Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America, is a legendary highway from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. Spanning over 2,400 miles, this iconic roadway has a rich history and is a popular tourist attraction for those seeking to experience a slice of Americana.
The route begins in the Windy City of Chicago, where travelers can explore the city’s vibrant cultural scene, sample famous deep-dish pizza, and visit popular landmarks such as the Willis Tower and Millennium Park. From there, the highway winds through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, ending in Santa Monica, California.
One of the most famous stops along Route 66 is the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. This iconic monument stands at 630 feet tall and offers breathtaking views of the city and the Mississippi River. Other notable stops in Missouri include the Meramec Caverns and the Wagon Wheel Motel, the oldest continuously operated motel on Route 66.
As the route enters Oklahoma, travelers can visit the iconic Blue Whale of Catoosa, a giant concrete whale built as a roadside attraction in the 1970s. The state also boasts the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum (there are many Route 66 Museums along the way!), which offers visitors a glimpse into the history of the highway and the people who traveled it.
In Texas, Route 66 passes through Amarillo, where visitors can see the famous Cadillac Ranch, a public art installation featuring ten Cadillac cars buried nose-first in the ground. The state also features the Midpoint Café in Adrian, which marks the route’s halfway point.
As the route enters New Mexico, travelers can stop at the historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow, famous for its stunning architecture and beautiful gardens.
The final stretch of Route 66 in Arizona includes the iconic Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, which features teepee-shaped rooms that are a nod to the highway’s Native American heritage. You will also find the famous Petrified Forest National Park, which features fossilized trees dating back millions of years. The state is also home to the Grand Canyon, one of the most popular natural wonders in the world.
Finally, Route 66 ends at the Santa Monica Pier in California, where visitors can stroll along the boardwalk, enjoy the famous amusement park, or take in the stunning sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Overall, Route 66 offers travelers a unique glimpse into America’s past and present, with a diverse range of attractions and landmarks highlighting the country’s rich cultural heritage. So whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a fun road trip, Route 66 has must-see destinations that offer something for everyone.
Note over the last two months we have driven Route 66, but from California to Chicago.