Devoted to the art of soda pop and supporting the small businesses behind each bubbly drink, Galco’s Soda Pop Stop features more than 700 flavors of soda at its Los Angeles storefront and nationwide through its online shop at www.sodapopstop.com. As you wander through the store you pass through a rainbow of soda colors, most of which are in glass bottles.
Beginning in 1897 as an Italian grocery store, Galco’s changed “flavors” when son John F. Nese took helm of his father’s store in 1995 and lined the shelves with classic, small-batch, exotic and hard-to-find sodas. In addition to the soda, they also offer a wide selection of craft beers along with such alcoholic spirits as hard ciders, hard-to-find sakes, exotic wines, French champagnes, and honey meads.
In addition to the soda shelves, visitors will find a wide selection of craft beers (local, national and international) along with such alcoholic spirits as hard ciders, hard-to-find sakes, exotic wines, French champagnes, honey meads and more. Galco’s also stocks a variety of artisanal waters.
Kids of all ages will enjoy checking out their vintage candies and sweets next to a retro toy corner where you can pick up a memory or two.
"This place has the best selection of old, rare, and hard to find sodas in the United States - AND THEY SHIP INTERNATIONALLY. Located just off of the alternate alignment in Highland Park (Los Angeles), John Nese the owner has long been a supporter of Historic Preservation in Northeast Los Angeles (NELA). He knows and understands the link between his location and the Mother Road!"
Built in the early ‘70’s as an anniversary gift from Hugh Davis to his wife Zelta the Blue Whale of Catoosa served locals and Route 66 travelers in need of a swim.
In April 2020 the City of Catoosa purchased the Blue Whale and it's surrounding 23.5 acres from the Davis family. Although no longer in use as a swimming pool the Whale and the picnic area have been restored and still welcome visitors.
Plans are afoot for further restoration works of the surrounding land as well as the Blue Whale itself.
The site is open every day and up-to-date gift shop hours are available on their Facebook page (all proceeds from the shop go to Catoosa Arts & Tourism).
The Blue Whale is a real icon of Route 66 and has made numerous TV appearances. It's a great spot to pick up a few souvenirs, stop for a picnic and stretch those legs - as well as a great photo opportunity!
Setup at this KOA Journey Campground is easy with tent village sites, cabins, and up to 85-foot-long pull thru sites - with up to 50-amp service and plenty of room for slide-outs. Relax with free cable TV at your RV site or take a walk amid ancient lava beds.
Dinner is easy with delicious Campground Cuisine dinners delivered to your site. Kids will enjoy the game room and playground. Your canine pals will enjoy a romp at the Kamp K9.
End the evening with free wireless Internet. Start your morning with a free continental breakfast. Traveling with a group? You can request the meeting room for events. Extend your stay and explore the beauty and history of the high desert. Experience Southwestern Indian cultures at their heritage sites.
Hookups are easy and staff are more that welcoming offering support whenever they can. You really are made to feel like a welcome guest at this KOA Journey.
"Good for RVs but ground is a lava-bed so not so good for tents. Free continental breakfast and the owner provides a home-cooked meal service."
The Ambler's Texaco Gas Station has been identified as the longest operating gas station along Route 66, dispensing fuel for 66 continuous years until 1999!
Ambler's was the subject of major restoration work from 2005–2007, and reopened as a Route 66 visitor's center in May 2007 staffed with knowledgeable and welcoming volunteers.
The local community have really done a great job in restoring this to it's former glory with help from funding via the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. The main office and canopy area has been taken back to the 1930s and the service bay area has been taken back to it's 1940s appearance.
The look of Ambler's Texaco Station is commonly known as "house and canopy" or "domestic style". The style was developed in 1916 by Standard Oil and consisted of a small house-like building with attached canopy. The style was meant to evoke feelings of home and comfort in order to make people feel more at ease buying goods.
The building evokes feelings of early Route 66 tourism and is a great example of the architectural stylings of the time.
"We stopped by here very early in our Route 66 journey and it was really inspiring. Sights like this really help get you in the mood for the trip ahead and immerse you in the nostaligia of a good road trip."
For one Midwestern farmer, what started as a weekend hobby and passion for classic cars and trucks grew into Country Classic Cars and a growing business.
When a piece of land along Interstate 55, just off the path of Historic Route 66, became available, Country Classic Cars acquired the land not only for their large display of classic cars and trucks, but also a garage/service area, inside showroom, and a historic gift shop.
Take a short detour and browse an extensive inventory including Ford Model T's and classic Chevy Impalas. Whether you're looking to buy or just wish to browse, all are welcome.
Classic car fans could spend hours browsing the online showroom let alone in person!
“A great stop along the Route, a chance to see many of the great American cars that once roamed 66.”
Opening in 1947, the Rest Haven Court was one of the first motor courts encountered by westbound travelers on Route 66 and remains one of the few original Route 66 motels left in Springfield today.
In 1955, the Phillips 66 gas station that stood out front (and also served as the motel office) was dismantled and reassembled out back and used for storage.
This 32 room motel is reasonably priced, pet-friendly and boasts free Wi-Fi for guests. Despite a recent renovation, the Rest Haven Court has retained its old school charm and the neon out front certainly catches the eye at night.
According to "Route 66 In The Missouri Ozarks" by Joe Sonderman, the beautiful neon sign was designed by original owner Hillary Brightwell and erected in 1953, serving as inspiration for the Munger Moss in Lebanon.
The owners of the Roadrunner Lodge have painstakingly worked to keep the 1960s vibe alive, even going so far as to broadcasting a short range radio station playing hits and commercials from that era. The 60's memorabilia and vintage design features really do a great job of transporting guests back to a time when motor hotels such as this were thriving along the route.
This is a truly authentic Route 66 motel and deserves it's many five-star reviews on TripAdvisor. Guests also receive a complimentary breakfast at the "Kix on 66" diner across the road.
As their Facebook page says, the Roadrunner Lodge provides the modern Route 66 road tripper a classic Americana lodging experience with 21st century comforts, including air conditioning, Wi-Fi and HD satellite TV.
The Roadrunner Lodge has been through several name changes over the years and was originally two distinct properties - the La Plaza Court on the west side and Leatherwood Manor on the east. The two sides were run as separate properties for many years. When they were combined into a single property, the roofline of the Leatherwood lobby was extended to cover both properties.
The extensive investment of time, love and money over the last few years are on show for all to see - the Roadrunner Lodge has rebuilt a lost piece of classic Americana.
"I had a wonderful stay here and can attest to the comfort of their beds and the warmth of their showers! In the summer months the air conditioning is a godsend. The owners were very pleasant and had good local knowledge."
The Dog House Drive In is a no-frills, old-school take-out spot known for unfussy burgers, chili cheese dogs, fries & shakes.
This unassuming spot, with its famous dachshund neon sign, has kept the same beloved chili recipe for over 50 years! Visitors frequently wax lyrical about the homemade chili sauce and mouth-watering chili cheese dogs.
Although there is a small seating area inside this is also a genuine "drive in" experience complete with car hop service (hence the large menu outside) and hole-in-the-wall. Just pull up outside in the ample parking and someone will quickly be with you to take your order.
The Dog House may also be familiar to fans of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul as it was a recurring location for both series and has achieved something of a cult status among fans.
Make sure you bring a camera if you visit at night - the tail-wagging, hot-dug-guzzling sausage dog comes alive at night!
This historic Santa Fe hotel opened in 1936 and offers 86 completely unique rooms, including spacious suites with fireplaces & kitchenettes. An extensive renovation of the property was completed in 2018 combining the convenience of modern amenities with a contemporary Southwest design.
Built on the original Route 66, The El Rey Court's guests can enjoy the beautiful mezcal bar an indoor whirlpool and sauna, free Wi-Fi and a five-acre garden including seasonally heated outdoor pool, outdoor hot tub and fireplace.
Situated only minutes away from Santa Fe’s vibrant shopping, dining, and nightlife scene, The El Rey Court is an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Santa Fe is sometimes thought of as a "side trip" off main Route 66 whereas what has become known as the "Santa Fe loop" is actually an early alignment of Route 66 - only bypassed in 1937. If you want to follow a truly historical alignment then a visit to Santa Fe is a must.
The El Rey Court is a perfect stop for those looking for more than a day trip to Santa Fe. It offers a number of accommodation options with no two rooms being identical. The unique setting (with lush gardens and spa facilities) combined with it's very convenient location to the center of Santa Fe make it a very attractive proposition.
"This was a pleasant surprise. A wonderful hot tub in a beautiful setting."
Since 1935 Meramec Caverns have been allowing road weary travellers to cool off beneath the rolling hills of the Meramec Valley in their 7.4km cavern system. Formed over millions of years the caverns are home to a colorful complex of rare and unique mineral formations.
Trained rangers will guide you through well-lit walkways as you explore some of the rarest and largest cave formations in the world including the famous "Wine Room", "Mirror Room" and "Ball Room".
Legend has it that Jesse James used these caverns as a hideout in the 1870s, making use of the underground river to make a hasty escape through the “back door”!
In 1960, Meramec Caverns began to rent billboard space in the caverns. The owners claimed this was the only underground billboard in the world!
These days the caverns themselves aren't the only attraction and visitors can also opt to explore the Meramec River by riverboat, kayak or raft, and if heights don't bother you why not take on the climbing wall or zipwire adventure!
Meramec Caverns is a popular vacation stop along Route 66 and well worth a visit.
Opened in 2007, Pops quickly established itelf as an iconic landmark, striking a chord with Route 66 fans both old and new.
It's modern design may set it apart from the typical Route 66 restaurant or soda bar but the 66-foot illuminated soda bottle out front (the worlds largest soda bottle) certainly gives the place that familiar Route 66 kitsch! The roadside soda bottle weighs 4 tons and although appears to be made from neon tubes, is actually lit by LEDs, providing a spectacular light show each night.
Pops boasts a strong selection of burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads and home-style dinners including a mouth watering chicken quesadilla and beautifully prepared chicken fried steak.
Boasting over 500 kinds of soda, including their very own Round Barn Root Beer, and a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Pops makes for a unique rest stop and a welcome addition to the Route 66 experience. The glass walls of the restaurant are decorated with shelves of soda pop bottles, arranged by beverage color.
With over 700 types of soda you can take your taste buds on a journey with classics like root beer and cream soda all the way through to the weird and wonderful like bacon and beef jerky!
Visitors recommend Pops for it's generous portions and friendly waiting staff, as well as it's great atmosphere. Pops will certainly be a hit with the kids and is a welcoming stop for families. The gift shop sells a very good variety of Route 66 memorabilia as well as your personally-selected six-packs of bottled soda.
“A new icon on the old road, but very cool especially after dark. It’s in Arcadia, OK, close to the round barn”.
Enchanted Trails RV Park, located right on Route 66 on the west side of Albuquerque, offers 135 full service sites and 20 electric and water sites.
