Today, most travelers along the historic ‘Mother Road’ are searching for a true American experience. Although the entirety of Route 66 spans across eight states, it begins in Chicago and heads southwest through the entire state.
The glorious 436 miles in Illinois represents nearly a fifth of the entire Route 66. The link to America’s past boasts the highest density of fun and interesting things to do.
With so many choices of where to stop, landmarks to see and places to eat, planning for a trip along the historic route may seem overwhelming. Luckily, at illinoisroute66.org you can find sample itineraries for car lovers, food lovers, families and more, as well as lists of core Route 66 attractions, a calendar of events and a map of the route through Illinois.
Some of the spots that are not to be missed include:
A popular restaurant stop along Route 66, open since 1956, with plenty of quirky charm and fun. (Braidwood)
Founded in 1960, this friendly establishment has a full service menu and is home to a giant “muffler man” statue. (Wilmington)
Built in 1923, Lou Mitchell’s has served Route 66 travelers since its beginning. Located at the beginning of Route 66, Lou Mitchell’s has been host to many over the years. Everyone has been seen at Lou Mitchell’s, from U.S. Presidents, Mayors, athletes, authors, judges, clergy, and stars of the stage and screen. (Chicago)
A shrine to Route 66, the “corn dog on a stick” was invented here. (Springfield)
An internationally renowned, must-see Route 66 landmark filled with gas station and oil company collectibles. (Springfield)
The story of the people and places, and significant artifacts from Illinois Route 66. (Pontiac)
An icon of Route 66, owned by Ernie Edwards, creator of the Pig Hip sandwich. (Broadwell)
A Route 66 landmark, this muffler man statue stands in downtown Atlanta, IL to welcome visitors. (Atlanta)
The world’s largest catsup bottle and a landmark roadside attraction. Restored to its original appearance and named to the National Register of Historic Places. (Collinsville)
This amusing and quirky attraction celebrates Route 66 and the people along the highway and offers all things about rabbits: Volkswagons or the furry kind. (Staunton)
Of course this a very small sampling of all there is to do along Route 66, so be sure peruse illinoisroute66.org for a full directory of trip ideas and quirky sights, and make use of the “My 66 Itinerary” function on the site to save your trip destinations in one place. Once you’ve finished your search, simply print out the saved itinerary and you’ll be on your way!
-The Illinois Office of Tourism