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
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
prev
next
prev
next
prev
next
Close
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>
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
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
Route 66 Raceway 2015 Snocross
First Night Springfield
State Farm Holiday Classic
Illinois Fish & Feather Expo
Top of the Class Antique Show
Cahokia Mounds Winter Solstice Sunrise Observance
Dana-Thomas House Luminarias
Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Association Annual Conference and Tradeshow
Friday Night Dinner at the Palms Grill Cafe
Pontiac Holiday Tournament
Route 66 Raceway 2015 Snocross
First Night Springfield
State Farm Holiday Classic
Illinois Fish & Feather Expo
Top of the Class Antique Show
Cahokia Mounds Winter Solstice Sunrise Observance
Dana-Thomas House Luminarias
Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Association Annual Conference and Tradeshow
Friday Night Dinner at the Palms Grill Cafe
Pontiac Holiday Tournament
2/20/15 - 2/21/15
Joliet
12/31/14
Springfield
12/26/14 - 12/30/14
Bloomington-Normal
1/23/15 - 1/25/15
Bloomington-Normal
1/30/15 - 2/1/15
Bloomington-Normal
12/21/14
Collinsville
12/21/14
Springfield
1/29/15 - 1/31/15
Springfield
11/21/14 - 2/20/15
Atlanta
12/29/14 - 12/31/14
Pontiac
2/20/15 - 2/21/15
Joliet
12/31/14
Springfield
12/26/14 - 12/30/14
Bloomington-Normal
1/23/15 - 1/25/15
Bloomington-Normal
1/30/15 - 2/1/15
Bloomington-Normal
12/21/14
Collinsville
12/21/14
Springfield
1/29/15 - 1/31/15
Springfield
11/21/14 - 2/20/15
Atlanta
12/29/14 - 12/31/14
Pontiac
AMSOIL Championship Snocross is coming to the Route 66 Raceway on February 20-21, 2015. The extreme motorsports action features top athletes who will show off their skills on the slopes at the Route 66 Raceway Snocross National. Visit the manufacturer midway, the warming tent and the Kid Zone.
The 2014 First Night® Springfield is the city’s 28th 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 at Springfield High School. 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.
For over three decades, the State Farm Holiday Classic has been a showcase of great basketball in Bloomington-Normal. The 2014 tournament will be the 36th anniversary for one of the nation’s largest, coed high school holiday basketball tournaments. The Shirk Center at Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) is the championship site for the event.
The Illinois Fish and Feather Expo features over 120 different exhibitors covering the entire spectrum of the outdoor recreation industry. Featured seminars will be given by Colby Simms, an internationally renowned outdoor sports pro and media personality. He’s a multiple-time muskie tournament & bass tournament champion, and has received many other awards and designations, and is an international industry speaker.
The Top of the Class Antique Show is held annually at the Bone Student Center on the campus of Illinois State University. You can expect around forty vendors from multiple states, selling a large variety of antiques, including furniture, collectibles, crafts, arts, etc.
Wake up early and head over to Cahokia Mounds at the reconstructed Woodhenge. Arrive by 7:00 am. to hear an explanation of the discovery, form and function of this ancient post circle monument used as a calendar by the Mississippians. No ceremonies will be conducted.

The Dana-Thomas House annual luminaria event, where hundreds of candles are arranged outside the historic home, will be held on Sunday, December 21st. Springfield Civic Garden Club and the Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site are partnering for the second year in a row for this event, along with providing additional holiday decorating to the site.

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.
AMSOIL Championship Snocross is coming to the Route 66 Raceway on February 20-21, 2015. The extreme motorsports action features top athletes who will show off their skills on the slopes at the Route 66 Raceway Snocross National. Visit the manufacturer midway, the warming tent and the Kid Zone.
The 2014 First Night® Springfield is the city’s 28th 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 at Springfield High School. 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.
For over three decades, the State Farm Holiday Classic has been a showcase of great basketball in Bloomington-Normal. The 2014 tournament will be the 36th anniversary for one of the nation’s largest, coed high school holiday basketball tournaments. The Shirk Center at Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) is the championship site for the event.
The Illinois Fish and Feather Expo features over 120 different exhibitors covering the entire spectrum of the outdoor recreation industry. Featured seminars will be given by Colby Simms, an internationally renowned outdoor sports pro and media personality. He’s a multiple-time muskie tournament & bass tournament champion, and has received many other awards and designations, and is an international industry speaker.
The Top of the Class Antique Show is held annually at the Bone Student Center on the campus of Illinois State University. You can expect around forty vendors from multiple states, selling a large variety of antiques, including furniture, collectibles, crafts, arts, etc.
Wake up early and head over to Cahokia Mounds at the reconstructed Woodhenge. Arrive by 7:00 am. to hear an explanation of the discovery, form and function of this ancient post circle monument used as a calendar by the Mississippians. No ceremonies will be conducted.

