Ultimate Illinois Route 66 Road Trip Itinerary

Ultimate Illinois Route 66 Road Trip Itinerary

Get your kicks on Route 66. Immortalized by the Nat King Cole music, Route 66 is the final word American street journey expertise. The historic freeway has come to represent freedom and the seek for a greater future. Here’s a useful Illinois Route 66 street journey itinerary with ideas for what to see alongside the best way.

Illinois Route 66 Road Trip Itinerary

In Illinois, you possibly can nonetheless drive on segments of the unique pink brick Route 66. Due to the size of the unique street, it’s a good suggestion to decide on a bit of the route on your street journey.

We suggest the Illinois part for its nice mixture of quirky roadside sights, cultural sights and historic curiosity. You’d even be onerous pressed to discover a friendlier bunch of individuals than the inhabitants of Illinois.

Route 66 History

On 3 December 1818, Illinois grew to become the twenty first State within the Union. Route 66 opened on 11 November 1926, though the enduring street indicators had been solely erected a yr later. This iconic street linked 8 American States, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Also often known as the Mother Road, the Will Rogers Highway and the Main Street of America, Route 66 linked many farming communities. Diners, motels and gasoline stations sprung up alongside the route.

In the 30s, when crops had been affected by mud storms, often known as the Dust Bowl, folks briefly migrated West through Route 66. In 1939, John Steinbeck penned his basic novel, The Grapes of Wrath, referring to the basic freeway: “66 is the mom street, the street of flight.

Pontiac Town Route 66 murals in Illinois

When historic Route 66 first opened, solely 800 miles had been paved. The Illinois and Kansas sections of the freeway had been utterly paved by 1929, and the entire route was paved by 1938.

Over the years, sections of US 66 had been changed by the Interstate Highway System. In 1985, the unique Route 66 was formally decommissioned from the United States Highway System.

Luckily, elements of the enduring freeway have been designated a National Scenic Byway and new signage has sprung as much as information guests to Historic Route 66. Thanks to the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, monetary help is offered to take care of the heritage of the street.

The historic Route 66 in Auburn, Illinois

Route 66 Facts

  • How lengthy is Route 66? The authentic Route 66 was 2,448 miles lengthy (3,940 km).
  • How lengthy to drive Route 66? You may cowl the entire distance in every week however not less than 2 weeks to a month is preferable.
  • What is the perfect time of yr to do a Route 66 street journey? In mid Winter there’s a threat of snow in elements. Spring and Autumn are good occasions to drive Route 66. Summer can also be nice and you must take into account reserving lodging prematurely.
  • Are there historic Route 66 sights you can nonetheless see at the moment? Yes many, learn on for our full information to the Illinois section of the route.
  • Where does Route 66 begin? In Chicago, Illinois.

Route 66 Chicago Attractions

Chicago, Illinois is properly often known as the beginning of Route 66, nevertheless it was additionally the tip of Route 66 for these travelling eastwards. Both indicators are nice photograph alternatives.

  • Route 66 Begin signal – 99 E Adam St. (intersection with Michigan Ave.).
  • Route 66 End signal – E. Jackson Blvd. (intersection with S. Michigan Ave.).
  • Lou Mitchell’s – 565 W Jackson Blvd. This well-known diner opened in 1923 and have become common with travellers on Route 66 when the freeway opened in 1926. Ever since, it’s been serving tasty consolation meals. Lou Mitchell’s is listed within the National Register of Historic Places for its authentic neon signal courting from 1949.
The Route 66 begin sign in Chicago, Illinois

Other Must See Chicago Attractions

  • Cloudgate – nicknamed The Bean, this statue by Sir Anish Kapoor is situated in Millennium Park within the Loop group space.
  • Absolutely Segway Tour 300 Monroe St., Chicago. A enjoyable approach to absorb sights resembling Buckingham Fountain, the Lakefront and Museum Campus.
  • Shoreline Architecture Cruise – you’ll see over 40 Chicago landmarks on this structure tour and be taught so much from the professional guides. The cruise departs from Michigan Avenue Dock.
  • CityPASS – it can save you 48% on Chicago’s greatest sights with CityPASS together with a quick go to Skydeck Chicago, VIP entry to The Field Museum, specific entry to 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck.
  • Shopping on The Magnificent Mile – for luxurious vogue and historic sights just like the Wrigley Building skyscraper.
  • The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago – admire town from the glass viewing field on the 103rd ground. Admire the 360 diploma views and look 1,353 toes down.
  • Andy’s Jazz Club – for the reason that ’70s, Andy’s on E. Hubbard St. has been one of the vital common jazz golf equipment in Chicago. 3 bands play every single day of the week and there’s additionally a contemporary American eating menu with Cajun influences.
  • Chicago Water Taxi – one of the vital enjoyable methods to get round Chicago is to take a water taxi from one in every of 7 riverside areas. The Ogilvie/Union West Loop passes by some fascinating structure such because the Willis Tower and the Lyric Opera House.

