Alton is a city on the Mississippi River in Madison County, Illinois, United States, about 15 miles (24 km) north of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 27,865 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. It is famous for its limestone bluffs along the river north of the city, for its role preceding and during the American Civil War, and as the hometown of jazz musician Miles Davis and Robert Wadlow, the tallest known person in history. It was the site of the last Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debate in October 1858. The former state penitentiary here was used during the war to hold up to 12,000 Confederate prisoners of war. Wikipedia
A place in United States, Alton is an interesting place to visit, given its unique culture, history and character. The nearest major city to Alton is Saint Louis. Attractions in Saint Louis include Gateway Arch, Saint Louis Zoo, City Museum. Also, to reach Alton, you'll have to take a flight to Saint Louis; so its not really a detour. And even if it is, the city is worth paying at least a quick visit. Get in the character of the city, this city requires at least of 1 to 2 number of days of exploration.
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