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.

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New Photos From Route 66
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
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Videos From The Road
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>
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ariston Cafe, Litchfield
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ariston Cafe, Litchfield
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/KCHtBOHvPA4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ambler-Becker Texaco Station, Dwight
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ambler-Becker Texaco Station, Dwight
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/dBYY2Ze05x0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
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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.
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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.
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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."
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Featured Attraction
Ace Sign Company Antique Sign Museum
Springfield, IL

The Ace Sign Company Antique Sign Museum is located in the new location for the company on First Street in Springfield. Ace Sign Company is a 75+ year old company with four generations of family ownership and operation. The museum has a large collection of signs, featuring neon signs and also artifacts from the Bel-Aire Motel in Springfield, including the fully restored Sputnik.

Mahan's Filling Station at Fulgenzi's
Springfield, IL
Mahan’s Filling Station, a unique example of the earliest of gas stations, is now on display at Fulgenzi’s Pizza & Pasta located across from the Historic Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The roadside attraction is now accessible as a great photo and souvenir opportunity for Route 66 visitors. Fulgenzi’s restaurant property itself was once the site of two Route 66 motels and a car painting business in the heyday of the road. The current restaurant, which the Fulgenzi family opened originally in 1979 as a “Custard Castle”, has become a regular stop for 66 travelers.
Silvernicks New & Used
Virden, IL
Located on the Virden Square, Silvernicks offers a wide variety of antiques, vintage, unique gift items, and Route 66 souvenirs. With a little of everything you'll be sure to find the perfect memento. Silvernicks New & Used has anything and everything from Antique to brand new. We have many vendors with great treasures too!!
featured story from the mother road
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.

Brooks on 66
Brooks, one of our four-legged friends, took to Route 66 in Illinois to see a few stops south of Springfield recently.  He donned his official Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway bandanna, and hopped in the car. As one of our fairly younger travelers (just recently celebrating his first birthday), he had a relatively short attention span and wanted to hit a few stops that were sure to impress. He decided to check out the Mother Road in Girard, Litchfield, and Collinsville.
Upcoming Events
Litchfield Pickers Market
History Comes Alive
Catfish Days
The Race to the White House
Carlinville's Shop Local First Restaurant Week - Chairs on Parade
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
3rd Annual Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
Lincoln Balloon Festival
2016 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
7th Annual Springfield Oyster and Beer Festival
Litchfield Pickers Market
History Comes Alive
Catfish Days
The Race to the White House
Carlinville's Shop Local First Restaurant Week - Chairs on Parade
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
3rd Annual Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
Lincoln Balloon Festival
2016 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
7th Annual Springfield Oyster and Beer Festival
4/10/16 - 10/9/16
Litchfield
6/7/16 - 8/13/16
Springfield
7/21/16 - 7/24/16
Wilmington
7/25/16
Lincoln
8/6/16 - 8/28/16
Carlinville
8/11/16 - 8/21/16
Springfield
8/20/16
McLean
8/26/16 - 8/27/16
Lincoln
8/27/16
Berwyn
9/3/16
Springfield
4/10/16 - 10/9/16
Litchfield
6/7/16 - 8/13/16
Springfield
7/21/16 - 7/24/16
Wilmington
7/25/16
Lincoln
8/6/16 - 8/28/16
Carlinville
8/11/16 - 8/21/16
Springfield
8/20/16
McLean
8/26/16 - 8/27/16
Lincoln
8/27/16
Berwyn
9/3/16
Springfield

Litchfield Tourism has partnered with Prairie Pickers to bring to you the Litchfield Pickers Market! This incredible event is held every second Sunday of the month from April through October from 9am to 3pm in Downtown Litchfield. Set dates for the 2016 market are April 10, May 8, June 12, July 10, August 14, September 11, and October 9.

Visit Springfield, the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau is announcing the seventh season of History Comes Alive, a living history program. Program dates for summer 2016 are June 7 through August 13. History Comes Alive provides opportunities to experience life in the nineteenth century.
Catfish played a large part in initiating the event, Catfish Days, after Forked Creek spilled over its banks and flooded the cellars of a section of Wilmington called, “Catfish Town”. The annual festival dates back to 1976, and features a carnival, live entertainment, flea market/craft show, 5K race, food & drink, catfish dinners and much more!
The Lincoln Heritage Museum is proud to present the second in its series of free lectures in the Learn from Lincoln, Live like Lincoln Lecture Series on Monday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m. inside the classroom next to the Lincoln Heritage Museum. The second lecture, The Race to the White House, encompasses the process of Abraham Lincoln's nomination, including the other nominees, the specifics of his campaign and the political climate at the time. Highlights include the campaign slogans, political cartoons, and audio from Mr. Lincoln's campaign songs. The lecture will give attendees a better understanding of the ethics and code of conduct that politicians had in 1860.
Chairs on Parade is an event where Carlinville businesses purchases a chair and decorates it to their liking. The event is all about bringing old fashioned fun, family and shopping together while supporting the local business community. The chairs will be on display outside of the businesses beginning on Saturday, August 6th. All chairs will be placed around Carlinville in front of local businesses or around the beautiful downtown square and put on a colorful map to be passed out to visitors so they can tour the exhibition.

