Great Fall Drives: Chicago to Denver

The Midwest offers a perhaps surprising array of interesting sights, people and culture for those who take the time to explore it by car.

Chicago to Denver, in particular, offers a great driving route. In total, the entire adventure outlined below covers nearly nearly 1,800 miles, so set aside about four days.

Starting off in the Windy City, Chicago remains the heart of the Midwest. Centrally based, the city marks a good starting point to meander through the country's interstates and local roads. First explore Chicago's offerings; with such a significant variety of museums, parks and landmarks you cannot go wrong.

Chicago's 24.5-acre Millennium Park is a stunning achievement of design, art and architecture. Converted from a rail yard, the park now houses public art and provides space for civic events. Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry designed the key element of Millennium Park, the Pritzker Pavilion. The pavilion serves as the venue for the park's outdoor performing arts.

Traveling south down Interstate 57 provides greater insight into the farming culture of the Midwest. Peering out your window you are likely to see plenty of farmland speckled with cattle, horses and crops. It is wise to catch a moment's rest in a local village, where you can purchase fresh produce from regional farms.

Crossing over the mighty Mississippi River brings you into the city of blues, Memphis. This metropolis is where the South, the West and Midwest meet. Home to American music's three kings -- Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and B.B. King -- Memphis is piping hot with plenty of quaint music clubs.

Visit Beale Street, the city's historic district, and immerse yourself within the four blocks consisting of record shops, clubs and restaurants. Beale Street is renowned for cultivating new musical acts. This is where B.B. King played his guitar and started his musical career.

Hopping onto Interstate 40, make a pit-stop in Arkansas' state capital, Little Rock. To stretch your legs, head down to the city's River Market District, which has plenty of restaurants and shops to explore.

If time is not a concern, perhaps the William J. Clinton Presidential Center will be of interest to you. Housing the largest presidential archive, the library contains more than 2 million photographs and 80,000 artifacts from the Clinton presidency.

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