The unique start line was in Chicago, Illinois, by means of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona earlier than ending in Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California.
During the 1930 Great Depression dustbowl, the freeway served as an escape path to new alternatives out west in addition to supporting the roadside tradition of roadhouses, Mom and Pop shops and cafes, and the various fuel stations that sprang up alongside the route. John Steinbeck penned his novel, The Grapes of Wrath, in 1939 and dubbed Route 66 “the Mother Road”, which grew to become a logo of loss, escape, and new hope.
Today this iconic highway journey, typically romanticized and borderline kitschy, provides vacationers a glance into traditional Americana, all the way in which from Chicago, Illinois to the Santa Monica Pier in California. In current(ish) historical past, curiosity within the Route 66 highway journey exploded as soon as Pixar/Disney launched their widespread film Cars in 2006, which was partly impressed by the outdated Route 66 freeway.
So how about your personal, non-Pixar, non-angry grape highway journey? The journey begins at Route 66 Shield close to Grant Park in Chigaco as you head out west, following the Route 66 points of interest, state by state. The route is suffering from Route 66 shields and markers, y’know, simply in case you forgot which highway you’re driving on.
Along the way in which, you’ll be able to eat at traditional restored roadside diners, just like the Old Log Cabin Inn, for a plate of fried hen adopted by a serving of do-it-yourself rhubarb pie. Visit Henry’s Rabbit Ranch and meet the rabbit wrangler, Rich Henry.
Then, spend an evening at one of many many renovated roadside motels, a few of which have been in operation for the reason that route was established. Book a room at The Wagon Wheel Motel or The Blue Swallow Motel that helped encourage Pixar’s Cars. Make certain to cease off on the Cars on the Route fuel station and meet Tow Tater, the 1951 increase truck and the inspiration for Sir Tow Mater in Cars.
Full disclosure, I unironically love that film, and my child is watching it no less than as soon as every week proper now, so it’s dwelling rent-free in my thoughts. But even for those who hate the film, there’s something for everybody alongside Route 66, together with a visit by means of Grand Canyon by vintage train with old-style western gunslingers and an Arizona ghost town tour.
Interested? Let’s discover the enjoyable & greatest points of interest on Route 66!
Table of Contents
- Best & Fun things to do on Route 66
- 1. Breakfast near Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois Route
- 2. Old Log Cabin Inn, Pontiac, Illinois
- 3. Visit the Historic Murals in Pontiac, Illinois
- 4. Chain of Rocks Bridge, Madison, Illinois/St. Louis, Missouri
- 5. Henry’s Rabbit Ranch, Staunton, Illinois
- 6. Visit the Giants of Route 66 – the Lauterbach Giant, Springfield, Illinois
- 7. World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, Collinsville, Illinois
- 8. Visit the Underground World of the Meramec Caverns, Stanford, Missouri
- 9. Visit Devil’s Elbow, Pulaski County, Missouri
- 10. Spend a Night at The Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba, Missouri
- 11. Pay a Visit to the 66 Drive-In Theatre, Carthage, Missouri
- 12. Rainbow Bridge (Brush Creek Bridge) in Cherokee County, Kansas
- 13. Baxter Springs Independent Oil and Gas Service Station, Baxter Springs, Kansas
- 14. Milk Bottle Grocery Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- 15. Route 66 State Park, Eureka, Missouri
- 16. Arcadia Round Barn, Arcadia, Oklahoma
- 17. The Blue Whale of Catoosa, Catoosa, Oklahoma
- 18. Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Clinton, Oklahoma
- 19. Nelson’s Old Riverton Store, Riverton, Kansas
- 20. Kan-O-Tex Service Station (Cars on the Route/4 Women on the Route), Galena, Kansas
- 21. Galena Mining & Historical Museum, Galena, Kansas
- 22. Visit the Neon-Colored Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas
- 23. Blue Swallow Motel, New Mexico
- 24. Stay a Night at the Wigwam Village Motel #6, Holbrook, Arizona
- 25. Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, Arizona
- 26. A Thriving Ghost Town in Oatman, Arizona
- 27. Route 66 Powerhouse Museum, Kingman, Arizona
- 28. Take a Train Ride from Williams, Arizona
- 29. Visit the Calico Ghost Town, Barstow, California
- 30. The Road Ends at Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California
- Is Route 66 still worth driving?
- Why is Route 66 not used anymore?
- Where is Cars supposed to take place?
