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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.

The International Annual Route 66 Mother Road Festival is an event that draws visitors from all over each year!

The International Annual Route 66 Mother Road Festival is an event that draws visitors from all over each year!

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 Cozy Dog Drive In is home to the original corn dog! (Photo credit: Instagramer @nathanmichael)

The Cozy Dog Drive In is home to the original corn dog! (Photo credit: Instagramer @nathanmichael)

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.

The original brick road in Auburn.

The original brick road in Auburn.

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 Lauterbach Muffler Man statue is stands tall in front of the Lauterbach Auto Service in Springfield.

The Lauterbach Muffler Man statue is stands tall in front of the Lauterbach Auto Service in Springfield.

The kitsch, nostalgia, and people make this a road trip you’re sure to remember. Plan your Springfield trip today at


–Illinois Office of Tourism


There’s no shortage of hidden gem dive bars and restaurants across Great Rivers Country, and we’ve picked five of the ones across the region. Think we missed something? Comment below and tell us what your favorite places are!

Fast Eddie’s Bon Air

Fast Eddie’s Bon Air in Alton is one of the best dives in the area. Home to more than 4,000 barrels of beer, classic bar snacks, and live music and entertainment each weekend, this is a popular local spot all times of year.

Fast Eddie's Bon Air

Kick back with a cold beer and good food at Fast Eddie’s Bon Air in Alton

The Dock

If you’re looking for a relaxed, local spot to hang with friends, look no further than The Dock in Quincy. The Dock offers cold beers in a casual atmosphere along the mighty Mississippi River. Better yet, in the summer, there is an outdoor patio and bandstand with live entertainment.

Weezy’s Route 66 Bar and Grill

Weezy’s Route 66 Bar and Grill in Hamel recalls the golden age of the Mother Road with its black and white checkered floor, red vinyl seating and vintage signs. This is a great place to enjoy a drink and a home cooked meal.

weezys route 66 inside

Enjoy the Route 66 themed décor and a drink with friends at Weezy’s

Whisky Barrel Saloon

Two pool tables, video gambling and a stage make for a great time at Whisky Barrel Saloon in Rock Falls. In the summer, the outdoor patio is open for food and drinks. Classic pub grub is served at the saloon, including burgers, wings and tacos.

The Locker Room Sports Bar & Grill

Shuffleboard, darts and video games are part of the fun at The Locker Room Sports Bar & Grill in downtown Peoria. The menu offers the “create your own salad and sandwiches” options, which adds a unique twist to a classic sports bar.

For more suggestions for where to visit when in Great Rivers Country, visit

-The Illinois Office of Tourism

Sweet Spots Feature Image

The holidays are a time of indulging in decadent desserts, and there’s no shortage of places to pick up your favorite sweet treats in central Illinois. We’ve listed seven of the top confectionaries around the region. What are some of your favorite places in Illinois to get your sugar fix? Share with us and comment below!

Doc’s Soda Fountain

Originally a pharmacy built in the1880s, this old fashioned soda fountain in Girard is one of many stops along historic Route 66 where you can get a taste of the Mother Road. Stop in for lunch and warm up with a slice of fresh-from-the-oven pie!


Get a taste of the Mother Road at this old fashion soda fountain

The Chocolatier, Inc.

The name says it all for this Bloomington favorite. This local confectionary serves homemade chocolates, candies and treats, including specialties like chocolate covered Oreos, Rice Krispie balls and the nut butter cookies. Put together an assortment as a gift to for family and friends, or pick out a selection to savor yourself!

The Homestead Bakery

At The Homestead Bakery in Arthur, you can purchase a number of made-from-scratch Amish baked goods, like caramel iced cinnamon rolls, honey yeast breads and angel food cakes. Decorated cut-out cookies, savory dinner rolls and cinnamon swirl bread are just a few of the top items on the menu during the holiday and winter season.

HomesteadBakeryInside, Arthur

Taste one of the traditional Amish baked goods at The Homestead Bakery

Pekara Bakery & Bistro

Pekara Bakery & Bistro is a favorite to the Champaign community, specializing in traditional European breads and treats with no preservatives or artificial additives. Named “Best Bakery in CU” each year since 2008, this local gem is sure to please. Offering a full restaurant menu, stop in to Pekara for lunch and a decadent dessert to follow.

Flesor’s Candy Kitchen

Milk shakes, malts, sundaes, splits – you name it, and Flesor’s has it! There’s no end to the decadent treats available at the Candy Kitchen in Tuscola. Pick out an assortment of hand-dipped chocolates, candies, cookies and other mouth-watering morsels. For a little extra zing, don’t forget to try the infamous Buzz Bark, chocolate coffee bark.


Sample an old fashioned, homemade cookie at Flesor’s Candy Kitchen

Jubelt’s Bakery

Family owned and operated Jubelt’s Bakery has been serving its traditional European baked goods to the Litchfield area since 1922. While planning your next holiday gathering, stop in to Jubelt’s to order classic holiday desserts for Thanksgiving, Christmas and more.