A great feature of Enchanted Trails is the vintage trailer exhibit. Step back in time and tour through the vintage trailers where each remains kitted out with original authentic furnishings.
The club house is filled with vintage curiosities and memorabilia and the trading post has an impressive selection of Native American Crafts, southwestern foods and Route 66 souvenirs.
"We stayed in Della, a 1974 Silver Streak appropriately decorated per the year - lava lamps, 8-track player and all the cool colors from the early 70s. Enchanted trails also has a swimming pool and hot tub on site for relaxing after a long day on Route 66. We stayed here in August 2011 and were really glad we did."
"And as an added bonus, Vickie Ashcraft, the owner, is an officer on the New Mexico Route 66 Association and a really nice lady to boot! Highly recommended!"
Follow Route 66 to Judy's Place - a home town bar serving beer and wine. Judy's welcoming and fun atmosphere has proven popular with many a Route 66 traveler that has stopped off for a cold beer and a game of pool!
Judy's Place is a fun local bar with that "everybody knows your name" vibe, be sure to keep an eye on their Facebook page as they often have live music and karaoke evenings.
In 1941 Devils Elbow itself was named "one of the Seven Beauty Spots of Missouri" and an old postcard promoted it as the place "Where the Main street of America winds its way through one of the most scenic areas in the Ozark region".
One of Judy's Place's greatest assets are its bartenders who are friendly and fun - one visit and you will feel right at home. Highly recommended.
"Such a fantastic, friendly, welcoming atmosphere. We are considering making the journey there again!!"
The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum is the largest history museum from Chicago to Santa Monica dedicated to the history and culture of Route 66. The museum spans over 60 years of Route 66 history and showcases vehicles, artefacts, photographs, videos and an audio tour narrated by Michael Wallis (author of the Route 66 Travellers Guide).
Take a personal journey through the history of the nation’s most revered highway and encounter the iconic ideas, images, and myths of the Mother Road. Experience the dust bowl as thousands streamed along the road, away from drought and despair and towards the “land of promise.” Listen to the sounds of the Big Band Era, when the roar of the big trucks and the welcome home cries to returning soldiers dominated the road. Touch the counter and sit in the booth of the 1950’s diner and feel the open road as America’s families vacationed along the length of Route 66.
The museum also offers special changing exhibits focusing on the Route 66 experience in their 'Now and Future' gallery.
This is a great addition to any Route 66 itinerary and every effort has been made to make sure the exhibits are both eye-catching and informative. Each themed room comes to life with appropriate music of the time and the exhibits are colourful and often interactive. There’s also a great gift shop that’ll satisfy all your Route 66 needs!
At the north end of Main Street in Galena, Kansas, stands the old Kan-O-Tex service station. First opened in 1934, this building has been part of Route 66 history for over 80 years! In 2007 the old building was purchased and restored by four women from Galena with a shared vision of renewing interest in Kansas' small share of Route 66.
Betty Courtney, Melba Rigg, Renee Charles and Judy Courtney helped lead the rebirth of Galena's stretch of Historic Route 66. They dubbed their gas station "Four Women on the Route" and operated it as as a tourist attraction for several years.
Following some changes to the original group of owners the business is now known as 'Cars on the Route', with the emphasis on the connection to the movie "Cars". This restored Kan-O-Tex service station is home to “Tow Tater” - inspiration for the character Tow Mater from Pixar's classic movie. Cars on the Route openly celebrates the connection between Route 66 and the Pixar movie "Cars". In 2011 Pixar returned to the site to interview the owners for the DVD release of "Cars 2".
'Cars on the Route' sell sandwiches, snacks, antiques, and both Route 66 and "Cars" memorabilia, including several made by local craftspeople and artists.
This was a particularly memorable stop on Route 66 where I was lucky enough to meet one of the original “4 Women” Melba Rigg - a very open and friendly host who was more than happy to show my wife and I around, take our picture and tell us all about the building and their plans.
I definitely recommend this stop as you drive through the short stretch of Kansas 66.
Henry's Rabbit Ranch is a unique Route 66 tourist centre based in a replica vintage gas station surrounded by rusted pumps and dozens of Volkswagen Rabbits in various states of dilapidation. Those aren't the only rabbits though as you soon find when you enter the center!
Upon entry you'll find about a dozen more rabbits - of the floppy eared kind - living amid the Route 66 memorabilia! You'll find a great selection of Route 66 gift and collectible items here as well as a warm welcome from owner Rich Henry.
A perfect example of Route 66 kitsch with it's "Hare it is" signage, Henry's Rabbit Ranch is a business totally in-keeping with the spirit of the Route 66 revival in recent years.
A great souvenir shop, site for numerous of photo opportunities and all round feel-good stop. Well worth a visit!
"We stop and visit with Rich Henry and his bunnies every year, regardless of whether we have a trip planned or not. He's such a great ambassador for Route 66 and one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet."
In 1974, a unique, recognisable and iconic landmark of Route 66 was born. A trio of artists from an art group known as the Ant Farm - Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels - were commissioned to produce a piece of public art. They opted to demonstrate the evolution of the tail fin of the Cadillac and thus, ten Cadillac's were half-buried, nose down, in the dirt.
Although Cadillac Ranch is visible from the road it requires just a short walk through the field on which it's built for closer inspection. Over time it’s become an ever-changing work of art as visitors to the site are permitted to bring paint and pens and add their own colourful flourishes. This wasn't the original intention but as the original vehicles were consistently subjected to defacement the artists moved from tolerance to actively encouraging it.
"If it had been sited in a remote place," Chip Lord said, "it would be pristine today." "And no one would have seen it," Doug Michels added. "We wanted it to be an interactive monument, so people could express themselves." Every so often the Caddies are repainted as fresh 'canvasses' and the process starts all over again!
These ten up-ended Cadillacs have appeared in numerous music videos and TV shows including the video for "Living in America" by James Brown, and in the movie "Cars" under the guise of the "Cadillac Range".
It's an interesting thought that these cars have now spent longer buried nose down in the dirt than they ever did cruising the roads of Route 66!
Free of charge and open 24/7, this Route 66 icon should certainly be part of every drivers itinerary.
The Cozy Dog Drive-In is something of a Route 66 icon and home of the one and only “Cozy Dog.” For the uninititated the Cozy Dog - something of a speciality at this particular restaurant - is a delicious hot dog on a stick often found nation-wide at many county and state fairs.
The restaurant celebrates it's long connection to the Mother Road by displaying a selection of Route 66 memorabilia while featuring a gift shop with Route 66 merchandise.
The Cozy Dog and Route 66 have a shared history extending across three generations. Renowned Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire (1945 - 2009) was the son of Cozy Dog owners Ed and Virginia Waldmire. Bob traveled along the route extensively, getting inspiration for his many postcards and maps before he sadly passed away in 2009. Bob was a much-loved and respected icon of Route 66 himself - you can read Ken Turmel's tribute to Bob Waldmire here.
The Cozy Dog is still very much a family-run business with Ed's grandson Josh Waldmire at the helm as owner and operator since 2013. Josh grew up in the Cozy Dog and worked there throughout High School. Josh returned to the business in 2007 to give his mother Sue a helping hand before she retired in 2012.
Serving the public for over 70 years, the Cozy Dog still uses the same batter recipe that Ed Waldmire developed back in 1946! The Cozy Dog is a must stop as you pass through Springfield, Illinois.
Upon arrival at the Route 66 Hotel the first thing that strikes you is the beautiful neon and wonderfully decorated lobby. There's no chance that you'll ever forget you're in a Route 66 motel as the walls are plastered with all manner of memorabilia and artwork! The hotel was actually the first Holiday Inn on Route 66 and opened in the 1950's.
This completely remodelled facility features 106 guest rooms and 8 suites, plenty of parking, a Grand Ballroom, and a "mini museum" with an array of vehicles, signs and articles from the golden age of Route 66. The huge Route 66 sign on the floor of the swimming pool is a nice touch!
Guests can relax in the hotel lobby Gaming Center, with slot machines and a TV to watch their favorite sports.
The location of the Route 66 Hotel and Conference Center is ideal if you plan on seeing the local attractions such as the IL State capitol, Old State Capitol, Abraham Lincoln Museum, Lincoln’s home, and Lincoln's tomb.
“My family stayed there while driving the Illinois & Missouri portions of Route 66. It's located right on the Route just seconds away from the Cozy Dog Drive in!”
To discuss the Big Texan Motel without mentioning the adjoining restaurant would be to miss the big picture - the two go hand in hand as an all-round experience known as The Big Texan Steak Ranch. The motel itself is designed to look like a main street in a Wild West town, complete with shuttered windows and an actual area for the horses! The rooms are not huge but are clean and comfortable.
However: you don't visit The Big Texan to spend a lot of time in the rooms. Which brings us nicely onto the restaurant... where else can you get a free 72oz steak?
There is, of course, a catch: it's only free if you can eat it within an hour! This pretty much sums up the entire attitude of the Ranch - big, extravagant and over the top! From the brightly painted exterior to the boot-shaped beer glasses, the Big Texan revels in it's Texan heritage whilst embracing a tongue-in-cheek playfulness that certainly pleases the tourists!
I stayed here on a Friday night and the place was buzzing with excitement: there were games and exhibits while you waited for your table, live music while you ate, and of course the occasional announcement that someone with eyes bigger than their belly was going to attempt the 72oz challenge.
The food was great including the "mountain oysters", a dish not often served outside of the American West - look it up! Unless you're expecting an intimate, low-key evening, a night at the Big Texan is a must for all Route 66 road trips.
Pappy's Smokehouse is a very well respected BBQ restaurant in St Louis and has been voted the number one restaurant in the city on Urbanspoon. Pappy's pork ribs - cooked dry and slow over apple and cherry wood - have been making mouths water since 2008.
It's frequently voted the best barbecue restaurant in the state and boasts a delicious range of barbecue food including baby back ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, burnt ends, turkey breast and sausage. It's best to call ahead if you're planning on going out late as Pappy's closes when each day's barbecue sells out.
Pappy's has also been featured on Season 1 of "Man vs Food" for it's "Big Ben" meal which includes a full slab of ribs, 2 sandwiches, a quarter-chicken, and 4 side dishes. Numerous celebrities have visited the restaurant, including Jimmy Kimmel, Willie Nelson, and Flavor Flav.
"Even if you have to wait in a queue which stretches from the counter where you place your order, to outside the restaurant, it is well worth the wait!"
"Very relaxed, family atmosphere, you eat off paper carton plates - everything is disposable. The ribs are out of this world, accompanied by sweet potato fries, baked beans, green beans, etc... Fantastic experience!"
This Route 66 Wigwam Motel is a fun stop and is the final of 7 Wigwam Motels originally constructed (only 3 of which still exist).
There are 19 wigwams available to choose from with grounds that include a swimming pool and a large grass front with over 35 palm trees surrounding the entire property. Unlike in other surviving wigwam motels, this has a double row of wigwam guest rooms as opposed to the usual single arch.
