Route 66, and its 2,500 miles, is known affectionately as "The Mother Road." It's the quintessential cross-country road trip experience. From Chicago through the beating heart of America and down to Los Angeles, the route officially ends at the Santa Monica Pier. The road reached peak popularity in the late 40's and early 50's before being officially removed from the US Highway System in 1985. After a few years, travelers from America and beyond started feeling tinges of nostalgia, and by the end of the 1980's it was fast becoming one of the most popular road trip routes once more.
The Illinois stretch of Route 66 is home to some pretty good eats, especially if you like classic American cuisine. Before you hit the road, visit Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket, just outside Chicago, for some of the best fried chicken you'll ever have. They've been serving the home-cooked goodness since 1946.
5257 Historic U.S. 66, Shirley, IL, US
For those of you with a sweet tooth, Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup in Shirley, IL produces over 1,800 gallons of maple syrup using old-fashioned techniques, and it's all bottled in beautiful, vintage-looking bottles.
Atlanta, IL, US
The Illinois stretch of Route 66 is also home to loads of great roadside attractions, but none shout "retro-kitsch" louder than the massive muffler men statues! The Gemini Giant in Wilmington and Bunyon With a Hotdog in Atlanta, IL are two of the best for photo-ops of this iconic vestige of Americana. While you're in Atlanta, which is a ridiculously charming little town in Illinois, visit the Route 66 Arcade Museum: it's a fantastic hidden gem that features tons of vintage arcade machines you can play.
525 South Pasfield Street, Springfield, IL, US
Illinois is also great for history buffs, as it's home to loads of Abraham Lincoln-inspired attractions, and since the establishment of Route 66, big 'ole statues of "Honest Abe" have been delighting road travelers over the years. For the full Lincoln experience, spend the night at the Pasfield House Inn in Springfield, and just down the road there's the Watermelon Lincoln Monument, and the Railsplitter Covered Wagon in Lincoln.
1107 Historic Old Rte 66, Staunton, IL, US
If quirky roadside attractions are your thing, then you can't get much better than Henry's Rabbit Ranch in Staunton, where you'll find a whole bunch of VW Rabbits all cut in half and sticking out of the ground, like some weird Stonehenge homage. There's also a gift shop and info center on site, and a few actual bunnies that hang around to meet travelers. It's such a sweet stop to make along the route and has so much to photograph, including massive vintage Route 66 signs and memorabilia.
615 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, MO, US
750 N 16th St, St. Louis, MO, US
1315 Chestnut St, St. Louis, MO, US
3415 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO, US
3441 Olive St, St. Louis, MO, US
3750 Washington Blvd, St. Louis, MO, US
411 Locust St, St. Louis, MO, US
200 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO, US
710 N Second St, IL, US
1700 N Broadway, St. Louis, MO, US
11 North 4th Street, St. Louis, MO, US
50 N Leonor K Sullivan Blvd, St. Louis, MO, US
Chouteau and S Lenor K Sullivan Blvd Runs from the St. Louis Arch Riverfront South, St. Louis, MO, US
1291 S Wharf St, St. Louis, MO, US
634 South Broadway, St. Louis, MO, US
Best time of year to travel along Route 66: The best time to road trip down Route 66 is between late April and early July, as well as late August through late October. The worst times to visit would be July and August, this is when the temperature is sweltering and all the kids are out of school, which means you'll come across some crowds along the route. In addition, July and August is considered high season, so you're going to be paying higher rates for lodging.