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
International Mother Road Festival Springfield IL 9/26-9/28/14
Mill Car Cruise-In Lincoln IL 9/13/14
Berwyn Route 66 Car Show 9-6-14
Williamsville, IL
Virden, IL
Staunton, IL
Downtown Springfield, IL
Shea's Gas Station Museum
Springfield, IL 1
Nilwood, IL
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Videos From The Road
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>
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Doc's Soda Fountain, Girard
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Doc's Soda Fountain, Girard
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/v4wI3TX5IJM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Henry's Ra66it Ranch, Staunton
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Henry's Ra66it Ranch, Staunton
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/j5elg_Rs-OA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Knight's Action Park and Caribbean Water Adventure, Springfield
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Knight's Action Park and Caribbean Water Adventure, Springfield
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/QuIOoRnuOcM" 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
Palms Grill Cafe
, IL
Blue-plate specials, bingo, and a bus stop welcome to the Palms Grill Cafe! Lovingly restored to its circa 1935 appearance, the cafe now invites visitors to step back in time and experience the way it used to taste. Groups welcome. Open Sunday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
featured story from the mother road
The Cow in the Corn Sculpture - Lincoln, IL

A collaboration from two Lincoln, Illinois artists has produced a 22’ tall x 25’ wide sculpture located in down town Lincoln on the corner of Pulaski and Sangamon streets. Moses Pinkerton and Jason Hoffman of Logan County Arts erected the large steel sculpture with the help of heavy equipment in a downtown area park on July 20th of 2014. The “66” part of the sculpture was “originally loops there for nostrils”, but the 66 that emerged in the design was “an added kicker in promoting the idea to the city (of Lincoln),” according to Pinkerton.

Upcoming Events
Origins of "The War to End All Wars"
Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Association Annual Conference and Tradeshow
Friday Night Dinner at the Palms Grill Cafe
Pontiac Holiday Tournament
White Christmas at the Wildey Theatre
Pontiac Parks & Recreation’s Park Palooza
Pontiac Cruise Nights
Ride Free Motorcycle and Classic Car Guided Tour
Ride Free Motorcycle and Classic Car Guided Tour
9th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
Origins of "The War to End All Wars"
Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Association Annual Conference and Tradeshow
Friday Night Dinner at the Palms Grill Cafe
Pontiac Holiday Tournament
White Christmas at the Wildey Theatre
Pontiac Parks & Recreation’s Park Palooza
Pontiac Cruise Nights
Ride Free Motorcycle and Classic Car Guided Tour
Ride Free Motorcycle and Classic Car Guided Tour
9th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
12/9/14
Springfield
1/29/15 - 1/31/15
Springfield
11/21/14 - 2/20/15
Atlanta
12/29/14 - 12/31/14
Pontiac
12/19/14
Edwardsville
7/25/15
Pontiac
5/16/15 - 8/15/15
Pontiac
9/11/15 - 9/25/15
Chicago
5/22/15 - 6/6/15
Chicago
5/2/15 - 5/3/15
Joliet
12/9/14
Springfield
1/29/15 - 1/31/15
Springfield
11/21/14 - 2/20/15
Atlanta
12/29/14 - 12/31/14
Pontiac
12/19/14
Edwardsville
7/25/15
Pontiac
5/16/15 - 8/15/15
Pontiac
9/11/15 - 9/25/15
Chicago
5/22/15 - 6/6/15
Chicago
5/2/15 - 5/3/15
Joliet
100 years after World War 1 began, a Lincoln Presidential Library historian explores what sparked unprecedented violence. A century ago, Europe was suddenly plunged into violence. Nation after nation joined the combat until it grew into something totally unprecedented – a “world war."

