Explore It

One Mile
At A Time

Route 66

Route 66 defined a remarkable era in our nation's history - and it lives on today in Illinois' Route 66's many roadside attractions, museums, restaurants - and the shining ribbon of blacktop we call The Mother Road.

Explore It

One Mile
At A Time

Route 66

Route 66 defined a remarkable era in our nation's history - and it lives on today in Illinois' Route 66's many roadside attractions, museums, restaurants - and the shining ribbon of blacktop we call The Mother Road.

prev
next
New Photos From Route 66
Railsplitter Antique Auto Club Car Show Lincoln IL 8-28-16
Railsplitter Antique Auto Club Car Show Lincoln IL 8-28-16
Berwyn Rt 66 Car Show 8-27-16
Berwyn Rt 66 Car Show 8-27-16
Lincoln Home National Park Service 100th Anniversary 8-25-16
Lincoln Home National Park Service 100th Anniversary 8-25-16
Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Vietnam Wall Ceremony 8-25-16
Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Vietnam Wall Ceremony 8-25-16
McLean IL Walldog Mural Festival 8-20-16
McLean IL Walldog Mural Festival 8-20-16
2016 Blue Carpet Corridor
2016 Blue Carpet Corridor
Downtown Bloomington Car Cruise-In 6-5-2016
Downtown Bloomington Car Cruise-In 6-5-2016
Logan County Arts Route 66 Exhibit Opening 6-2-16
Logan County Arts Route 66 Exhibit Opening 6-2-16
Bandit Run Pontiac IL 6-1-16
Bandit Run Pontiac IL 6-1-16
Rialto Square Theatre 90th Anniversary Celebration 5-24-16
Rialto Square Theatre 90th Anniversary Celebration 5-24-16
3rd Fridays Inaugural Event Lincoln IL 5-20-16
3rd Fridays Inaugural Event Lincoln IL 5-20-16
Niehaus Cycle Sales Customer Appreciation Days 5-14-16
Niehaus Cycle Sales Customer Appreciation Days 5-14-16
2016 Red Carpet Corridor
2016 Red Carpet Corridor
Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center First Anniversary 4-25-16
Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center First Anniversary 4-25-16
Dwight IL Route 66 90th Birthday Celebration 4-21-16
Dwight IL Route 66 90th Birthday Celebration 4-21-16
Miles of Possibility Edwardsville Route 66 Conference
Miles of Possibility Edwardsville Route 66 Conference
45th Annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival 2015
45th Annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival 2015
Elkhart Fall Festival 10-10-15
Elkhart Fall Festival 10-10-15
2015 International Mother Road Festival
2015 International Mother Road Festival
Illinois State Fair Media Day 8-6-15
Illinois State Fair Media Day 8-6-15
Bloomington Car Show 6-6-15
Bloomington Car Show 6-6-15
International Mother Road Festival Springfield IL 9/26-9/28/14
International Mother Road Festival Springfield IL 9/26-9/28/14
Berwyn Route 66 Car Show 9-6-14
Berwyn Route 66 Car Show 9-6-14
Berwyn, IL
Berwyn, IL
17th Annual World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival
17th Annual World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival
Inaugural 2015 Blue Carpet Corridor 6-13 to 6-14
Inaugural 2015 Blue Carpet Corridor 6-13 to 6-14
prev
next
prev
next
prev
next
Close
Videos From The Road
Josiah Keller performs Star Spangled Banner at The Mill on 66 Motorcycle Show 9-17-16
Josiah Keller performs Star Spangled Banner at The Mill on 66 Motorcycle Show 9-17-16
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-PG9l9RMvto" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Signs Route 66 Motorcycle Plate Legislation 8/20/16
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Signs Route 66 Motorcycle Plate Legislation 8/20/16
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:420px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_vxaGbTMifM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
45th Annual National Railsplitting Contest - Lincoln IL
45th Annual National Railsplitting Contest - Lincoln IL
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:420px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HEmd9fnmc5w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
2014 International Mother Road Festival City Nights Cruise
2014 International Mother Road Festival City Nights Cruise
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:420px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wjC2MkEbA5o" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Whispering Joe @ 2014 International Mother Road Festival
Whispering Joe @ 2014 International Mother Road Festival
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:420px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2ZdOj1nbW2w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66
Illinois Route 66
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hgWeEz269yw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Route 66 Stories, Ernie Edwards, Pig Hip Restaurant / Museum, Broadwell
Route 66 Stories, Ernie Edwards, Pig Hip Restaurant / Museum, Broadwell
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/37vFO00mCqE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Jim Jones - Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, Pontiac
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Jim Jones - Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, Pontiac
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Wmt795wJVVw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Route 66 Stories: Betty Estes - Illinois Route 66
Route 66 Stories: Betty Estes - Illinois Route 66
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/AqpgZTqjumY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Shea's Gas Station Museum, Springfield
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Shea's Gas Station Museum, Springfield
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/swPIsXfb1Hk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
prev
next
Close
The Three Alignments
This era encompasses the "Golden Age" of Route 66 where America's car culture took hold. Drive-in theaters, Drive-in restaurants, and motels were born and developed along the Mother Road during this period.
···
The concept of the "bypass" was first implemented on Route 66 during this era. Transportation infrastructure is well underway at this point in history as well and traveler expectations have risen, resulting in gas stations, motels, and formalized rest areas.
···
The "original" Route 66 alignment in Illinois signifies a turning point in transportation history as the emphasis of long distance travel shifts from a fixed rail system to a traveler driven navigation. Illinois was the first state to boast having Route 66 paved from end to end. It is during this time period that the Mother Road was most often referred to as " The Hard Road."
···
Featured Attraction
Sir Renna Tea - Bubble Tea & Gifts
Lincoln, IL