Where to Eat in Chicago

  • Gino’s East – well-known for its deep dish pizza and graffiti decor since 1966. Several areas together with the unique one at 162 E. Superior St. the place company can write their names or a message on the partitions.
  • Imperial Lamian – serving genuine, trendy Chinese delicacies and implausible tea-infused cocktails in fashionable environment on West Hubbard St. within the River North neighbourhood. Watch the cooks making the hand-pulled Lamian noodles from the open-plan kitchen.
Imperial Lamian restaurant, Chicago
  • Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House –  recent seafood delivered day by day at 1024 North Rush Street.

Where to Stay in Chicago

The Warwick Allerton Chicago has a implausible location at 701 N Michigan Avenue. It’s a historic constructing that dates from the Nineteen Twenties but has been utterly renovated, with spacious rooms and Specialty Suites. From the marble bogs to the luxurious bathrobes and nice views of Chicago, it’s an awesome place to remain.

The Warwick Allerton, Chicago, Illinois

Chicago to Heritage Corridor – round 50 miles

The I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor stretches all the best way from Chicago to Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby. It’s a scenic space with 61 miles of canalside trails, along with historic sights and Route 66 landmarks.

  • Joliet Area Historical Museum – on the museum’s Route 66 Experience, you possibly can see a reproduction 50s Corvette, parked in a drive-in. Stepping ahead in time, discover out extra about John Houbolt, the NASA engineer and former Joliet resident who performed a key function within the American moon touchdown program within the 60s.
  • Old Joliet Prison – From 1958 to 2002, Old Joliet Prison was in operation. It featured in The Blues Brothers in addition to TV present Prison Break. A fundraising effort is underway to renovate the constructing and open it as much as the general public.
  • MyGrain Brewing  – This cleverly named craft beer brewery is situated within the former Union Station on 50 East Jefferson Street, Joliet. It was opened by associates Gregory and Vince, who each had a ardour for beer. You can see the craft beer being brewed by means of a glass window, while you take pleasure in a refreshing beverage, burger, tacos or beer beignets.
  • Gemini Giant and The Launching Pad – One of probably the most iconic Route 66 sights is the Gemini Giant, a 30 foot tall statue on 810 E. Baltimore Street, Wilmington. It’s the most effective examples of a Muffler Man, fibreglass statues that had been used for promoting. Next to the Gemini Giant you’ll discover The Launching Pad, a Route 66 reward store and restaurant that has been lovingly restored by Holly Barker and Tully Garrett.
The Gemini Giant on Route 66 - a great example of a Muffler Man advertising statue

Heritage Corridor to Pontiac – round 60 miles

Pontiac, Illinois boasts fascinating Route 66 reveals, 4 fascinating museums, a historic courthouse, 3 swinging pedestrian bridges and 24 giant murals.

  • Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum – At 110 W. Howard Street, Pontiac, admire the large mural of the Mother Road on the skin of the constructing. Inside, there’s a big assortment of Route 66 memorabilia and private tales of the folks related to the street. One of probably the most distinctive was Bob Waldmire, a travelling artist who lived in a VW van on show on the museum.
  • Pontiac Oakland Auto Museum – a formidable show of Pontiac and different basic vehicles at 205 N. Mill Street, Pontiac.
  • Museum of the Gilding Arts – distinctive reveals of gold and silver leaf, data on the strategies of utility and a recreation of the M. Swift and Sons gold beating room, at 217 N Mill Street, Pontiac.
  • Route 66 murals on Main Street – 23 murals together with 18 painted in 2009 by the Walldogs, a bunch of signal painters.
  • Dongbai International Air Brush Art School – acclaimed artist Tang Dongbai teaches the artwork of air brushing and reveals his personal intricate work at 425 W Madison Street.
  • Bernardi’s – the most effective eating places in Pontiac, serving Italian specialties and American classics like fried rooster in a relaxed ambiance on North Mill Street.
  • The Cup and The Scone – impressed by British espresso homes, this latest addition to the Pontiac eating scene has an awesome collection of single origin roasts, stone chilly brews, truffles and muffins.
Route 66 mural in Pontiac, Illinois

