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Illinois' small state capital is big on Abraham Lincoln. Sights focused on the 16th president – his home, his tomb, his flashy official museum – pop up all over. A couple of culinary creations and shrines to the Mother Road (aka Route 66) add to the quirky Americana charm of Springfield.

Lincoln lived in town from 1837 until 1861. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site preserves the 12-room abode where Abe, Mary and their sons resided. The Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum features the world's largest collection of Abe artifacts and wild holograms of Civil War battles. Lincoln's soaring tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery is another pilgrimage site.

Cozy Dog Drive In sprang up in Route 66's heyday and became famous for inventing the corn dog, a delicacy it still fries today. The horseshoe is Springfield's other specialty – a towering, open-face sandwich of meat, French fries and melted cheese served in local pubs and diners. The Route 66 Drive In makes a fine after-dinner stop for a movie under the stars.