Litchfield, Illinois: Your next filming destination
Litchfield is a destination that includes original Route 66 icons complete with glowing neon lights, a charming downtown accented by turn of the century architecture, and a stunning Lake surrounded by lush landscapes of native woodlands and picturesque countryside. These features make Litchfield, Illinois a city that was destined for the big screen.
Located along Interstate 55, 60 miles north of the Gateway to the West, St. Louis, MO, and 40 miles south of Illinois’ Capital, Springfield, IL, this Central Illinois gem is not only easily accessible and contains a wide range of beautiful and diverse landscapes, but it also possesses the amenities needed to make filming as simple as possible.
This leaves only one box left unmarked on your scouting check list: a tax break. So, get ready to check that box now, because we have that too! Filmmakers who shoot in Illinois are eligible for a 30% tax credit on all qualified expenditures, including post-production. We understand a budget and are happy to connect you with the right person to talk with.
Filming in Litchfield, IL is easy. With picturesque landscapes, unique structures, convenient amenities to make filming effortless, and a substantial tax incentive for filming in Illinois, Litchfield is an ideal filming location for your next big production.
Embrace the Mother Road: Get your kicks on Litchfield’s Route 66
Looking to experience the Mother Road? You’ve cruised into the right town. With two separate alignments of Route 66, 1930-1940 and 1940-1977, spanning Litchfield you can bet we’ve got some fuel to rev your engine.
Complete with neon lights, historic attractions, and authentic Route 66 flair, Litchfield’s Route 66 is still living history. Lined with original Route 66 businesses and access to wide open spaces, the allure of Route 66 nostalgia can easily be captured on film when in Litchfield.
Built in 1935, the interior and exterior of the Ariston Café match in charm, nostalgia, and authenticity. The exterior of this restaurant glows with original neon lights, and the interior is decorated with original retro décor. Nothing quite compares to the charm of this notable Route 66 monument.
For another unique Route 66 dining experience, accented with pastel pink, coral, and turquoise diner décor, and add a dessert counter that will stop you in your tracks, visit Jubelt’s Bakery and Restaurant. This locally owned family restaurant is on the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame, and its charming atmosphere is sure to make you feel right at home.
There is more than food on the Mother Road. The Litchfield Skyview Drive-In offers a one of a kind movie experience. This open-air theater has an original lighted exterior Drive-In roadway sign, speaker posts, snack bar, and runs the original “10 minutes to showtime” pre-roll. Here in Litchfield drive-in movies are not a thing of the past, so roll on up in the sedan or sit in the bed of that pickup truck and watch a classic flick under the twinkling starlight.
There is nothing more classic than Route 66 neon lights. If you are looking for even more neon, check out both Niehaus Cycle Sales and the Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center. Both buildings are designed in a retro style typical of the Route 66 era with red and blue neon lights trimming the building’s exteriors. The Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center has numerous Route 66 artifacts and the original operational Vic Suhling Gas Station neon sign, while Niehaus Cycle Sales is an operational Honda dealership complete with black and white checkered flooring that sets the scene.
Come and embrace the Mother Road in Litchfield, Illinois.
Lake Lou Yaeger: On the water and the shore
Lake Lou Yaeger Recreational Area is the center of Litchfield’s busting outdoor culture. This outdoor paradise is ideal for boating, fishing and swimming, and the surrounding park offers trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, along with multiple camp grounds, and a conservation area. This Central Illinois haven offers a stunning backdrop to whatever outdoor adventure you have in mind.
Jump right in; the water’s great. Embrace the vacation atmosphere of Lake Lou Yaeger. This 1,400 acre, 5.5 mile long lake is the perfect atmosphere to cruise in a pontoon, wakeboard off the back of a ski boat, or catch the big one from your fishing boat. With no horsepower limit, this lake is open to boats of all types.
No boat, no big deal. With miles of shoreline, grab your fishing pole and set up on one of the peninsulas or relax among the trees on the bank of a cove. With permanent covered structures available, these areas are also great settings for picnics.
