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Happy 90th Anniversary to Route 66! Illinois is so fortunate to be home to over 300 miles of the famous Mother Road, and all of the amazing places and unique attractions along the way. This week, we challenged our followers to post their favorites sights and stops along Illinois Route 66. Check out a few of our favorite captures below and be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

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We kicked off our Instagram challenge with this sidewalk sign near the Ariston Café taken by @illinoisroute66 in Litchfield.

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Did you know the start of Route 66 is in downtown Chicago on Adams and Wabash? Thanks @tionebv for capturing this great shot!

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Too bad this Brooks Catsup bottle in Collinsville isn’t filled with catsup, but it’s a pretty unique water tower! Picture by: @littlerobottindy.

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Illinois works to preserve original artifacts along our 300-mile stretch of Route 66, that’s why signs like this have such character! Thanks for sharing this, @bluemermaid59!

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If you have never been to the Cozy Dog in Springfield, you have to try their famous “hot dog on a stick!” Picture by: @kate_henmeuller.

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We love this pic by @sabrina_chakici… the murals in Pontiac are a great stop for road trip selfies!

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Looks like @mykekocet stopped in Springfield to rub Abe’s nose, it’s said to bring good luck! We love these fun traditions along Illinois Route 66.

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Have you ever seen a pink elephant before? Well, they have one in waiting for you at the Pink Elephant Antique Mall in Livingston! Thanks for the pic, @michelleherring!

-Illinois Office of Tourism

What road travels from downtown Chicago all the way to the west coast?  Route 66, of course! This week marks the 90th anniversary of the famed Mother Road and all the road trips and memories that go along with it.  Since its creation in 1926, Route 66 has helped small towns along the road grow, including so many here in Illinois. To celebrate this epic milestone and its impact on our state, we’re taking you on a journey to the best stops, sights and grub along the 300 miles of the Mother Road that Illinois is lucky enough to call its own. So buckle up, there’s plenty to see and do along Route 66!

Museums of the Mother Road

Begin your journey on the famous Mother Road right on Adams and Wabash in downtown Chicago. The route takes you down what is now Interstate 55 and winds through many quirky and historic Illinois towns- like Joliet!

Whether you know much about space or not, the Joliet Area Historical Museum will educate you on Dr. John C. Houbolt, a former Joliet resident who played a big role in the 1969 moon landing. Along with plenty of memorabilia, this museum provides a great learning experience for all ages about the history of space exploration in the U.S.

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Home to the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum and the Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum, this city is a must see attraction for any road trip enthusiast. Stop in to get a feel for the sights and sounds that have kept people coming back to explore Route 66 for decades, such as vintage cars and road signs as well as Bob Waldmire’s van, which carried him on many trips throughout the Mother Road.

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As you continue down the road, venture into Springfield, the capital city, to learn more about the first president from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. Take a tour of Lincoln’s home at Lincoln Home National Historic Site or head over to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to hear how Abe began his life in a log cabin and ended up as president of the United States! For a unique experience, carve out some time to see the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site and rub statue Abe’s nose – it’s said to bring good luck!

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Our final museum stop is in the town of Litchfield, a community that has a special place in Route 66 history. Designed to reflect the golden days of the Route 66 era, the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center features memorabilia and artifacts from past life in Litchfield. It’s a great place to reflect on what an impact this road has had on small towns, and how lucky Illinois is to be a part of Route 66!

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Photo by Instagram user @travel_route_3

Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives (thanks Guy Fieri!) on Route 66

If you’ve worked up an appetite after looking at all of the amazing artifacts and memorabilia in the Land of Lincoln, zip over to the Cozy Dog Drive In, home to the famous “corn dog on a stick.” The hot dog shop has been on Route 66 since 1949, so make sure to stop by and snag a dog while in Springfield!

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Photo by Instagram user @kate_henmueller

Another funky 1940’s diner to grab a bite at on the road is Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket. Located in Willowbrook, Dell Rhea’s fried chicken promises to be some of the best you’ll ever eat, and was even featured on an episode of ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ with Guy Fieri!

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Photo by Instagram user @nathanmichael

Our final dining recommendation (because there are way too many good ones to list!) is Palms Grill Café in Atlanta. Travel back in time in this 30’s style diner and enjoy some of the classics like fish and chips and their award winning pies. Breakfast is served all day, and if you’re lucky, you’ll come in during their Bingo night!

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Photo by Instagram user @acspata

The Perfect Places to Pose for a Picture

Since its creation in 1926, Route 66 has been known for its sense of fun and adventure. Many towns along the road in Illinois have kept the fun alive with great places for and attractions for photos and selfies.

If you love the city of Chicago, a great place for a pic is with the Begin Route 66 sign on the corner of Adams and Wabash. Take a selfie, or get a crew to pose in front of the sign; make sure to get the famous Willis Tower in the background!

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Photo by Instagram user @tionebv

With more than 20 murals around the city of Pontiac, you’re sure to capture the perfect “road-trip” Instagram photo! From the largest Route 66 shield to unique sidewalk art, the Murals on Main Street are sights you cannot pass up.

IOT Up For Amazing www.AdamAlexanderPhoto.com ©Adam Alexander Photography 2016

As you continue down Route 66, you won’t be able to miss the two giant statue men in Wilmington and Atlanta. Gemini Giant, a 30-foot-tall statue named after the Gemini space program, is dressed in astronaut gear and holding a rocket. The other, Atlanta’s Paul Bunyon Hot Dog statue clutches a giant hot dog and stands at 19ft over the ground. These fun-loving giants love to have their pictures taken and are sure to make even the tallest person feel pretty short!