- Most vital landmark – Route 66 Shield at Grant Park
- Best meals – Old Log Cabin Inn, Pontiac, Illinois Route
- Best exercise for adults – Meramec Cavern, Stanton, Missouri
- Best all-round lodging – The Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba, Missouri
- Best exercise for teenagers – Four Women on the Route, Galena, Kansas
- Best free exercise – Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas
- Best park – The Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert, Arizona
- Best nightlife – Santa Monica Pier
Best & Fun issues to do on Route 66
1. Breakfast close to Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois Route
Address: 78-98 East Adams Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603
The Route 66 points of interest should not solely concerning the western landscapes and open highways; they’re additionally city. The greatest place to start the enduring American highway journey is at Grant Park in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
Grant Park is without doubt one of the oldest parks within the metropolis, established within the 1830s. In 1893 Grant Park performed host to the World Exposition, a good that launched Cracker Jacks, Pabst beer, weight loss program soda, and Aunt Jemima syrup to higher America. Open from May to October, the truthful has gone down in historical past as one of the extremely attended, revolutionary, and downright dramatic World Expositions ever.
In 1993 the National Park Service listed Grant Park within the National Register of Historic Places. Before establishing Route 66 as the most important east-west freeway, the Pontiac Trail already linked Chicago to St Loius. In 1927 when Loius Armstrong and the King Creole Jazz introduced the age of jazz to Chicago, Route 66 signage was alongside the Illinois route.
Today Grant Park is positioned downtown in Chicago’s central enterprise district, with points of interest corresponding to Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, which is without doubt one of the world’s largest fountains, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Grant Park can be the place you can find indicators for each the start and the tip of the historic Route 66, relying in your perspective. At the intersection of Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue is the signal that reads “End of Historic Route 66,” and only a few yards away on Adam’s Street is the beginning of Route 66. Looking for an excellent base camp to plan your highway journey? Check out this fancy Grant Park apartment.
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2. Old Log Cabin Inn, Pontiac, Illinois
Address: 18700 Old Route 66, Pontiac, Illinois 61764
A traditional little roadside cafe the place you can begin your day with contemporary eggs and hashbrowns. The Old Log Cabin Inn opened as a quaint roadside eatery and fuel station in 1926. Today the Old Log Cabin is without doubt one of the greatest Route 66 points of interest and is visited by tourists worldwide.
The rustic inside has not modified a lot within the final 90-plus years, initially constructed utilizing knotty pine and seating 45 diners, preserving with the household fashion and bar seating. When Route 66 expanded to 4 lanes, the Inn was repositioned to face the brand new highway.
A well-liked attraction on the Inn and fuel station was a speaking crow, given to proprietor Joe Selotis by a retired judge. Under years of Joe’s tutelage, the malt-liquor-loving crow grew to become recognized for dialog with patrons on the picnic tables out-back. Both Joe and the crow are dead – however their reminiscences reside on!
Serving American classics corresponding to fried hen, pancakes, and made-from-scratch rhubarb pies, this iconic roadside traditional, synonymous with Route 66, is open each day, besides Sundays.
3. Visit the Historic Murals in Pontiac, Illinois
Address: Downtown Pontiac, Pontiac, Illinois 61764
Pontiac is dwelling to 23 murals depicting the city’s native historical past, that includes themes from the social, financial, and political previous. The largest mural is the world’s largest Route 66 protect.
Painted by Diaz Sign Art in 2006, the mural is on the surface again wall of the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum. All the bottom bricks are from the unique Route 66 highway operating by means of Pontiac.
The Route 66 Pontiac mural celebrates two necessary occasions from 1926. The first occasion was the constructing of Route 66, Mother Road, by means of the City of Pontiac, bringing in much-needed financial development. The second occasion was the discharge of the brand new Pontiac vehicles by General Motors.
My private favourite, the Drink Coco-Cola mural was painted by Sonny Franks, and it goes with out saying that that is about as Americana because it will get. As properly as promoting the world’s favourite soda, there’s additionally a tribute to the Livingston County War Museum and the realm’s navy veterans, that includes a fighter pilot necking a bottle of the brown elixir, towards a backdrop of some F4U Corsairs.
If you’re into avenue artwork, a strolling tour is one of the simplest ways to see the tales behind the murals of Pontiac, Illinois.
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4. Chain of Rocks Bridge, Madison, Illinois/St. Louis, Missouri
Address: 10820 Riverview Dr, St. Louis, Missouri 63137
The Chain of Rocks Bridge has an enchanting historical past as one in all Route 66’s best-known bridges. The mile-long bridge was privately in-built 1929 as a toll bridge and is called after a harmful 17-mile-long rocky part of the Mississippi River known as the Chain of Rocks.
Originally designed to be a straight 40-foot large roadway with huge concrete help piers standing 55 ft above the freeway mark. Riverboat males protested the unique design stating it might make the already harmful situations of the river extra treacherous for the river barges and boats. To counteract this, a 24-degree flip was added mid-way throughout the bridge.
