Founded in 1847 by a group of Dutch immigrants, the prairieside town of Pella is home to buildings with classically Flemish stepped gable designs, a canal with a working drawbridge, the tallest working grain windmill in the U.S. and tons of other Netherlands-inspired features (including a wooden shoemaker shop and a decorative pond shaped like a wooden shoe). Make a picnic of gouda cheese and Dutch letters—a buttery puff pastry filled with almond paste—in one of the town’s flower-filled parks, and be sure to visit in the springtime to catch the annual Tulip Time festival.
Sure, Chicago attractions are great, but do you ever find yourself dreaming of jetsetting to the cobblestoned streets of Europe? If a European vacation just isn't in the cards for you right now, there are plenty of Midwest gems that mimic all the charm of the continent—sans the expensive flight and passport requirements—within just a few hours' drive from Chicago. From a recreated Bavarian village to a canal- and windmill-lined Dutch settlement, you're sure to get your fill of regional food, beer and culture in these quaint towns. Take a road trip from Chicago and check out these Midwestern getaways that look like they're straight out of a European postcard.
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