Historic Nelson Park

Historic Nelson Park is one of the oldest and most beautiful parks in Central Illinois. Rolling hills on the banks of Lake Decatur make it a fantastic place to explore.

Nelson Park is our community’s most visited park, with 4th of July festivities, Shoreline Classic Race, Special Olympics Polar Plunge, Staley Firecracker Road Run, Shake the Lake Summer Concert Series, and hundreds of family gatherings. An estimated 80,000 people enjoy the park over the course of the year. Check out the Decatur Park District Facebook page for event listings! 




The Nelson Park amphitheater, located just south of Pavilion 1, will provide a one-of-a-kind lakefront setting for concerts, arts performances, road races, festivals, and other special events. The state-of-the-art facility will draw visitors from across Central Illinois, accommodating 300 guests in the fixed seating area next to the stage and an additional 3,000 spectators on the terraced lawn. The venue will include a stage with specialized lighting and acoustics, concession building with restrooms, and changing room for performers. Rentable “party decks” will provide a special, more private listening experience for businesses or groups of friends.

Completion of the amphitheater is expected in 2019. This exciting new venue is made possible thanks to a generous contribution from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

Decatur Park District