Route 66

No road is as famous or as fascinating as Route 66. Why is this legendary road so famous? Where is it? How do you plan a trip on the Mother Road that includes all its most important stops? Here you’ll find all the information you need to organize the most fascinating road trip in the US.


What is Route 66?

US Route 66, also called US 66 or Route 66 and known as the Will Rogers Highway, Main Street of America or Mother Road, was one of the original highways of the American road system. It dates back to November 11, 1926, when the name was officially approved by the Bureau of Public Roads, and traffic signals were erected the following year. Route 66, which soon became one of the most famous roads in the United States. It originally began in Chicago, Illinois, crossing Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and then concluded in Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California. It adds up to a total of 2448 miles (about 3940 km).

It did not take long for Route 66 to make its way into pop culture as well. Just think of the iconic song (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66, the 1960s television series Route 66, or the novel The Grapes of Wrath, written in 1939 by John Steinbeck, in which a family from Oklahoma makes a journey along the Mother Road in search of redemption from the severe hardships of the Great Depression. Route 66 served as the main road for all those seeking to move West, particularly during the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, and, given the growing popularity of the road, many businesses and commercial activities soon sprang up there.

Over the years, Route 66 underwent many changes, detours, and maintenance operations, so that identifying the original route today is not an easy task, and it was officially removed from the U.S. Highway System in 1985 when more modern highways were built (to learn more you can read our in-depth article on the history of Route 66). Despite its removal, Route 66 was never forgotten and it became a symbol of road trips across America.

It is hard to explain why Route 66 has captured the imagination of so many and continues to fascinate people to this day. Traveling on Route 66 is a bit like traveling back in time. There are so many signs of a bygone era, of an America far from the big cities and large retail chains. Here family-run diners abound, and you find quaint motels with flashy neon signs, 1950s drive-ins, old gas pumps, bizarre advertising signs, history, natural beauty, souvenirs, and kitsch memorabilia (to get an idea of what you will experience on this trip, you can check out our article on why Route 66 is so famous).

The Mother Road can be traveled in many ways:

  • history lovers or meticulous philologists will try to retrace every single stretch, in search of the authentic experience (if that’s you, read our guide on how to plan an itinerary on Route 66, based on the original route)
  • those who want to enjoy only some parts of the route on a trip that includes other destinations, or simply want to see some significant attractions up close, can start from this list of the 10 recommended stops

Where is it? Map of Route 66 Main Attractions

Route 66 Road Trip Planner

Route 66 road trip

Route 66 Travel Guide: How to Plan a Road Trip

A Travel Guide to Route 66 with recommended state-by-state routing and our tips for planning an itinerary along the Mother Road, including tips on when to go, how much it costs, travel times, best time of year, and more..

Attractions State by State

Route 66 Texas

Route 66 Texas: All Attractions along the Route

Texas signifies the fifth leg of our journey along the famous Route 66 and we are also practically halfway through our journey to reach the coveted California (or Illinois if you are traveling West to East), since here we will meet the city of Adrian which is the midway point…

Route 66 California

Route 66 California: What to See Along the Way

Here we are at last in California, the final destination of our Route 66 road trip. The Golden State with its deserts and the beaches of Santa Monica lapped by the Pacific Ocean will be the backdrop to our last itinerary. So let’s not waste any more time and get…

Route 66 Road Trip Tips

why route 66 is famous

Why Route 66 is so Famous? What Can You Expect Along the Way?

Traveling Route 66 is not an experience recommended for anyone who wants to move quickly from point A to point B in the shortest possible time, but is ideal for those who want to make the journey itself a central point of their travel experience. The sensations you experience along the route will therefore become the central part of your…

historic route 66 motels

Where to Stay on Route 66: Recommended Motels and Hotels Along the Route

In this article, we would like to show you a selection of hotels and motels that you may encounter during your trip along the states crossed by the Route 66. We have chosen those facilities that out of them all can offer an atmosphere as close as possible to what you would expect from a road trip on the most…

Route 66 History

Route 66: A Brief History of a Legendary Road

Route 66 is certainly the most famous American road ever; famous writers, singers and Hollywood movies have contributed to its fame and to celebrate it. Its legend has continued to grow and this has allowed it to resist the passing of the years, keeping all its charm intact.  Today, for the many people who travel there from all corners of…

Route 66 attractions

Route 66: Best Stops on the Mother Road and Attractions State by State

A road trip on Route 66 is the type of journey that fascinates so many, a route laid out in 1926 connecting Chicago to Los Angeles, passing through the heart of the United States, a 2,400-mile road adventure that has always been considered the ultimate road trip. Along the route, you will encounter bizarre neon signs, historic drive-in cinemas, unlikely…


Where Are the Route 66 Shields Painted on the Road?

Especially for those who know all the cultural and historical background behind Route 66, driving along even a short stretch of the Mother Road is an experience that is very hard to forget. And we also know that today, no one is content with telling a story on the way home: you have to document everything with selfies and photos…

Route 66 Best Stops

what to do in amarillo

Visit Amarillo, The Symbol of Route 66 in Texas

Amarillo, located along the I-40 in Texas, is famous for its Historic Route 66 attractions and is perfect for experiencing the atmosphere of the Wild West. Themed restaurants, classic cars…