The motel has been renovated extensively by the Patel Family who were awarded the National Historic Route 66 Federation's 2005 Cyrus Avery Award for their efforts in restoration. Each "wigwam" features modern amenities including Wi-fi, with the ability to park your car right next to your room and still have space between you and your neighbour.
The Wigwam Motel is a perfect example of kitsch Americana, and the original "do it in a teepee" sign is still onsite, albeit tucked around the back! I’ve not yet had the opportunity to stay here but many who have speak very highly of the hospitality of the owners.
“At some point in their lives everyone should spend a night in a Wigwam, and I'd recommend this is the place to do that. Unusual, fun, and quirky. The owner of the place seems to do his best to keep it upgraded and clean. Additionally, he was friendly and happy to give Route 66 advice or answer questions.”
If you're looking for a motel that's clean, homely and doesn't cost the earth, then this is the place for you. Spend the day cruising up one alignment of Route 66 and then u-turn to come back down another to the CarlinVilla Motel. Located in a quiet area the CarlinVilla will give you a chance to relax and unwind - whether that's in their hot tub and pool or just lounging in the comfortable lobby area.
Located near the heart of historic Carlinville, the CarlinVilla makes for a good get away, and the owners - Kirti & Gayatri - go the extra mile to ensure that your stay is comfortable and memorable. The fact that so many Route 66 travellers return time and time again is testament to the owners and the authentic Route 66 experience they provide.
The surroundings are beautiful and dining isn't a problem as the motel is a short distance from the downtown square, home to several nice restaurants and bars.
“The CarlinVilla is a small 'mom & pop' motel offering Route 66 prices - I totally recommend it if you want that 'homely' Route 66 experience.”
Open 7 days a week for breakfast (served all day), lunch, and dinner, Tally's Good Food Café has become a fixture for locals and Route 66 travelers passing through Tulsa. Although not an original historic diner the interior of Tally's embraces the classic fifties-era design and the exterior boasts some impressive neon.
Famed for it's expansive cinnamon rolls (the size of a dinner plate!) the diner has also been the recipient of a number of awards over the years including Tulsa's Best Diner, Tulsa's Best Breakfast and the admittedly niche Tulsa's Best Cinnamon Rolls.
Since the day that Tally’s Café opened, owner Tally Alame has greatly expanded the space; he opened a second dining room in 1990 and acquired additional space to add on a 50-seat banquet room and full bar in 2016. Tally’s Café now has a 2nd location in South Tulsa, which opened in 2017 and is operated by James Alame, Tally’s son.
"On a trip from Michigan to San Antonio for my daughters Air Force training graduation we stopped at Tallys Cafe in Tulsa Oklahoma for breakfast. It was hands down the best we've ever been too. The atmosphere was great. From the old 50's style decor to the friendliest staff you'll ever meet. Not to mention the food was amazing too. If we find ourselves down that way again we will for sure be stopping in again."
Most likely established in the 12th century, Acoma Pueblo (also known as "sky City") is regarded as the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States. Situated atop a 367 foot tall sandstone mesa in an ideal defensive position from raiders, the pueblo is now open for tours.
There are some breathtaking views to be had from the top of the mesa and the pueblo itself is fascinating. There are less than 50 tribal members currently living at the pueblo but there are plenty of opportunities to observe traditional artisans and indigenous culture. Observing the local artisans at work producing their unique thin-walled pottery is a joy so bring a little extra cash in order to take away some unique one-off mementos of your visit.
Aside from being a wonderful cultural learning experience, the beauty of the pueblo's set against a totally blue southwestern sky really is something to behold. A beautiful modern museum and restaurant are nestled at the foot of the mesa, where a tour bus will take you to the top for a guided walking tour.
The tour guides are very knowledgeable and are happy to answer any questions you might have.
The Stafford Air and Space Museum was founded in 1981 with a simple display case in the Weatherford airport terminal and has grown to become one of the premier educational attractions in western Oklahoma. The museum is named after Thomas P. Stafford, one of a handful of astronauts who flew to the moon prior to Apollo 11.
The museum is home to a full-size Titan II rocket, used to launch space capsules and nuclear warheads! See a thermonuclear bomb up close, plus an assortment of jets, rocket engines and videos of space missions. It's an amazing experience to climb into the cockpit of a jet aircraft, or to stand in the opening of a rocket engine.
"I highly recommend visiting the Stafford Air and Space Museum in Weatherford, OK. This museum is fantastic! It features high fidelity full scale replicas of the Wright Flyer and Glider, Sopwith Pup, Spirit of St. Louis, and Apollo Spacecraft Module."
"It houses one of the finest collections I've ever seen outside the Smithsonian in D.C. It's built in honor of General Thomas P. Stafford, Commander of Apollo 10 and the Apollo Soyuz Test Project. Stafford had an illustrious career serving as a test pilot and astronaut. The museum is a must see on Route 66!"
Well known for it's great small-town atmosphere and friendly staff, the appeal of the Boomarang Diner covers all ages - great fast food will never go out of fashion. People not only talk about the best burger they have ever eaten but they speak of the genuine service and spotless restaurants. The decor is fun and charming and you are bound to notice something new every time you go. Wall displays feature images of Route 66, Marylin Monroe, The Beatles, Elvis Presley and many movie stars of the '50s and '60s.
Boomarang made its mark from the humble beginnings of a man dedicated to making the best burger ever and to do this consistently every day. His vision is and always has been to treat every customer special. This is a fun 50's style diner with old fashioned hand-made burgers and very attentive staff.
The sign of a good restaurant when travelling away from home is when it's full of locals - and this is a very popular diner among the people of Chandler. Ranking #1 of 16 restaurants in Chandler (TripAdvisor, July 2017), the Boomarang Diner really will take you back to the heyday of Route 66.
The Homestyle Inn & Suites is a reasonably priced motel situated just a few blocks from the State Capital building and Lincoln Library. The main draw to this hotel was the price and location; inexpensive and central to downtown. It's ideally located if you want to make an early start to check out Lincoln's home and tomb. While certainly not a traditional Route 66 motel the location is very convenient for sightseeing in Springfield.
The hotel has a swimming pool that's open during the summer months but I didn't get the chance to take a dip. I stayed here after a long day of driving (the first stop on my journey in fact) and was only looking for a comfortable place to rest my head. With that in mind it didn't disappoint - the room was very large and the bed was comfy. The decor is dated and could do with a makeover but I have no complaints regarding cleanliness. The breakfast was good and home to the largest apples I've ever seen!
The staff are very welcoming and more than happy to offer advice on local areas of interest. On our visit we found downtown to be very quiet but discovered a great place to eat/drink called Sammy's Sports Bar and Grill.
The Downtowner Motel offers newly remodeled rooms that range in size from, single kings, double queens, and double queen suites. Conveniently located just an hour from the Grand Canyon, with access to the Grand Canyon Express Train, the Downtowner Motel provides easy access to a range of shops, bars and restaurants. There is a pleasant walk to be had from the motel along Route 66 through Williams.
The owners are frequently praised for their energy and enthusiasm when greeting guests. The town is a peaceful place for an evening stroll to stretch your legs after a long day behind the wheel. There are plenty of shops and bars, and it's very family friendly.
It's very convenient to be able to park right outside your room and there's nice outdoor furniture with tables for you to unwind. For those who need to stay connected the WiFi reception is very good for uploading all those important photographs!
"WONDERFUL. Staff were warm, welcoming and helpful. Hotel was updated but maintained such tasteful charm. Great walking distance to all restaurants and attractions. Complimentary breakfast included and was very good. Will definitely stay here again. Great seating outside to enjoy "motor court" experience. Stayed here 2 nights in May, 2014."
Okay - so it’s not actually situated on Route 66 but it’s hard not to admit that the Grand Canyon National Park makes for an awesome side-trip! Since it’s birth Route 66 has guided many families on vacation towards the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon. And why not? It’s situated only an hour from both Williams and Kingman making it easily accessible from Route 66. As a day trip you should allow an hour to reach the south entrance, otherwise there’s good lodging to be found within the National Park itself for those wanting to spend the night.
On my visit I stayed at one of the many lodges within the national park and set my alarm an hour before sunrise. Surrounded by beautiful woodland with wild deer right outside the lodge itself. We were able to get up very early and watch the sun rise over followed by an hours trek into the canyon - one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had. A popular vacation destination with good reason.
There was something about the view that seemed unreal, like a painting, as if we could reach out and touch it. We walked as far as we could in an hour before stopping to admire the views before starting our ascent. I’d thoroughly recommend it.
Although this isn't a "classic" or historic motel, the Baxter Inn 4 Less has been offering quality, budget accommodation, to Route 66 travelers for many years. For a great price this is a comfortable two-storey modern-era motel. Offering free Wi-Fi and a TV with cable channels in every room, the motel is less than 5 miles from Bicentennial State Park. A complimentary breakfast is served each morning.
“My wife and I spent five days there during the recent festival. Nice room, low rates. Our five-day stay there was pleasant."
"The room was adequate in size and in very good condition. There was a free ice machine right down the hallway from our room and there was free internet service throughout the building."
"The building itself is two story and "L-shaped”, probably built in the 1960s or 1970s. There was always a convenient place to park close to our room. Requests for a couple of extra pillows and extra towels were handled immediately. Our room rate was, if I remember right, about $42 a night. It was close to everything in Baxter Springs as you would expect in a town the size of Baxter Springs.”
This refurbished hotel has been providing rooms for Route 66 travelers on vacation for sixty years. As with the Munger Moss, the Route 66 Rail Haven also has themed rooms - the Elvis and Monroe suites both come fitted with a hot tub to unwind in and reflect on a good days travel! If the weather is on your side then there is also an outdoor pool and spa for guests to enjoy.
Guests can enjoy free high-speed internet, free parking and complimentary coffee in the lobby. All rooms include a coffee maker, refrigerator and microwave.
“We were driving Route 66 East to West, so it was fitting that we stopped at this motel, and we were very happy that we did. It was nostalgic of old-style '50s motels, but very well maintained."
"The lobby and breakfast areas were decorated with memorabilia of that era (formica tables, old signs, etc.) and the breakfast was the best motel breakfast we had on our whole trip. They actually had yoghurt to supplement the total carb diet, and had whole wheat bread that really WAS whole wheat, not just white bread with food coloring waved over it. The lobby played 50s and 60s music, and there were some restored vehicles of the period parked outside. We loved it!”
Established in 1959, the Motel Safari has been welcoming Route 66 travelers for nearly 60 years and has become one of the iconic motels along the route.
Very highly rated on TripAdvisor, this motel features artwork of original photo archives from Tucumcari's Route 66 heyday in each of the guestrooms, as well as old linen postcard prints of motels that no longer exist.
