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
2018 Red Carpet Corridor
2018 Red Carpet Corridor
Ryburn Place at Sprague Super Service Grand Opening 8-12-17
Ryburn Place at Sprague Super Service Grand Opening 8-12-17
2017 Lincoln's Festival on Route 66
2017 Lincoln's Festival on Route 66
2017 Rock 'n Rods on 66 Festival
2017 Rock 'n Rods on 66 Festival
2017 World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival
2017 World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival
2017 Blue Carpet Corridor
2017 Blue Carpet Corridor
2017 Niehaus Cycle Sales Customer Appreciation Days
2017 Niehaus Cycle Sales Customer Appreciation Days
2017 Red Carpet Corridor
2017 Red Carpet Corridor
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
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Videos From The Road
Eagle Injured in 2017 Successfully Released Back Into Lake Lou Yaeger in Litchfield, IL - 1/20/18
Eagle Injured in 2017 Successfully Released Back Into Lake Lou Yaeger in Litchfield, IL - 1/20/18
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1M6ofF_HIZ8" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen>
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>
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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 Attractions
The Tropics Restaurant Neon Sign
Lincoln, IL
The Tropics Restaurant Neon Sign is located at the original location of the famous Route 66 neon sign, which is now at the McDonald’s restaurant in Lincoln. It was recently restored by Ace Sign Company through the efforts of the Tropics Legacy Campaign, which included a grant from the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.
Maldaner's Restaurant & Catering Since 1884
Springfield, IL
Established in 1884, Maldaner's Restaurant and Catering is one of Springfield's finest restaurants. The Oldest Restaurant on Route 66 now offers the experience of literally "Eating on 66", with outside patio seating including at the parklet, where you get to dine on the actual Mother Road pavement in historic downtown Springfield! This is truly a unique 66 experience. If you have visited The Old State Capitol, Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana-Thomas House or the State Capitol, you can imagine the wonderful celebrations held at Maldaner's from the turn of the last century to the present day. Maldaner's has been located on Historic Route 66 since the road began!
Motorheads Bar & Grill
Springfield, IL
Get ready Route 66...Motorheads is now fired up and serving customers! Over 18 different beers, 4 wines and 4 cocktails are on tap. The old Stuckey's Restaurant is being transformed into a bar and grill with video gaming, as well as a museum of Springfield, Route 66 and Car Racing artifacts. The museum contains a substantial portion of the former Shea's Gas Station museum collection. Several television screens in the bar area will feature car racing events. 
Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitor Center
Bloomington, IL

The Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center is located on the ground floor of the nationally accredited, McLean County Museum of History on Route 66 at Main and Washington Streets on the Museum Square in Downtown Bloomington.  The Visitors Center serves as a gateway - the only one of its kind in the area. Discover the history of travel along the road through an interpretative exhibit and shop for unique gift items local to the area. 

featured stories from the road
McLean County Museum of History welcomes spring with fresh outlook and additional programs
The McLean County Museum of History and its education department is busy putting together spring programming. “We are hoping to attract an even larger and more diverse audience this year with the new programs and the recently opened Pedal Power exhibit”, says Jeff Woodard, director of marketing and community relations. 
Renovated Lincoln Depot Now Open in Lincoln, IL

A host of local dignitaries including current and former Lincoln mayors, railroad officials, transportation officials and representatives of elected state and federal officials were on hand for the ribbon cutting for the completion of renovations and opening of the historic Lincoln Dept in downtown Lincoln, IL (101 N. Chicago St). A large crowd was on-hand for the December 5, 2017 event. Lincoln Mayor Seth Goodman hosted the ceremony, which also included remarks from Illinois State Representative Tim Butler, and Hal Smith from Representative Darin LaHood's office.

When the Wheels Hit the Road

When the wheels hit the road (bicycle wheels , that is) we were honored to travel the Illinois portion of Route 66 with Zdenek Jurasek and his 2 person film crew (Petra and Tomas) from the Czech Republic. Zdenek was attempting his second Route 66 trip from Chicago to Los Angeles on his mountain bike. The Solo Bicycle Ride trip was initiated on August 20th and completed on September 21st, 2016. The first encounter we had with our friend and his crew was in Braidwood, IL at the Polk-a-dot. That same evening we were invited to join him and distinguished citizens from Dwight at the world renowned Country Mansion Restaurant.

