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
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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
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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
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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
Charlie Parker's Diner
, IL
Charlie Parker's Diner has been serving up breakfast and lunch to locals and travelers alike in a Quonset hut since the early 1990's. The favorite eatery has won numerous awards and received regional and national press for their great food and outstanding service, including being featured by Guy Fieri on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."
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
Spring Equinox Sunrise Observance at Reconstructed Woodhenge
Chicago Flower & Garden Show
14th Annual International Mother Road Festival
Inaugural Blue Carpet Corridor Festival
9th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
Christmas in the Chapel
Arts in the Park
Atlanta Fall Festival
Logan County Fair
Lincoln's Pigs and Swigs
Spring Equinox Sunrise Observance at Reconstructed Woodhenge
Chicago Flower & Garden Show
14th Annual International Mother Road Festival
Inaugural Blue Carpet Corridor Festival
9th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
Christmas in the Chapel
Arts in the Park
Atlanta Fall Festival
Logan County Fair
Lincoln's Pigs and Swigs
3/17/15
Collinsville
3/14/15 - 3/22/15
Chicago
9/25/15 - 9/27/15
Springfield
6/13/15 - 6/14/15
Chatham
5/2/15 - 5/3/15
Joliet
12/3/15 - 12/6/15
Lincoln
7/18/15 - 7/19/15
Lincoln
9/11/15 - 9/12/15
Atlanta
8/2/15 - 8/9/15
Lincoln
6/5/15 - 6/7/15
Lincoln
3/17/15
Collinsville
3/14/15 - 3/22/15
Chicago
9/25/15 - 9/27/15
Springfield
6/13/15 - 6/14/15
Chatham
5/2/15 - 5/3/15
Joliet
12/3/15 - 12/6/15
Lincoln
7/18/15 - 7/19/15
Lincoln
9/11/15 - 9/12/15
Atlanta
8/2/15 - 8/9/15
Lincoln
6/5/15 - 6/7/15
Lincoln
The perfect, peaceful early-bird event at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Meet at the reconstructed Woodhenge to hear an explanation of the discovery, form end function of this post-circle sun calendar. Arrive by 6:45 a.m. One of the greatest cities of the world, Cahokia was larger than London was in AD 1250.
Get ready for brilliant color, sweet fragrance and great gardening ideas at the annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show presented by Mariano's, March 14-22, 2015 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Over 20 feature gardens from top designers bring visitors the first joys of spring and exciting ways to "Do Green. Do Good." The Marketplace's 100 exhibitors is a shopper's paradise; the Kids Activity Garden is so much fun, kids don't realize how much they're learning about greening our world. Garden Gourmet features top chefs with cooking demos.
Over 1,000 cool cars and 80,000 spectators will roll into the heart of Springfield’s historic downtown September 25-27, 2015 for a weekend of family fun in the sun and non-stop live music and entertainment! Come celebrate the golden age of Route 66…the cars, the music, the food, the friends - all brought together along Illinois’ Route 66.
The first-ever Blue Carpet Corridor Festival is Fri-Sun, June 13-14, 2015, featuring 18 towns with a shared history of miners, mobsters and the Mother Road. Enjoy three days of fun and surprises! Participating communities include Chatham, Auburn, Thayer, Virden, Girard, Nilwood, Carlinville, Gillespie, Litchfield, Mt. Olive, Benld, Staunton, Livingston, Hamel, Edwwardsville, Glen Carbon, Troy and Collinsville.
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.
Lincoln Christian University invites you to bring your family and friends to what has become a seasonal tradition for more than 25 years...Christmas in the Chapel. Performers for these musical plays are students at the university.

