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Major History on Route 66

The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway comes straight through Springfield’s city center and offers many unique sites and famous diners on America’s Road. Not-to-miss stops in Springfield include Cozy Dog Drive In, where the Waldmire family still serves the classic Cozy Dog they have been serving since their grandfather opened the restaurant in Springfield in 1949. Traveling by car? Enjoy the quintessential American experience of the 1950s at the Route 66 Drive In Theater, presenting movies on two screens April through September. When you depart Springfield, be sure take your photo on the original, hand-laid stretch of Route 66 brick road near Auburn, dating back to 1931 and located on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Lincoln’s Legacy

A visit to Springfield isn’t complete without exploring the life of Abraham Lincoln in the town he called home for 30 years. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, unlike any presidential museum in the U.S., uses special effect theaters and interactive exhibits to tell his story. Tour the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Lincoln’s New Salem (a reconstruction of the village where he lived as a young man), the Old State Capitol (where Honest Abe gave his “House Divided” speech), the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office and the Lincoln Tomb and Monument, located in Oak Ridge Cemetery and also the final resting place for most of the president’s family. “History Comes Alive,” a program taking place daily throughout the summer, explores Lincoln’s life and times with costumed performers, musicians and re-enactors at historic sites and museums throughout the city. You might just run into the man himself!

 

Venerable Structures

The stunning 123-meter glass dome atop the Illinois State Capitol – the sixth to house the center of Illinois government – emphasizes the building’s Renaissance Revival and Second Empire style. View the Capitol’s architecture and artwork throughout the building, or take a seat in the balcony to watch the legislature if in session. Afterward, head to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Dana-Thomas House to gaze at the architectural master’s signature approach to homebuilding. With 35 rooms and 1,114 square meters of living space, the home’s Prairie Style art glass, fixtures and furniture will leave a lasting impression.

Fun Fact

Springfield’s “Horseshoe” sandwich at Obed and Isaac's Microbrewery
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Springfield’s “Horseshoe” sandwich was created in 1928 and is served open-faced on Texas toast with meat or veggies, French fries and a delicious cheese sauce.

Dining at Cozy Dog Drive In on Route 66
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Route 66 travels directly through Springfield where you can find the Cozy Dog Drive In, home of the original hot-dog-on-a-stick (corn dog).

Looking up at the Illinois State Capitol Building
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The Illinois State Capitol Building in Springfield is 22 meters taller than the nation’s Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

A floral view of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois
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Nearby Experiences

Mississippi River waterfront in Moline, Illinois
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Quad Cities

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Official Springfield Travel Site

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