The motel continues to be renovated and restored today, and much of the furniture is made up of original Mid-century modern pieces from the day the motel was built and were custom made on site during construction. Each room also features modern facilities such as 32 inch HDTV's with cable channels, remote controlled Frigidaire, Speakman Anystream showerheads, and free Wi-Fi.
“This motel is wonderful! We actually decided to stay an extra night because we liked it so much! The owner showed us to our room and when we got there the lights were on, the a/c was running and she had a CD playing with the songs of Tucumcari. She gave us recommendations about dinner and some things to do in the area."
"The room had been wonderfully redone to it's mid-century roots. I would recommend the hotel to anyone that wants the true old time Route 66 experience!”
One of the oldest motels on Route 66, the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri, was built in 1934 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Wagon Wheel is an old gas station with the pumps still present and accessorized with antique vehicles. Combined with the famous neon sign it makes a great stop for photo opportunities. The landmark neon sign has been standing for over 60 years and is only clearly visible to traffic arriving from the east.
The motel has been restored in recent times and, as the oldest continuously operating motel on US 66, celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2016. Each of the individual rooms has been renovated with new plumbing, wiring, bedding and modern amenities, making for a clean, comfortable and attractive stop.
The outdoor seating area is perfect for a relaxing evening following a long day behind the wheel, with firepits, decks and a new concrete patio. The adjoining Connie's gift shop adds to the whole experience with many interesting route 66 collectibles.
"A lot of love has gone into the restoration of this motel and it shows. The rooms are clean and comfortable, and the staff are warm and welcoming - what more could you ask for!"
The Hotel Monte Vista opened for business on New Year's Day, 1927, having been funded by a group of prominent Flagstaff citizens who recognised that Flagstaff was in need of a first class accommodation for the rising tourism in the area. In the 40's and 50's, as the popularity of western films was on the rise, the hotel became the first choice for many Hollywood stars such as John Wayne, Jane Russell, Spencer Tracy, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby who shot at the nearby Sedona and Oak Creek Canyons.
The hotel itself has also been the star on occasions having been featured in Hollywood films such as Casablanca and Forrest Gump!
The hotel is a popular gathering point for locals and so all of the rooms are located on the second, third and fourth floor above the lobby and their two very popular bars. There is both an elevator and a staircase provided for you to access your room.
Located in the historic district of Flagstaff, the hotel is in a prime location with plenty of opportunities to explore the local area.
"We stayed at the Monte Vista in Aug 2011, and were really impressed by the Hotel, the service and the local attractions. Highly recommended!"
The Blue Swallow is one of the most well-known and easily recognisable motels along Route 66, largely due to its wonderful neon sign. Built in 1939, the Blue Swallow perfectly encapsulates the classic route 66 feel. A particularly charming feature is that every room has its own adjoining garage.
The rooms themselves are retro but cosy, clean and well kept, and the showers are very powerful. The owners are clearly proud of their motel and, upon arrival, showed us to our room to check that everything was to our satisfaction.
The neon sign itself is in excellent condition and really is beautiful and eye-catching at night - it must be one of the most photographed signs along the whole route. The motel is very photogenic - even if you're not lucky enough to be able to get a room it's certainly worth a stop in Tucumcari to stretch your legs and take a few pics.
The town itself - Tucumcari - is very peaceful and a typical historic Route 66 town. The Motel is a short walking distance from the gloriously neon-lit Tee Pee Curios souvenir shop (a route 66 icon in it's own right), Mesalands Dinosaur Museum and several places to eat/drink.
Stay in the Blue Swallow if you want an authentic taste of old route 66 on your vacation, but be warned that if you're travelling during the summer months you'd be best to book this one in advance as it's a particularly popular stop.
Located in Carthage, Missouri, the Boots Court was built in 1939 by Arthur Boots, and still carries his name today. It was purchased in August 2011 by sisters Deborah Harvey and Priscilla Bledsaw, who have begun to restore the buildings to their 1940s' appearance. The newly restored rooms include 1940s' touches such as real keys, chrome light fixtures, chenille bedspreads, monogrammed towels, built-in dressers and a radio tuned to a station playing 1940s' hits.
The original red-and-white Boots Court neon signage was restored by the original signmaker in 2013. This famous Art Deco-Streamline Modern building is currently listed by Trip Advisor as the "Best Motel in Carthage", and is very often recommended by users of our Facebook page.
It's clear that the owners are passionate about their motel and this really shines through in the attention to detail in their restorative work, and the enthusiasm they display when greeting guests. This iconic motel is a must-stop for all Route 66 enthusiasts.
"We stayed at the Boots and had a wonderful time. The room was clean and quiet. Debbie was a great source of information and lots to see and do near by. Can't wait to go back."
Not too far from it's more famous counterpart lies the VW Slug Bug Ranch, and in the words of Ken Fisher who made this recommendation, it's "like the Cadillac Ranch only with VW Beetles"!
Five Volkswagen Beetles lay nose-down in the ground and, as with the Cadillac Ranch, visitors are encouraged to spray paint the cars in order to leave their mark. If you feel like a good deed, perhaps collect an empty can or two and dispose of them at your next stop - some people tend to leave them laying about.
Whether it's an homage or a riposte, this is another example of the many off-beat sights to be found along Route 66 and worthy of a stop to stretch your legs and take a few photos. If you're a fan of geocaching it's also worth noting that there just may be something hidden in this area too!
It's less well known than it's older brother, Cadillac Ranch, and so expect the place to be quiet while you potter around trying to get your "arty" shots!
Situated just off the frontage road it's generally easy to find a space to park your car nearby.
The Flamingo Inn is a classic motel on Route 66 and has been nicely remodeled without ruining the all important "Route 66" feel. It is an inexpensive stay with plenty of charm and character. Each renovated room comes with a large flat-screen TV, good internet service, microwave, coffee machine and mini fridge.
The owners are very welcoming and offer complimentary bottles of ice-cold water upon arrival. If you're travelling with kids then the city park is just down the road complete with a vintage carousel.
"The owners were very friendly, accommodating and went out of their way to ensure our stay was memorable. Clean and comfortable and very affordable indeed. It's a stone's throw from the Route 66 museum too."
Atlanta, Illinois, is home to one of the happiest sights you could hope to pass on your Route 66 roadtrip - the smiley face water tower - one of the largest smiley faces you'll ever see!
Back in 2003 the town of Atlanta turned 150 years old, and as part of the 150th birthday celebration the municipal water tower was painted bright yellow and adorned with a contrasting smiley face on a long white base.
It's very hard to miss as you pass through the town. If you're traveling east to west then it appears on your right hand side not long after passing the Bunyon Giant. Whilst being a relatively new addition to the long list of roadside attractions on Route 66 it certainly has the right level of kitsch to fit in!
Hopefully this happy fella will bring a smile to your face too as you stop to check out what else Atlanta has to offer to road-tripping travelers.
The smiley face water tower is really quite hard to miss and a great photo-opportunity if nothing else!
The Joliet Route 66 Diner is a great retro diner featuring wall signs from the 50's and 60's, offering a traditional diner breakfast and lunch menu.
Located within walking distance of the Joliet Historical Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center, the diner boasts a wide range of dishes including Mexican, crab, Florentine or country Benedicts for breakfast, omelets with corned beef hash, chorizo, feta, spinach or more, burgers, sandwiches and salads galore and breaded pork tenderloin or veal cutlet.
"I am a former waitress from The Joliet Route 66 Diner located in Joliet, Illinois. The diner is an adorable throwback to mom and pop diners and located right in the heart of Downtown Joliet, just a few steps away from the original Route 66."
"Every year we (I still consider myself part of the diner family) get many different visitors from all over the world coming through the doors and each one is treated like family. We have free brochures and postcards advertising some of the local attractions as well as other places to stop and see while you continue on your journey."
"The food is very reasonably-priced, with large portions enough to fill you up until your next stop. I loved working here, the whole diner really just makes you feel like you've stepped back in time and the waitresses are some of the sweetest women I have ever met"
"I definitely recommend stopping in for breakfast or lunch if you've got the chance."
Fancy spending the night in what is described as the “oldest, darkest, deepest, quietest, and largest suite room in the world”? Well, as of 2010, now you can at the Grand Canyon Caverns! The only room in the caverns is 22 stories down and over 65 million years old! Tours of the caverns depart every half hour daily and last 25 minutes.
Interestingly, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the US government stored enough food and water rations in the caverns to support 2,000 people for up to two weeks. These supplies are still there to this day and can be seen by visitors!
“For me this is one of the neatest places on the Road. With so much kitsch out there, Grand Canyon Caverns is refreshing in that it's more original than many places without the corniness. I've stayed in the motel and it's clean and comfortable if not fancy. It's also QUIET!"
"I awoke about 2am and wandered out to the deserted road and just sat there for an hour or so soaking up the solitude. It even had a bit of a post-apocalyptic feel. Along this stretch of the Road, many previous alignments can be seen if you're a history buff, and don't forget the Burma Shave signs!”
History & Ghost Tours of Old Town, Albuquerque, are an incredibly popular attraction for anyone spending the night in the area.
"What a fun night of history and Ghost hunting in Old Town Albuquerque. This is a story-telling 90 minute walk around the main square of Old Town after dark. There was a lot going on, festive music playing in the town square park and all the people walking around. Great atmosphere. The Ghost Tour was all about the local history and the ghosts that inhabit the area that have been seen over the last 100 years or so. I actually caught an orb myself on my camera! They encourage you to take pictures while on the tour listening to the knowledgeable guide. It just happened to be a full moon the night we went 31 July 2015. Lots of fun! I highly recommend it!"
"Kids are welcome and there was a wheelchair person too with us and they did fine. Legends, folklore, ghost stories and history come to life as you depart on an intriguing excursion through 306 years of haunted history. Old Town is the birthplace of Albuquerque, founded in 1706, and for more than three centuries people have lived and died around the Old Town Plaza. The historic buildings and dark alleys conceal the long-forgotten secrets of battles, murders, hangings, and hidden cemeteries."
This funky little 1960’s-era resort is minutes off of interstate I-40. It’s a perfect place to get away and relax in your very own comfortable room, or your own RV space with full hookups, or you can even pitch a tent right down by the Colorado River.
At Fender's River Road Resort, families and groups of all ages are welcome to enjoy the picnic area under the shade of trees, with charcoal grills, a fire pit and a blanket of stars at night all year round.
Fender's River Road Resort is the only resort on Route 66 and the Colorado River in Needles, CA. You can enjoy the river with fishing, boating, wave running, swimming or just sitting out on one of our decks right over the river taking in the picturesque view of the famous Needles mountains and listening to the currents of the mighty Colorado River rush by.
You can enjoy the river with fishing, boating, wave running, swimming or just sitting out on one of the decks right over the river taking in the picturesque view of the famous Needles mountains and listening to the currents of the mighty Colorado River rush by.
"Truly the hidden gem on Route 66 - Rosie Ramos will take care of each and every traveler as they were family!!!!"