Pease’s Fine Candies & Salted Nuts

Pease’s is in its fifth generation of the candy making business, selling candies and treats for more than 80 years in Springfield. Choose from a variety of caramels, nuts, toffees and popcorns to satisfy your sweet tooth!

For more tasty Illinois trip ideas, visit

-The Illinois Office of Tourism

Five Photo Ops in Central Illinois Feature Image

What is your favorite part of taking a road trip? If capturing photos tops your list, consider road tripping in the Land of Lincoln region of Illinois. Rich in history, loaded with diners and drive-ins, and home to downright quirky attractions, the Land of Lincoln will leave your camera roll filled with awesome memories. Here is our list of top five photo opportunities in Central Illinois.

Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site

The Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site, constructed between 1869 and1974 in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery, is the final resting place for President Lincoln, his wife and three of their four children. Visitors from around the globe come to take pictures rubbing the nose of the bronze Lincoln statue at the entrance, as it’s said to bring good luck. We’ll let you be the judge!

Lincoln Tomb

The lucky Lincoln bust at the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site in Springfield

Cozy Dog Drive In

While in Springfield, drop by Cozy Dog Drive In for a one-of-a-kind Illinois treat that you will only find at the Route 66 diner. Snap a selfie with your Cozy Dog for a delicious memory you won’t forget.


Treat yourself to a Cozy Dog in Springfield

World’s Largest Covered Wagon

You won’t miss the World’s Largest Covered Wagon while visiting Lincoln, Illinois. This enormous statue stands more than two stories tall and is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest covered wagon in the world!

LincolnCovered Wagon, Photo Credit Jim Watkins

Stop by the World’s Largest Covered Wagon in Lincoln (Photo credit: Jim Watkins)

Route 66 Murals in Pontiac

With numerous Route 66 Murals dedicated to the glory days of The Mother Road, there’s no shortage of photo ops in Pontiac, Illinois. These vibrant paintings make for a great backdrop as you pose for a picture with family and friends.

Pontiac Illinois- Route 66 Mural

One of many Route 66 murals in Pontiac

Paul Bunyon Hotdog Statue

The 19-foot-tall Paul Bunyon Hotdog Statue in Atlanta, Illinois is one of Route 66’s mythic Muffler Man Statues. Pose for a picture in front of this quirky attraction before heading across the street to the Palms Grill Café for classic dishes from The Mother Road’s golden age.

Atlanta, Illinois Bunyons Statue

The famous Paul Bunyon Hotdog Statue in Atlanta

What are your favorite photo memories from Illinois? Share your pictures with us on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #EnjoyIllinois. For more ideas on things to see and do in the Land of Lincoln, visit

-The Illinois Office of Tourism

Route 66 Post

Do you have a favorite food destination you always stop at when on a road trip? Do you get a burger and shake, or maybe some other succulent treat? The roadside diners you love originally sprouted up on Historic Route 66, which runs through Illinois. Therefore, it’s no surprise that today Route 66 in Illinois offers loads of yummy dishes for travelers to get their fill while exploring the historic road. Cozy Dog Drive-In, The Palms Grill Café and Ariston Café are just a few of the Route 66 staples that will provide you with delicious food, lots of kitsch and great memories.

Take a bite of the famed Cozy Dogs from Springfield’s Cozy Dog Drive-In

Take a bite of the famed Cozy Dogs from Springfield’s Cozy Dog Drive-In

Cozy Dog Drive-In

The Springfield drive-in is famous for being the home of the Cozy Dog, which is similar to a corn dog. While dining on your mouth-watering Cozy Dog, you can gaze at an eclectic collection of Route 66 memorabilia that the drive-in obtained since its opening in 1949. If you love corn dogs and old-fashioned diners, Cozy Dog needs to be on your list of places to visit!

Atlanta, Illinois- Palms Grill Cafe Pie

The Palms Grill Café

The Palms Grill Café in Atlanta is a revitalized relic from the heyday of Route 66. Originally opened in 1934, some of the Palms Grill’s famous dishes from back in the 30s are still served to hungry travelers today. No meal at the Palms Grill Café is complete without trying the restaurant’s famous pie. There is a reason why it has won state pie competitions, so make sure you order it to find out for yourself!

The front of the oldest Route 66 restaurant, the Ariston Café

The front of the oldest Route 66 restaurant, the Ariston Café

Ariston Café

The Ariston Café is thought to be the oldest restaurant on Route 66. Opened by Pete Adam in the 1920s, the original location was housed on Route 4. Pete relocated the café to Litchfield in 1935 so that it could be on the Mother Road. Today, the Ariston Café is still owned and operated by Pete family. It’s a great place to go to for fish, steak and hearty favorites like onion rings and burgers. With so much history, wonderful service and amazing food, it truly represents what Route 66 is all about.

For more Route 66 foodie destinations, check out

-The Illinois Office of Tourism