Construction started concurrently from each ends of the bridge, with the grand opening deliberate for New 12 months in 1929. Mother Nature had the final say when floods and ice slowed building, and the bridge was lastly open in July 1929.
During World War Two, the crimson bridge was painted inexperienced to be much less seen from the air, which might have mattered if the U.S. was ever in any actual hazard of air raids. With wartime fuel rationing and fewer journey, toll charges had been elevated to cowl the bridge’s prices.
The iconic Route 66 attraction allowed guests throughout the river for greater than 30 years till a free interstate bridge opened simply north of it in 1966. From there, it fell into disrepair.
In 1997 Trailnet started a restoration of the uncared for and run-down bridge, and it was reopened in 1999 as a Route 66 Bikeway as a bicycle and pedestrian path. The bridge connects Madison and St. Louis and provides excellent views of the Mississippi River. Today the bridge is a well-liked Route 66 attraction and stands as a sworn statement to the love of journey and vehicles from a bygone period.
5. Henry’s Rabbit Ranch, Staunton, Illinois
Address: 107 Historic Old Route 66, Staunton, Illinois 62088
Henry’s Rabbit Ranch is a real celebration of the historical past and other people of Route 66 freeway, with an emporium of trucking and automotive memorabilia subsequent to a reproduction classic fuel station. A go to to Henry’s Rabbit ranch is not only concerning the furry variety but in addition the auto variety, the VW Rabbit.
Rich Henry, the proprietor, grew up on Route 66, however the highway had been decommissioned by the point he opened Henry’s Old Route 66 Emporium. Feeling there was not a lot curiosity within the enterprise, Rich needed to do one thing completely different.
There is sort of a narrative as to how the furry rabbits grew to become a part of this relatively bizarre Route 66 attraction. Owner Rich’s daughter purchased a pair of rabbits, not accounting for his or her inhabitants explosion. Rich stepped in, and the Old Route 66 Emporium grew to become Henry’s Rabbit Ranch. A celebration of all issues rabbit.
Packed collectively identical to little huddled bunnies, the rears of six Volkswagen Rabbits jut from the bottom, the place they had been planted bonnet down. The unique Volkswagen of legendary Route 66 wanderer Bob Waldmire is parked a couple of ft away. A stop-off at Henry’s Rabbit Ranch is a should for households traveling with kids, particularly for many who love all issues rabbit.
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6. Visit the Giants of Route 66 – the Lauterbach Giant, Springfield, Illinois
Address: 1569 Wabash Avenue, Springfield, Illinois 62704
Springfield, Illinois, is normally related to Abraham Lincoln and is the picturesque state capital.
One explicit Route 66 attraction is the towering fiberglass Lauterbach Giant in Springfield. First bought in 1961 by Russ Lewis to convey clients into his enterprise, Midtown Tire. It was throughout this era that Paul Bunyan-type large muffler males had been popping up all throughout America as the last word promoting gimmick.
When the store closed a 12 months later (guess the gimmick didn’t fairly work), the Lauterbach Giant was rescued and offered in 1962, the place he discovered a brand new dwelling in entrance of Roundup Motel till the motel closed in 1978.
Today the Lauterbach Giant as soon as once more stands guard in entrance of Lauterbach Tire & Auto Service on Wabash Avenue, patriotically holding an American flag. Painted with a vivid crimson shirt and blue pants, with weathered-looking brown boots, and a full brown Bunyan beard, he’s a beacon for vacationers alongside the famed Route 66 Mother Road.
If you wish to spend some critical time admiring this mountain of a person, why not keep on this breathtaking Lincoln-Era National Historical Landmark Home and discover Springfield whilst you’re at it.
7. World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, Collinsville, Illinois
Address: 800 South Morrison Avenue, Collinsville, Illinois 62234
Catsup? Ketchup? Who cares when it’s as excessive as a block of flats?! One of the bizarre Route 66 points of interest happened because the homeowners of the Brooks Tomato Products Co. wanted to construct a water tank and determined to construct one that might serve a twin function of promoting.
Designed and in-built 1947 as a water tank for the fireplace suppressant system for a canning firm, the world’s largest catsup bottle stands a colossal 70-foot tall on a 100-foot tower. Located in downtown Collinsville, the water tower holds 100,000 gallons of water.
If the Brookes tower was full of their tangy catsup, the monument would maintain as much as 640,000 standard-size bottles. Once the canning plant closed within the Nineteen Sixties, the water tower fell into neglect till it was restored to its former glory in 1995 by a 14-member preservation group promoting over 6,000 t-shirts to assist fund the undertaking.
The tower was restored to its former glory and repainted in distinct crimson, white and blue colours. So in your method by means of Illinois, be sure you pay a go to to this distinctive piece of historical past that kinds a part of the attract of Route 66!