You get everything you can possibly imagine when you attend the Illinois State Fair in Springfield this August, including top-notch performers at the grandstand shows!

On Saturday, August 20 at 8:00am, runners and walkers can once again get their 6.6 on Route 66! CORE of McLean, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is holding their third annual 6.6k (4.1-mile) run/walk to benefit the community of McLean, IL. They are pleased to announce that this year’s race will be on the Lake Run Club Circuit Calendar. 


Enjoy the beautiful hot air balloon launches beginning Friday through Saturday evening, followed by the balloon glow at dusk. Enjoy tethered rides, live music, giant kites, food, carnival, family games and activities.

The Berwyn Route 66 Car Show is the area's best and biggest car show born from the rich automotive heritage of Berwyn's Historic Route 66. Berwyn's show takes visitors on a stroll through 500+ vintage and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles. Highlights include live music, automobile flamethrowing and a cacklefest of dragsters that will thrill spectators! Held annually the last Saturday in August.

The SOB fest, as it is known, features creative local and nationally-recognized craft beer vendors, fresh oysters prepared a number of delectable ways, and delicious offerings from three distinctly different food trucks, too. It will be held in the parking lot of the Inn at 835 again, rain or shine.

Litchfield Tourism has partnered with Prairie Pickers to bring to you the Litchfield Pickers Market! This incredible event is held every second Sunday of the month from April through October from 9am to 3pm in Downtown Litchfield. Set dates for the 2016 market are April 10, May 8, June 12, July 10, August 14, September 11, and October 9.

Visit Springfield, the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau is announcing the seventh season of History Comes Alive, a living history program. Program dates for summer 2016 are June 7 through August 13. History Comes Alive provides opportunities to experience life in the nineteenth century.
Catfish played a large part in initiating the event, Catfish Days, after Forked Creek spilled over its banks and flooded the cellars of a section of Wilmington called, “Catfish Town”. The annual festival dates back to 1976, and features a carnival, live entertainment, flea market/craft show, 5K race, food & drink, catfish dinners and much more!
The Lincoln Heritage Museum is proud to present the second in its series of free lectures in the Learn from Lincoln, Live like Lincoln Lecture Series on Monday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m. inside the classroom next to the Lincoln Heritage Museum. The second lecture, The Race to the White House, encompasses the process of Abraham Lincoln's nomination, including the other nominees, the specifics of his campaign and the political climate at the time. Highlights include the campaign slogans, political cartoons, and audio from Mr. Lincoln's campaign songs. The lecture will give attendees a better understanding of the ethics and code of conduct that politicians had in 1860.
Chairs on Parade is an event where Carlinville businesses purchases a chair and decorates it to their liking. The event is all about bringing old fashioned fun, family and shopping together while supporting the local business community. The chairs will be on display outside of the businesses beginning on Saturday, August 6th. All chairs will be placed around Carlinville in front of local businesses or around the beautiful downtown square and put on a colorful map to be passed out to visitors so they can tour the exhibition.

You get everything you can possibly imagine when you attend the Illinois State Fair in Springfield this August, including top-notch performers at the grandstand shows!

On Saturday, August 20 at 8:00am, runners and walkers can once again get their 6.6 on Route 66! CORE of McLean, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is holding their third annual 6.6k (4.1-mile) run/walk to benefit the community of McLean, IL. They are pleased to announce that this year’s race will be on the Lake Run Club Circuit Calendar. 


Enjoy the beautiful hot air balloon launches beginning Friday through Saturday evening, followed by the balloon glow at dusk. Enjoy tethered rides, live music, giant kites, food, carnival, family games and activities.

The Berwyn Route 66 Car Show is the area's best and biggest car show born from the rich automotive heritage of Berwyn's Historic Route 66. Berwyn's show takes visitors on a stroll through 500+ vintage and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles. Highlights include live music, automobile flamethrowing and a cacklefest of dragsters that will thrill spectators! Held annually the last Saturday in August.