Pontiac to Springfield – round 105 miles

You’ll uncover some nice examples of Route 66 roadside memorabilia on this part of your journey, together with:

  • Paul Bunyon Hotdog Statue – at 112 SW Arch Street, Atlanta. Often misspelt as Paul Bunyan, this 19 toes tall statue is one other of the Muffler Men. These fibreglass sculptures are hole on the within and had been constructed between 1963-1972. This one was made in 1966 and is situated reverse the Palms Grill Café, which performs music from the 30s and 40s, the heyday of Route 66.
  • World’s Largest Covered Wagon – acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most important coated wagon on the earth. The Railsplitter Covered Wagon is is 7.6 m tall, 12.2 m lengthy and three.65 m large and is located on the entrance garden of the Best Western Lincoln Inn on 1750 fifth Street, Lincoln.


Famous as the house of Abraham Lincoln, Springfield Illinois has some Route 66 historic sights that you just shouldn’t miss.

Route 66 Springfield Il Attractions

  • Route 66 Cozy Dog Drive In – this Springfield Route 66 landmark was opened in 1949 by Ed Waldmire, the daddy of the artist Bob Waldmire. They concentrate on cozy canine, a scorching canine on a keep on with fried batter made to their very own secret recipe. Ed’s grandson runs the enterprise at the moment and you may decide up Route 66 souvenirs together with paintings created by Bob.
  • Route 66 Motorheads Bar, Grill, & Museum – full of classic indicators and neons, this can be a enjoyable place to cease for a beverage at 600 Toronto Road, Springfield.
A Route 66 Illinois landmark car museum

Historical Attractions in Springfield

  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site – faithfully restored to its look in 1860, the Lincoln household dwelling on South eighth St. provides you a glimpse of Abraham Lincoln’s household life. There are 12 different historic homes within the space across the museum to admire.
  • Old State Capitol – this Greek revival fashion constructing was reconstructed within the Sixties. Lincoln delivered his well-known House Divided speech within the authentic Representatives Hall in 1858.
  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum – this interactive museum brings the previous to life due to holographics, particular results and stay actors who will reply your questions on Abraham Lincoln and his legacy.
  • Lincoln Tomb – one of the vital visited historic cemeteries within the United States, it’s the ultimate resting place of Abraham Lincoln and his household (the eldest son was buried in Arlington National Cemetery).
  • Illinois State Capitol – topped by a 405 foot glass dome, this putting instance of Renaissance Revival and Italianate types was accomplished in 1888.
  • Dana Thomas House – this masterpiece of Prairie Style structure was created in 1902 by Frank Lloyd Wright for Susan Lawrence Dana.  It accommodates an exquisite assortment of authentic furnishings and glass over 12,000 sq. toes of residing house which incorporates 3 foremost ranges and 16 various ranges in all.
Dana Thomas house, Springfield

Where to Eat in Springfield

The state of Illinois has gathered collectively a number of the best artisans, breweries and eating places beneath the banner Illinois Made. Two of the best examples will be present in Springfield and Peoria:

  • Engrained – take pleasure in scrumptious microbrewed beers and farm to desk cooking at 1120 West Lincolnshire Blvd in Springfield.
  • Custom Cup – regionally roasted espresso at 319 E Monroe St.,  Springfield. They concentrate on small batch and roast to order espresso.

Where to Stay in Springfield

The Wyndham Springfield City Centre on E. Adams Street has a useful central location in addition to a swimming pool and a restaurant with panoramic views over town. The rooms are extraordinarily spacious and have all mod cons.

