Route 66 began along Jackson Boulevard in Chicago way back in 1926 and road trippers have been starting their journey at a little restaurant here called Lou Mitchell’s ever since. This classic American diner cooks up just about any breakfast and lunch food you can imagine, so start your trip with a helping of hobo omelets or a Royal ½ pound burger. You’ll probably want to take a little for the road.
Shining like a beacon in the horizon, a giant 66-foot tall pop bottle alongside the road is hard to miss. This is the famous landmark along Route 66 known as POPS, a gas station and soda shop that serves over 600 flavors of soda! Don’t worry, they also serve shakes and food too. If you’re feeling like stretching your legs take a stroll through the corn maze to add a little excitement to your day.
Cadillac Ranch is one of the most iconic spots along Route 66, located just outside of Amarillo, Texas. This art formation has withstood the test of time, having been erected in 1974 and having become a silly stopping point for road trippers ever since. Not only is defacing the cars buried in the ground here legal, it’s encouraged. For decades visitors have been spraying graffiti and ripping off chunks as souvenirs; now it’s your turn.
Midway through your trip in Adrian, Texas, with exactly 1,139 miles left each way, is a great place to stop at the Midway Café. It’s an excellent little eatery whether you’re in need of breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s also a vintage-style café and gift shop where you can expect to throw down a good deal of money on some souvenirs and one of their famous “ugly” pies. You’re halfway there, you’ve earned a treat!
Have you ever wanted to stay the night in a wigwam? Here’s your chance. As you reach Holbrook, Arizona you’ll notice the giant teepee-shaped enclosures jutting up from the ground. Don’t expect an authentic Native American experience at this spot, however—the Wigwam Motel is much more concerned with its reputation for tourist-trap kitsch. The prices here aren’t exactly cheap, but it’s a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else.
Seligman, Arizona is classic Route 66, one of the most well respected and preserved towns along the route. The quaint little city is thought to be the inspiration for Radiator Springs in the Pixar movie Cars, and you’ll notice immediately how much they embrace it. Stop in for a bite at the Roadkill Café then spend an hour or so walking around town exploring the gift shops, general store and Route 66 Auto & Towing, where you might see a few familiar faces.
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier is the official end of Route 66 and you’ll definitely want to spend time here walking the pier and enjoying the waves. There’s food, rides and carnival games all along the pier and no shortage of restaurants surrounding it. Grab a bite, play a little and go for a swim and don’t forget to stop by the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium for just $5.
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