8. Visit the Underground World of the Meramec Caverns, Stanford, Missouri
Address: 1135 Hwy W, Sullivan, Missouri 63080
The Meramec Caverns date again to 1720 when explorer Philipp Renault sailed by means of the fog and located the doorway to the cavern while exploring the bluffs of the Meramec River. The American Indians had lengthy claimed that the partitions of the cavern glittered with gold, although this turned out to be saltpeter, the primary ingredient for gunpowder at the moment.
In 1933 the Saltpeter Caves had been bought by Lester Benton Dill, who modified the identify to the Meramec Caverns and started providing excursions of the caves. Further vital finds had been made by Les, together with one in 1941 throughout a big drought, which resulted in a drop within the water desk within the caves. Les discovered an additional cave which is considered the hiding place for famed outlaw Jesse James and his crew.
Today a stroll by means of this historic website is 125 miles lengthy and takes the visitor by means of a formidable underground world created by steady mineral deposits and water erosion. With loads of out there lodging (corresponding to this comfy, spacious, bargain rental home), this is without doubt one of the high Route 66 points of interest to go to in Missouri.
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9. Visit Devil’s Elbow, Pulaski County, Missouri
Address: Historic U.S. Highway 66, Piney River, Missouri
Devil’s Elbow has an extended historical past beginning earlier than the realm was included within the alluring Route 66 points of interest.
Back in 1816, the Big Piney River was utilized by burly lumberjacks (I’m assuming they had been burly) to move timber downstream, the place a u-shaped bend blocked the circulate of logs. These rowdy, powerful males (I’m additionally assuming they had been rowdy and hard) gave the river bends some relatively uncommon and colourful names.
Devil’s Elbow comes from each the form of the u-bend – it appeared like an elbow, and this bend was a satan to drift the log ties previous. A small city was established on the banks of the Piney River and took on this identify.
In 1923, as a part of the State Highway 14 improve, a steel-truss bridge was constructed over the Piney River at Devil’s Elbow and was integrated into Route 66 in 1926.
In 1985, the upkeep and maintenance of the bridge grew to become Pulaski County’s job, and the bridge fell into disrepair. The restored bridge was re-opened for public use in May 2014. Multiple properties within the city have been listed as a part of Devil’s Elbow Historic District and together with the bridge and Piney Beach.
With so many distinctive historic points of interest (and named Best Route 66 Location by Missouri Life journal in 2019), Devil’s Elbow ought to be in your Route 66 bucket checklist. It’s price spending a while right here, so naturally, you’ll want a spot to hold your hat, such as this secluded cabin any lumberjack could be glad to hold their ax!
10. Spend a Night at The Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba, Missouri
Address: 901 E Washington Blvd, Cuba, Missouri 65453
Speaking of locations to hold your hat, the Wagon Wheel Motel was established in 1935 and is listed because the longest-running motel on Route 66. The 85-year-old motel, with its unique neon lights, welcomes weary vacationers to cease and relaxation alongside the way in which.
In 1936, The Wagon Wheel Motel began out as a mom-and-pop cease for gasoline, meals, and roadside lodging. Set again 200 ft from the highway, The Wagon Wheel Cabins consisted of 9 cabins for weary vacationers.
The cafe and fuel service station closed in 1940, and the cabins had been bought in 1947 by John and Winifred Mathis. As a part of their renovation, the identify was modified to The Wagon Wheel Motel, and the now iconic neon signal was erected.
Listed within the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and absolutely restored with the help of the NPS Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. This is undoubtedly one of many high Route 66 points of interest that welcomes you to remain the evening.
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11. Pay a Visit to the 66 Drive-In Theatre, Carthage, Missouri
Address: 17231 Old 66 Boulevard, Carthage, Missouri 64836
As one in all solely 235 remaining drive-in cinemas within the United States, paying a go to to the 66 Drive-In Theatre in Carthage, Missouri, have to be in your checklist of Route 66 points of interest.
The Drive-in Theaters grew to become widespread within the late Forties and into the 50s throughout this postwar journey increase – simply know you want a automotive to take pleasure in a film on the drive-in (duh).
Back in 1945, in the course of the peak of the Mother Road’s golden age, Americans took to the highway in unprecedented numbers. With war-time rationing and restrictions being a factor of the previous, companies alongside the famed Route 66 loved elevated visitors and development to cater to postwar vacationers.
The drive-in was closed in 1985 with the decommissioning of Route 66 however reopened after renovations in 1998, and lots of the unique options stay. The Baby-Boom playground in entrance of the display, the concession stand/projector sales space stays in the midst of the park, and the large metal construction that homes the display in entrance and the slanted rear continues to be used for promoting.
The theatre opens each spring from April by means of September, be sure you cease by and luxuriate in a bit of cinema historical past in addition to Route 66 historical past.
