Back in it's heyday, if a business wanted to stand out from the crowd on Route 66 it would need to do something pretty special. If that was a tough task during the day, can you imagine how much more challenging it would have been by night? This is where the neon sign comes in handy!
The neon sign is a nostalgic icon of Route 66. Can you imagine roads, busy with travelers, lined with glowing neon inviting you in? The following businesses have each earned their place on this list for hosting great neon signs on Route 66...
Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket is a must-stop pitstop along Route 66 in Willowbrook, Illinois.
This culinary destination has gained quite the reputation for its exceptional eats, and garners excellent reviews. And let's not forget the charming and historic building, complete with its iconic freestanding neon sign. Both the building and it's fantastic neon earned it a spot on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
So, if you're cruising along Route 66 and looking for a bite to eat, be sure to add Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket to your itinerary. Read more here.
The Munger Moss in Lebanon, Missouri, is a true gem of historic Route 66 that has stood the test of time since the 1940s. This icon of Americana is a must-see destination for any traveler exploring this legendary highway. And its restored neon sign from 2010 is a sight to behold. It's a shining example of the retro neon signage that Route 66 is famous for.
If you're lucky, you might be able to snag a spot in one of their themed rooms. I was fortunate enough to experience the Route 66 room myself and it was a real treat. Adorned with images spanning the entire journey, it made for a special stay. Read more here.
The Blue Swallow is undoubtedly one of the more iconic and distinguishable motels that you'll encounter along Route 66.
This is largely thanks to its delightful neon signage, which has become synonymous with the nostalgia and romance of the Route 66 experience. Constructed in 1939, the Blue Swallow embodies the quintessential feel of Route 66, serving as a prime example of the type of lodging that travelers would have encountered during the golden age of American road trips.
Situated in Tucumcari, New Mexico, the Motel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. Read more here.
The iconic Wigwam Motel, nestled in the town of Holbrook, Arizona, has earned itself a well-deserved spot on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of only three surviving "Wigwam Villages" in the entire United States.
You might recognize it from the 2006 Pixar animation, Cars. In the movie, one of the characters operates a brilliantly-lit motel, aptly named the Cozy Cone Motel, which takes its inspiration from none other than the Wigwam Motel. Although each of the motel rooms is a traffic cone!
As if the sight of 15 giant concrete wigwams wasn't enough the whole things is even more eye catching after dark when the lights are switched on. Read more here.
One of the oldest motels on Route 66, built way back in 1934, this vintage motel in Cuba, Missouri, is a real slice of Americana and has rightfully earned its place on the esteemed National Register of Historic Places.
The landmark neon sign has been standing for over 60 years and is only clearly visible to traffic arriving from the east. Read more here.
Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Blue Swallow Motel, you'll find the magnificent Tepee Curios -another shining example of eye-catching neon signage on Route 66.
Once a humble gas station, the building is now home to a fantastic curio shop brimming with all manner of Route 66 memorabilia. The unusual design of the building sees a large concrete wigwam fused to its front wall! Read more here.
The neon sign at the Rest Haven Court in Springfield, Missouri, is an absolute favorite for photographers, and rightfully so. With its impressive array of colors and impeccable maintenance, it truly is a sight to behold.
Interestingly enough, it was this very sign that sparked inspiration in the mind of the Munger Moss motel's owner. He was so taken with the design that he decided to adapt it for his own establishment. And it's not hard to see why - the two signs are strikingly similar in their allure and charm. Read more here.
The Dog House Drive In has been serving burgers, hot dogs and tater tots to Route 66 travelers for over 60 years. Their one-of-a-kind neon sign featuring a cheerful canine chomping on a string of sausages is sure to raise a smile. The dog himself also seems to be quite happy. How do we know? His tail wags in delight!
In recent times, the Dog House has achieved even greater notoriety thanks to its appearances in the hit AMC TV shows Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.
This traditional "mom and pop" motel has been welcoming visitors since 1954 and offers a no-frills experience at an unbeatable price. The rooms may be basic, but they're clean and comfortable, providing a great base from which to explore the surrounding area.
The Hill Top Motel boasts "the best view in Kingman", as proclaimed by their full neon sign. Imagine waking up to panoramic vistas of the rugged Arizona landscape, with its striking desert scenery and endless blue skies. It's the perfect place to unwind and take in the natural beauty of this stunning part of the world.
Waylan's Ku-Ku Burger in Miami, Oklahoma, has an aesthetic unlike any other and knows how to grab your attention. The restaurant itself is fashioned in the likeness of a grand cuckoo clock, boasting a jaunty yellow cuckoo that juts out from the front. And then of course you have the fantastic neon sign that draws in business after dark.
Located just off Route 66, Waylan's Ku-Ku Burger is more than just a restaurant with a unique façade. This joint is actually the last surviving location of a fast food drive-in chain from the 1960s. Believe it or not, there used to be close to 200 Ku-Ku’s scattered across the US. Read more here.