The famous Route 66 is traveled by thousands every year. “America’s Highway” stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles and is an approximate 2,400 miles; that’s a lot of highway to travel. Many people choose to take the route in sections, traveling only a few hundred miles at a time. Others drive from start to finish without stopping, but for some, stopping at the roadside attractions along the way is half the fun. We’ve got a list of some of the top destinations along Route 66.
- U-Drop Inn at the intersection of Route 66 and Route 83 in Shamrock. TX. The U-Drop Inn is one of the most recognizable structures along Route 66 and is featured in many photographs, portraits, and films. The original building was restored back to its original style of brick and green glass tile on the exterior. The inside was updated as well and turned into a gift shop and museum, and is used as the visitors center and offices for the town’s Chamber of Commerce.
- The start of Route 66 is actually a restaurant in Chicago. Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant was opened in 1923 and has served millions of hungry travelers ever since. The food is good and the atmosphere is friendly and you occasionally will see a celebrity stop by for a bite to eat.
- Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis, MO has been a popular destination on Route 66 for the last 30 years. The bridge is listed on the national register of historic places and use to be known as the bridge to nowhere. Chain of Rock Bridge is 1 mile long and sits 60 feet above the Mississippi River, but what’s most interesting is its design. Near the middle, the bridge takes a 30 degree turn, unlike any other bridge in the U.S.
- Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX is a fun stop along Route 66. This piece of local “art” was created in 1974 by hippies as a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tailfin. 10 Cadillacs are positioned half-buried in the ground with their rear-ends in the sky. Unfortunately, over the years, the cars have been defaced with graffiti and stripped of many of their parts but visitors still make a point to stop along their travels.
- The Blue Whale of Catoosa, OK is another roadside attraction on Route 66 that has visitors coming from all over. The structure use to be a massive “playground” on the water where families could come and swim in the lake and slide down the whale’s mouth into the water. Creator Hugh Davis built the whale as an anniversary gif to his wife. This Blue Whale is 20 feet tall and 80 feet long. The attraction was closed for several years but was restored and re-opened for visitors to come and explore.
- The last stop on the Mother Road is the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, CA. Built in 1909 as a means to dispose of the city’s overflowing sewage problem, this system was disconnected in the 1920’s. The pier quickly became a popular fishing spot and was eventually turned into an amusement park in 1916. After being closed and reopened several times for various reasons, the pier still remains a hot spot for fun, entertainment, and food for the whole family.
These are just a few of the many destinations along Route 66 that draw crowds ever year. If you plan to travel America’s Highway look up other fun and unique roadside attractions along the way. http://www.historic66.com/
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