Route 66, also known as the “Main Street of America,” is an iconic American highway that stretches over 2,400 miles from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California. This historic road has captured the imaginations of travelers for generations, offering a glimpse into the heart and soul of the United States. Along this legendary route, there are countless fascinating places to explore. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through some of the best stops on Route 66, each with its own unique charm.
Your journey begins in the Windy City, Chicago. Before hitting the road, explore Millennium Park, take a stroll along Navy Pier, and indulge in Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza. Don’t forget to snap a photo at the “Begin Route 66” sign at Adams Street and Michigan Avenue before embarking on your adventure.
St. Louis, Missouri
As you make your way west, stop in St. Louis to see the iconic Gateway Arch. You can also explore the historic Route 66 Chain of Rocks Bridge, which offers stunning views of the Mississippi River.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City boasts a rich Route 66 history. Visit the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Don’t miss the Round Barn in Arcadia, a well-preserved Route 66 landmark.
In Amarillo, you’ll find the famous Cadillac Ranch, an art installation featuring ten spray-painted Cadillacs buried nose-down in the ground. Enjoy a hearty Texas steak at The Big Texan Steak Ranch and try your hand at the “72-ounce steak challenge.”
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe offers a change of pace with its adobe architecture, vibrant art scene, and delicious Southwestern cuisine. Explore the historic Plaza, visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and savor green chile dishes.
Made famous by the Eagles’ song “Take It Easy,” Winslow is a charming stop along Route 66. Pose for a photo with the “Standin’ on the Corner” statue, which pays homage to the song’s lyrics.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Although it’s a slight detour from Route 66, visiting the Grand Canyon is an unforgettable experience. The South Rim is the most accessible and offers breathtaking views of this natural wonder.
Flagstaff is known for its pine forests, cool mountain air, and proximity to the San Francisco Peaks. Explore the historic downtown area and visit the Lowell Observatory to gaze at the stars.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Witness the otherworldly beauty of the Petrified Forest National Park, where you can see petrified wood, colorful badlands, and ancient Native American petroglyphs.
Seligman is a quintessential Route 66 town, often referred to as the “Birthplace of Historic Route 66.” Stroll through the streets adorned with classic cars, neon signs, and quirky souvenir shops.
As you approach the end of your journey, stop in Barstow and visit the Route 66 Mother Road Museum to learn about the highway’s history. The nearby Calico Ghost Town is also worth a visit.
Santa Monica, California
Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of the road! Santa Monica’s Pier and beach make for a fitting conclusion to your Route 66 adventure. Dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean and savor the sense of accomplishment.
Route 66 is not just a highway; it’s a journey through the heart of America, filled with history, culture, and unforgettable experiences. From the bustling streets of Chicago to the sunny shores of Santa Monica, this iconic route is a testament to the enduring spirit of exploration. Each stop along the way offers a unique glimpse into the diverse tapestry of American life, making a road trip on Route 66 a truly unforgettable adventure. So, rev up your engine, hit the open road, and create your own memories along this legendary route.