Uranus Missouri, often called simply "Uranus," is a tourist attraction located in the rural area of Pulaski County, Missouri. It is a shopping mall featuring a sports bar, nightclub, tattoo shop, festival food truck lot, and an outdoor store with a gun range and pro-shop. It's also home to a Fudge Factory and General Store.
A welcome stop for sweet-toothed lovers of fudge and other candy - the Fudge Factory is a particularly popular destination. There are lots of Uranus and Route 66 souvenirs available - particularly tee shirts that play on the inherent innuendo in "Uranus"!
"Chicken Bones/Uranus Fudge Factory/Uranus General Store/Missouri Outpost - all of these places are located in an establishment called Uranus Missouri. It's located on Highway Z, in St. Robert. Chicken Bones has the most amazing chicken wings anywhere and you can find a cold beer there too. The Fudge Factory makes their own fudge daily and it also is amazing. The General Store reminds me of the atmosphere of the old Hillbilly Store that used to be just across the overpass. Crazy friendly, super service, and all kinds of neat things to look at. The Missouri Outpost has all of your hunting and fishing supplies. Basically good old hometown service, great products, great service. I recommend it to everyone!"
Cyrus Avery is often credited as the "Father of Route 66" for both his work in creating the route whilst a member of the Federal Highway System, and for his role is establishing the US Highway 66 Association in order to pave and promote the route. The Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza, located on Southwest Boulevard at Riverside Drive in Tulsa, aims to celebrate and recognise this achievement.
The Plaza features the flags of the eight states of Route 66, the Route 66 Skywalk (with its zig-zag art-deco style and familiar logo), a park, a pedestrian walk way over route 66, and several bronze statues including a land-run horse and wagon, and an old automobile featuring Will Rogers. The plaza itself contains the giant symbolic sculpture of the intersection of a car and a horse-drawn wagon. On top of the obvious symbolism on display, the bronze sculptures themselves are amazingly detailed in their own right and well worth a look.
The plaza is a great place to pull over and stretch your legs whilst also making for many excellent photo opportunities. There's free parking adjacent to the pedestrian bridge that crosses 11th Street.
Future plans will see a new visitor’s center and the Route 66 Interpretive Center, featuring Route 66 exhibits, historical perspectives, restaurants and gift shop.
Amboy crater is an extinct volcano only 1.5 miles south of Route 66 near the town of Amboy. The crater is estimated to be 79,000 years old with it's last eruption approximately 10,000 years ago.
It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973, and recognized for its visual and geological significance. Although this crater is not unique, it is considered an excellent example of a very symmetrical volcanic cinder cone.
The Bureau of Land Management suggests the following if you're planning a visit:
"The drive to get to the crater is astonishing and takes in the most amazing scenery, even if it's quite desolate at times. Probably best to visit with company as it can be quite a lonely spot, and be sure to take plenty of weather - the temperature at the height of summer is extreme. Plenty of great photo opportunities and sunsets are spectacular."
The Coleman Theatre is a beautifully restored theatre that was donated to the City of Miami (pronounced Mi-am-uh) by the Coleman family in 1989. Originally opened in 1929 as a vaudeville theatre and movie palace, the Coleman was designed to bring a touch of glamour to the city.
The Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ and gigantic Chandelier take you back to the times when the likes of Will Rogers, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope graced the boards here. The decor really is something to behold, with gargoyles, dolphins, cherubs and faces dotted around the premises.
Events at the Coleman range from ballets and operas, to country and western acts, to jazz and dance bands. If you're a movie fan they also show classic silent movies with the “Mighty Wurlitzer” providing the music and sound effects!
The Coleman Theatre is open for tours from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday, and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays. I was shown around by a fantastic guy called Larry who clearly loved the theatre and was full of stories of it’s past glories and supernatural history. Legend has it that three ghosts roam the Coleman Theatre so if you're taking a tour be sure to enquire about the many spooky tales, particularly regarding Stuart the poltergeist!
Set in the high desert and surrounded by mountains, this KOA is the campground most centrally located to Arizona attractions.
Enjoy a quiet, peaceful environment and great weather year-round. This is the perfect place to set up camp and take day trips to Las Vegas (1.5 hours), the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead (closer than Vegas), the Grand Canyon (2+ hours) and Lake Havasu, home of the London Bridge (45 minutes).
This is the closest KOA to the Grand Canyon West Skywalk. Visit fun ghost towns like Chloride or Oatman. The Kingman KOA campground has free mini golf, Wi-Fi, cable TV, seasonal heated pool and children's train rides. Staff are knowledgeable and helpful should you need assistance setting up or any local advice.
"Perfect for RVs, ground quite hard for camping. Had to go looking for this one. Clean, friendly and helpful staff."
Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket in Willowbrook, Illinois, started life as a simple sandwich counter in a gas station on Route 66. In 1946, following the purchase of the building next door, it was up-scaled to it's current form and has been boasting excellent food and service to Route 66 travelers ever since.
This iconic restaurant off Route 66 has been featured in many documentaries and guidebooks and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. It's world-famous slow-cooked chicken has earned the restaurant quite a following, and many would consider it a must-stop on Route 66. Chicken isn’t a compulsory dish though as beef, ribs, fish, salads and a very popular macaroni cheese are also available. Everything is made fresh including the dressings. The atmosphere is most definitely down-home, welcoming and friendly.
The bar area of the restaurant is known as The Blue Rooster Lounge and is open every day except Monday and features live music and events on weekends. If you like country music, a live band performs on Saturday nights.
Stop at Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket for wonderful food, welcoming staff and authentic Route 66 nostalgia.
“They serve good food and the specialty is fried chicken, in a cosy place which reminds everyone of the historic Route 66.”
Formed over 200 million years ago, the result of a forest being buried by volcanic ash and petrified, the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park makes for a particularly interesting detour off Route 66. The glorious multi-colored rock formations are a result of the various iron and manganese compounds in the rock, and on a sunny day produce vibrant reds and oranges. The views are spectacular and photographs can't do justice to the beauty of the various colored layers - it really has to be seen to be appreciated.
As the only National Park to contain a portion of Route 66, the Petrified Forest has an interesting visitor’s center with plenty of polished examples of petrified wood. As well as being a popular destination for sightseeing, it's also a magnet for photographers, hikers and backpackers.
North of the Petrified Forest you gain access to the Painted Desert - a desert badlands, so called because of the brilliant and varied colors on of rock on display. As you drive through there are many opportunities to pull over in the spaces provided to stretch your legs and take some photos.
For the purposes of your roadtrip, the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park can be treated as one destination - Mother Nature's two-for one!
In 2009 the Route 66 Alliance and the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corp got together and declared the end of the Santa Monica Pier to be the western terminus of Route 66. It's now marked by an upright sign stating "The End of the Trail" and is a popular photo opportunity for travelers at the end of their journey. This is actually a replica of a sign that once stood on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Ocean Ave before it's mysterious disappearance 50 years ago.
Santa Monica Pier is home to a range of restaurants and souvenir shops as well as being a prime location to catch the beautiful sunsets over the pacific ocean. There's entertainment in the form of live music, street entertainers and rides for all ages.
"The unofficial end of Route 66, the world-famous Santa Monica Pier offers a variety of entertainment and shopping including Pacific Park amusement park, Heal The Bay Aquarium, a historic 1922 Merry-Go-Round (Carousel), plus speciality shops/carts, eateries, an old-fashioned soda fountain, and full-service restaurants. Located on the pier is Dan Rice's Route 66 to Cali souvenir shop. With a great selection of Route 66 memorabilia, the added bonus is all items in the shop are 100% Made in the USA. Dan is also an author and well know Route 66 roadie. Stop by and say "hi" to Dan!"
The Tumbleweeds Grill is located in Texola, Oklahoma, in the world famous Water Hole #2 building. The owners have completely renovated the original structure into the oldest building on Route 66 operating as a restaurant. Tumbleweeds is open seven days a week serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7am to 7pm. The restaurant is very clean and serves excellent home-cooked food including all-day breakfasts.
A real selling point for the Tumbleweeds Grill is Masel, the owner - a woman who is ever-welcoming and enjoys interacting with her customers with real enthusiasm.
The building was originally known as the Water Hole #2 and is a former 1930's beer joint. This is a great stop and a truly authentic part of Route 66 history. Situated on the Texas-Oklahoma border the town of Texola itself dates back to the early 1900s and has previously been known as Texokla and Texoma! Texola is almost a Ghost Town and has some interesting relics of gas stations and a territorial jail cell.
"This was a great little place. Masel is the owner and she is a great artist too! Stop in for food and chat for a while. This town (Texola) only has about 40 people living there now, but it was once a much bigger town."
The Drury Inn & Suites in Springfield, Illinois, is not your traditional Route 66 accommodation by any means, but this hotel comes highly rated and provides weary travelers with many creature comforts. Although slightly further outside the downtown area than other hotels, this hotel offers a pool and hot-tub, free internet access, free breakfast, and free hot and cold snacks! It may not be historical or independent, but if you fancied treating yourself for the night, you could do far worse...
“I really can't say enough about this hotel. We live only an hour away but took my 5yr old daughter to stay all night and swim for her birthday. A friend of mine met me at the hotel with her 2 daughters. This was a Friday afternoon. We had the pool to ourselves for 3 hours! It was great!"
"Then there were the free drinks, free hot dogs, chili, baked potatoes and salad. The room and the carpet were very clean. Free wi-fi in the room. The breakfast the next day was great. French toast, eggs, cereal, sausage. Not just your muffins and cereal laid out. We will definitely be coming back. Oh yeah, wanted to point out it was very quiet too. We never heard a thing from outside our room.”
Located just minutes from Interstate 40 in Northern Arizona near Winslow, Meteor Crater is the breath-taking result of a collision between an asteroid traveling 26,000 miles per hour and planet Earth approximately 50,000 years ago. Nearly one mile across, this is the world’s best preserved meteorite impact site.
This huge crater is 1,200m in diameter and 170m deep. It’s privately owned and so there is an admission charge to gain access. The visitor center on the north rim houses several interactive exhibits and many artifacts including a 1,406 pound meteorite found in the area.
The views offered from the north rim are spectacular - the scale just cannot be appreciated from photographs. It's not only the views of the crater that are awe-inspiring, but the views offered outside; of vast prairies and distant mountain ranges that add extra value to this stop. Guided tours will take you on a hike of the rim. The winds can get pretty intense and you'll want to wear comfortable shoes/boots if you want to go for this option.
There are a few fun photo opportunities in the Meteor Crater visitor center including the option to pretend to stand in the center of the crater (an option not available to you in reality), and an Apollo Space Capsule (lunar astronauts trained here).
The Springfield / Route 66 KOA Campground in Springfield, Missouri, offers a shady retreat in the heart of the scenic Ozarks. The lush, landscaped campground is close to lakes, and an award-winning golf course is right next door.
