Places to Visit on Famous Route 66

Attractions Route 66

Route 66 Attractions + Towns

Route 66 is probably the most famous road in the world, covering 2451 miles of America, starting from Illinois and ending in California on the Pacific coast.

Thousands of travelers fleeing southwest in search of a better life used Route 66 during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and its popularity meant an economic boom for the small towns and cities it passed through.

Places to Visit on Route 66

Over the years, Route 66 was supplanted by the US interstate system, and it was finally decommissioned in 1985. (today, in Texas, I-40 serves the same role that Route 66 once did).

For many people Route 66 offers a once in a lift time experience allowing you to visit some the best places in America like Chicago, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and LA.

Even though, we are highlighting each stop along Route 66 in Texas, we are starting the journey in Chicago and ending it in California – with Texas stuck in between.

Here we’ve listed all the places you have to visit if you do Route 66 and why:

Chicago

Most people will start in Chicago aka the windy city, where you can see the splendid and wonderful views of the city from views at the top of the Willis Tower; a popular hotspot for tourists. If you like shopping take a trip down ‘Magnificent Mile’ which offers a huge range of boutiques, department stores, ethnic stores and more. Chicago is also famous for its museums and art galleries including the Museum of Modern Art and The Art Institute which showcases over 300,000 different pieces and works.

Springfield

Springfield in Illinois is home to former and deceased president Abraham Lincoln who is remembered throughout the city with museums and libraries built in his memory. Springfield offers a real route 66 vibe with drive in cinemas and the Route 66 drive-in Theatre you must do.

St Louis

Visit the vibrant city of St Louis in Missouri which hosts attractions such as the Gateway Arch, a 630 foot stainless steel monument built to symbolise the western expansion of America. Another very popular must see is their 11 time world champion baseball team which will truly get you in the American spirit.

Oklahoma City

If you like cowboys and westerns you have to visit Oklahoma City which offers a wealth of western history at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Once you have explored the cowboys get yourself to the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum which will take you back in time to tell the story of how and why this road is so famous, showcasing a range of photos, artefacts and music.

Route 66 Road Trip Stops in Texas

Despite being the largest state along Route 66 in terms of land area, Texas has the shortest stretch of The Mother Road, measuring 179 miles (a bit more once you add on detours).

The modern version of Route 66 in Texas takes less than 3 hours to drive straight through from Texola on the eastern border to Glenrio on the western border.

However, in order to get the most out of the route, we recommend staying at least one night along Route 66 in Texas (Amarillo is the obvious choice for where to stay, and we recommend it).

The road almost straight across the Texas Panhandle, and I-40 now serves the majority of traffic passing through the area.

Amarillo

Amarillo’s Route 66 Historic District, one of the few remaining sections of the original Route 66 in Texas, is lined with shops, restaurants, cafes, street art, and even a classic car or two.

I’m sure you have heard the song “Is this the way to Amarillo?” – well now you have the chance to visit this fantastic location in Texas which offers a variety of antique shops and cafes, as well as the option to go and graffiti a Cadillac at the unique Cadillac Ranch. Seems a shame to be spray painting such a beautiful car but also super fun too!

Adrian, TX

Adrian, Texas, is one of the most well-known towns along the Texas section of Route 66. It is known for being the midway point along the historic route–1139 miles from Chicago and 1139 miles from Los Angeles. When you visit, don’t forget to visit the iconic Midpoint Cafe!

Midpoint Cafe has gone through many names, owners, and iterations since it first opened in 1928, but it still stands proudly in the heart of historic Route 66, with the tagline “when you’re here, you’re halfway there.”

The Midpoint Cafe of today also serves as a gift shop in addition to delicious pies and other foods.

Shamrock, TX

Shamrock is well-known for its classic Art Deco architecture, particularly the U-Drop Inn Cafe and Conoco Tower Station, and is a must-see stop along Texas Route 66.

The Conoco Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Cafe are two of the most well-known Route 66 attractions in Texas.

McLean, TX

McLean’s entire Commercial District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a must-see when driving the route through Texas. McLean’s entire Commercial District was once a thriving town on Route 66, boosted not only by Route 66 visitors but also by ranching and the oil boom.

Glenrio, TX

Unlike the other towns mentioned in this Texas Route 66 guide, Glenrio–located in both Texas and New Mexico–is a literal ghost town, with only abandoned buildings, including the Little Juarez Cafe, remaining of its Route 66 legacy.

Vega, TX

The tiny town of Vega’s classic gas station, which features a second Magnolia Service Station along this stretch of Route 66, has been fully restored to look as it would have in the 1920s heyday of Route 66.

Route 66 Road Trip Stops in Arizona

In Arizona, Route 66 winds through stark badlands, cloud-swept plateaus, and a desert painted in scandalous colors. The road winds through tall pine forests and forests where trees have turned to stone. It passes by volcanoes, craters, and ancient civilization ruins.

Albuquerque

For all the Breaking Bad fanatics out there, you will love Albuquerque where the famous TV series was filmed, and you can even take a Breaking Bad bus tour! After your tour you can visit the stunning Sandia Mountains via the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway which offers breath-taking views from start to finish.

Holbrook, AZ

Our next stop would be Holbrook in Arizona where you can go and see a fascinating 50,000 year old meteor crater and their Petrified Forest National Park which is home to large deposits of petrified wood and magical forest.

Grand Canyon

The most famous natural wonder of America, The Grand Canyon. This over-whelming splendour offers an unforgettable and breath-taking experience for everyone. You enjoy the scenes from a range of options such as a guided bus tour, a helicopter ride or guided walk around the North Rim. The Grand Canyon is ancient, and when I say ancient I really do mean it. It’s believed that the canyon was carved from the Colorado River in the past six million years, with rocks in the canyon that have been found to be over 2 billion years old! WOW!

Las Vegas

If big cities and bright lights, short days and long nights is your thing then Las Vegas is next! This dazzling, vibrant and loud city is known as “Sin City” as people from all over come to gamble their luck in the many casinos. If gambling isn’t your thing don’t worry Las Vegas hosts a colourful selection of glamorous hotels, restaurants and bars offering a wider range of entertainment including shows and acts. We recommend you visit the Caesars, Wynn Las Vegas, The Venetian, and the Bellagio..

Los Angeles

If you haven’t yet had enough of the glam and part lifestyle then LA, home and playground to the celebs is next. Drive down to Beverly Hills for some celebrity spotting where you can see the grand homes where they live. For something a little different, try the Los Angeles County Art Museum which is home to the likes of Picasso and Monet. You also have the famous Universal Studios in Hollywood which is the most visited place in all of LA.

Awe-inspiring Route 66 trip

Sadly after LA your unforgettable, awe-inspiring Route 66 trip will come to an end. I always think even though the blues do kick in when you’re back to reality, your memories will stay with you forever and that’s why anyone and everyone should do this once in a life time trip!

Places to Visit on Famous Route 66

It doesn’t necessarily need to cost you a “arm and a leg” as many travel agencies offer multi center trips where they arrange all your flight, hotels and itineraries for you or you can create your own itinerary. If you want to see some other itinerary ideas check out this page.

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