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Photo by Instagram user @alex_dumarey

A little bit of history comes with these next two photo stops. In Auburn, enjoy cruising down 1.4 miles worth of hand-laid brick road. The Original Brick Road was made back in 1931, which was only five years after the route was built.

Another famous section of the Illinois Route 66 road is the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in Edwardsville. This bridge is even older than the Original Brick Road, because it was created back in 1927. Make sure to drive nice and slow and snap some shots on these historic roads!

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For more ideas on where to travel along the Mother Road, visit the Route 66 trip planner on EnjoyIllinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

After an anxious wait this season, the colors of autumn have finally arrived in Illinois. State parks and regional forests are brimming with vibrant yellow, orange and fiery red leaves. This week we asked you to show us your best photos of the fall colors and you delivered! Check out a few of our favorite captures below. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured.

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

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This picturesque scene at Humboldt Park was captured by @carolineefarrow.

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@svmueljvcobs found the perfect nook of Wildcat Canyon in Starved Rock State Park to capture this shot.

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Even on a cloudy day fall colors pop. Thanks @charmcq for the photo.

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This trail at the Morton Arboretum looks so inviting. Thanks to @Kristenryanphotography for the photo!

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We think photographer @crgshprg was right when he described these fallen leaves in Wilmette as “falling stars!”

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We can’t help but wonder what awaited photographer @lifeinbloomphotos at the end of the Moraine View State Park Trail. Looks magical!

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Simply looking up is a magical experience in Thatcher Woods. Thanks for the photo @Haliten.

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The red autumn leaves look lovely at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield. Photo by @mymidwesthome.

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@ldarling43 took an awesome shot of the sugar maple leaves in Danville.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Trick or treat, Halloween is finally here! This week we challenged our followers to share photos of their favorite frightful festivity around Illinois. Check out a few of our favorite captures below and be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

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We kicked off our Instagram challenge with a spooky night shot by @jkhomestead at Six Flags Great America Fright Fest.

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@riversideillinois shows their Halloween spirit on their historical water tower! Great shot!

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These pumpkins are lighting up the night! Thanks for the amazing photography, @jaspershots.

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We love these candy apples decorated as pumpkins… so cute! Thanks to @local_dough_cafe for sharing your festive food.

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Make sure to check out the Halloween decorations all around downtown Chicago! Photo by: @out_with_alejandro

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If you have Arachnophobia (fear of spiders)… we apologize for this photo! Such a cool web shot by @eon_camerawork taken at Starved Rock.

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What is Halloween without some colorful pumpkins?! Thanks to @heatherlesz for sharing this photo from Richardson Adventure Farm!

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Houses all around Illinois are decked out in ghoulish décor! Great photo, @bojandordevic.

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These hay barrels at The Great Pumpkin Patch are just as shocked as we are that it’s already Halloween! Cute shot, @writeonman.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

 

Everyone needs a little “spook” in their lives and October is the perfect time to fill that void. Here in Illinois we pride ourselves on the rich, yet eerie, history that lurks throughout the state. This year we’ve put together a list of some of the must-experience, creepy destinations around. From Alton to Polo, Illinois has something spooky to offer for every member of the family.

Haunted Decatur Ghost Tour

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A haunted stop on the tour. Scared yet? Photo courtesy of @Troy_A_Taylor

Decatur, Illinois is known to be one of America’s most haunted towns and Troy Taylor’s Haunted Decatur is the best way to get the full frightening you seek. These tours are not just a collection of ghost stories, but a true history of how the city became so haunted, including local sites of unsolved murders, strange crimes, gambling parlors and vice districts. Whether you decide to take in a haunted tour by foot or bus, you’ll be sure to get a firsthand look at the city’s vast haunted history.

McPike Mansion Haunted Tours

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Visitors take a tour of the famously haunted mansion.

The McPike Mansion in Alton hasn’t been occupied since the 1950’s and yet curious events continue to stir on the premises. Unexplained balls of light and shadows of those unseen have made their way into many a photographer’s photos, making it a popular destination for paranormal enthusiasts from around the world. Tours run weekend evenings throughout the month of October, where you can explore the mansion and its grounds for the chance to experience a moment with the spirit of Henry Guest McPike and his family for yourself.

Torment at Twelve Hundred

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Relax, they’re just actors. We think…

The Torment at Twelve Hundred team takes their work of scaring the pants off you very seriously, which is probably why they were named one of the top 10 haunts in Illinois by USA Today. Each year, Torment presents a new chapter in its ongoing twisted horror story, sending you on a walking path through dark winding tunnels, outdoor wooded trails, highly detailed mills, hospitals and more.  Located 14 miles southeast of the Quad Cities, tours run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night through Halloween, for those who dare to attend.

Horror Film Series at the Egyptian Theatre

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Country Corner warns visitors. Photo courtesy of @susurrafonseca

Country Corner invites one and all to join them for nighttime fun filled with a flashlight maze, zombie paintball and bonfires with dates throughout October. The flashlight maze makes for great “no scare fun” for younger Halloween fans or those who want to get festive without the fear of darkness.

Below are even more eerie events to check out this season:

For more information about where to get scared silly this Halloween season, visit the Illinois Trail of Terror site, here.

-Illinois Office of Tourism