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Jillian
Los Angeles

United States, Springfield, Rolla, Williams, Amarillo, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City (Missouri), Barstow, St. Louis, Santa Monica, Chicago, Pontiac, Winslow, Grand Canyon National Park, Joplin, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Chandler, Flagstaff, Kingman

Must see places and activities along historic Route 66?

I've always wanted to take a road trip from start to finish on Route 66, and finally have the chance this summer! I'm traveling with a friend, and we have two full weeks - starting in Chicago and ending in LA. We both love new adventures and being active outdoors, so want to take in the views and gain unique experiences along the way. Since we have the time, we're tentatively planning on stopping in most major cities (Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, etc.), and are open to exploring. I mean, we've never even been to Oklahoma, Texas or New Mexico!
 
If you know any of these places well, where are the best areas to walk the town and stay overnight? Best areas for hiking? Museums? We'd love to catch a baseball game, or concert too! Knowing we have a decent budget set aside, what are the must see places and activities on this route?


23 Answers

top answer by
Tera from Harrah

When you are in Oklahoma city I would suggest staying in Bricktown District. They have a Riverwalk Plaza there with many great bars, shopping, movie theater, and restaurants. There is also the Stadium ( AT&T Bricktown Ballpark) there to check out a minor league baseball game. There is also in the Boathouse District near bricktown which has Riversports on the Oklahoma river. They have a sky trail that you can walk and see a great view of the city. Also there is a ropes course, you can canoe, or dragon boat there. Lots of good physical activities to do there.

Edited to add: I forgot to mention Chesapeake Energy Arena is there to for concerts.    


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bricktown District (attraction)
  2. Riverwalk Plaza (attraction)
  3. AT&T Bricktown Ballpark (attraction)
  4. Boathouse District (attraction)
  5. Chesapeake Energy Arena (attraction)
10 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Arla from Lawrence

Plan to spend some time in Tulsa, Oklahoma--especially the Blue Dome District (Blue Dome District) in downtown Tulsa and the Blue Whale (Blue Whale).  Stop into Dwelling Spaces (Dwelling Spaces) and say howdy to Mary Ann and also--visit the Woody Guthrie Center (Woody Guthrie Center).  The cool thing about Tulsa is that their entertainment district downtown is all locally grown businesses--enjoy!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tulsa (city)
  2. Blue Dome District (attraction)
  3. Blue Whale (attraction)
  4. Dwelling Spaces (attraction)
  5. Woody Guthrie Center (attraction)
7 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Caleb

Hi Jillian, Central Ave in Albuquerque has a lot to offer. Simply get off I-40  Rio Grande and go south on Rio Grande Until you hit central, there's plenty of Museums. Check out the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Explora!, and Albuquerque Museum. Santa Fe also has a lot to offer, and likely you'll want to spend more time there. Canyon Road in Santa Fe will easily take up at least a full day of your time with over 75 galleries, modern, sculpture and western art. Restaurants can be found on Yelp. Reviews are pretty accurate.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rio Grande (attraction)
  2. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (attraction)
  3. Explora! (attraction)
  4. Albuquerque Museum (attraction)
  5. Santa Fe (city)
  6. Canyon Road (attraction)
  7. Central Ave (attraction)
7 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Stephanie from Kansas City (Missouri)

If you are coming to Kansas City, there are several things that are must sees!  We have a wonderful shopping and tourist area called Country Club Plaza.  Good hotels there, wonderful food (some local, some chain).  The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is very close by and worth a look.  We also have the 18th & Vine District, which is famous for Jazz music, and is nestled in the Crossroads Art District, which has some good local food and interesting, eclectic shops.  Don't miss the barbeque - you have to eat it while here.  Perhaps what we are most famous for.  Every true Kansas Citian has their favorite, and some of the best are Gates' BBQ, Arthur Bryant's Barbeque, and Oklahoma Joe's BBQ & Catering.  If you are interested in history, our WWI museum is amazing National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.  Harry Truman resided in Independence (Missouri), and his home and museum is there, both open for tours.  We obviously have professional sports, if you are into that.  Just about anything you could want in a quick stay exists here in Kansas City.  And, the Midwestern hospitality is a real thing.  :)


6 thankscomments (4)


answered by
Jackie from North Kansas City

Jillian-

If you decide to stop in Kansas City (Kansas), I would recommend a few things. If you want to walk and shop, the Country Club Plaza would be a good option. Or you could stay down at Westin Crown Center, walk and shop and then go the Union Station Theater District. There are some nice hotels in that area.

We also have the Legends which is growing. There is shopping, hotels, a casino, race tracks, T-Bones House for baseball, Sporting Kansas City for soccer. It is a nice place to go, but is not a good historically known KC place. 