12. Rainbow Bridge (Brush Creek Bridge) in Cherokee County, Kansas
Address: Rainbow Bridge, South East Beasley Road, Baxter Springs, Kansas 66713
The historic Brush Creek Bridge or Rainbow Bridge is a single-span concrete outdated Marsh Arch bridge in-built 1923. Located on the previous Route 66 freeway roughly three and a half miles north of Baxter, Springs, Kansas.
The slender bridge is the only surviving Marsh Arch bridge on the previous freeway. In 2000, singer Brad Paisley carried out the music “Route 66” for the TLC particular “Route 66: Main Street America”.
Today the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and is a Kansas landmark. This is without doubt one of the high Route 66 points of interest to go to in Kansas, with conveniently positioned superbly restored lodging out there in close by Baxter Springs, like this stunning studio apartment in downtown.
13. Baxter Springs Independent Oil and Gas Service Station, Baxter Springs, Kansas
Address: 940 Military Avenue, Baxter Springs, Kansas 66713
The Kansas Route 66 Visitors’ Center in Baxter Springs was initially the gasoline station owned by the Independent Oil and Gas Company. The Tudor cottage-style fuel station changed a livery barn and opened on July 7, 1930.
The fuel service station merged with Phillips Petroleum a 12 months later and continued to promote fuel till the Nineteen Seventies. Since then, it has housed a canine parlor, a present retailer as properly a chiropractor’s workplace. In 2003 the Heritage Society acquired the constructing and was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Located on 940 Military Avenue, the constructing is now the house of the Kansas Route 66 Visitors Centre, the place vacationers can discover this and plenty of different Route 66 points of interest.
14. Milk Bottle Grocery Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Address: 2426 North Classen Blvd, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73106
The historic Milk Bottle Grocery was in-built 1930 and is slightly Mother Road must-see. The tiny 350-square-foot triangular construction is constructed on a speck of actual property in the midst of a busy avenue. Perched on the roof is a gigantic eye-catching sheet steel milk bottle constructed in 1948, which stands nearly as excessive because the constructing and is eight meters in diameter.
Since the Nineteen Thirties, the constructing has been dwelling to a grocer, a barbecue diner, a laundry, a fruit stand, a liquor retailer, and a florist, to call a couple of. In 1998 the Milk Bottle Grocery was listed within the National Register for Historic Places, the place the information present that Braum is the fourth identify to seem on the bottle.
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15. Route 66 State Park, Eureka, Missouri
Address: 97 North Outer Road, Eureka, Missouri, 63025
The famed Mother Road of Route 66 has captured the creativeness of Americans and vacationers worldwide and has uncovered them to what actual small-town dwelling is like throughout the nation. But it’s additionally helped showcase among the nation’s pure magnificence.
Wanna do each? Of course you do. So cease in at The Route 66 State Park and go to the previous Bridgehead Inn, now the park’s customer middle and consider the historical past that showcases the highway and the realm. The park provides guests a fast getaway into nature with many picnic websites and trails, a slice of heaven in an extended road trip. The Park has a ship ramp and is on what was as soon as the Times Beach Town.
The Bridgehead Inn is the outdated 1935 Roadhouse that was on the unique Route 66 and is now dwelling to route 66 memorabilia and souvenirs from the long-ago travels throughout America. View the wealthy structure of Missouri from the 1930 and 1960 and take a wander by means of the hooked up present store.
This is definitely one of many high issues to do on the Missouri leg of your Route 66 highway journey. If you need extra time to discover the park, keep awhile in Eureka and luxuriate in a fast nature getaway. This lovely rental home is a superb selection for giant teams, and it’s additionally a stone’s throw from Six Flags St. Louis!
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16. Arcadia Round Barn, Arcadia, Oklahoma
Address: 107 OK-66, Arcadia, Oklahoma 73007
The Old Round Barn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The barn was in-built 1898 and can be the one spherical barn on Route 66.
Built by an area farmer utilizing inexperienced native bur oak boards, which had been soaked and compelled into the form wanted to assemble a spherical barn. A second stage was then later added for group occasions. When the newly created Route 66 was aligned, it handed proper by the barn, bringing car vacationers and development.
In 1988, the uncared for barn’s roof collapsed, resulting in its restoration being accomplished by 1992. Today the barn is a vacationer attraction the place guests can admire the engineering of America’s solely true spherical barn. Housing a present store on the bottom flooring, the superbly restored upper-level loft is out there for particular occasions.
17. The Blue Whale of Catoosa, Catoosa, Oklahoma
Address: 2600 Route 66, Catoosa, Oklahoma 74015
The Blue Whale has grow to be one of many recognizable Route 66 points of interest. It is a really massive waterfront construction positioned east of Catoosa, and relying on who you might be (me for instance) it’s sheer nightmare gasoline.
