Route 66 is the selfie-takers dream; jam-packed with weird and wonderful sights, gorgeous scenery, and iconic landmarks - if you're a keen photographer or simply someone who loves to capture every moment of your travels, you're in for a treat.
In fact, there are certain sights along this road that are so iconic, so synonymous with the Route 66 experience, that it's almost impossible to pass them by without bringing out your camera. These are the sights that will make your Route 66 photo collection truly complete. This list is about those sights - the ones you simply can't resist posing in front of!
To determine the top ten Route 66 photo opportunities, I delved into the archives of many a Route 66 road tripper to see which sights appeared most frequently in their photo collections. And, of course, I took into account their cultural relevance to the Route 66 experience.
So, without further ado, presented here, in my humble opinion, are the ten most essential Route 66 photo opportunities. Grab your camera, hop in your car, and hit the road - trust me, your photo album will thank you!
Well, lookie here, folks! Your adventure commences at this very spot! Right here on East Adams Street in the mighty metropolis of Chicago stands a sign that must surely be one of the most snapped street signs in all of the United States. You can't miss it - it's a popular spot for groups and solo travelers alike to strike a pose before embarking on their epic journeys. So strike a pose, grab your gear, and get ready to explore!
If you start your journey at the official eastern terminus, Lake Shore Drive and Jackson Blvd, then you may just do some drive-by photography as you scoot past. If you're able to stop and get out of your vehicle you could do far worse than to stroll over to Lou Mitchell's - a restaurant that's been serving Route 66 travelers for many years, earning it's nickname "the first stop on the Mother Road.”
For all you folks just getting your wheels on the road, you might have had your initial brush with Route 66 courtesy of that delightful Pixar flick "Cars." And that's precisely why "Tow Tater" had to earn a spot on this list. While you can certainly snag "Cars" trinkets up and down the route, it's only right here that you'll discover the bona fide muse for that lovable character "Tow Mater."
Tow Tater is based at Cars on the Route in Galena, Kansas, along with his friends! Cars on the Route sell sandwiches, snacks, antiques, and Route 66 and “Cars” memorabilia, including several made by local craftspeople and artists.
As you make your way down the dusty roads of Joseph City, Arizona, you'll notice a curious thing. Mile after mile, the roadside markings become increasingly bold and frequent, all leading inexorably to one unmistakable destination: the Jack Rabbit Trading Post. It's as if the very earth is conspiring to guide you to this iconic landmark of the American Southwest.
And what a sight it is! A relic from the golden age of Route 66, the trading post exudes a sense of timeless charm that belies its decades of service. Visitors can peruse an impressive array of souvenirs and trinkets, or simply bask in the warm glow of nostalgia that permeates the air.
This isn't the only photo opportunity that you'll find here - there is also the giant-sized fibre-glass jack rabbit that allows your subject/victim to jump on top for a quick snap!
You're halfway there! Right smack dab in the middle of it all, you'll find a sign that's practically begging to be photographed. It proudly proclaims its position as the geo-mathematical midpoint of the entire stretch, a perfect balance point between the far-flung metropolises of Los Angeles and Chicago.
So take a moment to snap a picture, soak in the scenery, and appreciate the fact that you're standing right in the middle of something truly remarkable.
If you are traveling East to West the Midpoint sign will be on your right, directly opposite the Midpoint Cafe - a wonderful place to stop for a bite to eat and to refresh yourself for the second half of your journey.
Ah, the unofficial conclusion of historic Route 66 - a spot that beckons road-weary travelers to pause and proclaim "I've made it!" Sure, it may not be the official end of the route, but it's a prime spot for that perfect photo op. Just like the sign at the beginning of the journey, this location is often teeming with contented adventurers eager to capture the moment.
Head to Santa Monica Pier for this great photo op.
Standin' on the Corner Park - a true gem of Winslow, Arizona - first opened to visitors in 1999 and what a magnificent place it is!
But why, you may ask, is this park such a beloved spot? It's all because of a little song called "Take It Easy" written by none other than the great Jackson Browne and the late, great Glenn Frey, and famously recorded by the Eagles.
Yes, this park was created to commemorate that very same song. As the song goes, "Well, I'm a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see". And now you too can stand on that very same corner and strike your best rock and roll pose!
From left to right you've got Tall Paul, the Gemini Giant and the Lauterbach Tire Man...
These characters were 3 of many "giants" that were once used by businesses for promotional purposes. They are now icons of Route 66 in they're own right and these 3 are all found in Illinois. Tall Paul is located alongside Route 66 in Atlanta and cannot be missed as you drive past. The Gemini Giant stands alongside the Launching Pad Drive-In in Wilmington and also can't be missed. The Lauterbach Tire Man is found outside Lauterbach Tires on Wabash Avenue in Springfield.
You can learn more about the Muffler Men of Route 66 here.
This smiling chap is ready to welcome visitors all year round. He's been given a lick of paint to spruce him up and is a fun stop in Catoosa Oklahoma.
This jolly fella never fails to flash a grin and welcome visitors to his charming abode! This aquatic wonder has undergone a makeover in recent years and been doused with a fresh coat of paint, making him even more inviting to all who chance upon his merry presence.
Back in the day, the Blue Whale was actually a playful addition to an outdoor swimming pool, providing endless entertainment for young and old alike. Though the pool may have since gone the way of the dodo, there's no need to despair, as a delightful picnic area has taken its place, ready and waiting to provide a lovely respite for anyone seeking a bit of rest and relaxation.
10 Cadillac's buried nose-down in the dirt - in most places this would be a bizarre sight but on Route 66 it just seems to fit in perfectly!
An art installation in Amarillo, Texas, since 1974, Cadillac Ranch has become a popular spot for roadside photography due to it's unique nature - visitors to the ranch are allowed to spray their own messages on the cars! Although you can spot Cadillac Ranch from the road, why settle for just a glance? Take a short stroll through the field where these beauties are planted and get up close and personal with the Texan terrain.
The Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza is a relatively new addition to the Route 66 scene but has made a name for itself not just for its shiny, new appearance, but for the historical and cultural significance that it brings to the table.
Cyrus Avery is often dubbed as the "Father of Route 66". The man had a vision, and he saw it through, creating a network of highways that connected people and places like never before. And now, right there on Southwest Boulevard at Riverside Drive in Tulsa, Oklahoma, you can pay homage to the man himself at this wonderful plaza.
The plaza is a great place to pull over and stretch your legs whilst also making for many excellent photo opportunities. Hop on board Will Rogers' car or pose with the landrun horse and wagon!