17-foot monument, constructed of steel salvaged from the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center, displays a plaque naming all firefighters and police officers who died rescuing victims trapped in the structure’s twin towers. In 2001 O’Fallon dedicated its own unique memorial to US soldiers. The Veterans Memorial Walk features 64 pairs of cast-bronze boots arranged as if marching in formation. An eternal flame burns continuously. Admission is free year-round.
Other popular O’Fallon attractions honor area pioneers from the 1800s. Zumwalt’s Fort is one of some 35 “settler forts” that once stood in Missouri and is the only War of 1812 settler fort being reconstructed. The stronghold began as a large log home built by resident Jacob Zumwalt in 1798. When the War of 1812 sparked deadly Native American attacks against local immigrants, many people sought shelter within the Zumwalt home.
Nearby, the Heald Home, built circa 1884, is another important historical site that was restored after falling into disrepair. More artifacts from that century can be found at Log Cabin Museum in Civic Park, in north O’Fallon. Also located in Civic Park is a favorite summertime family attraction, Alligator’s Creek Aquatic Center. The water park appeals to all ages, with two giant slides, a one-meter spring diving board, a lazy river and “dive-in” movie nights. Additionally, Civic Park is home to the town’s bandstand, while Fort Zumwalt Park features Lake Whetsel and hosts the month-long Celebration of Lights, an annual drive-through holiday light display, between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Each January brings O’Fallon’s earliest annual event: Cabin Fever Daze. The family-friendly festival features ice skating on an outdoor rink, the Human Dogsled Race, field broomball and the ever-popular Fruit Cake Chuckin’. Billed as “Missouri’s Best Free Fourth of July Celebration,” the Heritage & Freedom Fest is O’Fallon’s largest annual event. Visitors can enjoy national entertainment, regional bands, a carnival midway and two nights of fireworks.
Every Tuesday all summer long, you can settle into your lawn chair at Civic Park Bandstand for the Jammin’ Outdoor Concert Series. Parking is free, kids’ activities are free and, best of all, listening to three hours of live music is free: from pop, country and classic rock to zydeco and funk, and from blues and disco to ‘80s retro. O’Fallon really does have something for everyone.