The Dana-Thomas House annual luminaria event, where hundreds of candles are arranged outside the historic home, will be held on Sunday, December 21st. Springfield Civic Garden Club and the Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site are partnering for the second year in a row for this event, along with providing additional holiday decorating to the site.

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.
Route 66 Raceway 2015 Snocross
2/20/15 - 2/21/15
Joliet
First Night Springfield
12/31/14
Springfield
State Farm Holiday Classic
12/26/14 - 12/30/14
Bloomington-Normal
Illinois Fish & Feather Expo
1/23/15 - 1/25/15
Bloomington-Normal
Top of the Class Antique Show
1/30/15 - 2/1/15
Bloomington-Normal
Cahokia Mounds Winter Solstice Sunrise Observance
12/21/14
Collinsville
Dana-Thomas House Luminarias
12/21/14
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
Route 66 Raceway 2015 Snocross
2/20/15 - 2/21/15
Joliet
First Night Springfield
12/31/14
Springfield
State Farm Holiday Classic
12/26/14 - 12/30/14
Bloomington-Normal
Illinois Fish & Feather Expo
1/23/15 - 1/25/15
Bloomington-Normal
Top of the Class Antique Show
1/30/15 - 2/1/15
Bloomington-Normal
Cahokia Mounds Winter Solstice Sunrise Observance
12/21/14
Collinsville
Dana-Thomas House Luminarias
12/21/14
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
prev
next
LATEST NEWS FROM ROUTE 66
Newly released "Missing 66" song includes Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway Experience Hub
Dec 12, 2014

The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway wanted to take this opportunity to share with the Route 66 community a newly released song/video entitled “Missing 66” that happens to include one of the byway’s Experience Hub exhibits in Normal, Illinois.

The song is performed by Dyed In Blue – Canadian singer/songwriter Patrick Grehan, from the album “Moment of Leaving.” The acoustic song features Patrick on vocals and guitar, including the use of an EBow, which Grehan describes as “a device that’s held over guitar strings to produce a kind of electric violin effect."


Palms Grill Cafe in Atlanta Honored with "Enjoy Illinois: Delicious Destination" Award
Dec 12, 2014

The Palms Grill Cafe in Atlanta has received an "Enjoy Illinois: Delicious Destination" award. The announcement was made on December 8th by the Illinois Office of Tourism and the Logan County Tourism Bureau. The award is designated to restaurants that are "beloved destinations for visitors and locals alike," according to a joint press release from both agencies.

“From family-owned restaurants with long and storied histories to the hottest new cuisines in the world, Illinois has emerged as a premier culinary destination for both domestic and international visitors,” said Jen Hoelzle, Illinois State Travel Director. “The ‘Enjoy Illinois: Delicious Destination’ award honors those restaurants that are authentically Illinois, making a trip to the state unforgettable.”
Route 66 News Website Launches Top 10 Icons of Route 66 Poll
Dec 03, 2014
Our colleague at Route 66 News, Ron Warnick, has posted a poll where you can vote for the Top 10 icons of Route 66. We are pleased to note that several Illinois attractions are on the list. Voting concludes on December 31st. Thanks to Ron for this opportunity for people to have some input on this very important issue!

Visit the Route 66 News website to vote and for more details.

 

Shea’s Gas Station Museum in Springfield, IL is the Latest Illinois Route 66 Iconic Attraction to Go on Sale
Nov 24, 2014

WICS-TV News Channel 20 in Springfield officially broke the story on 11/23/14 that Bill Shea’s Gas Station Museum on Route 66 in Springfield is up for sale. Speculation of this fact has been swirling since the death of Bill Shea Sr. last year at the age of 91. Yesterday, Bill Shea Jr. made it official in a story broadcast by reporter Evan Peterson. Shea’s plans for selling the world-famous museum at this time are through “word of mouth”. In the interview, Shea Jr and his daughter explained they don’t have the resources within the family to keep the museum open. It is unclear if the museum will be sold as a whole or parceled out in portions and whether it will remain in its original location.

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.