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. 
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!!
Upcoming Events
Expanded Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66
Peacekeepers Ride
Catfish Days
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
Salt Creek ABATE 2nd Annual Duck Race and Camping
2018 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
Great Joliet Prison Break-In Fundraiser
Governor's Ride to Springfield
Illinois Bicentennial Plaza Dedication
Expanded Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66
Peacekeepers Ride
Catfish Days
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
Salt Creek ABATE 2nd Annual Duck Race and Camping
2018 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
Great Joliet Prison Break-In Fundraiser
Governor's Ride to Springfield
Illinois Bicentennial Plaza Dedication
7/20/18 - 7/22/18
Bloomington-Normal
7/22/18
Litchfield
7/26/18 - 7/29/18
Wilmington
8/9/18 - 8/19/18
Springfield
8/24/18 - 8/26/18
McLean
8/25/18
Berwyn
8/25/18
McLean
8/25/18
Joliet
8/26/18
Springfield
8/26/18
Springfield
7/20/18 - 7/22/18
Bloomington-Normal
7/22/18
Litchfield
7/26/18 - 7/29/18
Wilmington
8/9/18 - 8/19/18
Springfield
8/24/18 - 8/26/18
McLean
8/25/18
Berwyn
8/25/18
McLean
8/25/18
Joliet
8/26/18
Springfield
8/26/18
Springfield


The Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66 has grown in interest and attendance since the Route 66 theme was added to the festival in 2017. The Illinois Shakespeare Festival is expanding its role in the festival this year, announcing a symposium exploring the fascination that Abraham Lincoln had with William Shakespeare’s writings.

This Sunday, July 22, Niehaus Cycle Sales will be a stop on the Peacekeepers ride for a 2 PM ceremony to pay tribute to Trooper Deatherage. Riders will pay tribute to Trooper Deatherage in a rolling memorial as they return North on I55 past Mile Post 62.
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!

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!

The Salt Creek ABATE 2nd Annual Duck Race and Camping event is held at the previous location of Chigger Fest. There will be 3 separate Duck Races, waterslide, several games throughout the day and a fun-filled weekend. Live music Friday and Saturday night. Food vendor is the Get Sauced BBQ Team.


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.

At 8 am Saturday, August 25, 2018, CORE of McLean, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is holding the 4th annual 6.6k (4.1-mile) run/walk on Route 66 from Funks Grove to McLean to benefit the community of McLean, IL. All proceeds will go to local projects. Favorites such as the pre-race shot of pure maple sirup and commemorative shot glasses, awesome t-shirts, and post-race food, drinks, and entertainment on the square will be back.
The Great Joliet Prison Break-In fundraiser will be taking place on Saturday, August 25 from 5:00pm to 11:00pm. Ticket holders will be able to step onto the historic prison yard and listen to the music of The Blooze Brothers, M&R Rush, Petty Cash and Hot Mess. while enjoying the tastes of various options from food trucks and beer vendors. The event is the grand opening and first major event of the “Old Joliet Prison,” which closed in 2002. The prison is featured in many movie and television projects, including The Blues Brothers and Prison Break.
The ride kicks off at Conrad’s Harley Davidson in Shorewood. Participants will travel along much of Historic Route 66 celebrating the “Mother Road” and the Illinois Bicentennial with stops in Pontiac, Lexington, Lincoln, and concluding in Springfield at the Illinois Bicentennial Plaza for a dedication ceremony.
On Sunday, August 26, 2018 – “Constitution Day in Illinois” – together with the Illinois Bicentennial, the city of Springfield and the Illinois REALTORS®, we will officially dedicate Bicentennial Plaza, a REALTOR® Community Partnership. This event is a Signature Event of the Illinois Bicentennial.


The Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66 has grown in interest and attendance since the Route 66 theme was added to the festival in 2017. The Illinois Shakespeare Festival is expanding its role in the festival this year, announcing a symposium exploring the fascination that Abraham Lincoln had with William Shakespeare’s writings.

This Sunday, July 22, Niehaus Cycle Sales will be a stop on the Peacekeepers ride for a 2 PM ceremony to pay tribute to Trooper Deatherage. Riders will pay tribute to Trooper Deatherage in a rolling memorial as they return North on I55 past Mile Post 62.
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!

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!

The Salt Creek ABATE 2nd Annual Duck Race and Camping event is held at the previous location of Chigger Fest. There will be 3 separate Duck Races, waterslide, several games throughout the day and a fun-filled weekend. Live music Friday and Saturday night. Food vendor is the Get Sauced BBQ Team.