Springfield to Great Rivers & Routes – round 85 miles

On the ultimate leg of your Route 66 Illinois street journey, within the Great Rivers & Routes area you’ll encounter classic roadside diners, picturesque countryside and a formidable UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    • Historic Route 66 Brick Road – Don’t miss the chance to drive on the unique pink brick Route 66 at Curran Road and Snell Road in Auburn. The scenic 1.4 mile drive subsequent to corn fields was laid by hand in 1931. It’s usually not very crowded however look fastidiously earlier than posing for photograph alternatives on the street itself.
  • Pink Elephant and Route 66 expertise – the identify comes from the enormous pink elephant adorning the facade of this common Route 66 attraction at 908 Veterans Memorial Dr., Livingston. There’s an enormous antiques centre and Nineteen Fifties fashion diner inside, and a sweet retailer will open quickly. 
  • Weezy’s on Route 66 – since opening within the Thirties, this diner at 108 S. Old US Route 66 in Hamel has been wowing the crowds with its Horsehoe Sandwiches and different Midwestern specialties.
  • World’s Largest Catsup Bottle – this catsup or ketchup bottle was inbuilt 1949 for Brooks Catsup It stands 170 foot tall and will be discovered at 305 Railroad Ave., Collinsville.
Worl'ds largest catsup bottle in Illinois
  • Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site – uncover the stays of the most important Pre-Columbian settlement North of Mexico. Cahokia Mounds is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in addition to a State Historic Site, unfold over 2,200 acres. There are over 70 historic mounds, constructed between AD 900 and 1200 by Native Americans, in addition to a reconstructed Woodhenge and informative guests’ middle.
  • Fast Eddie’s Bon Air – a great place to chill off due to its air misters, cool beers and colourful decor at 1530 E. 4th St., Alton..
  • Robert Wadlow Statue – formally the world’s tallest man, Robert Wadlow was often known as the Gentle Giant and was 8 ft. 11.1 inches tall. on the time of his loss of life aged simply 22 years outdated.
  • Miles Davis Statue – the legendary jazz musician was born in Alton and his statue will be discovered at 117 W. third St.
  • McPike Mansion – Alton is known for its ghosts and the McPike Mansion is reputed to be one of the vital haunted buildings within the USA. Sharyn and George Luedke are restoring it to its former glory and there are common excursions.
  • Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower – this landmark tower provides you a panoramic view of the purpose the place the Missouri and Mississippi rivers converge. It’s additionally the spot the place iconic explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark established Camp River Dubois in 1803 to arrange for his or her three yr expedition.
  • Pere Marquette Lodge – nestled inside scenic Pere Marquette State Park, this fashionable lodge and restaurant are properly price a go to. Guests can calm down within the Great Room, dine within the restaurant or keep in a lodge room or log cabin.
  • Grafton Winery The Vineyards – with a stunning setting overlooking a lake, this vineyard and 4 acre winery focuses on Chardonnel, Vidal and Vinoles grapes.
  • The Loading Dock – an awesome spot to take pleasure in lunch on the Mississippi River. There’s a month-to-month Flea Market from April to October, common stay music classes and even an ice rink within the Winter.
  • Historic Elsah – This lovely place is named the village the place time stood nonetheless and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Piasa Bird – the piasa is a legendary monster that was painted on the Mississipi bluffs close to Alton and first found by Father Jacques Marquette in 1673. The dragon-like chook was painted by Native Americans and you may see a reproduction at Piasa Park, exterior Alton.
  • Gentelin’s On Broadway – with a surprising view of Alton’s Clark Bridge, this restaurant has a scrumptious collection of pasta, seafood and steak in addition to an in depth wine and Martini listing.

Pink Elephant diner on Route 66, Illinois

Where to Stay in Great Rivers & Routes

Whether you favor to remain in a resort or a mattress and breakfast, there are some good choices within the Great Rivers & Routes space.

  • Best Western Premier Alton – giant bedrooms, complimentary excessive pace WiFi, swimming pool and whirlpool.
  • Beall Mansion – this award-winning Bed and Breakfast Inn at 407 E. twelfth St., Alton is located inside a sublime mansion. Decorated with the best antiques, there’s a complimentary chocolate buffet.
  • Tara Point Inn & Cottages – Noted in Midwest Living journal as a riverside retreat for the romantic, the Tara Point Inn & Cottages in Grafton, Illinois is thought for its unbelievable lodging and breathtaking views (of the Mississippi River and Illinois rivers).

Getting to Route 66

By Plane

  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
  • Domestic flights to Bloomington-Normal, Moline, Peoria, Rockford, Springfield and extra
  • Lambert International Airport, St. Louis

By Train

  • Amtrak serves 26 cities in Illinois, together with Alton, Chicago, Joliet and Springfield.

By Car

  • You should put on a seatbelt when travelling by automobile in Illinois, or a helmet if making your journey by bike.

Have you ever been to Illinois? We hope to have impressed you to take a street journey on Route 66.

Interested within the USA? Check out these different US journey options: Best Natural Hot Springs within the US | Best Restaurants in Naples FL | Best Things to Do in Springfield Illinois | The Most Expensive Cities to Live within the US | The Most Historic Houses within the US |

The Ultimate Illinois Route 66 Itinerary | Chicago, Heritage Corridor, Pontiac, Springfield and The Great River Road | #Route66 | #USATravel | #Illinois | #USA | #roadtrip | #TravelTips
Illinois Route 66 street journey itinerary

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