Hope this helps some.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Kansas City (Kansas) (city)
  2. Country Club Plaza (attraction)
  3. Westin Crown Center (hotel)
  4. Union Station Theater District (attraction)
  5. T-Bones House (attraction)
  6. Sporting Kansas City (attraction)
6 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Travis from Denver

Going through Kansas City will be a blast for you two!  There are three main places I will recommend. Maybe four haha.  First you have to visit and walk around  Country Club Plaza there are a ton of stores and people walking around to people watch and restaurants as well.  Then to easily access  Country Club Plaza I would stay  The Raphael Hotel it is a bit pricy but the rooms are HUGE and the beds are great and the service is impeccable!  It may be the best hotel in KC honestly!  The InterContinental is also right next door so that is also an option but I cannot find it on Trippy. For night life, or just for a change in scenery hop in a cab for a $10 ride to the  Kansas City Power & Light District there are nightclubs, bars, restaurants, ect... You will have a blast on your trip and DRIVE SAFE!!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Country Club Plaza (attraction)
  2. The Raphael Hotel (hotel)
  3. InterContinental (hotel)
  4. Kansas City Power & Light District (attraction)
6 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Megan from Weilerbach

Jillian, if you pass through St Louis, there are several amazing places I recommend. The  Gateway Arch is a fun stop. Take the tram car up to the top for great photos of the Mississippi River, Downtown St. Louis, and of course  Busch Stadium. Take in a St Louis Cardinals game; they do happen to have the best fans in baseball, and I've always had a great time at the games. The museum beneath the arch is amazing. No visit to St Louis is complete without a trip to the  Anheuser-Busch Brewery Experiences for a tasting tour. The  St. Louis Zoo is my favorite zoo in the US, and it's FREE.  Forest Park is where the zoo is located, and it also has some beautiful museums. If you are a roller coaster fan,  Six Flags St. Louis is a great stop on the way out of town. Have a great time on your trip!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gateway Arch (attraction)
  2. Mississippi River (attraction)
  3. Downtown St. Louis (attraction)
  4. Busch Stadium (attraction)
  5. Anheuser-Busch Brewery Experiences (attraction)
  6. St. Louis Zoo (attraction)
  7. Forest Park (attraction)
  8. Six Flags St. Louis (attraction)
6 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Joe from Kansas City (Kansas)

In Kansas City you're obviously going to need to get some barbecue. The best place in town is Oklahoma Joe's BBQ & Catering . This is their original location, based out of a gas station.

If you're into shopping, Country Club Plaza is one of the best high end shopping centers in the country. 


Touring Boulevard Brewing Co is pretty interesting, and you get free beer at the end of the tour.


As far as other food, you pretty much can't go wrong with anything in Crossroads or Wesport area. Beer Kitchen No. 1 is great if you like crazy beer drinks. McCoy's Public House has the bet Mac & Cheese you'll ever eat.

But my absolute favorite place in KC is Manifesto, a speakeasy style bar beneath The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange in the Crossroads. You can text a day or two ahead of time to make reservations. I'd recommend having dinner at the Rieger first, then walking around the back to Manifesto for drinks afterwards. The Smoke & Choke is one of the greatest whiskey drinks I've ever tasted.


The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a great way to spend an afternoon, and it's also free to the public. 




Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oklahoma Joe's BBQ & Catering (restaurant)
  2. Country Club Plaza (attraction)
  3. Beer Kitchen No. 1 (restaurant)
  4. McCoy's Public House (attraction)
  5. Manifesto (attraction)
  6. The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange (restaurant)
  7. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (attraction)
  8. Boulevard Brewing Co (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Ernst from Long Island (New York)

Seligman is touristy, but also the birthplace of the Historic Route 66: http://www.seligmanhistory.com/route66.html It is at one end of the longest original stretch of Route 66 that exists, going between Seligman and Kingman.  Angel Degadillo is the man who got the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona started after I-40 was built over much of the original Route 66, and bypassed his town of Seligman.  Degadillo's Angel & Vilma Delgadillo's Route 66 Gift Shop & Visitor's Center is a main attraction in town.  His original barbershop is still there, and although retired, he does sometimes still do straight-razor shaves and haircuts with advance notice.  Two doors down is Delgadillo's Snow Cap Drive-In, a fun place for a burger, fries, and shake with lots of Route 66 memorabilia and old cars.  There are more gift shops and restaurants here that you could check out.  I never spent a night here, but there are several places to stay.

If you have time you could make the trek down to the Havasupai Waterfalls in the Havasupai Reservation in the Grand Canyon.  It's a long hike in, but you can hire mules to carry gear.  Taking a helicopter in is also an option.

I have not been to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, but if you go, be aware that it's expensive.  You are not allowed to bring a camera or phone with you onto the Skywalk, but they will sell you photos.  Expect to pay at least $80 per person.  Personally, going here doesn't interest me at all...