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.

At 8 am Saturday, August 25, 2018, CORE of McLean, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is holding the 4th annual 6.6k (4.1-mile) run/walk on Route 66 from Funks Grove to McLean to benefit the community of McLean, IL. All proceeds will go to local projects. Favorites such as the pre-race shot of pure maple sirup and commemorative shot glasses, awesome t-shirts, and post-race food, drinks, and entertainment on the square will be back.
The Great Joliet Prison Break-In fundraiser will be taking place on Saturday, August 25 from 5:00pm to 11:00pm. Ticket holders will be able to step onto the historic prison yard and listen to the music of The Blooze Brothers, M&R Rush, Petty Cash and Hot Mess. while enjoying the tastes of various options from food trucks and beer vendors. The event is the grand opening and first major event of the “Old Joliet Prison,” which closed in 2002. The prison is featured in many movie and television projects, including The Blues Brothers and Prison Break.
The ride kicks off at Conrad’s Harley Davidson in Shorewood. Participants will travel along much of Historic Route 66 celebrating the “Mother Road” and the Illinois Bicentennial with stops in Pontiac, Lexington, Lincoln, and concluding in Springfield at the Illinois Bicentennial Plaza for a dedication ceremony.
On Sunday, August 26, 2018 – “Constitution Day in Illinois” – together with the Illinois Bicentennial, the city of Springfield and the Illinois REALTORS®, we will officially dedicate Bicentennial Plaza, a REALTOR® Community Partnership. This event is a Signature Event of the Illinois Bicentennial.
Expanded Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66
7/20/18 - 7/22/18
Bloomington-Normal
Peacekeepers Ride
7/22/18
Litchfield
Catfish Days
7/26/18 - 7/29/18
Wilmington
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
8/9/18 - 8/19/18
Springfield
Salt Creek ABATE 2nd Annual Duck Race and Camping
8/24/18 - 8/26/18
McLean
2018 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
8/25/18
Berwyn
Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
8/25/18
McLean
Great Joliet Prison Break-In Fundraiser
8/25/18
Joliet
Governor's Ride to Springfield
8/26/18
Springfield
Illinois Bicentennial Plaza Dedication
8/26/18
Springfield
Expanded Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66
7/20/18 - 7/22/18
Bloomington-Normal
Peacekeepers Ride
7/22/18
Litchfield
Catfish Days
7/26/18 - 7/29/18
Wilmington
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
8/9/18 - 8/19/18
Springfield
Salt Creek ABATE 2nd Annual Duck Race and Camping
8/24/18 - 8/26/18
McLean
2018 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
8/25/18
Berwyn
Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
8/25/18
McLean
Great Joliet Prison Break-In Fundraiser
8/25/18
Joliet
Governor's Ride to Springfield
8/26/18
Springfield
Illinois Bicentennial Plaza Dedication
8/26/18
Springfield
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LATEST NEWS FROM ROUTE 66
McLean County Museum Hires New Executive Director
Mar 27, 2018
Adam Lovell, of Reedsville Wisconsin, has been named the new Executive Director at the McLean County Museum of History. Lovell has over 18 years’ experience in museum operations.  Most recently, he spent two years as Assistant Director and Curator at the Rahr-West Art Museum in Manitowoc, Wisconsin and eight years as Curator of Collections at the Detroit Historical Society in Detroit Michigan.
Eagle injured in April to be released at Lake Lou Yaeger
Jan 12, 2018
Last April, at Lake Lou Yaeger in Litchfield, IL, a female Bald Eagle was injured, in what was viewed as a territorial fight with a male Bald Eagle. While the male Bald Eagle did not survive, thankfully the female Bald Eagle was able to be transported to the Treehouse Wildlife Rescue Center in Dow, IL to recover from her injuries. The female bald Eagle has made a full recovery and will be released back to her native territory at Lake Lou Yaeger. The release is scheduled for Saturday, January 20th and the public is invited to attend.
City of Pontiac Initializes Mobile App with October Roll-out
Oct 03, 2017
Through a multi-departmental cooperation, the City of Pontiac is offering residents and visitors alike a chance to see the city through a new point of view: through your own smartphone. Under the parent rTown app, Pontiac, IL will soon have its own page. Anyone is able to download the free app to their smartphone and then select Pontiac from the list of cities that appears.
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.
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.