Route 66

Classic motel neon, vintage filling stations, roadside giants, and historic bridges

  • 21
  • 35:10
  • 2,183 mi
  • $368
Take This Trip

Created by cindi.allenkieke - January 30th 2022

The stretch of Route 66 from Chicago, Illinois, to St. Louis, Missouri, is home to aluminum-and-chrome diners, historic, family-owned cafes, bizarre attractions, and other reminders of the route’s charming past. You’ll also see plenty of cornfields and flat prairie land between the bustling cities and sleepy towns along this first leg.

Photo of Route 66 Starts Here Sign
3.2

65 E Adams St, Chicago, IL, US

Route 66 Starts Here Sign

Don’t miss the Route 66 Starts Here sign at the corner of S Michigan Avenue and E Adams Street. The sign (along with a handful of replica signs on the same block) is located in a busy section, so you may need to find parking elsewhere and walk to the sign for a photo.

105 S Old Rte 66, Dwight, IL, US

Old Route 66 Family Restaurant

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157mi 02h 38m

Atlanta, Illinois, Illinois, United States

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Next up is the adorable town of Atlanta (yes, Illinois has one, too). This charming place is full of classic Route 66 attractions. Don’t forget to visit the town’s octagon-shaped library, built in 1908. The 40-foot-tall clock tower next door is still wound by hand every eight days.

Photo of Railsplitter Covered Wagon
4.0

1750 5th street, Lincoln, IL, US

Railsplitter Covered Wagon

As the name suggests, the town of Lincoln has a bit of an obsession with the 16th president of the United States. The almost 25-foot-tall Railsplitter Covered Wagon—the world’s largest covered wagon—is no exception. Today, it sits on the front lawn of a Best Western hotel, and Abe himself can be found sitting on the wagon reading a law book.

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47mi 00h 50m

Springfield, Illinois, United States

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In 1837, the Springfield Road was constructed to connect St. Louis with Springfield, Illinois. The route became a popular stagecoach line for the next 20 years, but with the rise of the railroad, roads like this fell into disuse and disrepair. The advent of the automobile provided a welcome comeback and by 1920, there were tens of thousands of cars on the road.

In 1925, the American Association of State Highway Officials approved a marking system for interstate highway routes. East-west routes were designated with even numbers and they all ended with a “0”—with one exception. After some controversy, mainly on the part of delegates from Kentucky, the route from Chicago to Los Angeles, California, was given the number 66.

Photo of World's Largest Catsup Bottle
3.6

800 S Morrison Ave,, Collinsville, IL, US

World's Largest Catsup Bottle

But wait—there are two more essential roadside stops before you leave Illinois: the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle and the Cahokia Mounds. Originally built in 1949, the catsup bottle is an excellent example of roadside Americana, and thanks to a preservation group, it stands as tall and beautiful today as it did 70 years ago.

Photo of Gateway Arch National Park
4.5

11 North 4th Street, St. Louis, MO, US

Gateway Arch National Park

Gateway Arch National Park is so much more than just the iconic arch. There’s also a free museum with exhibits detailing U.S.’s westward expansion and the building of the Gateway Arch, which is a good place to start if you’re waiting for your ride to the top (or if you’re scared of heights but still want the arch experience). A trip to the top of the Eero Saarinen-designed monument—the world’s tallest arch and the tallest man-made monument in the U.S.—offers great views of both sides of the Mississippi. Across the street is the Old Courthouse, site of the Dred Scott trial, which features an ornately decorated dome.

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126mi 02h 01m
Photo of St. Louis West KOA Camping
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18475 Old US Hwy 66, Eureka, MO, US

St. Louis West KOA Camping

KOA Book With KOA

Click to find bookable tours and activities here

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Looking for a place to camp for the night? The St. Louis West / Historic Route 66 KOA campground in nearby Eureka is located right on Historic Route 66, just 30 minutes outside the city.

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469mi 07h 09m

Oklahoma City, OK, United States

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258mi 04h 01m
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70mi 01h 07m

Glenrio, TX, United States

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42mi 00h 43m

222 E Laughlin Ave, Tucumcari, NM, US

Mesalands Dinosaur Museum and Natural Sciences Laboratory

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176mi 02h 47m

202 San Felipe NW, Albuquerque, NM, US

American International Rattlesnake Museum

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75mi 01h 15m

Grants, NM, United States

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62mi 00h 59m
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97mi 01h 31m

Holbrook, AZ, United States

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33mi 00h 37m

Winslow, AZ, United States

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202mi 03h 08m

Kingman, AZ, United States

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148mi 02h 27m
Photo of Amboy Crater
4.0

Crater Rd, Amboy, CA, US

Amboy Crater

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78mi 01h 23m

681 N 1st Ave, Barstow, CA, US

Route 66 'Mother Road' Museum

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You did it—one leg down, five more to go. As you travel further southwest, the weather will get warmer, the road will get flatter, and the views will only get better. While it’s true that you never forget your first, so much of Route 66 is still in front of you—so keep going and let the Show-Me State show you why almost 100 years after its creation, the Mother Road is still the best place to get your kicks.