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Route 66 in Illinois

An Iconic Trip Through Time

Route 66 begins in Chicago and winds its way south-west through Illinois to The Mississippi River. As you follow this iconic 300-mile stretch of "The Mother Road" through the state you'll encounter charming towns brimming with vintage diners, quirky roadside photo-ops, museums and a wealth of history waiting to be explored. Savor the nostalgia of a simpler time as you cruise past rolling prairies, iconic neon signs and classic Americana.

From the bustling streets of Chicago to the quaint corners of Springfield, each stop along the Mother Road offers a glimpse into a bygone era. Whether you're a history buff, a road trip enthusiast, or simply seeking adventure, Route 66 in Illinois promises an unforgettable journey where lasting memories are sure to be made.

The Historic Route 66 Begins sign in downtown Chicago

Route 66: Chicago


Begin Route 66 Sign

You’ll begin your legendary journey in the heart of downtown Chicago. Snap the perfect selfie at the iconic Route 66 sign on E. Adams St., Chicago. 

Lou Mitchell's

Head to Lou Mitchell’s to fuel up for your adventure. This cozy diner was the city’s first-ever all-day breakfast restaurant when it opened in 1923.

The original wooden stools at the counters are packed with regulars sipping coffee, the iconic marquee glows above the door, and the menu offers classic diner fare.

A large building with a barbed fence

Route 66: Chicago to Joliet



Ogden Avenue is Berwyn’s stretch of Historic Route 66. Route 66 is celebrated at the annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show and at local haunts like Cigars & Stripes BBQ Lounge and Paisan's Pizzeria & Bar.

Old Joliet Prison

Your next stop is a tour at the Old Joliet Prison, best known for its most popular, fictional inmate “Joliet Jake” Blues from the 1980 film “The Blues Brothers.” Since then, it's made a number of appearances in film and TV, including the critically acclaimed series “Prison Break.”

We get people from all over the United States and overseas, too—Britain, Australia, New Zealand. One guy found a Route 66 sign, and he was having everybody sign it.

Bill Gulas, Blues-Brothers-topped ice cream shop, Rich and Creamy in Joliet

Route 66: Joliet to Bloomington


Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket

It’s time for a little grub at Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket. Dell Rhea’s in Wilmington has been serving up some of the best fried chicken on Route 66 since it opened as a gas station lunch counter in the summer of 1946. Since then, it’s been inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame.

Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, Pontiac

No Route 66 journey is complete without a visit to one (or all) of the Mother Road’s classic museums. A must-see is the Route 66 Mural & Hall of Fame Museum in Pontiac, packed full with the finest memorabilia associated with the history of Route 66. Among the artifacts, you’ll find the bus and van of Route 66 icon, Bob Waldmire—a true legend of the Mother Road. Step around back for a photo op with the World’s Largest Route 66 shield mural.

Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum, Pontiac

Get your classic car fix at the Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum. Here you'll find the nation’s greatest collection of cars, dealer items, literature, and all things related to the Oakland and the Pontiac automobile brands.

Ambler-Becker Texaco Gas Station, Dwight

The Ambler-Becker Texaco Gas Station in Dwight displays a circular red and white Texaco sign. Inside, a vintage fire engine fills the service bay. Though the station no longer sells gas, hybrid and electric cars can refuel at a charging station. Ten miles south in Odell, a rehabbed Standard Oil Gas Station displays vintage car-repair tools and sells a variety of Route 66 memorabilia.

World's Largest Covered Wagon

Route 66: Bloomington to Springfield


Paul Bunyon Hotdog Statue

Some of Illinois’ best roadside relics lie in wait on this stretch of the Mother Road. In Atlanta, snap a photo with the 19-ft. Paul “Bunyon” clutching a giant hot dog.

World’s Largest Covered Wagon  

A little way down the road in Lincoln, catch a glimpse of the 24 ft. World’s Largest Covered Wagon, complete with a very large – and very studious – Abraham Lincoln statue.

Groups dine at Cozy Dog Drive In

Route 66: Springfield to Litchfield


Abraham Lincoln's Legacy

Stop by the Lincoln Tomb when you arrive and be sure to rub his nose for good luck! Visit the Illinois State Capitol and Old State Capitol, and make time for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. For food, stop by Route 66 Motorheads, a restaurant that doubles as a Route 66 museum.

Cozy Dog Drive In

Have you ever wondered who decided to put these deep-fried delights on a stick in the first place? Well here they are. Part Drive In, part Route 66 museum, make sure to plan a stop at the Cozy Dog Drive In.

Lauterbach Giant, Springfield

Lauterbach Tire and Auto Service has a fiberglass "muffler man" giant standing in the parking lot. He used to hold a tire, but was recently upgraded to be more patriotic with a U.S. flag. In 2006, the muffler man lost his head during a tornado, but was skillfully repaired by the station.

Original Historic Route 66 Brick Road, Auburn

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this beautiful 1.4 mile long piece of restored hand-laid brick road is a segment of Route 66 done in 1931 and placed over a concrete roadbed. Don't miss this great photo op.

Doc’s Soda Fountain, Girard

Heading into Litchfield, cut over to the Old Route 66 and take the fabled Auburn Brick Road to Girard. Voted #4 Best Soda Fountain across America by Country Living Magazine, Doc's is the best way to get refreshed before the next leg of your trip.

The giant Brooks Catsup Bottle against a blue sky in Collinsville

Route 66: Litchfield to Collinsville & Granite City


Pink Elephant Antique Mall

Browse retro knick-knacks at the Pink Elephant Antique Mall in Livingston (you won’t leave empty handed). Browse the shelves for a unique find and eat at the quaint diner offering burgers, nachos, sandwiches and refreshments. Save room for ice cream!

World's Largest Catsup Bottle

The World’s Largest Catsup Bottle is a great spot for a roadside photo. Looming over Collinsville, this 170 ft. water tower is an internationally known roadside attraction that was even mentioned in a "Twilight" film.

Cahokia Mounds, Collinsville

In Collinsville, be sure to visit Cahokia Mounds UNESCO World Heritage Site for a great view. The remains of the most civilized prehistoric civilization north of Mexico are preserved here. Within this 2,000-acre tract lies the archeological remains of the Mississippians and their ancient civilization known today as Cahokia.

Luna Café & O'Brien Tire & Auto, Granite City

On the alignment of the Mother Road that connected Pontoon Beach and Granite City sits the Luna Café. Their neon sign is perfect for a photo. Once you get to Granite City, make a stop at O'Brien Tire & Auto to take a selfie in front of their huge Route 66 branded tire!

Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, Collinsville

Your Illinois Route 66 journey ends at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge out of Collinsville. Built in 1927, it’s the fifth bridge to cross the Mississippi River and the perfect final selfie as you close the book on your Illinois Route 66 adventure.

A man charges an electric vehicle

EV Charging on Route 66

An Eco-Friendly Road Trip

Route 66 with a modern twist! This road trip highlights stops where you can charge your electric vehicle as you enjoy all that "The Mother Road" has to offer.

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