Sir Renna Tea Bubble Tea & Gifts is a newly opened business on the 1926 alignment of Route 66 on North Kickapoo Street in downtown Lincoln. Owner Eileen Mullins has transformed a vacant building on this historic section road into a place to come and enjoy delicious bubble tea and snacks, and shop for unique gift items including Route 66 souvenirs.

Gallery Seven
Joliet, IL

Located next door to the historic Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Gallery Seven features a large and varied collection of framed and ready to frame art work. This Fine Art Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 10am-4pm, and the first Saturday of every month, 10am - Noon. Be sure to check out the Route 66 exhibit!
Abe's Carmelcorn Shoppe
Lincoln, IL
Established in 1983, Abe's offers a unique retail shopping experience.  Merging the nostalgic small town Midwest feel, with a cutting edge selection of merchandise, this family owned and operated business awaits you.  We take great pride in being the family responsible for keeping Abe's a special place to visit, shop and escape for the past 33 years.
featured story from the mother road
Route 66 - Full Throttle
Creator of Steppinstars Music, Steve Henry, recently released a new song/video - "Route 66 - Full Throttle."  Henry's Steppinstars Music recently hit a milestone of 50,000 views on his YouTube Channel.  Currently, his song charts include almost 70 releases with "Route 66 - Full Throttle" quickly becoming one of the most popular. 
Birthplace of Route 66 Festival

The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway set up shop at this year's Birthplace of Route 66 Festival this past weekend, August 12-14, in Springfield, Missouri. The event, we understand, has really taken off this last couple years, and despite the weather on Friday not cooperating, the crowds were amazing. The Byway exhibit was part of the Authors, Artists, Collectors & Associations expo at the Old Glass Place downtown. As usual, our Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway flashing stickers were a huge hit, with literally hundreds of attendees wearing them throughout the weekend. It was a great chance to promote all the great attractions on the east side of the Mississippi River!

Bow Truss Coffee Roasters 90th Anniversary of Route 66

Did you know that 300 miles of the historic Route 66 stretches through Illinois? In fact, the “Mother Road” starts in the Windy City and winds through the state to St. Louis before stretching across the country. And this year, the legendary drive will celebrate its 90th anniversary with a party right where it all begins. Join us at Bow Truss Coffee Roasters, 73 E Jackson Blvd in Chicago this Saturday, July 16th from 11:30am to 2:00pm. Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway social media coordinator Kaleigh Moore will be hosting a Facebook Live event to mark the celebration.

