The city of Metropolis, Illinois is located at the southernmost tip of the state and boasts the title “Home of Superman”. The town was named Metropolis way back in 1839 (nearly 100 years before Superman was created in 1938). It’s located on the Ohio River and was a bustling port town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The city’s Superman Celebration, now in its 35th year, just ended last week. The event features parades, visits from actors who have played Superman (and his friends and foes) on screens big and small, and plenty of Superman cosplay. The city even boasts a 15-foot-tall bronze statue of the hero in aptly named Superman Square. A statue of intrepid Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane as depicted by Noel Neill was erected just down the street.
If you haven’t had enough truth, justice and the American way you can also visit the SuperMuseum, located where else but off Superman Square. The museum has the largest privately owned Superman collection in the world, with props, artwork and costumes.
While you’re in town, pick up one of the best guides for all things Superman and Metropolis: Metropolis Planet. The weekly publication alerts readers to upcoming “Super” events (their words, not mine).
A town as sophisticated as Metropolis also has other things to do like a large historic park with a replica of a frontier fort, wineries, the Kincaid Mounds Archaeology Site that dates back to 1500 AD, and a Harrah’s Casino. So your trip doesn’t have to be exclusively about what’s in the pages of a comic book.
Going to Gotham?
If you want to visit Gotham City, the home of Batman, it’s a little harder. The only Gotham that comes up in a Google search is the small town of Gotham in Nottinghamshire, UK. It doesn’t really fit the dark, crowded city depicted in Batman, but I suppose it could be home to a Dark Knight.
The city most often identified as Gotham’s inspiration is New York City, though DC Comics has never made that official. I did find a quote from the co-creator of Batman, Billy Finger, who admitted he got the name Gotham from the name of a jewelry store, Gotham Jewelers, in the New York City phone book. So if you want to have that Gotham experience (which in the comics is filled with grit and crime), take a trip to NYC.