1. The wide-open spaces are impressive from the car window.
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.
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.
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!
8. The river valleys show off the heart of America (and American history).
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.