Tourists - Tully Monsters - Tall Grass Prairies
Back again after a short break in our adventures on Route 66. We hope you enjoy our accumulation of thoughts about the “Mother Road”. We recently have been made aware of the renewed interest in the history of Route 66 by the national and local news media and the human interest stories that appear regularly on T.V. And newspapers. Here in Illinois our congratulations to all of the staff and Mr. Bill Kelly of the “Illinois Mile After Magnificent Mile” publication of the 2016 issue of the Visitor's Guide If you haven't got a copy, get one to assist in all of your enjoyment of Illinois 66 and all the attractions it offers. Here are a few!!
Dwight 90th Birthday of Route 66 Ushers in an Already Busy Season Along the Mother Road
Dwight, Illinois ushered in the 90th anniversary of Route 66, with a celebration last Thursday April 21st at the restored Ambler/Becker Texaco gas station. The birthday party, which was the first 90th anniversary celebration in Illinois, included classic cars, hot dogs and cake, basset hounds and an enthusiastic crowd from all around the state. The event included an official presentation by Dwight Village President Jared Anderson, Bill Kelly of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway and Route 66 preservationist John Weiss. 
Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway Receives Two Awards at 2016 Illinois Governor's Conference on Travel & Tourism
The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, including our staff and several board members, attended this year's Governor's Conference on Tourism in Springfield from March 21 -23. The highlight for the Byway was winning two marketing awards at the kick-off Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards Dinner - Best Branding Initiative for our Interpretive Statues project and Best Website for illinoisroute66.org. Our partner for the Interpretive Statues award was Schmeekle Reserve at the University of Wisconsin, who has been a Byway partner not only in the development of the Interpretive Statues, but also with the Byway wayside exhibits and experience hubs, located all along Illinois Route 66. Our partner for the website was BlueBolt Solutions of Chicago, and the site was designed so that the Byway staff can easily edit and add new features.

Upcoming Events
2016-2017 Dinner Programs at the Palms Grill Cafe
Enjoy the holidays at Springfield historic sites
Christmas on the Prairie
Christmas at the Courthouse
Elkhart Chapel Christmas Candlelight Service
Christmas at the Mansions
First Night Springfield
2016-2017 Dinner Programs at the Palms Grill Cafe
Enjoy the holidays at Springfield historic sites
Christmas on the Prairie
Christmas at the Courthouse
Elkhart Chapel Christmas Candlelight Service
Christmas at the Mansions
First Night Springfield
11/4/16 - 4/8/17
Atlanta
11/30/16 - 12/18/16
Springfield
12/3/16
12/3/16
Bloomington-Normal
12/3/16 - 12/4/16
Elkhart
12/10/16
Bloomington-Normal
12/31/16
Springfield
11/4/16 - 4/8/17
Atlanta
11/30/16 - 12/18/16
Springfield
12/3/16
12/3/16
Bloomington-Normal
12/3/16 - 12/4/16
Elkhart
12/10/16
Bloomington-Normal
12/31/16
Springfield

The Atlanta Public Library and Museum will host a series of Dinner Programs at the Palms Grill Cafe from November 2016 through April 2017. The events will feature local speakers who will present after-dinner programs at the Palms Grill Cafe, located at 110 SW Arch Street in downtown Atlanta. Dinner begins at 5:30 pm, with the evening’s program starting at 7pm. Reservations are required and limited to approximately 50 people. The Palms Grill Cafe will feature a set of dinner specials, including homemade desserts for each program, and feel free to BYOB. Phone 217-648-5077 to make a reservation for any of the scheduled Dinner Programs.

The state’s historic sites in Springfield are celebrating the holidays with the city. Activities include visits from Santa Claus, unique holiday decorations and children’s reading events.
 
Both the Old State Capitol and the Dana-Thomas House will be taking part in the weekly Holiday Walks organized by Downtown Springfield Inc. Walks are scheduled on Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The City of Lexington is excited to announce the expansion of Christmas on the Prairie! Activities begin at 9am and continue on into the evening hours. Light Up Lexington, the holiday house decorating contest also kicks off the evening of December 3rd.  Participant addresses will be distributed during the day and will also be posted online.
Join the McLean County Museum of History this holiday season for a day of festive activities with musical performances, children’s crafts, storytelling, holiday treats, a visit from Santa and much more. The fun begins immediately following the JayCees parade at 11:00 a.m. 
The EHS Annual Christmas Chapel Service on Elkhart Hill has become a traditional way of starting the Christmas season for many families and continues to draw people from a variety of cities in central Illinois. Our candlelight service for 2016 is scheduled for Saturday, December 3 with 4 services at 2:00, 4:00, 5:30, and 8:00 p.m.
The very popular Bloomington-Normal annual holiday event, "Christmas at the Mansions," featuring tours of David Davis Mansion, Ewing Manor, and a third secret location being described this year simply as the "Mystery House," will be held on Saturday, December 10th.

