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12 Reasons To Take Your Next Road Trip Through Illinois

Americana at its finest. Get down to Chicago where the historic Route 66 begins and discover everything the Midwest has to offer!

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A sunrise worth waking up for.

Tour through the Great Rivers Country in Western Illinois for expansive views over the corn and soybean fields.

Pro tip: Flock to Peoria's Grandview Drive to see what President Teddy Roosevelt called "the world's most beautiful drive." You'll see breathtaking views over the Illinois River and a few historical mansions along the way.

2. Illinois is home to some seriously strapping men.

Look at these lads! There's no more humbling an experience than meeting these all-American studs.

The young, strapping depiction of Abraham Lincoln in the state's capital of Springfield stands 30 feet tall. The statue exists as a tribute to Lincoln's longstanding history with the railsplitter.

And the Gemini Giant in Wilmington was outfitted with a helmet and a rocket to promote the Launching Pad Restaurant.

3. And some of the world's largest large things.

In Illinois, the kitsch is big.

Explore something truly Illinois at the The World's Largest Covered Wagon in Lincoln. It has been newly renovated for visitation.

Also, The World's Largest Catsup Bottle is located in Collinsville. And yes — it's also The World's Largest Ketchup Bottle.

4. The drive through Chicago is action-packed.

Take your pick: Lakeshore cruising or downtown exploring.

In Chicago, you can drive the same underground passageway featured in Batman Begins. Anyone who's been can attest that Lower Wacker Drive looks like a set for car chases.

5. Correction: Chicago is action-packed.

Time to clock a visit to your friends who do improv!

Explore Grant Park, home to some of the Midwest's best music festivals and outdoor fun. Then, dive into Chicago's infamous past by visiting the Museum of Science and Industry, located in the only remaining building from "1893 World's Columbian Exposition." Devil in the White City fans will enjoy the exhibit dedicated to the Fair.

6. "Kitschy" is everything your Instagram feed is missing.

Under the right light, you should be fine with #nofilter.

These friendly faces are from the Pink Elephant Antique Mall in Livingston, IL — one of numerous (and bizarre) malls you'll find along Route 66.

7. Europe isn't as far as it might seem!

We've built some impressive kingdoms too.

The gorgeous 1.4-mile stretch of brick road in Auburn was overlaid with brick in 1932. It's one of the most unique drives in the country.

The oldest White Castle Restaurant on Route 66 is located in Berwyn, but you're likely to find more.

The Leaning Tower of Niles is a half-size replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. No passport needed!

This one's for people who prefer their history to be pre-history.

Considered "the most sophisticated pre-historic civilization north of Mexico," Cahokia Mounds is a surreal destination. At its prominence in 1250 A.D., the city is said to have been larger than London.

Drivers unite!

At the Historic Auto Attractions, you'll find decades of auto history. Featured at the museum before are The Bicentennial Car (covered in 1976 pennies), and the Ghostbusters car.

Car lovers will also love to see the iconic Route 66 Murals on Main Street in Pontiac.

There are only two sacred miles where you’re neither “east of” or “west of.”

Although the Chain of Rocks Bridge was originally built for automobiles, it's no longer accessible by car. It’s a part of the Route 66 Bikeway, and can provide a great stretch for your legs.

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