The curious dam was constructed by Hugh Davis for his spouse as a shock anniversary current within the early Nineteen Seventies – poor girl. Originally the dam was for household use solely, however quickly locals started to make use of the dam as a result of it was unattainable to maintain people away from this grinning monstrosity. So, Dave then developed the realm, added picnic tables, and employed a lifeguard earlier than formally opening the attraction to the general public.
Dave continued so as to add points of interest to the park, together with an artwork set up and a silver show by his brother-in-law, Native American Chief Wolf-Robe Hunt. When Dave handed away in 1990, the park fell into disrepair till it was bought in 2020 by the City of Catoosa and was a metropolis park.
The Blue Whale of Route 66 has been restored to its former glory to make folks smile or hang-out their goals. This is one relatively bizarre Route 66 attraction that you’ll want to go to.
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18. Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Clinton, Oklahoma
Address: 2229 West Gary Boulevard, Clinton, Oklahoma 73601
About 30 years in the past, a good move was made to vary the imprecise identify and the main target of the Museum of the Western Trails to the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum.
This Mother Road museum actually suits the invoice from the cherry-red ’57 Chevy, the retro neon signal, and the restored classic diner. Encounter iconic myths and the historical past of the mud bowl as vacationers head out west alongside Route 66.
Take a stroll down a reproduction of Main Street America, full of outdated vehicles, souvenirs, and Route 66 shows. No nostalgic journey is full with out this added to your checklist of Oklahoma Route 66 Attractions.
19. Nelson’s Old Riverton Store, Riverton, Kansas
Address: 7109 KS-66, Riverton, Kansas 66770
Formerly referred to as Williams’ Store, Leo & Lora Williams opened this group retailer in 1925. The spot was a helpful locale for locals to get their necessities and was well-known for Lora’s dwelling cooking!
Williams’s is a superb place to search out Route 66 souvenirs and helped encourage elements of that film I swear I’ll cease speaking about quickly. No guarantees although; I like Owen Wilson and I merely love the very fact this was Paul Newman’s final voice performing position. But yeah, go to the Old Riverton Store!
20. Kan-O-Tex Service Station (Cars on the Route/4 Women on the Route), Galena, Kansas
Address: Kan-O-Tex Service Station, 119 North Main Street, Galena, Kansas 66739
The Kan-O-Tex Service Station (incessantly referred to as Cars on the Route, 4 Women on the Route, and formally referred to as Little’s Service Station), is a enjoyable cease on the Old Mother Road Highway and one of many must-see Route 66 points of interest, particularly if you’re a fan of the Pixar film Cars.
Going again to its heyday in 1926, Little’s Service Station put in gasoline pumps and added a service station. When the interstate opened within the space in 1968, it bypassed this neck of Kansas and prompted companies within the space to shut their doorways together with the station.
Four ladies, Betty Courtney, Melba Rigg, Renee Charles, and Judy Courtney, had been instrumental in restoring the historic outdated filling station and life again into the Galenaleg of historic Route 66. The service station was named Four Women on the Route and serves as a vacationer attraction.
Today the service station is usually referred to as Cars on the Route as a consequence of its connection to the film Cars (I informed you; no guarantees) and is famously dwelling to their 1951 International Boom Truck, upon which the Pixar Cars character Tow Mater was based mostly.
Bring your youngsters and cease in for a chunk to eat on the diner-style lunch counter and say hello to this inspirational truck. Don’t count on it to say something again although.
21. Galena Mining & Historical Museum, Galena, Kansas
Address: 319 W seventh St, Galena, Kansas 66739
The Galena Mining & History Museum, positioned within the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas railway depot, informs guests about this historic mining metropolis. It’s a reasonably modest museum that additionally helps showcase Galena’s roots, its slide into obscurity, and the tiny city’s comeback…which can or might not have been aided by the film Cars. Sue me.
22. Visit the Neon-Colored Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas
Address: 13651 I-40 Frontage Road, Amarillo, Texas 79124
As the nostalgic Route 66 points of interest by the state proceed, be sure you cease on the distinctive Cadillac Ranch in Texas. You won’t discover row upon row of superbly restored Cadillacs for these desirous to step again in time.
These colourful Cadillacs are a bit of art work to baffle, befuddle and in any other case delight the general public. In 1974 ten Cadillacs had been pushed onto a discipline by a band of hippy-arty-types and half-buried, nostril down. For automotive nerds, a lot of completely different fashions are included, from the 1949 Club Sedan to the 1963 Sedan de Ville. These half-buried Cadillacs confronted west as a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin.