Enjoy the water from Milnot Beach. This sand beach is great for basking in the sun, floating amongst the waves, swimming laps, constructing sand castles, or showing your moves jumping off the diving boards. Milnot beach is complete with a beach house and snack bar. You will forget your worries as you relax on the beach of this Central Illinois paradise.
Looking for a place to “rough it”, pack up the tent, camper, or two door sedan and head to a campsite complete with a fire pit surrounded by gorgeous woods that change with each season. Campgrounds include primitive, RV, equestrian, and camping cabins.
Don’t forget to hit the trails. Don some hiking boots or grab a mountain bike and set out exploring the woods. The Route 66 Hike & Bike trail traverses Illinois woodlands, and is complete with beautiful valleys and stunning lake vistas. If you prefer to hoof it, literally, there are also 25 miles of horse trails in the park. Nearby Shoal Creek Conservation Area is home to 700 plant, 70 butterfly, and 70 bird species and one of the best remaining examples of a native Illinois environment. With so much nature and adventure encompassing the Lake Lou Yaeger Recreational Area, make sure to bring the telephoto lens.
You will find plenty to see, do, and explore at Lake Lou Yaeger.
Downtown: Charming, quaint, and full of character
Mix with the locals in Litchfield’s downtown. The eclectic selection of salons, boutiques, and resale shops, along with turn-of the century architecture, gives Litchfield’s downtown a classic Midwestern vibe.
Explore local shops or take a jaunt to the classic revival style gem, the Litchfield Carnegie Library building, complete with a restored 1900s fountain and adjacent Veteran’s War Memorial and garden. The charm and quaintness of Litchfield’s downtown is amplified by a historically inspired streetscape complete with decorative light posts and red brick boulevards reminiscent of the 1900s.
In addition to Litchfield’s inviting streetscape, the welcoming downtown buildings create an ideal, camera-friendly setting, accented with iconic landmark buildings. Still standing in Litchfield’s downtown are the former Brown Shoe Company Factory, the Elk Tower, the Masonic Temple, Historic Train Depot, and House of Sunshine Magazine buildings. Each with a unique look of their own.
Surrounding Litchfield’s historic downtown are numerous attractive homesteads. Homes are constructed in the Victorian, Italianate, Colonial, and American Modern styles. The surrounding rural countryside includes many picturesque working family farms.
Litchfield, IL is an easy-going, salt-of-the-earth destination, packed with Midwest charm, Route 66 nostalgia, and picturesque scenery.
Terrain: From Mother Nature to the Mother Road
In addition to the nostalgia of Route 66, the relaxing natural scenery of Lake Lou Yaeger, and the charm of Downtown, the remaining terrain that surrounds Litchfield is open, expansive, and the epitome of Midwest living. Not only does Litchfield offer vibrant scenes of woodlands and lakes, as well as the classic vibe of Route 66, the surrounding countryside of Litchfield offers wide open plains and rolling hills.
This is where filmmakers can find quaint country homes, livestock, horse paddocks, and vast amounts of rich farmland. This is where the sunsets paint the sky with neon colors, the stars shine brightly in a dark night sky, and the sunrise reflects off the morning dew. This stunning setting is enough to make you pause, enjoy, and capture the moment.
Climate: Multiple seasons worth filming
Located in the Midwest, Litchfield is fortunate to have weather that changes with each passing season. Spring brings beautiful blossoms from the Redbud, Dogwood, Magnolia, and Crabapple trees, and the blooms from Crocuses, Daffodils, and Tulips line homes. Grass turns to a luscious and vibrant blanket of green as spring temperatures range from 50s to mid 60s. As the year transitions into summer and the trees have reached their full volume, another season of wildflowers joins the wild prairie grasses as the crops begin to grow. The beautifully warm weather is ideal for summer lake activities. As time continues to pass, the trees welcome fall with their vibrancy of red, gold, and chartreuse leaves brightening up both forests and yards. Crops reach their full potential and the harvest season begins. The weather starts to cool and is ideal for campfires and trail walking. Then the crisp winter air blows in from the north. With the leaves down, the forests are open and barren, and the eye can see for miles. When the snow chooses to fall every branch is flocked, pristine, and picturesque. Then time comes full circle and returns to spring.
