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 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..

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Attractions State by State

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 …
Route 66 Arizona

Route 66 Arizona: All the Attractions along the Route

Arizona brings us to travel the last few miles that separate us from California and the final destination of our journey that began on Route 66 in Illinois. The Grand …
Route 66 New Mexico

Route 66 New Mexico: All the Attractions along the Route

Here we are at our sixth stop: New Mexico. Driving along the increasingly fascinating roads of Route 66 we will drive through important cities such as Santa Fe, Albuquerque and …
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 …
Route 66 Oklahoma

Route 66 in Oklahoma: All the Attractions Along the Route

For the fourth installment of our itinerary along Route 66, today we will discover what one of the states with the most Mother Road-related sites, Oklahoma, has in store for …
Route 66 Kansas

Route 66 Kansas Travel Guide: All the Attractions Along the Route

With this article dedicated to Kansas, we continue our tour along the Route 66 states. As always, we do not offer a detailed guide with step-by-step directions (by the way: …
route 66 missouri attractions

Route 66 Missouri Travel Guide: All the Attractions Along the Route

With this article dedicated to Missouri, we continue our tour along the Route 66 states. Our series of articles does not intend to provide you with a detailed guide with …
Route 66 Illinois

Route 66 Illinois Travel Guide: All the Attractions Along the Route

We start our tour along the Route 66 states with this article dedicated to Illinois. This series of articles does not intend to provide you with a detailed guide with step-by-step …

Route 66 Road Trip Tips

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 …
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 …
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 …
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. …

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 …

Route 66 Best Destinations

Things to do in Barstow

Visit Barstow, an Interesting Town Along the Route 66 in California

Are you traveling along Route 66 in California and looking for a strategic stop before reaching Los Angeles? Or are you exploring the area and searching for some interesting attractions? …
what to do in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City: Attractions Along Route 66, Cowboy Museums and Lively Neighborhoods

Oklahoma City: a city that, in the collective imagination, was for a long time only linked to the tragic attack that forever devastated hundreds of lives and placed it on …
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 …
Springfield Illinois cosa vedere

Attractions in Springfield, Illinois: An Itinerary in the city of Abraham Lincoln

If you are a lover of American history, then you should not miss Springfield, the capital of Illinois and a city linked to the figure of Lincoln. The President, famous …
seligman ariziona route 66

Seligman: The Historic Town on Route 66 that Inspired Disney-Pixar’s Cars

Anyone who wants to have an unforgettable experience as they travel on Route 66 knows that the trip is anything but a cakewalk if you consider the length of the …
kingman arizona route 66

Kingman: A Strategic Stop along Route 66 in Arizona

The welcome sign for Kingman, which declares it as the heart of Route 66, is not completely accurate, neither geographically (the central point is at Adrian in Texas) nor in …
Pontiac illinois route 66

Pontiac Illinois: Murals, Historic Cars and Museums on the Legendary Route 66

We are in northern Illinois and have left the metropolis of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan. We are moving southwards towards the capital city Springfield, the “land of …
things to do in saint louis

Saint Louis, Missouri: The Best Things to Do in the City with the Highest Arch in the World

About four hours from Chicago, St. Louis shyly overlooks the Mississippi River, peeking toward Illinois and protected by the famous metal arch that marks its skyline. Founded by French fur …
what to do in santa fe new mexico

The Best Things to Do in Santa Fe: Old Town, Churches and Other Attractions

There is one adjective that most of the comments about our destination have in common: enchanting. And there is no more appropriate term to describe Santa Fe, a gem in …
Albuquerque things to do

Things to Do in Albuquerque: Discover Old Town and the Balloon Festival

In this article, we will tell you about Albuquerque, affectionately renamed ABQ, the capital of Bernalillo County and the largest city in New Mexico. Let’s go and discover all the …
Pasadena things to do

Things to Do in Pasadena: The Little Gem of the Greater Los Angeles Area

The places to visit in Los Angeles County seem to never end and so during our trip, we tried to make the most of our stay. After making some last …
what to do in santa monica

Visit Santa Monica: The Best Attractions in This Charming Town on California’s Coast

We are in Southern California, also known as SoCal for short, and more specifically, we are taking a Los Angeles vacation. Our destination today is Santa Monica, a “sunny” destination …
Grand Canyon train ride

Grand Canyon Railway: Train Ride from Williams, Arizona

In this article, we will tell you about our discovery of the most fascinating ways to journey to the Grand Canyon: on the train! Probably the Grand Canyon Railway Tour …
Cadillac Ranch amarillo

Visit Cadillac Ranch in Texas: Things to Do at One of Route 66’s Top Attractions

If you are in Texas, and you are driving along Route 66 the legendary Mother Road, in your car, you may see a strange installation in the distance. It looks …
things to do in oatman arizona

Oatman: A Thriving “Ghost Town” on the Arizona Border

If your road trip goes from Arizona to California, keep in mind that Arizona, the state with such wonders as Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend or Antelope Canyon will never cease …
Flagstaff downtown

What is there to do in Flagstaff: a charming city in Arizona

Flagstaff is usually included in most typical West Coast road trip routes due to its proximity to attractions such as the Grand Canyon or Monument Valley (although the latter is practically …
meteor crater arizona

Meteor Crater: Discover the immense crater of Arizona

In Northern Arizona, near Winslow, an hour and a half’s drive from Grand Canyon Village, there is a natural attraction that some unknown reason is not often frequented by visitors. …
Things to do in Chicago

Visit Chicago: The Best Attractions in the City of the Blues

From the skyline glittering with lights and non-stop traffic, it may look like New York City, but it’s not. It’s the city that boasts some of the tallest skyscrapers in …