The distinctive paint approach on the vehicles has been added by vacationers visiting the Ranch, who, over time, have defaced, dismantled, and coated the vehicles in dayglo paint till they’re not recognizable. This custom continues right this moment with many a vacationer trudging by means of mud and animal poo with dayglo spray paint in hand so as to add their signature to one of many distinctive and possibly bizarre Route 66 points of interest.
Remember to snap a couple of pictures of your murals as a result of no matter you create is bound to final a couple of hours earlier than the subsequent customer takes your house!
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23. Blue Swallow Motel, New Mexico
Address: 815 East Route 66 Boulevard, Tucumcari, New Mexico 88401
The historic Blue Swallow Motel has been serving clients for the reason that good outdated days of 1939. Located in Tucumcari, on the decommissioned Route 66, the stucco pink constructing with the blue swallow neon signal is a welcome sight for the weary traveler.
The film Cars (I really feel like I discussed it as soon as a couple of points of interest again) makes this dusty New Mexico Motel price a cease in your highway journey for any Dinsey fan. The Disney/Pixar film revived curiosity in Route 66 journey and the dusty cities en route.
For these of you who don’t know (what’s improper with you?), the film is about in a fictional city known as Radiator Springs based mostly on Tucumcari and options the Blue Swallow Motel, proper right down to that gaudy Neon Sign – “100% Refrigerated Air”.
No Route 66 bucket list trip ought to be accomplished with no cease on the Blue Swallow Motel. With the classically classic rooms restored to the bygone period of the Forties and 50s, this motor lodge deserves its place within the checklist of New Mexico Route 66 Attractions.
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24. Stay a Night on the Wigwam Village Motel #6, Holbrook, Arizona
Address: 811 West Hopi Drive, Holbrook, Arizona 86025
Not all motel rooms are four-sided with a conventional pitched roof and A/C. The Wigwam Village Motel in Arizona is made up of conventional teepees of the Plains Indians. The particular person models are housed in sturdy wigwams, with one every constructed from metal and concrete with a base diameter of 14 ft and 32 ft excessive.
The 15 wigwams are specified by an open rectangle to characterize an Indian Village. Each unit has been renovated and contains the unique hickory furnishings and a small toilet. Joined by an workplace and a museum, this motel is a superb place to cease and discover the Route 66 Arizona points of interest.
Today, parked completely across the motel courtroom are restored classic vehicles, together with a traditional Studebaker. The museum contains a assortment of Route 66 and Civil War memorabilia, a petrified wooden assortment, and Native American artifacts.
In 2002, the Motel was listed within the Nation Register of Historic Places as one of many three remaining Wigwam Villiage Motels within the U.S.
See Related: Best Things to do in Arizona & Places to Visit
25. Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, Arizona
Address: 1 Park Road, Petrified Forest, Arizona 86028
The Petrified Forest National Park is understood for its unbelievable vistas and options one of many world’s largest shows of petrified wooden and painted abandoned landscapes. Thousands of seemly wooden logs litter the expanse, however they include a shock, they’re rock, not wooden.
Over two million years in the past, Arizona was lush and inexperienced in the course of the Triassic interval, with towering bushes and rivers. Floating bushes absorbed ash from the water that was spewed from the reside volcanoes within the space. Over tens of millions of years, the silica within the ash prompted the bushes to petrify and grow to be rock.
The painted desert is a results of the colourful Chinle, which consists of quite a lot of sedimentary rocks which have eroded otherwise over time into the badlands of this lovely painted desert. The dry plantless desert panorama makes the Chinle inclined to erosion and weathering.
Located within the Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona, this National Park is for day guests, with hikes and private tours appropriate for all ages and skills. After lengthy hours on Route 66, by means of the guts of the Painted Desert, that is a type of particular Arizona Route 66 Attractions that invitations you to stand up shut and private with nature in a single its most unusual kinds.
26. A Thriving Ghost Town in Oatman, Arizona
Address: Black Mountains of Mohave County, Arizona
Oatman is a tiny increase city surrounded by the Black Mountains within the Navajo Desert. With the invention of gold in 1915 and the following gold rush, the city grew and prospered. In 1924 the primary mine shut down, and by 1944 all mines within the space closed; the gold was gone.
So what makes Oatman completely different from all of the dusty uninhibited ghost cities? How does a ghost city “thrive?” The 100 or so residents who’ve fought to maintain the traditions alive haven’t allowed the city to grow to be one other ghost city. That may not appear loads, however contemplating most ghost cities have a inhabitants of zero, 100 is virtually booming for any outdated increase city!
Take a stroll by means of the city, and you can find dilapidated buildings, picket sidewalks, and gunfights. Take within the locals, laughing and chatting as they craft trinkets and souvenirs to promote. Join the herd of untamed burros strolling down Main Street. Interested? You can book a tour right here if you’re visiting Las Vegas.