Area attractions include the original Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Wilson's Creek Civil War Battlefield, a Civil War Museum highlighting the Civil War Battle at Wilson's Creek, Fantastic Caverns, the Dickerson Park Zoo, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, and antique shops.
The campground is big-rig friendly with long pull-thru sites with patios. For your four-legged friends, you are able to take advantage of Kamp K-9 - the off-leash park built especially for dogs!
Visitors to the Springfield / Route 66 KOA often remark upon the helpful and welcoming staff. It's also useful to know that there is a Walmart within a 10-15 minutes drive from the site.
"Catering for RVs, camping and log cabins. Nice, clean and friendly although the trains can be a bit noisy."
Lou Mitchell's restaurant has earned it's nickname "the first stop on the Mother Road" due it's huge popularity with Route 66 roadies. Many folks stop at Lou Mitchell's for a good breakfast and a caffeine injection prior to heading off on their Route 66 adventure. The restaurant is known for it's quality food and generous portions making it popular with locals and tourists alike.
In 1958 the restaurant added a new service that embodied their sense of fun - free donut holes for all and boxes of milk duds for the ladies and children! There's often a line waiting out of the door but don't worry, the line moves fast and the free donut holes really help!
Established in 1949, Lou Mitchell's is a true icon of Route 66. With the obvious exceptions of the kitchen and bathrooms, the interior has been largely preserved in it's original style. The dining area retains it's original black and white terrazo flooring and most of the dining and counter areas remain unchanged.
Since Lou Mitchell’s is known for its breakfast and lunch you'll find that it's not open past 4pm on any given day. The lunch service begins at 10.30am but the breakfast can be ordered at any time.
Lou Mitchell's was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
Founded in 1922 the Route 66 Motel in Barstow, California, has been greeting travelers for nearly 100 years! Boasting great room rates and clean, comfortable rooms it was voted one of the "10 great places to stop along the way (Route 66)" by USA Today.
The exterior has all the charm that you'd expect from a classic Route 66 motel - neon signage, Route 66 murals and classic cars - while the inside boasts all the amenities a 21st century traveler has come to expect - free WiFi, flat-screen TV's and minibars. What is quite unusual and certainly adds to it's charm is the fact that every room is equipped with a round bed!
The owners have done a wonderful job restoring the property and are keen Route 66 enthusiasts, being very helpful and welcoming. The exterior decor is vibrant and inviting while the interior is every bit as comfortable as you'd like. What is ideal about this motel in terms of it's location is that it's only a 150 mile drive from Las Vegas should you decide to take a side-trip to the strip.
"I stayed at this place on Route 66 and would like to recommend it to other travelers. It's a cute throwback to times of early Route 66 and the place was fun to stay at. It was a blast with their round beds!"
Famous for its giant yellow fiberglass cuckoo bird emerging from the front wall, Waylan's KuKu Burger is an authentic Route 66 hot spot. Located just off Route 66, this restaurant remains the only surviving location of an original fast food drive-in chain from the 1960s. Believe it or not, there used to be close to 200 KuKu's in the US.
It remains a highly praised restaurant for both the quality of food and the nostalgic decor inside, and you'll meet plenty of other Route 66 roadtrippers here to swap stories. The KuKu is often cited as a top venue on Route 66 for burgers and other fast food. It's also home to a wonderful example of retro neon signage - after dark it really is something special!
"The food here was excellent. I asked the waitress what I should try and she immediately said "try the large cheeseburger", and I've no regrets! It was delicious and lived up to it's reputation as having the best burgers in town! The service was great and the staff were very friendly and welcoming. At the time I was there it was quite busy and there was a great sense of Route 66 community there among the many travellers. It had a wondeful Route 66 atmosphere - can't recommend it enough."
The El Rancho Hotel and Motel was opened in 1937 as a base for movie productions by the brother of film director D.W. Griffith. It was the temporary home for many Hollywood movie stars including Ronald Reagan, Spencer Tracy, Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne!
According to author Russell A. Olsen, “As you enter the historic El Rancho through the stately front entry, you immediately realize this was and still is a special place….During its heyday, the El Rancho Hotel was one of the premier hotels in the entire Southwest and became the place for the Hollywood set to stay when filming in the area. During its glory years, the El Rancho was the definition of luxury and included many amenities that were lacking in other typical tourist hotels of the day. For 50 years, the El Rancho Hotel greeted guests along Route 66 with class and dignity…Luckily for us, this one-of-a-kind hotel once again greets guests with open arms and enjoys the renewed worldwide interest in Route 66 and its landmarks.”
The Hollywood history plays a large part in the charm and attraction of this hotel. It's an historic venue and the decor may seem dated to some, so don't expect a shiny, contemporary experience. This is a hotel/motel that revels in it's vintage status and the glamour of classic Hollywood.
The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, comprises of a Western-inspired motel and steakhouse restaurant, and is a must-stop along Route 66. The motel itself is designed to look like a main street in a Wild West town, complete with shuttered windows and an actual area for the horses! However: you don't visit The Big Texan to spend a lot of time in the rooms...
Which brings us nicely onto the restaurant. Where else can you get a free 72oz steak? There is, of course, a catch: it's only free if you can eat it within an hour! Don't forget to finish the shrimp Cocktail, baked potato, salad, and bread roll too - that's all part of the deal!
This pretty much sums up the entire attitude of the Ranch - big, extravagant and over the top! I stayed here on a Friday night and the place was buzzing with excitement: there were games and exhibits while you waited for your table, live music while you ate, and of course the occasional announcement that someone with eyes bigger than their belly was going to attempt the 72oz challenge.
The Big Texan opened in 1960 before relocating to it's current position on I40 in 1970. The style is typically "Texan" with white stretch limos featuring huge longhorn hood ornaments parked outside, massive portions and even a shooting range!
It's a great family-friendly venue, and a top night out for all.
The Flagstaff KOA is a beautiful mountain campground set at 7000 feet amongst tall pine trees at the base of the San Francisco Peaks. The summer temperatures are in the high 80's during the day and low 50's at night.
The front desk staff are pleasant and helpful and the shower rooms are warm and clean. This KOA site is well positioned for exploring Flagstaff as well as a base for travelling further afield.
Located off Route 66, The Flagstaff KOA is just an hour from the beautiful Red Rocks of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, an hour and a half from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, 99 miles from the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, two hours from Lake Powell, and 30 minutes from Meteor Crater, Walnut Canyon, and Native American Ruins. There is a free concierge service, tours leaving from the campground, and a friendly, knowledgeable staff to make sure your vacation is the trip of a lifetime.
"RVs, camping, and the chance to sleep in a teepee. Clean and friendly. Beautiful views as set at the foot of a mountain."
When Elmer Long was a young boy he used to accompany his father on a search of the wastelands and abandoned settlements in the Mojave desert, looking for objects of historical interest and gathering up anything that may be put to further use, including a large collection of colored glass bottles.
Many years later, after inheriting his father’s collection, artist Elmer Long decided to create “bottle trees” by welding “branches” onto an iron rod, and it wasn't long before he had a small forest! He's built every single tree by hand and collected each of the bottles used.
Bottle Tree Ranch in Helendale, California, comprises of an eclectic mix of “bottle trees”, old road signs, retro toys, broken rifles and other assorted odds ’n’ ends all coming together to produce a very quirky experience. A visit to Bottle Tree Ranch is about more than just the beautiful art installations and the melodic sounds created by the wind blowing through the bottles, because if you're really lucky you'll get to meet Elmer himself - a charming man who is often found talking to visitors about his creation.
The site is open from dawn until dusk, and donations are welcomed but not essential for entry (although highly recommended). Feel free stretch your legs and take photos of the over 200 "trees" - t's very hard to take a poor photograph in such an inspiring location!
The Munger Moss in Lebanon, Missouri, has been a real icon of old route 66 since the 1940's and well worth a stop.
It's a great choice for the price and you get the added bonus of meeting Ramona - the owner since 1971! Ramona made my wife and I feel so welcome and is more than happy to share a few stories of the old road. Check-in is very simple and because you pay up front there's no fuss with checking out; all you do is drop off the key and you're back on the road. Rather memorably, whilst dropping off the key, Ramona came out from behind her desk and gave me a hug to see me on my way - now how many motels can boast such a service?!
There are special themed rooms at the Munger Moss and if you're lucky there'll be one free on your visit. We were fortunate enough to stay in the Route 66 Room which was adorned with images spanning the whole journey - fantastic! The motel also features a gift shop and swimming pool.
The Munger Moss’s iconic neon sign was restored in 2010 and is a shining example of the retro neon to be seen along Route 66.
For a really personal and memorable Route 66 experience I can't recommend this place enough.
Lucille's Roadhouse is inspired by the original Lucille's historic gas station not so far down the road near Hydro, Oklahoma, including the vintage gas pumps just outside the entrance.
The Route 66 themed restaurant is designed in the style of a 1950's diner complete with brightly colored motifs, colored lighting, glass bricks and polished chrome. Aside from the great food on offer it makes for a brilliantly colorful photo opportunity. The food itself is as authentically "diner" as it gets - hamburgers, mashed potatoes, french fries, pork chops and steak!
It's worth pointing out that Lucille's Roadhouse also features a more upscale steakhouse in addition to the diner, serving delicious hand-cut Angus beef steaks.
As previously mentioned, this restaurant is inspired by the Lucille's gas station a few miles down the road. This gas station was owned by Lucille Hamons and her husband Carl. Lucille achieved many accolades for her devotion to her business and the mother road, including being inducted in the the Route 66 Hall of Fame. Lucille passed away in 2000 following 59 years of devotion to her roadside business.
Lucille's Roadhouse is a relative newcomer to the long history of Route 66 but pays great tribute to a Route 66 icon alongside great food and good service. Pay this restaurant a visit and show your support for a business that respects all the traditions of the mother road.
Named after an early settler in the area (Adrian Cullen), Adrian marks the "geo-mathematical" midpoint of Route 66. A well-photographed sign proudly states it's position as being exactly 1,139 miles from both Los Angeles and Chicago.
If you are traveling East to West the Midpoint sign will be on your right, directly opposite the Midpoint Cafe. Many travelers will stop here to take a photo with the sign, and those arriving after dark will park opposite to illuminate the sign with the headlights.
Aside from being a fantastic photo-op, Adrian, Texas, is also a great place to leave your vehicle and stretch your legs. As previously mentioned, you're right next to the Midpoint Cafe, one of the oldest continually-operating cafes on Route 66. Famous for it's homemade "Midpoint Ugly Pies", the Midpoint Cafe also serves delicious breakfasts and hamburgers. Also on the main street is the now-closed and neglected Bent Door Trading Post - a previously thriving tourist stop that has since now closed and falling to neglect can be found in Adrian. Once a bustling tourist stop on the mother road, it still boasts a sign stating the mileage to various points along Route 66.
The midpoint sign in Adrian is an essential photo-op for any Route 66 road trip!
