Metropolis, Illinois: A Superman-themed town
Metropolis does exist, and it’s a small town located in the Midwest. And you can find Superman here. In fact, he’s everywhere! If you have any superhero fans in your life, this is the place you’ll want to take them. It’s a quirky little town worth a road trip to southern Illinois. You can read all about Illinois Ohio River Scenic Byway in our book, Midwest Road Trip Adventures. Theresa Goodrich writes about this byway with a route and plans to travel through Metropolis.
Situated along the Ohio River in Massac County, Metropolis is just across the river from the popular Paducah, Kentucky. In 1972, Metropolis was adopted as the “Home of Superman.” It’s small-town America at its best, another gem in the Midwest.
When arriving in Metropolis, you’ll immediately notice a Superman theme. You can’t miss the Superman statue, but in addition, you’ll find a Superman museum, murals, and even the gas station that has Superman photo opportunities and merchandise. Every summer, a Superman Celebration takes place, a 4-day event with live music, races, a car show, games, and more. Metropolis is also known for its casino, parks, and wildlife.
Located just minutes from Metropolis is the Shawnee National Forest. You’ll want to set aside and day or two just to visit this majestic forest and Garden of the Gods, offering some of the best scenic views in the state.
Places to Visit in Metropolis
Superman Square Market St., Metropolis, IL
First and foremost, stop by the Superman Statue for a photo or selfie with the 15-foot tall Superman (don’t forget to tag #SuperSelfie on social media!). The statue weighs in at over 4,000 pounds – that’s one big, strong superhero! As part of a restoration project, Superman has just had a fresh coat of paint applied (Spring 2021) and is surrounded by more than 1200 bricks.
A Lois Lane statue is also located just two blocks away, at the corner of Market St. & 8th St.
The Super Museum & Gift Shop
517 Market St., Metropolis, IL
Neighboring the Superman Statue is the Super Museum and Gift Shop. The museum has an eclectic collection of over 70,000 items from Superman enthusiast and collector, Jim Hambrick. It’s the world’s largest Superman collection and has been voted “#1 Small Town Attraction in America.” Admission is $8 per person and the museum is open daily from 8 am to 7 pm. You can visit the gift shop without admission to the museum also, pick up some of your favorite superhero merchandise, or grab a bag of green “kryptonite” candy.
Fort Massac State Park
1308 E. 5th Street, Metropolis IL
I love visiting state parks! I try to find them in every county I visit, and Metropolis just so happens to have its very own state park. The Fort Massac State Park is free to visit and features 1,500 acres for picnicking, hiking, boating, fishing, and disc golf. The park overlooks the Ohio River and features a replica of the 1908 Fort Massac. Inside their Visitor’s Center, you’ll find one of the best Native American artifact collections in the state. Every October, the Fort Massac Encampment event is held portraying the lifestyle of the fort in the 1700s.
The Metropolis Visitors Center is also located inside the Fort Massac Visitor’s Center.
Newcut Rd, Brookport, IL
Kincaid Mounds is a historic Illinois site with Native American ceremonial mounds dating back 700-1000 years ago. The Mississippian people added a total of 19 flat-topped mounds and platforms in this area. The Kincaid Mounds is the 6th largest among all of the prehistoric Mississippian sites.
Where to Stay in Metropolis
The Jones Building
Located across the street from the Superman Statue is the Jones Building. The 2nd level of the Jones Building has been converted into four suites, available for overnight stays. Each room has a unique theme, we stayed in the “Lois Suite” which came equipped with a kitchen, living room, King bedroom, and bathroom. The other suites available are the “Clark Suite,” “Justice League Suite,” and the “Superman Suite” (this suite is Superman-themed). Each suite features a kitchen, private bathroom, a sofa sleeper, keyless entry, and wifi. Exposed brick and ductwork and windows lined with 100-year-old timber give each suite a modern, industrial look.
The Jones Building was constructed in 1908 and you’ll find an original, old wooden staircase leading up to the suites as you enter (please note that suites are not handicap accessible).
Where to Eat in Metropolis
Cordavino’s Italian Kitchen
310 Ferry St., Metropolis, IL
Cordavio’s Italian Kitchen is within walking distance of the Jones Building, it’s a great to-go option if you’d rather dine in your suite. We filled our bellies with their Loaded Tuscan pizza, jumbo meatballs, and a large serving of their Ceasar salad.
Fat Edd’s Roadhouse
323 Ferry St., Metropolis, IL
Fat Edd’s is a Metropolis favorite and features a huge menu with a wide variety of options like burgers, bbq, seafood, and kabobs. We ordered the bbq sandwich, pulled pork nachos, onion rings, and corn nuggets for an affordable dinner (under $20.00!). Fat Edd’s is also easily within walking distance of the Jones Building so we ordered our dinner to-go and dined in our suite.
Adventures near Metropolis, Illinois:
- Illinois Garden of the Gods: Best Midwest Views – 21 miles
- 8 Reasons You Should Visit Evansville, Indiana – 110 miles
- Spend a Weekend in Historical Vincennes, Indiana – 140 miles
- The Sunflower Maze at Eckert’s Farm in Belleville, Illinois – 154 miles
- The St. Louis Dining Experience – 167 miles
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