Historian Mark DePue will explore the origins of World War I on Dec. 9 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The free event begins at 6:30 in the museum’s Union Theater. Reservations can be made by visiting the library/museum website and clicking on “Special event tickets and reservations” or by calling 217-558-8934.
The Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association (IGGVA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the viticulture and enology interests of Illinois through information exchange and cooperation among Illinois grape producers and vintners. Conference is being held at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, and includes several workshops and presentations.
The Atlanta Public Library and Museum will host a series of Friday Night Dinner Programs at the Palms Grill Cafe from October 2014 through February 2015. The Dinner Programs feature local speakers who will present after dinner programs and/or activities at the Palms Grill Cafe. Dinner begins at 5:30 pm, with the evening’s program or activity 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. Phone 217-648-5077 to make a reservation for any of the scheduled Dinner Programs.
The Pontiac Holiday tournament, founded in 1926 by Don “Cash” Seaton, physical education teacher and head basketball coach, has the distinction of being the original and oldest high school Christmas tournament in the nation.  Seaton envisioned an event that would bring teams from different parts of the state to Central Illinois for three days during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.  Fans have a great experience watching some of the best teams, players, and coaches in Illinois participate in the 84nd tournament.
The Friends of Edwardsville Wildey Theatre & Hudson Jewelers present the classic  Bing Crosby holiday film, White Christmas. All audience members receive a free goodie bag filled with special props to use during the movie. Before the show, a Wildey Christmas Party will help you get in the spirit with holiday inspired drinks and hors d'oeuvres! Enjoy Irving Berlin's classic tale with a theater full of your closest friends. Join in the fun!
Annual celebration of Pontiac's fantastic parks. Cardboard Boat Races, kids games, food, entertainment. Humiston-Riverside Park and other locations.
Pontiac  Cruise Nights are some the best Cruise Nights in Central Illinois. These cruises are produced by a dedicated group of individuals that work year round. Pontiac Cruise Night is now in its 9th year and has become a major community event that brings everyone downtown to see and watch the cars of yesteryear. Pontiac Cruise Night's are held every 3rd Saturday in May, June, July and August in downtown Pontiac around the square.

Ride Free presents guided motorcycle and classic car tours provides self-guided tours and also guided tours of Route 66. Drive Chicago to LA in a Classic car or Harley Davidson on Route 66 the Mother Road of America. A once in a life time journey and opportunity not many have ever had the chance to do since the 1950’s!


Ride Free presents guided motorcycle and classic car tours provides self-guided tours and also guided tours of Route 66. Drive Chicago to LA in a Classic car or Harley Davidson on Route 66 the Mother Road of America. A once in a life time journey and opportunity not many have ever had the chance to do since the 1950’s!


The 9th Annual Red Carpet Corridor Festival traverses 13 Communities from Joliet to Towanda along a 90-mile stretch of Old Route 66 that collectively celebrates the Mother Road. Each town puts together its own events for the weekend, making for a great shopping and sight-seeing experience. Gather the family and take a trip down memory lane. Towns include Joliet, Elwood, Wilmington, Braidwood, Godley, Braceville, Gardner, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Chenoa, Lexington and Towanda.
100 years after World War 1 began, a Lincoln Presidential Library historian explores what sparked unprecedented violence. A century ago, Europe was suddenly plunged into violence. Nation after nation joined the combat until it grew into something totally unprecedented – a “world war."

Historian Mark DePue will explore the origins of World War I on Dec. 9 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The free event begins at 6:30 in the museum’s Union Theater. Reservations can be made by visiting the library/museum website and clicking on “Special event tickets and reservations” or by calling 217-558-8934.
The Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association (IGGVA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the viticulture and enology interests of Illinois through information exchange and cooperation among Illinois grape producers and vintners. Conference is being held at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, and includes several workshops and presentations.
The Atlanta Public Library and Museum will host a series of Friday Night Dinner Programs at the Palms Grill Cafe from October 2014 through February 2015. The Dinner Programs feature local speakers who will present after dinner programs and/or activities at the Palms Grill Cafe. Dinner begins at 5:30 pm, with the evening’s program or activity 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. Phone 217-648-5077 to make a reservation for any of the scheduled Dinner Programs.
The Pontiac Holiday tournament, founded in 1926 by Don “Cash” Seaton, physical education teacher and head basketball coach, has the distinction of being the original and oldest high school Christmas tournament in the nation.  Seaton envisioned an event that would bring teams from different parts of the state to Central Illinois for three days during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.  Fans have a great experience watching some of the best teams, players, and coaches in Illinois participate in the 84nd tournament.
The Friends of Edwardsville Wildey Theatre & Hudson Jewelers present the classic  Bing Crosby holiday film, White Christmas. All audience members receive a free goodie bag filled with special props to use during the movie. Before the show, a Wildey Christmas Party will help you get in the spirit with holiday inspired drinks and hors d'oeuvres! Enjoy Irving Berlin's classic tale with a theater full of your closest friends. Join in the fun!
Annual celebration of Pontiac's fantastic parks. Cardboard Boat Races, kids games, food, entertainment. Humiston-Riverside Park and other locations.
Pontiac  Cruise Nights are some the best Cruise Nights in Central Illinois. These cruises are produced by a dedicated group of individuals that work year round. Pontiac Cruise Night is now in its 9th year and has become a major community event that brings everyone downtown to see and watch the cars of yesteryear. Pontiac Cruise Night's are held every 3rd Saturday in May, June, July and August in downtown Pontiac around the square.

Ride Free presents guided motorcycle and classic car tours provides self-guided tours and also guided tours of Route 66. Drive Chicago to LA in a Classic car or Harley Davidson on Route 66 the Mother Road of America. A once in a life time journey and opportunity not many have ever had the chance to do since the 1950’s!