"This is a great place to stop for lunch and is only a block off of Route 66 in downtown Flagstaff. Prices are a little higher, but the servings are big and you could easily make two meals out it. We ordered fish tacos and the Big Fatty Tri-Tip sandwich. The sandwich was so good, we tried to figure a way to stop back by on our return east to eat again. Owner and the waitstaff are very friendly. Everything on the menu looked delicious and you can tell the food is fresh."
The Ariston Café was founded by Pete Adam, a Greek immigrant, in 1924 and has now been placed on the National Registry of Historic places. The Ariston Café is believed to be the oldest café on Route 66 and holds a spot in the Route 66 Hall of Fame.
A family-run restaurant, the staff are friendly and genuinely interested in interacting with Route 66 travelers.
The menu incorporates a world of influences, including Italian, Western Favorites, Southern Traditions, South of the Border, and Ocean Catches.
A fantastic scenic attraction - enjoy extraordinary vistas of color and beauty from the comfort of your automobile. Travel the same trails used by Native Americans, early Spanish explorers, buffalo hunters and pioneers. The park occupies over 25,000 acres and offers camping, cabins, riding stables, picnicking, and miles of hiking, mountain bike and horse trails.
The outdoor epic TEXAS runs every summer in the park's Pioneer Amphitheater.
Located 25 miles southeast of Amarillo at the end of State Highway 217. Daily entrance fees apply, camping and cabins extra. Open year round.
"A little way off Route 66 but a MUST visit and stay. RVs and camping, clean amenities, STUNNING scenery and performances to see in a natural amphitheatre at certain times of the year. Also horse riding and wagon rides."
Enjoy picturesque camping as it was meant to be - with lots of trees, a babbling creek, fireflies and a campfire under a starlit sky. Located on Historic Route 66, this KOA is less than 1 mile from Six Flags, St. Louis.
It's also less than 30 minutes from other St. Louis attractions, including the Gateway Arch, Forest Park, Missouri Botanical Garden, Museum of Transportation, Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Grant's Farm and riverboat rides on the Mississippi.
Meramec Caverns, Purina Farms and wine country are also nearby.
"Nice and clean, with friendly staff in a beautiful setting."
"An amazing house over 100 years old and the owners were incredible. We had the whole house to ourselves, the breakfast was great value for money, it really was home from home with a difference. Also it is really close to the Cars on the Route gas station in Galena Kansas."
"If you can time it right to get there on a Friday night they have karaoke and its a great way to meet the local community who were very knowledgeable and welcoming. Definitely a highlight during our adventure."
The Vrooman Mansion is a bed & breakfast inn, located in the heart of Bloomington/Normal, Illinois.
"We stayed in this B&B for our first overnight stopover on the recommendation of a friend, and we were not disappointed. It was old, quaint and absolutely stunning."
"The owners, Dana & Pam, have put a lot of love and attention to detail into this property. The welcome we received was second to none and the breakfast was even better, I would highly recommend a stopover on your Route 66 adventure."
Founded in 1952, the Highlander Motel now offers travellers a refurbished, inexpensive and convenient lodging experience following it's 2005 renovation. All rooms feature mountain views, a flat-screen satellite TV with pay-per-view channels, a microwave and a small refrigerator.
The Highlander is situated a short drive from Bill Williams Mountain, Grand Canyon Deer Farm and the Arizona Snowbowl, and only five minutes walk from the Small Town America Museum, Buckskinner Park and Pete's Rt 66 Gas Station Museum.
"We stayed here in August 2011 and were really impressed with the friendly service, great location right on Route 66 in downtown Williams. The price was great, and all in all it was a great experience."
Calico is an old West mining town that has been around since 1881 during the largest silver strike in California. With its 500 mines, Calico produced over $20 million in silver ore over a 12-year span. When silver lost its value in the mid-1890's, Calico lost its population. The miner's packed up, loaded their mules and moved away abandoning the town that once gave them a good living. It became a "ghost town."
Today Calico is a county park operating mine tours, gunfight stunt shows, gold panning, a restaurant, the Calico & Odessa Railroad and a number of general merchandise stores.
There’s not a lot to say about Hollywood that hasn’t already been said many times before.
While you’re here make sure to see the Kodak Theatre, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood sign and the stars on the walk of fame. It’s a very touristy area by day and there are plenty of things to see and do with many attractions nearby.
Some of the most popular guided tours are the tours of movie star homes. You are also very close to the Universal Studios theme park and Warner Bros Studios Tour.
Jack Rabbit Trading Post is a familiar image to anyone acquainted with Route 66.
The famous “Here It Is” sign let’s you know when you’ve arrived and the large model Jack Rabbit outside welcomes all travelers.
Like many other iconic Route 66 images the Jack Rabbit Trading Post was referenced in the Disney/Pixar movie “Cars” with the yellow billboard for Lizzie's Curio Shop reading "HERE IT IS".
This is an excellent gift shop and contains everything from the more obvious Route 66 memorabilia to old license plates found by the road side!
Oatman is a former mining town in the Black Mountains of Mohave County, Arizona where wild donkeys roam the streets having descended from the pack animals associated with the town’s early mining history.
These days there are plenty of gift shops and “museums” to peruse, while the locals are incredibly inviting. While I was there a couple of local guys were trying to teach me how to feed the donkeys carrots from mouth to mouth!
More than half a million visitors are drawn to Oatman’s gold mining history as well as the legend of its namesake. Olive Oatman is entrenched in western lore as a woman who was kidnapped by an Indian tribe, then sold to a friendly local tribe before being freed to her family near what became Oatman.
To get to Oatman you must first navigate the Oatman Highway - an intimidating 20 miles of steep grades, narrow road, and sharp hairpin curves - a thrilling drive!
This 10,000 square foot exhibit hall displays dinosaur skeletons, bronze representations of dinosaurs and fossils, and replicas of prehistoric creatures. There is also plenty of original artwork on display throughout the exhibit hall.
The great thing about the bronze exhibits is the fact that you can get right in there and touch the exhibits. Kids will also love the sandpit area which encourages you to “excavate” your own dino remains.
Built in the early 1940’s this old Gulf gas station eventually succumbed to the widening of Route 66, losing it’s pumps but gaining new business selling curios to Route 66 travelers.
The large concrete teepee certainly makes it stand out as you cruise through Tucumcari.
For some real retro-road-trip icons you have to stop here. There are over 30 classic/vintage cars on display, all of which are in pristine condition.
The cars are incredibly well maintained with colourful bodywork and glistening chrome - they certainly put my hire car in it’s place! They also sell a small selection of their vehicles - imagine driving Route 66 in one of these...
Motoring fans will be in their element here - you don't see vehicles / works of art like this every day.
If you have made it to the MidPoint Cafe in Adrian then congratulations - you have made it exactly half-way along Route 66!
The MidPoint Cafe is located at the exact "geo-mathematical" centre of Route 66 - 1139 miles from both Chicago and Los Angeles. I found the cafe to be very welcoming and the food was great. They’ve made a name for themselves with their home-made pies and terrific gift shop.
Every Route 66 traveller should stop here and celebrate their road trip progress.
Originally a functioning water tower and slated for demolition, the leaning water tower was bought by Ralph Britten and moved to serve as a sign for his truck stop and tourist information center. This truck stop can still be seen, set back off the road behind the tower, now boarded up and in disrepair.
The leaning water tower still remains a popular target for cameras, and the town of Groom turns on a large colored star mounted on the top around Christmas time.
Describing themselves as “unlike anything your dreams can imagine, all under one roof, a visual and ecological paradise, plus outdoor sculpture gardens”, the art galleries located at the Sunset Centre are a collective of over a hundred artists.
The Centre conducts First Friday Art Walks on the "First Friday" of each month between 5:00pm and 9:00pm.
“Fifty five art galleries & over one hundred artists in a climate controlled environment at 3701 Plains Blvd, just a few blocks south of Route 66. Many famous artists represented.”
At 60’ in diameter and 45’ in height the Round Barn in Arcadia claims to be the only “true” round barn: “most are actually hexagonal or octagonal”.
Built in 1898 the roof eventually collapsed in 1988 but has since been restored to it’s former glory. The loft space can now be hired for events and there’s a gift shop on the ground floor.
This was one of my favourite attractions on Route 66. It boasts more than 28,000 exhibits celebrating Western and American Indian culture.
It houses a huge collection of artworks and historical artefacts including the American Cowboy Gallery, the American Rodeo Gallery, the Native American Gallery and the Weitzenhoffer Gallery of Fine American Firearms.
It also features Prosperity Junction, a 14,000-square-foot authentic turn-of-the-century Western prairie town. Visitors can stroll the streets, peek in some of the store windows and actually walk into some of the fully furnished buildings.
Lucille Hamon operated this little gas station from 1941 to 2000 and was often referred to as the “Mother of the Mother Road” due to her hospitality to Route 66 travelers.
It’s since been restored and a marker now tells the story of Lucille and her family.
A great photo opportunity for all driving Route 66.
Located in Erick’s oldest building - the City Meat Market - is the Sandhill Curiosity Shop.
Containing a crazy Route 66 jumble of memorabilia - and possibly the inspiration for Lizzie’s Curio Shop in the Pixar movie “Cars” - this curiosity shop is just as well known on the route for the welcome given over the years by Harley and Annabelle (the “Mediocre Musicians”). Known on the route for bursting into song, and providing impromptu performances for visitors, Harley and Annabelle were a Route 66 attraction in themselves! Sadly Annabelle passed away in 2014 but Harley is still effuses passion for the Curiosity Shop he started with his beloved Annabelle.
Originally built in 1936, but having sat dilapidated for many years, this classic Route 66 attraction was bought in 2005 by brothers Marty and Mike Dillon. They have since restored the classic neon sign and hope that it will bring attention and investment to the area.
The theatre has been lovingly restored to it’s former glory, including the addition of a restaurant at the street level.
An iconic image of St Louis, the Gateway Arch stands 192m tall and 192m wide at it’s base making it the US’s tallest monument. Visitors can reach the observation deck via an elevator sytem comprised of a series of small pod-like trams. On a clear day the view can stretch for 30 miles!
This Route 66 Museum is located within the Laclede County library. The exhibits are fun to walk through including an old gas station, a shabby-looking motel room and a mock up of a diner.
There is also a good collection of vintage maps and collectibles. Admission is free but there is a donation box for you to express your gratitude.
The Fanning 66 Outpost - home of the largest rocking chair on Route 66 - 46' tall and 26,500 pounds. Now that’s quite a claim to fame!
Packed with Route 66 souvenirs and collectibles including a taxidermy shop and archery range, the Outpost also holds special events including the “Annual Race to the Rocker” and the “Annual Picture on the Rocker Day”. You can check their website for updates - if you’re lucky you might just catch one...
This great theatre is one of the last remaining drive-ins on Route 66. It usually opens the first weekend of April and runs through mid-September, depending on the attendance and availability of films. Each showing consists of 2 movies and a nostalgic intermission trailer.