The 2016 First Night® Springfield is the city’s 29th Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration of the Arts, presented by the Springfield Area Arts Council. On New Year’s Eve, First Night’s events begin with free children’s hands-on activities and entertainment from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. From 6:00 to 11:15 PM, the city becomes a stage, with over 30 performances taking place on eight stages in downtown Springfield. The early First Night performances, from 6:00 to 7:45 PM, include magicians, jugglers, and dancers, along with jazz and classical guitar. The traditional First Night fireworks display begins at 8:00 PM at Fourth Street and Capitol Avenue.

The Atlanta Public Library and Museum will host a series of Dinner Programs at the Palms Grill Cafe from November 2016 through April 2017. The events will feature local speakers who will present after-dinner programs at the Palms Grill Cafe, located at 110 SW Arch Street in downtown Atlanta. Dinner begins at 5:30 pm, with the evening’s program starting at 7pm. Reservations are required and limited to approximately 50 people. The Palms Grill Cafe will feature a set of dinner specials, including homemade desserts for each program, and feel free to BYOB. Phone 217-648-5077 to make a reservation for any of the scheduled Dinner Programs.

The state’s historic sites in Springfield are celebrating the holidays with the city. Activities include visits from Santa Claus, unique holiday decorations and children’s reading events.
 
Both the Old State Capitol and the Dana-Thomas House will be taking part in the weekly Holiday Walks organized by Downtown Springfield Inc. Walks are scheduled on Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The City of Lexington is excited to announce the expansion of Christmas on the Prairie! Activities begin at 9am and continue on into the evening hours. Light Up Lexington, the holiday house decorating contest also kicks off the evening of December 3rd.  Participant addresses will be distributed during the day and will also be posted online.
Join the McLean County Museum of History this holiday season for a day of festive activities with musical performances, children’s crafts, storytelling, holiday treats, a visit from Santa and much more. The fun begins immediately following the JayCees parade at 11:00 a.m. 
The EHS Annual Christmas Chapel Service on Elkhart Hill has become a traditional way of starting the Christmas season for many families and continues to draw people from a variety of cities in central Illinois. Our candlelight service for 2016 is scheduled for Saturday, December 3 with 4 services at 2:00, 4:00, 5:30, and 8:00 p.m.
The very popular Bloomington-Normal annual holiday event, "Christmas at the Mansions," featuring tours of David Davis Mansion, Ewing Manor, and a third secret location being described this year simply as the "Mystery House," will be held on Saturday, December 10th.

The 2016 First Night® Springfield is the city’s 29th Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration of the Arts, presented by the Springfield Area Arts Council. On New Year’s Eve, First Night’s events begin with free children’s hands-on activities and entertainment from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. From 6:00 to 11:15 PM, the city becomes a stage, with over 30 performances taking place on eight stages in downtown Springfield. The early First Night performances, from 6:00 to 7:45 PM, include magicians, jugglers, and dancers, along with jazz and classical guitar. The traditional First Night fireworks display begins at 8:00 PM at Fourth Street and Capitol Avenue.

2016-2017 Dinner Programs at the Palms Grill Cafe
11/4/16 - 4/8/17
Atlanta
Enjoy the holidays at Springfield historic sites
11/30/16 - 12/18/16
Springfield
Christmas on the Prairie
12/3/16
Christmas at the Courthouse
12/3/16
Bloomington-Normal
Elkhart Chapel Christmas Candlelight Service
12/3/16 - 12/4/16
Elkhart
Christmas at the Mansions
12/10/16
Bloomington-Normal
First Night Springfield
12/31/16
Springfield
2016-2017 Dinner Programs at the Palms Grill Cafe
11/4/16 - 4/8/17
Atlanta
Enjoy the holidays at Springfield historic sites
11/30/16 - 12/18/16
Springfield
Christmas on the Prairie
12/3/16
Christmas at the Courthouse
12/3/16
Bloomington-Normal
Elkhart Chapel Christmas Candlelight Service
12/3/16 - 12/4/16
Elkhart
Christmas at the Mansions
12/10/16
Bloomington-Normal
First Night Springfield
12/31/16
Springfield
prev
next
LATEST NEWS FROM ROUTE 66
Illinois State Representative Tim Butler introduces bill to create Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission
Nov 10, 2016
SPRINGFIELD, IL--On the day before historic Route 66 turns 90 years old, State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) introduced House Bill 6624 which creates the Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission in an effort to lay the groundwork for celebrating the famous road's 100th anniversary in 2026.

