America's Famous Hometowns

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What could be more American than a world-famous celebrity? This holiday season, why not take a break to visit the town where one of your idols grew up? In some cases, devoted fans can even stand in the exact spot where their heroes came into the world.
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Americas Famous Hometowns

What could be more American than a world-famous celebrity? This holiday season, why not take a break to visit the town where one of your idols grew up? In some cases, devoted fans can even stand in the exact spot where their heroes came into the world.

While famous hometowns and birthplaces are popular with both fervent and casual admirers, it's often fan clubs that initiate projects to protect their heroes' childhood homes. In some cases, entire towns get involved. Whether you're obsessed with a pop star or simply looking to understand our country's history, every state in the union has its own share of famous birthplaces. More likely than not, a simple internet search will point you in the right direction.

Here, we highlight five of our favorite celebrity hometowns, as well as the approximate price to visit each destination for the weekend.

Americas Famous Hometowns

The original live-fast-die-young movie star, on whom so many future actors would model their images, died tragically in a car crash on September 30, 1955. A monument and plaque to Dean stand on Highway 46 in Cholame, Calif., but most fans choose instead to celebrate the young actor's life by following the James Dean Trail across Fairmount, Ind. The journey actually starts in nearby Marion, where a plaque marks the location of Dean's birth in 1931, then continues to sites that include his boyhood home, high school, even the shop where he purchased his first motorcycle. Unlike so many stars whose fame eclipses their humble origins, Dean was buried in his hometown, at the Park Cemetery in East Fairmount.

Price for the Weekend: $312

Flights to nearby Fort Wayne, IN as low as $260 roundtrip from New York, $415 roundtrip from Los Angeles. Three star hotels available for as low as $52 per night.

Americas Famous Hometowns

Within hours of Michael Jackson's death in Los Angeles on June 25, 2009, distraught fans had gathered around the world to mourn and celebrate The King of Pop. The Apollo Theater in Harlem, where Jackson's career rocketed in the '70s, was a natural choice for New Yorkers; Angelenos were drawn to the hospital where Jackson was taken. Many residents of Gary, Ind., found themselves at 2300 Jackson St., Michael's boyhood home in the town that witnessed his birth. (The street name is a coincidence.) This modest single-floor house in the Midtown neighborhood continues to draw crowds, TV crews and, as of July, the "King of Pop" bus tour. Plans are already underway for a privately funded Michael Jackson hometown museum, and Gary's mayor, Rudy Clay, told reporters that 2300 Jackson St. could become the country's next Graceland.

Price for the Weekend: $195

Flights to nearby Chicago, IL as low as $147 roundtrip from New York, $235 roundtrip from Los Angeles. Three star hotels available for as low as $48 per night.

Americas Famous Hometowns

That's right, partner, America's toughest hombre was actually born Marion Robert Morrison. His name was changed to Marion Mitchell Morrison when his brother, Robert, was born-and finally to John Wayne when this son of a pharmacist landed the lead in The Big Trail. For the legions of John Wayne fans, the star's humble origins in small-town America are critical to the star's enduring legacy. No other actor, living or dead, quite captures the American spirit and can-do attitude. The John Wayne Birthplace houses hundreds of rare photos, movie memorabilia and original correspondence between Wayne and his fellow stars, such as Kirk Douglas, Gene Autry and future President Ronald Reagan. Proceeds from the annual Birthplace Celebration Day, held around his birthday on May 26, are reserved for an official museum to be built adjacent to the Duke's first home.

Price for the Weekend: $252

Flights to nearby Des Moines, IA as low as $197 roundtrip from New York, $261 roundtrip from Los Angeles. hree star hotels available for as low as $55 per night.

Americas Famous Hometowns

Elvis Presley's Memphis home and final resting place, Graceland, is one of the country's most popular attractions, drawing more than 600,000 visitors each year. For hardcore fans who value roots over rhinestone-studded suits, the real place to pay homage is Tupelo, Miss., where Elvis was born in 1935 and raised until the family moved to Memphis in 1948. The actual house where the King was born is still standing, and serves as the starting point of the Early Years Driving Tour. Highlights include the Walk of Life garden, with 42 granite blocks to mark each of Elvis' years; Tupelo Hardware, where Gladys Presley bought her son's first guitar; and the newly restored Assembly of God church, where Elvis first fell in love with gospel music.

Price for the Weekend: $397

Flights to nearby Tupelo, MS as low as $315 roundtrip from New York, $450 roundtrip from San Francisco. hree star hotels available for as low as $82 per night.

Americas Famous Hometowns

The 35th president was born here in 1917, the third of a clan that would become the country's most important political family in the '60s. After her son's assassination, Rose Kennedy returned to 83 Beals St. and restored the property reportedly to how she recalled it in 1917. Today, this National Historic Site offers a glimpse of the wholesome suburban neighborhood that, for many, still symbolizes the American dream. Weather permitting, park rangers lead walking tours of the surrounding blocks; self-guided audio tours are also available.

Price for the Weekend: $312

Flights to nearby Boston, MA as low as $99 roundtrip from New York, $179 roundtrip from Los Angeles. Three star hotels available for as low as $58 per night.

Americas Famous Hometowns

When it comes to great Americans and their birthplaces, few can hold a candle to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Their birthplaces are National Parks-Washington's in Westmoreland County, Va.; Lincoln's in Kentucky. To commemorate the latter's humble beginnings, a historically accurate log cabin was built on the site of his birth on Thomas Lincoln's Sinking Spring Farm. The cabin sits within a neo-classical Memorial Building dedicated by President William Howard Taft in 1911. Visitors can then get a feel for the 16th president's early years by visiting his childhood home Knob Creek Farm, where young Honest Abe lived from ages two through seven. Don't expect to have the place to yourself, though-the park saw more than 200,000 visitors in 2008.

Price for the Weekend: $265

Flights to nearby Lousiville, KY (an hour drive away) as low as $206 roundtrip from Washington DC, $349 roundtrip from Los Angeles. Three star hotels available for as low as $59 per night.

Americas Famous Hometowns

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