You can show your support during the intermission by visiting the concession stand for mouth watering hot dogs, chili dogs, polish dogs, BBQ sandwiches, nachos, popcorn, drinks and candy. What better way to spend an evening on holiday...
The bridge was, for a time, the path used by Route 66 to cross over the Mississippi river.
It’s most notable feature is the 22-degree bend occurring at the middle.
The bridge now only carries walking and biking trails over the river although, in June 2003, Trailnet granted special permission to Hampton Inn's “Save-A-Landmark” Route 66 Caravan to cross the bridge.
The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.Kindly recommended by Mike Dagney, US
Situated with easy access to the Meramec River, the Route 66 State Park is a welcome break for travellers who want to enjoy nature and see interesting historical displays showcasing Route 66.
Bridgehead Inn, a 1935 roadhouse, serves as Route 66 State Park's visitor center and houses Route 66 memorabilia.
You can also learn the success story of the former resort community of Times Beach, which once thrived on the location of the park. There are excellent opportunities to picnic, exercise, bird watch or study nature.
In 2002, Cuba was designated the "Route 66 Mural City" by the Missouri legislature. The many murals - a result of the development of the Viva Cuba organisation - have created a lot of interest and beautified the Route 66 corridor through Cuba.
The murals continue to attract many tourists, as well as local people. With the community embracing the idea of public art, Cuba has become an “art friendly” town.
Gary's Gay Parita is a beautiful recreation of a 1930's Sinclair gas station situated 25 miles west of Springfield. This trip back in time includes a replica station, along with original pumps and other memorabilia from the Route 66 heydey.
“The owners can give you some precious information about your trip and you can take some wonderful pics in this old gas station. Don't miss it!”
Navy Pier is a 1000m-long pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. It’s attractions include sightseeing tours, dinner cruises, an IMAX theatre, restaurants, shops and fairground rides such as 150-foot-tall Ferris Wheel.
The pier has fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday nights during the summer, and Friday and Saturday nights during the fall.
360 Chicago (formerly The John Hancock Observatory) is a 100-floor (344m) skyscraper in the commercial district of Chicago.
360 Chicago’s 94th floor observation deck displays exhibits about the city of Chicago while maps explain the view in each direction. A special meshed-in area allows visitors to feel the winds 1,030 feet (314m) above ground level.
Conveniently located along Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile, 360 CHICAGO soars 1,000 feet above Lake Michigan and the city’s majestic skyline to offer visitors the most breathtaking views of downtown Chicago, the lakefront and four neighboring states.
Add to that the interactive technologies, TILT the new exhilarating angle on Chicago, the enticing 94th floor café, and you have 360° of all-around entertainment!
Situated in the small town of Wilmington, the launching Pad Drive-In has been feeding Route 66 travelers since it first opened it’s doors in 1960. The colourful interior has had a recent makeover courtesy of new owners Tully and Holly and makes the diner an inviting stop between Chicago and Springfield. Recent posts on social media indicate a huge renovation after being empty for quite some time. On the south side of the diner is the Gemini Giant – a huge fibreglass astronaut and one of the 3 “brothers” of Route 66 in Illinois. If you’re travelling east to west he’ll be one of the first unique landmarks you’ll encounter driving Route 66.
Supporting the Launching Pad, one of the most iconic stops in the first leg of your east to west journey, is essential. Stop by, grab a bit to eat, and soak up the atmosphere - it's out of this world!
This Standard Oil gas station opened in 1932 and stopped serving gas in the mid 1960’s. Subsequently a body shop it finally closed it’s doors in 1975.
It’s since been lovingly restored by the Illinois Route 66 Association and their Preservation Committee, and is now staffed by volunteers happy to welcome Route 66 travellers.
It no longer serves gas but you can walk around this beautiful building and the friendly volunteers are happy to answer any questions.
The second of the Illinois “brothers”, the Bunyon giant - like the Gemini Giant before him - was also one of the original “muffler men” used to promote auto service.
These days the Bunyon Giant has swapped his exhaust for a huge hot-dog as for many years he stood outside “Bunyon’s” restaurant in Cicero, Illinois. In 2003, when the restaurant closed, he was relocated to Atlanta where he could maintain his iconic Route 66 presence.
The house, purchased by Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln in 1844, was the only home that Lincoln ever owned. Located at the corner of Eighth and Jackson Streets, the house contains twelve rooms spread over two floors. During the time he lived here, Lincoln was elected to the House of Representatives in 1846, and elected President in 1860.
Lincoln’s home in downtown Springfield has been restored to it’s 1860 appearance and opened to the public.
Abraham and Mary Lincoln bought the house in 1844 for $1200 and lived there for 17 years. Access to the house is by ticket only - tickets are free but on a first-come first-served basis.
It was closed when I visited (being used for filming of a documentary) but the surrounding streets are beautiful and very well maintained.
Lincoln’s tomb is situated in the Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield. In 1960 the Tomb was designated a National Historic Landmark and automatically featured on the National Register of Historic Places.
The interior consists of highly polished marble trimmed with bronze and features statues and excerpts from Lincoln’s most memorable speeches.
The 117 foot tomb is open to the public although the upper exterior deck is not accessible by wheelchair.
The tomb is very striking as you approach it; it’s sheers size making it unmistakable as you walk through the cemetery.
Springfield is a pilgrimage site for anyone wanting to celebrate the life of Abraham Lincoln.
Aside from the location of his home and tomb Springfield is also the site of the State Capitol building with no small thanks to Abraham Lincoln.
It’s a beautiful building found in the heart of Springfield; entry to the state capitol building is free to the public.
This gent is the last of the three Illinois “brothers” and sits proudly at the entrance to the Lauterbach’s Tire and Auto Service on the north side of Wabash Street.
In 2006 he was sadly decapitated by a twister but thankfully now, due to some macabre bolts in his chest, stands proud once more!
“A few years back I was at a family get together in Pontiac. I was amazed to see at the Route 66 museum there is a huge route 66 painting on the back wall. One of the things where you park your car, family, etc... for a good photo opportunity. The museum has a ton of cool stuff along with route 66 items for sale.”
It’s a Comfort Inn so you know what you’re getting here - it’s a good basic hotel that’s far enough away from the beach if that’s not your thing but not so far that it can’t be reached by foot (although expect a half hour walk).
Complementary continental breakfast and free internet access are always welcome, and sadly (yet again!) I didn’t get a chance to try out the outdoor heated pool - but it certainly looked inviting.
Although it’s another chain motel it is perfectly located, being slap-bang on Route 66, which helps silence the voice inside that’s trying to tell you you’re not being true to the spirit of driving Route 66!
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook is one of only three surviving "Wigwam Villages" in the US and one of two situated on Route 66 (the other being in Rialto, CA).
The term "iconic" can be overly used when discussing Route 66 but in this instance is wholly deserved. Each "room" is a huge concrete tee-pee and has a genuine vintage car parked outside.
The tee-pees are deceptively large - mine contained two double beds, a TV and full bathroom with shower.
The area was peaceful and after a short walk to stretch the legs my wife and I settled in for the night with wine and chocs. I won't be driving Route 66 without a stay at The Wigwam Hotel.
Okay, so it's not quite as unique as a night in a giant wigwam but at least you know what you're getting with a Best Western motel! It was clean, comfortable - and given that we opted for a King Suite - very spacious.
On the plus side there was free wi-fi in the room and we were only a very short walk from the The Museum Club offering cold beers and live music. Oh, and there’s the pony sculpture to greet the guests too!
The Hotel Blue is situated on Central Avenue (old route 66) with easy access to many bars, restaurants and clubs. It offers a few more creature comforts than most similar hotels with HD TV and Tempur-Pedic mattresses to help rest the travel-weary road-tripper!
We stayed here on a Sunday night and were surprised to find Central Avenue bustling with activity, in particular with cars driving up and down the avenue showing off expensive sound-systems and hydraulics. At this point it's worth mentioning that none of this can be heard from the hotel, which is conveniently tucked around a corner and away from all the activity.
It's a great location if you want the best of both worlds as you're five minutes from the vibrant nightlife but secluded enough to enjoy the swimming pool and comfortable rooms.
The Travel Inn Inc. is a pretty generic motel but one that's not without it's charms: although I only wanted a room for two I was given an enormous room with three double beds and a large bathroom! If you want old fashioned mother-road-style accommodation then this isn't for you. If you simply want a large, clean and reasonably priced place to rest your head - jackpot!
The staff were friendly and there was free wireless internet access available in all rooms. Situated directly across the road is Pit Stop Liquor run by a great (and very knowledgeable) guy called Joe. He was more than happy to spend time with us discussing his/our travels and had a great range of bottled beers for us to take back to our HUGE room!
The Wyndham Grand, a great four star hotel in the centre of Oklahoma City, was the first non-motel accommodation I stopped at whilst driving Route 66.
The combination of great location, friendly, helpful staff, and a beautifully designed atrium made my one night stay a total pleasure. As far as design/style is concerned it couldn't have been in greater contrast to the range of motels I had experienced up to that point. However, the modern design and cosmopolitan vibe didn't prevent it from being both warm and welcoming; the staff at the valet desk were more than happy to offer advice to out-of-towners.
The room itself was fairly standard fair but clean and comfortable, while the breakfast buffet offered a great choice. I'd say the only negative point would be the avoidable valet parking (which can actually be side-stepped by parking in the adjacent and connected Convention Centre).
We spent the night a short walk away in Bricktown where we ate at a great Mexican restaurant called Abuelo's and nursed a few beers whilst watching a live blues band in The Biting Sow - a wonderful evening.
A cheap and cheerful way of seeing Chicago prior to undertaking Route 66, this hostel is situated in the heart of downtown Chicago.
“This is probably one of the best hostels I've stayed in - clean, friendly, good atmosphere and awesome location. I'd recommend it over the other Chicago Hostels - it's a little more pricey but you get what you pay for right? Kitchen was well equipped and the free breakfast was definitely the best reason to get up in the morning. I will definitely be staying at this hostel again next time I visit Chicago.”
A very popular downtown hotel. The State House Inn is within a 10-minute walk of Illinois State Capitol, Korean War Veteran National Museum, and Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site.
“We took a three week trip to the US: New York to Chicago followed by a road trip along part of Route 66, up the Mississippi and back to Chicago."
"The State House felt new but is furnished with 60’s style tables and chairs – very apt for the Route 66 experience. It was very clean and friendly, although it was chaos checking in on the day we arrived. This was due to it being the final night of the Illinois State Fair and the hotel was full to capacity."
"Our room wasn’t huge - fairly standard for a chain hotel - but very nice and the bedding was lovely - crisp and white. A nice touch was the voucher for a free drink each at the bar! Breakfast was fairly standard fair with the nice touch of a waffle-making machine! Location was wonderful, quick walk to the centre of town and nice places to eat (we enjoyed Augie’s Front Burner).”