Another fun stop along this route is the Hackberry General Store.  There is a 1957 Corvette parked out front.

West of Kingman is the small, touristy old gold mining town of Oatman, AZ. I haven't been personally, but my parents found it interesting, especially because of the wild burros wandering around town.  Lots of souvenir shops and memorabilia and a shoot-out. 


5 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Phil

A must stop is Ted Drewes (Ted Drewes) a frozen custard place which is extremely popular in St. Louis and dates itself back to the glory days of Route 66.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ted Drewes (restaurant)
5 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Brenna from Tempe

One of my all-time favorite places to eat is  Tune-Up Cafe in Santa Fe - it might be a little north of the 66 but Santa Fe is a fun town to check out and there's some cool museums and art and The Loretto Chapel has a spiral staircase build with no support that's beautiful!

In Flagstaff there's a lot of little hikes around the area and national parks ( Coconino National Forest), if  you have the time check out  Sedona - it is absolutely beautiful and about half an hour south of Flagstaff and has some great hikes like Bell Rock Trail.  There is an old native American set of cliff dwellings in  Wupatki National Monument (Native American Ruins).  hope that helps!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Loretto Chapel (attraction)
  2. Coconino National Forest (attraction)
  3. Sedona (city)
  4. Bell Rock Trail (attraction)
  5. Wupatki National Monument (Native American Ruins) (attraction)
  6. Tune-Up Cafe (restaurant)
  7. Flagstaff (city)
5 thankscomments (2)


answered by
stephanie from Nixa

Like others have suggested when you are in St Louis its a must to check out a cardinals game and visit the new St. Louis Ballpark Village http://www.stlballparkvillage.com/ I have yet to go there myself but I hear from many that it is very nice with lots of choices and if you don't or cant get tickets to a game there are plenty of opportunities to watch it here. Also like others Ted drews is a must!!! So good makes me miss home! May be a not random but if you are staying the night and want to catch a show check out what on at The Fabulous Fox  http://www.fabulousfox.com/. Also Missouri and Illinois have some great wineries  http://explorestlouis.com/visit-explore/discover/day-trips-excursions/missouri-wine-country/ and here is a map that has a great list http://www.wineweb.com/scripts/searchWineMap.cfm/USA/MO/. Enjoy! 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. St. Louis Ballpark Village (attraction)
  2. The Fabulous Fox (attraction)
4 thanks


answered by
Melissa

Hi Jillian,

If you stop in Kansas City I suggest eating at Gates' BBQ or Oklahoma Joe's BBQ & Catering! The Kansas City Power & Light District is great if you want a night on the town but they do have covers at each bar. Sometimes they will have concerts happening in the main area of the facility.

I also suggest stopping in Topeka! The Kansas State Capitol just completed a 13 year renovation and you can take the dome tour Monday - Friday. It's 296 steps and 306 feet in the air. It's said to be one of the most beautiful state capitols in the US and it is the only one that is currently offering a public dome tour. I also suggest the Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka. It's a great interactive museum! The college hill area in Topeka has great option for dining. I suggest College Hill Pizza Pub

At the Grand Canyon National Park going to the West end where the The Hualapai Tribe and Skywalk are the best view and it's more of an experience than the one ran by the National Park. 

I hope this helps! Happy Travels! 


4 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Shannon from Albuquerque

Definitely stop in Gallup!  It is the heart of the Navajo Nation and is the half-way point between Albuquerque and Flagstaffon I-40.  If you are there on a Saturday you can catch the flea market that is full of local craft.  Check out the EL Rancho as place to stay or get a drink in the attached 49er Lounge. Hike Pyramid Rock Summit for gorgeous views! Get the best chile relleno ever at A Taste Of Southwest.

As for baseball, in Albuquerque they have a great park and are famous for their connection to the Simpsons.  Hike the Sandia trail.  Hit Old Town Albuquerque for food and street vendors.

For museums, Santa Fe is the place.   Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the Loretto Chapel staircase, and the Santa Fe Plaza for arts and culture.   Tia Sophia's for unbeatable New Mexican food.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gallup (city)
  2. Albuquerque (city)
  3. Flagstaff (city)
  4. EL Rancho (restaurant)
  5. 49er Lounge (attraction)
  6. Pyramid Rock Summit (attraction)
  7. A Taste Of Southwest (restaurant)
  8. Sandia (attraction)
  9. Old Town Albuquerque (attraction)
  10. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum (attraction)
  11. Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (attraction)
  12. Loretto Chapel (attraction)
  13. Santa Fe Plaza (attraction)
  14. Tia Sophia's (restaurant)
4 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Carl from Illinois

When going through Springfield (Illinois), IL the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum is amazing.  You should also eat at Darcy's Pint and have a Horseshoe.  One of the best meals you will ever have.