Getting Here: Zero traffic delays
Located just an hour south of the Illinois State Capitol, Springfield, IL, and an hour north of the Gateway to the West, St. Louis, MO, Litchfield’s location couldn’t be better.
Easily accessible from Interstate 55, Route 66, and Route 16, Litchfield is at the crossroads of three major roadways. The closest place to fly into is the Litchfield Municipal Airport. This general aviation public owned airport has two hard surface runways ideal for small private planes and jets. A courtesy car will take you to your hotel or car rental.
Nearby airports with commercial flight accommodations located an hour from Litchfield include: St. Louis Lambert International Airport, Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield, IL, and MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, IL.
Traveling should never be a burden. You won’t find traffic jams here, and that’s just the way we like it.
Accommodations: Stay a while
Good work requires rest. While you are in Litchfield you may choose to stay at any of our competitively priced national brand hotel properties. All hotels are located directly off Interstate 55 and are surrounded by numerous restaurants and shopping centers. All hotels have a commute time of 10 minutes or less to most Litchfield destinations. To further uncomplicate your scouting decision, traffic, parking, and excess noise is never a problem here.
Meeting Spaces: Focus, create, and tell your story
Meeting spaces are essential for the planning stages of any production. Throughout the City of Litchfield there are multiple meeting spaces available to satisfy a group’s needs. These rent-able spaces range from large banquet style halls that hold over 400 individuals, to medium size conference rooms that can hold around 100 individuals, to small and private meeting spaces. Regardless of the requirements, we are happy to pair you with the facility that will best satisfy your needs.
Emergency Services: Safety first
We value the safety and well being of your staff and crew. It is important to have an emergency action plan that covers a range of scenarios. With a full-time Police Department and Fire Department, the City of Litchfield is happy to work alongside filmmakers to determine a plan of action that will best suit the security and safety needs of your production.
If a team member finds themselves in need of a medical professional, Litchfield is home to two outpatient walk-in clinics and HSHS St. Francis Hospital. HSHS St. Francis Hospital is a fully-licensed and accredited facility complete with a helicopter pad to allow for the emergency transfer of patients who require additional attention.
Tax Incentive: Illinois Film Productions Services Tax Credit
Cutting to the chase, there are additional financial benefits for selecting Litchfield, IL as your filming destination. We all work on a budget, so why not stretch it as far as possible. Filmmakers who shoot in Illinois can be eligible for a 30% Tax Credit on qualified spending. That’s right, 30%!
Qualified spending includes the following:
- —The use of Illinois vendors for goods and services.
- —Up to $100,000 per Illinois resident wages, per project
- —Pre and post production may qualify
- —No per project cap
- —No program cap
- —Sunsets in 2027
The minimum amount filmmakers must spend in Illinois to qualifying for this tax credit:
- —$50,000 for projects under 30 minutes
- —$100,000 for projects 30 minutes or over
You also may be wondering what productions are eligible for this tax credit. Productions that are eligible for this tax credit include:
- —Feature films
- —Television pilots & series
- —Non-scripted Television
- —Animated Content
- —Streaming/Online/Digital Content
- —Commercial Advertisements
Contact Us: Here to help
Are the ideas already flowing? We are here to help you produce your vision!
We know there is more to filming than picking up a camera, and we are here to help make the process as simple as possible. If you’re ready to roll and have further questions about Litchfield attractions and amenities, the permit process, or would like to schedule a scouting visit, please contact the Litchfield Tourism Office and we can help you make your planning effortless.
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 217-324-8147.