Find it all in Downtown Sterling

Looking for a great place to eat?  A little nightlife?  Some retail therapy? You’re sure to find what you’re looking for in Downtown Sterling, Illinois.

Grab a latte at Air Play Espresso & Bakery, spruce up your wardrobe at UOI Boutique, catch a movie at the Sterling Theater, get pampered at Merle Norman, or just enjoy the history of the architecture and the stories behind the murals throughout the downtown. There is something for everyone. Explore!  Enjoy!

Originally organized in 1999, Sterling Main Street became the dream of a dedicated small group of Sterling, Illinois business owners and community leaders. Working for many years to bring the Main Street® Program to Sterling, their hard work and vision was finally rewarded when they received official accreditation from the Illinois Main Street Program in March of 2009.

That same year, Sterling Main Street relocated its office to its renovation project of 4 years, The Martin Building, located on the corner of 3rd Street and Locust, which has now become the home of The Rusty Fox Wine & Alehouse. This renovation project served as the catalyst for our Façade Grant program, which has awarded nearly $400,000 in grants since the program began in 2009, assisting property owners in the City’s Downtown District to revitalize their storefronts.

Today, Sterling Main Street continues to utilize Main Street America’s Four-Point Approach to downtown revitalization. This approach is based on a comprehensive strategy, tailored to local needs and opportunities in four broad areas:

Design, Organization, Promotion and Economic Vitality

From beautification projects; great community events; and support for the small, independent businesses that make up the core of our downtown and contribute to Sterling’s unique character; Sterling Main Street is creating a vibrant downtown experience for all to enjoy.

Sterling Main Street also works closely with the following organizations for the betterment of the community at large:         



As a Main Street America™ program, Sterling Main Street is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.  All Main Street America™ Accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by the National Main Street Center. 


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