Cutting through Illinois is a 300-mile stretch of Route 66 that still captures the imaginations of travelers from around the world. The midway point of Route 66 in Illinois is the state capital, Springfield – home to a variety of museums, roadside attractions, diners and more, all bursting with the nostalgia of the Mother Road’s golden age.
The Annual International Route 66 Mother Road Festival in Springfield pays homage to all that the road has to offer, including classic cars, drive-in movies, quirky roadside attractions and diners. Taking place September 25-27 this year, the fun-filled event features more than 1,100 automobiles and expects more than 85,000 spectators to converge on historic downtown Springfield.
While exploring Route 66 history in Springfield, travelers must visit the birthplace of the battered, fried, hot dog on a stick that most people call a corn dog today. Springfield’s Cozy Dog Drive In is the home of the hot dog on a stick phenomenon – and coined the phrase “Cozy Dog” for their variety. Considered a historic Route 66 landmark, the drive-in has been a popular local spot since its opening in 1949.
The original brick road of Route 66 still exists in Auburn, about a 30-minute drive from the city center. Visitors can cruise the brick road, getting a feeling for what the original drive was really like.
Along Route 66, you’ll see a number of quirky roadside attractions, such as the large “Muffler Men” statues. Springfield is home to the Abe Rail Splitter and the Lauterbach Muffler Man statues, both offbeat attractions perfect for a road trip photo op!
The kitsch, nostalgia, and people make this a road trip you’re sure to remember. Plan your Springfield trip today at enjoyillinois.com.
–Illinois Office of Tourism