Creativity rules in the southern Illinois town of Mt. Vernon. While you'll want to stroll the historic downtown along Ninth Street with lights twinkling overhead, plan plenty of time for the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, an 85-acre estate that includes the Mitchell Museum and the Goldman-Kuenz Sculpture Park.
Cedarhurt Center for the Arts
Cedarhurst Center For the Arts
| Credit: Paul Nordmann


Immerse yourself in art through the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts' changing gallery exhibitions and performances that include chamber music, concerts, programs and educational opportunities.

Call ahead for a tour of the Greek Revival 1857 Appellate Courthouse, a working courthouse where Honest Abe once tried a case.

Appellate Courthouse
Appellate Courthouse
| Credit: Courtesy of Appellate Courthouse

Search for treasures at Market Days, a flea market and vendor fair held the first Saturday of every month between May and September.

Outdoor adventures—fishing, water sports, horseback riding, hiking—abound at Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area, a 3,300-acre state park bordering picture-perfect Rend Lake near Benton.

Search the stacks of vinyl at Main Street Records for your next best find. George Harrison is said to have bought his 1962 Rickenbacker guitar from Fenton's Music store, which used to occupy this space.

Main Street Records
Credit: Courtesy of Main Street Records

Eat and Drink

The wet-aged 14-ounce New York strip complemented with creamed spinach stands out at Rare Chop House.

Zesty barbecue served by the basket or on nachos, plus ice-cold beers, star at The Frosty Mug Bar and Grill.

The Frosty Mug Bar and Grill
Credit: Courtesy of The Frosty Mug Bar and Grill

Bugsy's Chicago Dog dresses up its Vienna Beef hot dogs with relish, sport peppers, onion, tomato, mustard and cucumber. It also serves Chicago faves, including Italian beef sandwiches.