Metropolis Illinois
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Small Town USA: Why Metropolis Illinois Is a Must-Visit Destination

Nestled in the heart of the United States, Metropolis Illinois might sound like a fictional city straight out of a comic book, but it’s as real as it gets.

Known to many as the “Home of Superman,” this charming small town offers more than just a nod to the Man of Steel. It embodies the spirit of small-town America, with its unique blend of history, culture, and community warmth, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic American experience.

Metropolis Illinois
Metropolis Illinois | photo via dustinisgoingplaces

Getting to Know Metropolis Illinois

While the fictional home of the Man of Steel was first introduced in September 1939 in Action Comics #16, Metropolis, Illinois was founded in 1839 along the shore of the Ohio River.

DID YOU KNOW: The location of the fictional Metropolis has varied through the years, with the city thought to be located in New York, Delaware, or even Kansas.

Metropolis Illinois was founded near the site of Fort Massac by a Pittsburgh merchant. Because of its position on an important American waterway, town founders hoped the real Metropolis would develop into a major transportation hub that was ahead of its time. Before the Civil War, there was briefly a proposal to include Metropolis in the formation of a western District of Columbia.

During the Civil War, Illinois remained loyal to the Union, but Metropolis was home to both Union soldiers and Southern sympathizers. Agriculture continued to be a main economic driver in the 20th century, but tourism is now one of the biggest industries in the city.

The Home of The Man of Steel

In 1972, the Illinois State Legislature passed Resolution 572, which declared Metropolis, Illinois as the “Hometown of Superman.”

To that end, the city has a 15-foot painted bronze statue of Superman outside the county courthouse and a statue of Superman’s famous gal pal Lois Lane just a few blocks away.

The town water tower also declares Metropolis to be the “Home of Superman,” and the local newspaper is called The Metropolis Planet, inspired by the fictional Metropolis’ Daily Planet.

The town was even featured in an issue of The Adventures of Superman in 1994 where residents of Metropolis, Illinois idolize Superman and the town is visited by a villian named Massacre who is looking for Superman’s Metropolis.

Each year on the second weekend in June, the town holds an annual Superman celebration, which is a bucket list item for any Superman or comic book fan.

Super Museum-Metropolis Illinois
Super Museum | photo via dustinisgoingplaces

Getting to Know the Man of Steel

Superman, one of the most iconic comic book heroes in American history, was introduced to the public in the pages of Action Comics #1 in 1938.

Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman — also known as Kal-El, the Man of Steel, the Last Son of Krypton — became an archetype superhero, representing truth, justice, and the American way.

His alter ego Clark Kent, his red cape, his ‘S’ symbol, and his powers of heat vision, super strength, and flight endured him to millions of young comic readers and he remains one of the best-selling superheroes in American comic books.

Superman has been adapted for a variety of media through the years. Superman was first adapted for the Adventures of Superman radio program from 1940-1951.

The Man of Steel has been a popular figure in numerous TV and movie portrayals. Some of the more well-known TV and movie appearances include George Reeves in the Adventures of Superman TV series from 1952 to 1958, Tom Welling in Smallville, and Dean Cain in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

In movies, he was played by Christopher Reeve in Superman and three sequels, Brandon Routh in Superman Returns, and Henry Cavill in several appearances, including Man of Steel.

Super Museum-Metropolis Illinois
Super Museum | photo via dustinisgoingplaces

Superman-Related Fun to Do in Metropolis

Make no mistake, Metropolis celebrates all things Superman and embodies the spirit of the Last Son of Krypton with a one-of-kind museum, an annual celebration, and larger-than-life statues. But there’s much more to do and see in this charming small town beyond the city’s Superman theme.

Visit the Super Museum

The centerpiece of tourism in Metropolis is the Super Museum, a super shrine to Superman.

Situated right next to the town’s gigantic Superman statue, the museum is home to one of the largest collections of Superman memorabilia in the world. Fans of all ages can see publicity photos, Superman costumes, props (including Clark Kent’s famous glasses), and other artifacts from Superman TV shows and movies.

Fans of the Man of Steel can also stand in awe of the museum’s massive collection of Superman toys, which will easily transport any visitor back to childhood.

Don’t forget to stop by the museum gift shop, which is packed with apparel and souvenirs. From T-shirts to mugs to keychains to Christmas ornaments, there’s something to appeal to every visitor.

Lois Lane Statue-Metropolis Illinois
Lois Lane Statue | photo via cliffy1945

Get Your Photo Taken With Superman and Lois Lane

Ok, so you can’t actually get your photo taken with a real Superman or Lois Lane. But in Metropolis, visitors of all ages can stand next to, photograph, and marvel at the city’s gigantic statues of these well-known characters. 

The Superman statue has been a Metropolis mainstay in Superman Square on Market Street since 1972. The statue stands 15 feet tall and weighs more than 4,000 pounds. It stands on a monument case and includes a walkway of more than 1,200 personalized red bricks.

Lois Lane stands 6 feet tall and is just two blocks from Superman at the corner of Market and 8th streets. Noel Neill, who portrayed Lois Lane alongside George Reeves’ Superman in the Adventures of Superman TV series is memorialized in the statue. Neill was on hand to reveal her likeness in 2010.

Attend the Annual Superman Celebration

Marketed as “More than a convention! Better than a festival! It’s a celebration!” the annual Superman Celebration is a four-day extravaganza of all things Superman.

Held for more than 40 years, the celebration is held on the second week of June and is a mecca for fans of the Man of Steel.

Over four days, visitors can see well-known actors who have portrayed Superman-related characters in movies and TV, and meet with comic book writers and novelty artists. The celebration also includes food vendors, discussion panels, and much more.

Fort Massac State Park-Metropolis Illinois
Fort Massac State Park | photo via vivadoc1964

Ways to Have Even More Fun in Metropolis

Try Your Luck at Harrah’s Metropolis Casino

Located right on the Ohio River, Harrah’s brings all the thrills of Las Vegas right to southern Illinois. The casino floor features more than 800 slots, table games, and more. The casino also has more than 250 hotel rooms as well as dining facilities and live entertainment.

Relax at Fort Massac State Park

Fort Massac State Park offers a captivating blend of history and natural beauty along the Ohio River. The park is home to the reconstructed American fort, providing visitors with a glimpse into the region’s rich past.

The park features scenic trails for hiking and picnicking, as well as opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observation. Additionally, the park hosts events and festivals throughout the year.

Visit SuperBowl Metropolis for Bowling Fun

After a fun day at the Super Museum, visitors can unwind with some family fun at SuperBowl Metropolis. This family entertainment center features state-of-the-art bowling facilities and online gaming, air hockey, pool tables, and more.

Novice and expert bowlers alike can enjoy special events like cosmic and glow bowling, which enhance the bowling experience among family and friends.

Shop Til You Drop in Metropolis

Metropolis offers a variety of shopping opportunities for residents and visitors alike. The town boasts a charming downtown lined with unique boutiques, antique shops, and specialty stores, providing a delightful shopping experience for shoppers of all ages. Additionally, Metropolis is home to modern retail outlets and shopping centers, catering to a wide array of shopping tastes.

Metropolis Illinois
Metropolis Illinois | photo via pmalone85

Come Celebrate Superman in Metropolis Illinois

Whether you’re a diehard fan of comics or you’ve only casually heard of Superman, a visit to Metropolis Illinois can be something special. This small town embodies the spirit of America and Metropolis’ embrace of the Man of Steel creates an exciting atmosphere where visitors of all ages can feel like a kid at heart!