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Best Places to See While Driving Route 66: America’s Most Famous Road Trip

Route 66 is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, highways in the United States. Starting in Chicago and ending in Los Angeles, it was one of the first highways constructed in the U.S. to link two major cities. It takes about 52 hours to drive the 2,000+ miles of Route 66 – and that’s nonstop.

There are so many great places to explore when traveling through the heart of America along Route 66. Here are the best to visit on a mile-eating, two-week road trip of a lifetime. 

Chicago (Illinois)

Chicago is the starting point (or it could be the ending point) of the famous Route 66. Most people agree that you can use the old Art Institute of Chicago in Grant Park as the official starting point. With Chicago being America’s third-largest city by population, there’s so much to see in this city alone, from museums to theatres, to the Magnificent Mile. You’re likely to want to explore the city before you head off onto the road, as there is so much to experience, which is even better to take in as a large group.

St. Louis (Missouri)

There are several variations of the original Route 66 since only about 85% of the original route is still drivable. However, you can still choose to follow much of the old path, one taking you through St. Louis. A fan-favorite spot to visit here is Ted Drewes Frozen Custard Stand, where you have a choice of an ice cream sundae, milkshake, malt, float, or ice cream soda as a sweet, frozen treat.

Claremore (Oklahoma)

About half an hour before you get to Tulsa, another good attraction to check out is in Claremore, Oklahoma, home of the Will Rogers Memorial Museum. Will Rogers was a famous actor, writer, and radio personality in the early 20th Century. Unfortunately, he died in a plane crash in 1935.

Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, Texas)

If there were ever an interesting sight to see along Route 66, Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas would definitely be one of those places. Here you can see an art exhibit of 10 painted Cadillacs buried nose-down into the ground!

Tinkertown (Sandia Park, New Mexico)

Another interesting attraction to check out during your Route 66 road trip is the Tinkertown Museum, about an hour and a half east of Albuquerque. Tinkertown is a museum of hand-carved wooden figures that include a circus and an 1880s Western-themed town. The display also uses several recycled materials.

London Bridge (Lake Havasu City, Arizona)

The London Bridge once spanned over a river called Thames in London, until it was torn down and reconstructed. In 1968, a man named Robert McCulloch bought the dissembled stones of the original bridge from the City of London and had it reconstructed in Lake Havasu City, right on the Arizona-California border. McCulloch wanted there to be a tourist attraction in the desert, and he definitely achieved his goal, as this is quite a sight to see in the middle of the desert! However, Arizona is popular for many tourist attractions that go beyond just “the desert”.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is the stopping point (or it could be the starting point) of Route 66, and almost all of the original road is still intact today. The original Route 66 follows right along with Sunset Boulevard, the iconic street lined with palm trees and famous for its nightlife. Route 66 will also take you into Hollywood, the epicenter for American film. There’s plenty to see and do here, including the infamous Hollywood Walk of Fame, Universal Studios, Hollywood Boulevard, and catch a view of the Hollywood sign.

Route 66 is without a doubt, the most iconic road trip across the United States. There’s so much history along the way, with the actual road being a part of history itself! If you’re into road trips, this is definitely one you should consider taking.

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