Ottawa, Illinois is situated where the Fox River meets the Illinois River. That's how the city got its start. The presence of these two waterways made the area a natural place for trade. In fact, the name Ottawa is actually an Indian phrase that means "to trade"!

The Illinois River remains important to Ottawa to this day. It provides access to the Mississippi River to barges originating in Lake Michigan. The river is wide and calm, making for good boating and watersports as well fishing and swimming. You can even rent a houseboat and vacation on the water! Or you can watch barges go through a lock at the Illinois Waterways Welcome Center. It's a fascinating sight. You might also catch eagles flying overhead and nesting in the area.

The city of Ottawa has a storied history, and the characters in one of those stories can still be seen in beautiful Washington Square Park. The first of the now famous debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas occurred in the park in 1858. To commemorate this event, statues of both men were erected in 2002. Various historical buildings surround the park. In the summer, you can catch concerts in the park every Saturday.

Looking for good food and drink on a Friday or Saturday night? Ottawa is the place to be! Plenty of restaurants and bars can be found around town. Cafe on Main has great coffee and serves excellent food. Captain's Cove Bar and Grille offers stunning views of the river as well as delicious cuisine and cocktails.

There's always something to do in Ottawa. If you're not Eagle-watching at the Illinois River or exploring historical Washington Park Square, you're enjoying a fine spirit or a sumptious meal on a patio downtown. The city absolutely hums with life!