Ride Free presents guided motorcycle and classic car tours provides self-guided tours and also guided tours of Route 66. Drive Chicago to LA in a Classic car or Harley Davidson on Route 66 the Mother Road of America. A once in a life time journey and opportunity not many have ever had the chance to do since the 1950’s!


The 9th Annual Red Carpet Corridor Festival traverses 13 Communities from Joliet to Towanda along a 90-mile stretch of Old Route 66 that collectively celebrates the Mother Road. Each town puts together its own events for the weekend, making for a great shopping and sight-seeing experience. Gather the family and take a trip down memory lane. Towns include Joliet, Elwood, Wilmington, Braidwood, Godley, Braceville, Gardner, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Chenoa, Lexington and Towanda.
Origins of "The War to End All Wars"
12/9/14
Springfield
Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Association Annual Conference and Tradeshow
1/29/15 - 1/31/15
Springfield
Friday Night Dinner at the Palms Grill Cafe
11/21/14 - 2/20/15
Atlanta
Pontiac Holiday Tournament
12/29/14 - 12/31/14
Pontiac
White Christmas at the Wildey Theatre
12/19/14
Edwardsville
Pontiac Parks & Recreation’s Park Palooza
7/25/15
Pontiac
Pontiac Cruise Nights
5/16/15 - 8/15/15
Pontiac
Ride Free Motorcycle and Classic Car Guided Tour
9/11/15 - 9/25/15
Chicago
Ride Free Motorcycle and Classic Car Guided Tour
5/22/15 - 6/6/15
Chicago
9th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
5/2/15 - 5/3/15
Joliet
Origins of "The War to End All Wars"
12/9/14
Springfield
Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Association Annual Conference and Tradeshow
1/29/15 - 1/31/15
Springfield
Friday Night Dinner at the Palms Grill Cafe
11/21/14 - 2/20/15
Atlanta
Pontiac Holiday Tournament
12/29/14 - 12/31/14
Pontiac
White Christmas at the Wildey Theatre
12/19/14
Edwardsville
Pontiac Parks & Recreation’s Park Palooza
7/25/15
Pontiac
Pontiac Cruise Nights
5/16/15 - 8/15/15
Pontiac
Ride Free Motorcycle and Classic Car Guided Tour
9/11/15 - 9/25/15
Chicago
Ride Free Motorcycle and Classic Car Guided Tour
5/22/15 - 6/6/15
Chicago
9th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
5/2/15 - 5/3/15
Joliet
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LATEST NEWS FROM ROUTE 66
Illinois Representatives appointed to National Route 66 Steering Committee
Oct 31, 2014

As a result of the National Route 66 Road Ahead roundtable held in Anaheim, California in November, 2013, a steering committee has been formed to move ahead with the agenda set at the conference. Four Illinois representatives have now been chosen: Bill Kelly, Executive Director of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway; Pontiac Mayor Bob Russell; Bill Thomas, Interim Executive Director of the Lincoln/Logan County Development Partnership; and Jen Hoelzle, deputy director of the Illinois Office of Tourism (IOT).


Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket Honored with “Enjoy Illinois: Delicious Destination” Award
Oct 29, 2014

Oak Brook/DuPage County  – The Illinois Office of Tourism (IOT) and DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau announced on 10/22/14 that Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket, located in Willowbrook, is a recipient of an “Enjoy Illinois: Delicious Destination” award, which honors local food establishments around the state that are beloved destinations for visitors and locals alike.

Dell Rhea’s is among a select group of Illinois establishments to receive the unique designation from the tourism bureau. All award winners will receive a certificate from the state and a window cling to inform diners of the state designation. Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket opened in the summer of 1946 on Historic Illinois Route 66. Because of the amount of traffic and distance from Chicago, the Chicken Basket was the perfect stopping place going to or coming from Chicago.

Elkhart Rt. 66/Shirley Temple Wayside Exhibit Opening Friday October 24th
Oct 20, 2014
The Village of Elkhart will officially open their Historic Rt. 66 Statue and Wayside Exhibit at a Ribbon Cutting Celebration on Friday, October 24 at 4:30 p.m. The statue and informational exhibit is located in the lot to the west of Elkhart’s Village Hall and compliments the Village’s ongoing initiative to make Elkhart a special stop for Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway tourists. Following the ribbon cutting, there will be free continuous showings of the movie Little Miss Broadway starring Shirley Temple. Child star Shirley Temple was on her way to the premiere of this movie in Springfield when she stopped at Elkhart to eat.

2014 Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame Inductees
Oct 08, 2014

The Route 66 Association of Illinois made three inductees into the Hall of Fame in 2014, and nominations are currently being accepted for next year.