"Route 66 is the most famous road in the world and Illinois lays claim to where the Mother Road begins," said Rep. Butler. "The centennial of Route 66 will truly be an international celebration of this famous strip of pavement. Illinois is uniquely positioned to welcome and entertain travelers from around the world who want to experience the magic of our scenic byway.
CITY OF LINCOLN APPROVES ADDITIONAL FUNDING NEEDED TO COMPLETE GRANT FOR THE MILL
Nov 10, 2016
On Monday, November 7th, 2016, the Lincoln City Council voted unanimously to approve the additional funding needed from the City's Hotel/Motel tax, to cover unexpected additional expenses required to complete The Mill on Route 66 Accessibility Project Grant that was awarded earlier in the year by the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Program.
  

At the same time, the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway has been working with the City of Lincoln and the Illinois Department of Transportation to update Illinois Route 66 directional signage in the city, including signing the 1926-1930 Route 66 alignment for the first time, which goes directly through the Historic Downtown Lincoln district and passes by The Mill. The signage initiative is in progress and is expected to take 30-60 days to complete.


Chicago Cubs Win 2016 World Series!
Nov 03, 2016

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs for their first World Series win since 1908, and also to the great Route 66 city of Chicago - the starting point of the Mother Road! The longest World Series victory drought of all time is over. Congrats also to the Cleveland Indians, who played excellent baseball.
Four Illinois Route 66 Preservation Projects are Recipients of the 2016 National Park Service Grants
Aug 30, 2016
The National Park Service, Route 66 Corridor Preservation cost-share grant program “provides grant assistance for eligible historic preservation, research, oral history, interpretative, and educational projects. Grants are offered through an annual, competitive grant cycle. Since 2001, 130 projects have been awarded $1.9 million with $3.1 million in cost-share match, totaling $5 million in public-private investment toward the revitalization of the Route 66 corridor.” This year, four of the eight projects that were awarded grants are from Illinois!
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Signs Route 66 Motorcycle Plate Legislation 8/20/16
Aug 21, 2016

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Signs Route 66 Motorcycle Plate Legislation 8/20/16 - Fulgenzi's/Mahan's Filling Station Springfield, IL. Special Thanks: Gov. Bruce Rauner, Rep. Tim Butler... View the video of the signing ceremony at https://youtu.be/_vxaGbTMifM.


ILLINOIS ROUTE 66 SCENIC BYWAY PARTNERS WITH LOCAL EVENTS & ACTIVITIES
Aug 10, 2016

The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway will be out in full force at a number of Central Illinois Route 66 upcoming events, and has also been providing support for these activities and projects along the Mother Road.

Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway Announces Selfies On 66 Grand Prize Winner
Aug 01, 2016

For the last year, the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway has encouraged travelers to share their Selfie photos along Illinois Route 66, and each month our social media followers have voted for their favorite, and will continue to do so. The monthly photo with the most likes/comments/shares won an Illinois Route 66 commemorative license plate and baseball hat. Once per year, the Byway lets voters choose from the 12 monthly winners, and the photo that gets the most likes/comments/shares wins the grand prize: a basket full of Illinois Route 66 memorabilia, gift certificates, and more! This year, our very first grand prize winner is Lenny Scinto from the Chicagoland area (see the winning selfie taken in Pontiac, IL). Congratulations!

Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center First Anniversary Includes Economic Impact Assessment
Apr 27, 2016
The Sound of Illinois Chorus performed "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" and other favorites to kick off (appropriately) the one year anniversary of the opening of the Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center, located on the ground floor of the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois on April 25th. The Museum also provided free admission to the new permanent exhibit gallery, Making a Home, which explores the experience of living, working, farming, and creating community in McLean County.
Pontiac Breaking Ground for New Hotel
Dec 04, 2015
Pontiac’s newest hotel has taken the first big step towards its completion, which is expected in 2016.  A group of city officials, representatives from the Pontiac Area Chamber of Commerce, the Pontiac Hotel Developers, LLC, Hotel Development Services of Oxford, Ohio, and the hotel’s new management team, Monchino Management LLC of Herrin, IL, conducted the ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday, December 2nd at the site of the new hotel near the Interstate 55 interchange. 
Route 66 Collaboration Workshops Final Report
Nov 24, 2015
The Route 66: The Road Ahead Steering Committee has completed its review and analysis of feedback collected from the over 300 Rt. 66 stakeholders who took part in this past summer's series of Collaboration Workshops. Based on its discussions, the Steering Committee has produced the Collaboration Workshops Final Report which can be accessed here.