Route 66 is on many people’s bucket list and we know why, it’s a once in a lifetime journey across the most historic road in America. There is so much to see along this expansive stretch of over 2500 miles of road. To help you get the most from your trip we’re sharing a list of 15 things to see on Route 66 that you should ensure you stop off at!
1) Giants (Various, Illinois)
We are not sure how many there are but we found two. One giant is holding a hot dog, and the other is ready to go to outer space. We found out that the space man is mascot to the restaurant that sits beside it and is related to America’s first voyage to space. But hot dog man is a total mystery!
2) Jail House (Gardner, Illinois)
A fully restored 2 cell jail house where you can lock away your travelling companion if you are fed up with them singing to along to every song on the radio! There is a great audio explanation on what the jail house was and how it was used back in the day. It was never used to keep high profile criminals, but more a place to keep the local drunks and tramps when they got out of hand. An added bonus next door is an original street car diner that would have been the norm for food establishments along early 66.
3) Postville Court House, Postville, Illinois
This is the original location where Abraham Lincoln used to attend court twice a year to resolve legal matters for Logan county. Yup, that’s right, if there was a legal dispute you could have to wait up to 6 months to get a court date! The site had been turned in to a small museum and you are able to sit where Abraham sat and pretend to be a judge!
4) Restored Gas Station, Kansas & Odell, Illinois
There were two fantastically restored Gas stations along route 66. Probably the best one was in Baxter Springs, Kansas. The owner has really captured the spirit of what it must have been like driving the mother road all those years ago. You can enter the stations and see handwriting all over the walls from visitors from around the world. The second is in Odell, Illinos. There is a shop attached but it closes at 4pm so check your watch.
5) Toy Cars (Kansas)
All along Route 66 people have converted old American cars to look like the characters from Disney’s hit film Cars. The best has to be just as you enter Kansas in Baxter Springs. The attention to detail was brilliant, even with Radiator Springs decals!
6) National Historic Route 66 Museum (Oklahoma)
Take a walk through a replica town as it would have been when the mother road was in its infancy. At a cost of only £5 it is a great way to spend a few hours and really transports you back in time.
7) Oklahoma memorial ( Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Not strictly related to Route 66 but a tragic reminder of the world we live in today. The memorial is beautiful and very well maintained with what seems like a endless personal artefacts attached to the fences outside. I spent a long time looking through all the notes and trinkets, its very moving.
8) Big Texan (Amarillo, Texas)
This is not the original Big Texan. The Big Texan that you see today is a bigger, better version than the one that originally existed on Route 66. The owner realised that when Highway 40 was built his business was going to suffer. Moving with the times he rebuilt the Big Texan bigger and better than ever. I highly recommend the ribs, I have never had ribs like them!
9) Blue Whale (Oklahoma)
Yup, big blue concrete wale at the side of the road! Its hard to imagine that in its current state this was a hugely popular bathing spot. The children loved playing on the wale with its water slides and diving boards. You would defiantly think twice about going for a dip today, yuck, but it’s worth a visit for sure!
10) Cadillac Range (Amarillo,Texas)
Another very cool attraction is the Cadillac ranch just off Route 66 in Texas, outside Amarillo. What is essentially several Cadillac’s half burred in the ground covered in graffiti actually makes for some greats photos. If its raining you might want to bring some Wellington boots, and don’t forget your spray paint!
11) Petrified Forrest (Arizona)
Not strictly an attraction of Route 66 but if you have never been to a petrified forrest it’s worth a trip. The visitor’s center is a fountain of information, with very good explanation on how the petrification of wood occurs (wood turning to stone). Driving round the national park gives you a glimpse of some very eerie landscapes that I have never seen anywhere before, you could be on another planet!
12) Meteor Crater (Arizona)
Again strictly not an attraction of Route 66 but this is the best preserved meteor crater in the world. NASA actually send their astronauts here for training. It was caused 50,000 years ago when a meteor about half the size of a football pitch crashed into the desert. At $19 each it’s a little expensive but how often do you get a chance to see something like this?
13) The town of Williams (Arizona)
The best Route 66 town on the mother road by a mile! Williams has remained prosperous due to its close proximity to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (the widest part of the canyon) and has therefore had the ability to maintain the town in keeping with its heritage. There is a fantastic restaurant called the Bar and Grill 66. It has a great outdoor seating area right on the road and often has live music throughout the day. We also found the best gift shop for Route 66 souvenirs which is home to the largest full metal Route 66 sign that can be found on the road!
14) The small town of Seligman (Arizona)
Much smaller than Williams but still packing fantastic Route 66 sights is Seligman. Scattered down a small stretch of roads are fantastic classic cars, bikes and shops. You can even find a few characters out of the movie Cars if you are lucky.
15) Route 66 end sign (Chicago, Illinois)
Tucked away down a couple of small side streets near the shore line of lake Michigan there are two small signs that mark the start and end of Route 66. Obviously depending on whether you are just beginning or ending your journey. Well worth a photo for the album!
Please share your favourite sights along Route 66 in the comments below. And if you haven’t set off yet, we wish you a fantastic trip!