This event at Latham Park in Downtown Lincoln includes the Art of Wine & Brew and a large juried art show. Includes gourmet food trucks, live jazz music, wine, painting and the fine art fair.
The Atlanta town festival has a parade, carnival rides, car show, pie and cake baking contest and children's activities that provide entertainment for the whole family.
Long noted as “Illinois Cleanest and Best County Fair”. Offers horse racing, a midway, 4-H and agricultural displays, a fine arts exhibit, grandstand shows, fair foods and a demolition derby.
Held in Downtown Lincoln, and featuring Up in Smoke KC BBQ competition, live blues music, craft beer tasting, car show, and craft/flea market.
The perfect, peaceful early-bird event at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Meet at the reconstructed Woodhenge to hear an explanation of the discovery, form end function of this post-circle sun calendar. Arrive by 6:45 a.m. One of the greatest cities of the world, Cahokia was larger than London was in AD 1250.
Get ready for brilliant color, sweet fragrance and great gardening ideas at the annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show presented by Mariano's, March 14-22, 2015 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Over 20 feature gardens from top designers bring visitors the first joys of spring and exciting ways to "Do Green. Do Good." The Marketplace's 100 exhibitors is a shopper's paradise; the Kids Activity Garden is so much fun, kids don't realize how much they're learning about greening our world. Garden Gourmet features top chefs with cooking demos.
Over 1,000 cool cars and 80,000 spectators will roll into the heart of Springfield’s historic downtown September 25-27, 2015 for a weekend of family fun in the sun and non-stop live music and entertainment! Come celebrate the golden age of Route 66…the cars, the music, the food, the friends - all brought together along Illinois’ Route 66.
The first-ever Blue Carpet Corridor Festival is Fri-Sun, June 13-14, 2015, featuring 18 towns with a shared history of miners, mobsters and the Mother Road. Enjoy three days of fun and surprises! Participating communities include Chatham, Auburn, Thayer, Virden, Girard, Nilwood, Carlinville, Gillespie, Litchfield, Mt. Olive, Benld, Staunton, Livingston, Hamel, Edwwardsville, Glen Carbon, Troy and Collinsville.
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.
Lincoln Christian University invites you to bring your family and friends to what has become a seasonal tradition for more than 25 years...Christmas in the Chapel. Performers for these musical plays are students at the university.

This event at Latham Park in Downtown Lincoln includes the Art of Wine & Brew and a large juried art show. Includes gourmet food trucks, live jazz music, wine, painting and the fine art fair.
The Atlanta town festival has a parade, carnival rides, car show, pie and cake baking contest and children's activities that provide entertainment for the whole family.
Long noted as “Illinois Cleanest and Best County Fair”. Offers horse racing, a midway, 4-H and agricultural displays, a fine arts exhibit, grandstand shows, fair foods and a demolition derby.
Held in Downtown Lincoln, and featuring Up in Smoke KC BBQ competition, live blues music, craft beer tasting, car show, and craft/flea market.
Spring Equinox Sunrise Observance at Reconstructed Woodhenge
3/17/15
Collinsville
Chicago Flower & Garden Show
3/14/15 - 3/22/15
Chicago
14th Annual International Mother Road Festival
9/25/15 - 9/27/15
Springfield
Inaugural Blue Carpet Corridor Festival
6/13/15 - 6/14/15
Chatham
9th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
5/2/15 - 5/3/15
Joliet
Christmas in the Chapel
12/3/15 - 12/6/15
Lincoln
Arts in the Park
7/18/15 - 7/19/15
Lincoln
Atlanta Fall Festival
9/11/15 - 9/12/15
Atlanta
Logan County Fair
8/2/15 - 8/9/15
Lincoln
Lincoln's Pigs and Swigs
6/5/15 - 6/7/15
Lincoln
Spring Equinox Sunrise Observance at Reconstructed Woodhenge
3/17/15
Collinsville
Chicago Flower & Garden Show
3/14/15 - 3/22/15
Chicago
14th Annual International Mother Road Festival
9/25/15 - 9/27/15
Springfield
Inaugural Blue Carpet Corridor Festival
6/13/15 - 6/14/15
Chatham
9th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
5/2/15 - 5/3/15
Joliet
Christmas in the Chapel
12/3/15 - 12/6/15
Lincoln
Arts in the Park
7/18/15 - 7/19/15
Lincoln
Atlanta Fall Festival
9/11/15 - 9/12/15
Atlanta
Logan County Fair
8/2/15 - 8/9/15
Lincoln
Lincoln's Pigs and Swigs
6/5/15 - 6/7/15
Lincoln
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LATEST NEWS FROM ROUTE 66
Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative
Feb 09, 2015

In November 2013, organizational leaders and representative stakeholders of Route 66 met at "The Road Ahead" strategic roundtable in Anaheim, California. Sponsored by the World Monument Fund/American Express, their purpose was to discuss a vision and strategies for developing a national framework for collaboration along the Road.


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.”
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.