Oatman Road is a part of the historic Route 66, a slender, bone-shaking highway with killer curves, cliffs, and a desert panorama. The highway is named the Bloody 66 and can take you again right into a time of gold fever and cowboys; that is undoubtedly one of many Arizona Route 66 Attractions you shouldn’t miss.
See Related: Practical Tips for Working While Traveling
27. Route 66 Powerhouse Museum, Kingman, Arizona
Address: 120 West. Andy Devine Avenue, Kingman, Arizona 86401
Located on the second flooring of the outdated powerhouse in Kingman, Arizona you’ll discover the Route 66 Powerhouse Museum. This compact museum is a gearhead’s delight, that includes all kinds of automobiles from nineteenth Century wagons, bikes, early vehicles, electrical vehicles, and even record-breaking race vehicles.
Willy Nelson’s personal golf cart is right here. Need I say any extra?
28. Take a Train Ride from Williams, Arizona
Address: Grand Canyon Railway Depot, 280 N Grand Canyon Blvd, Williams, Arizona 86046
The greatest approach to see the Grand Canyon is to take a ride on a restored vintage train. Williams is a cease alongside the legendary Route 66 highway journey and the placement for the outdated western-style Willaims Station.
Stepping into the prepare is like stepping again in time. From the gunmen on the platform to the inside of the prepare with its damask velvet wall coverings, massive home windows, and reclining seats, this journey actually is sort of a rolling time machine.
Featuring a panoramic vista of wildflowers, pine forests, and plains with canyons and the San Francisco Peaks alongside the way in which, the Grand Canyon Rail Depot is the subsequent cease. After a day touring the majesty of the Grand Canyon, the return journey by prepare holds its personal surprises. A wild west prepare holdup, with bandana-masked cowboys on horseback and weapons! Cripes!
Rest assured, the cowboys are the identical from the Williams Train Station gunfight earlier within the day, and all ends properly. This is a really epic addition to the Arizona Route 66 bucket checklist and one which brings a welcome break out of your road trip travel.
29. Visit the Calico Ghost Town, Barstow, California
Address: 36600 Ghost Town Road, Yermo, California 92398
Calico Ghost Town is an outdated western mining city that closed when the silver misplaced its worth. Today, the Ghost is a renovated vacationer attraction positioned within the Calico area of the Mojave Desert.
Take a self-guided tour by means of Maggie Mine alongside a 1000-foot route, down the mine drift, and be taught concerning the historical past and workings of the mine. The mine is a part of the city’s famed ghost excursions, with many hauntings and tales to inform.
Visit the working Calico Odessa Railroad and take a journey with Hardrock John by means of this historic website and pan in your personal gold within the surrounding rivers.
From wild west gunslingers to historic eating places, this outdated ghost city is without doubt one of the greatest issues to do on Route 66. Plus, for those who’re pondering of hanging round for a bit and are searching for extra iconic Route 66 points of interest, book a room at the one and only Route 66 Motel!
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Barstow, California
30. The Road Ends at Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California
Address: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California 90401
Route 66 ends on the Santa Monica Pier simply past Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. The outdated highway signal was introduced again to the pier when it was awarded ” final cease of Route 66″ standing. Visit the little 66 to Cali Kiosk for Route 66 memorabilia to commemorate the tip of your epic journey of Route 66 points of interest by state!
The pier is the pleasure and pleasure of Santa Monica and has been a metropolis landmark for over 100 years. We discuss this place (and the Los Angeles space) loads – and you can read more about this awesome town here!
Is Route 66 nonetheless price driving?
Absolutely sure! Whether the Route 66 Highway is a bucket checklist journey, a way of studying about America up shut and private, or a approach to relive outdated household historical past, this can be a journey of a lifetime. Since the Pixar film Cars has revived curiosity in Route 66, cities alongside the Mother Road have sprung again to life – significantly this film breathed life into tiny cities that point practically forgot. The route follows the footsteps of American historical past and permits the traveler to step again in time and expertise this golden period.
Why is Route 66 not used anymore?
Well, it’s and it isn’t. The Route 66 freeway was decommissioned in 1985 and was changed by interstate highways, legislated in 1956 by President Eisenhower. The recognition of Route 66 grew to become its downfall because the two-lane freeway couldn’t deal with the amount of vehicles.
Where is Cars presupposed to happen?
The Pixar/Disney film Cars is about in a fictional city known as Radiator Springs. Based on an actual desert city alongside the famed New Mexico portion of Route 66 known as Tucumcari. From the gaudy neon indicators to the desert mountain scenes. Blue Swallow Motel was featured within the movie, together with the neon-lit signal – “100% Refrigerated Air.”