The SOB fest, as it is known, features creative local and nationally-recognized craft beer vendors, fresh oysters prepared a number of delectable ways, and delicious offerings from three distinctly different food trucks, too. It will be held in the parking lot of the Inn at 835 again, rain or shine.
Litchfield Pickers Market
4/10/16 - 10/9/16
Litchfield
History Comes Alive
6/7/16 - 8/13/16
Springfield
Catfish Days
7/21/16 - 7/24/16
Wilmington
The Race to the White House
7/25/16
Lincoln
Carlinville's Shop Local First Restaurant Week - Chairs on Parade
8/6/16 - 8/28/16
Carlinville
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
8/11/16 - 8/21/16
Springfield
3rd Annual Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
8/20/16
McLean
Lincoln Balloon Festival
8/26/16 - 8/27/16
Lincoln
2016 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
8/27/16
Berwyn
7th Annual Springfield Oyster and Beer Festival
9/3/16
Springfield
Litchfield Pickers Market
4/10/16 - 10/9/16
Litchfield
History Comes Alive
6/7/16 - 8/13/16
Springfield
Catfish Days
7/21/16 - 7/24/16
Wilmington
The Race to the White House
7/25/16
Lincoln
Carlinville's Shop Local First Restaurant Week - Chairs on Parade
8/6/16 - 8/28/16
Carlinville
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
8/11/16 - 8/21/16
Springfield
3rd Annual Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
8/20/16
McLean
Lincoln Balloon Festival
8/26/16 - 8/27/16
Lincoln
2016 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
8/27/16
Berwyn
7th Annual Springfield Oyster and Beer Festival
9/3/16
Springfield
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LATEST NEWS FROM ROUTE 66
Voting Begins on the Grand Prize Winner for the Selfies on 66 Contest
Jul 06, 2016
It's time to vote on our grand prize winner for the Selfies on 66 contest! Here are our 12 monthly winners from the past year: It's up to you to tell us which one you like best. Place your vote on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages, and we'll send the person with the most votes our grand prize (which includes a Route 66 poster, sign, and swag from some of our Illinois communities!). Then keep the contest going by submitting your selfie at selfieson66.com! #MyIL66
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.
Charlie Parker's Diner Owner Wins National Thomas' Breakfast Battle
Oct 26, 2015
Congratulations go out to Mike Murphy, owner of Charlie Parker's Diner in Springfield, IL, who won $25,000 last weekend in a national breakfast recipe competition. Murphy made it to the final round of two competitors, who battled it out Saturday morning, October 24th on Fox & Friends morning news show.  Murphy whipped up a famous breakfast horseshoe for the final round of the competition. Online voting closed at 11pm Sunday October 25th, and Murphy emerged the winner of the Thomas' Breakfast Battle.
Pontiac Route 66 Mural Earns National Geographic Calendar Cover
Aug 19, 2015
Pontiac's own world's largest painted Route 66 shield mural is the featured cover photograph on one of National Geographic's 2016 promotional calendars. The Route 66-themed calendar includes 12 stunning images taken along the historic "Mother Road." Pontiac's shield mural is the image for December, and was selected as the calendar's impressive cover photo.
Sputnik Orbit Comes Full Circle
May 20, 2015

At what seems to have been the speed of space travel, the iconic Sputnik from the Bel-Aire Motel in Springfield, IL has been saved and restored by Ace Sign Company, and was unveiled Tuesday, May 19th at the dedication of the sign museum at the company's new location at 2540 South First Street in Springfield.

Joe Bringuet from Ace Sign Company was around back when the sign was purchased by the Bel-Aire from a California company, and the motel then hired Ace Sign to install it. Joe recalls that this was somewhere around 1963 to 1965. The sputniks were sold around the country to motels and restaurants primarily, according to Bringuet. They were designed to look like the Soviet Sputnik space satellite. This was the first satellite to orbit the Earth, launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957.

Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway Launches Selfies on 66 Campaign
May 05, 2015

Out exploring Route 66 in Illinois? Take a selfie! Be creative and capture yourself and friends at Illinois Route 66 landmarks or even more out-of-the-way harder to find sites along the road. Take your "selfie" and post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #MyIL66. Each month, the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway will select three photos to be highlighted on their social media outlets, and the photo with the most likes/comments/shares will win an Illinois Route 66 commemorative license plate and baseball hat! But it gets better...once per year, the Byway will let voters choose from the 12 monthly winners, and the photo that gets the most likes/comments/shares will win the grand prize: a basket full of Illinois Route 66 memorabilia, gift certificates, and more!