The Horseshoe is the meal.  It takes two pieces of Texas toast, cover that with your choice of meat (I like Buffalo Chicken, ham is the original, and hamburger is very popular), cover that with french fries, and cover the entire thing with cheese sauce.  Darcy's has been on a couple of the food network shows.

 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Springfield (Illinois) (city)
  2. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum (attraction)
  3. Darcy's Pint (restaurant)
4 thankscomments (2)


answered by
Tiffany from Corvallis

While in Oklahoma City, you'll definitely want to hit Bricktown. It's really only about 15 years old, but it's a food and entertainment district created using the existing old brick buildings there - many of them are historical and still retain their old signage. There's the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark as others have mentioned, a ton of restaurants including Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse (great steaks) and Toby Keiths I Love This Bar & Grill. Nearby, on the Canadian River, you can zipline, try standup paddle boarding, and even rent bikes to bike the town in the Boathouse District (http://boathousedistrict.org).

Don't stop in OKC without going to Stockyards City Main Street and dining at Cattlemen's Steakhouse. It's an OKC thing. You'll feel like you've just jumped into a 3 block time-warp to the old wild west. The stockyards still run the largest stock and feed cattle auction in the world on Mondays and Tuesdays and Cattelmen's is Oklahoma City's oldest restaurant, serving up "lamb fries," steaks, and delicious coconut cream pie. Celebrities have dined here and there's almost always a line out the door, but the buzzers they give you work across the street in Langston's Co so you can peruse cute cowboy boots, belts, and other western wear while waiting. (http://www.visitokc.com/visitor-info/okc-districts/stockyards-city/)


Time for museums?  See the incredible Chihuly Glass exhibit at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, check out the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to get another view of OKC heritage, and see the Museum of Osteology which isn't huge, won't take up a lot of time, but is the only one of its kind and is absolutely fascinating. 


If you're looking for the oddities of the old Route 66, drive up 23rd St, stop at Big Truck Tacos just because it's delicious, try the 1st Amendment Taco if you're feeling adventurous, then drive up the the intersection at Classen where the Asian District starts and you'll see the TEEMCO Gold Dome on your left and the Milk Bottle Grocery on your right.

There's a ton to do in OKC, so if you find that you have more time, ask more questions!   Drive a 90 minutes south and see the Chickasaw Cultural Center and try some Bedre Fine Chocolate. If you want to hike, drive 90 minutes in another direction to see the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (look for herds of Buffalo and longhorn cattle), see the The Holy City of the Wichitas, and try a really famous burger in Meers at the Meers Store & Restaurant (don't forget to try the cobbler).


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oklahoma City (city)
  2. Bricktown (neighborhood)
  3. AT&T Bricktown Ballpark (attraction)
  4. Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse (attraction)
  5. Toby Keiths I Love This Bar & Grill (restaurant)
  6. Boathouse District (attraction)
  7. Stockyards City Main Street (attraction)
  8. Cattlemen's Steakhouse (restaurant)
  9. Langston's Co (attraction)
  10. Oklahoma City Museum of Art (attraction)
  11. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (attraction)
  12. Museum of Osteology (attraction)
  13. Big Truck Tacos (restaurant)
  14. TEEMCO Gold Dome (attraction)
  15. Chickasaw Cultural Center (attraction)
  16. Bedre Fine Chocolate (attraction)
  17. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (attraction)
  18. The Holy City of the Wichitas (attraction)
  19. Meers (city)
  20. Meers Store & Restaurant (restaurant)
2 thanks


answered by
Kathie from Freeport (Illinois)

If you're planning on being in St. Louis and you're wanting to catch a baseball game, then the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium is a must!  As a long-time fan, I miss the old stadium, but the new one is really nice!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Busch Stadium (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
James from Tulsa

When you're in Tulsa, make sure you stop by the Philbrook Museum of Art, and spend some time in the Brady District downtown, you never know what'll happen.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tulsa (city)
  2. Philbrook Museum of Art (attraction)
  3. Brady District (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Kelsey from Los Angeles

There are two Route 66 museum in Oklahoma.

My favorite is the National Route 66 & Transportation Museum in Elk City, OK. The other is the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, OK. 

The travel website for Oklahoma is amazing and you can order a free Route 66 guide (and other guides). The longest stretch of route 66 is in Oklahoma and the man that designed it was from Oklahoma.

Oklahoma has so many great things to offer - be sure to spend as much time there as you can.



Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Elk City (city)
  2. National Route 66 & Transportation Museum (attraction)
  3. Oklahoma Route 66 Museum (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Felcity from Tucson

I know this doesn't have to do with anything but.. you should visit Tucson Arizona! it has Mt Lemmon which you can go to if you want to experience the real wilderness. So you should!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tucson (city)
  2. Mt Lemmon (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
Willie from Prescott

These are cities you should stop off at in AZ:

Holbrook, Williams, Seligman, Flagstaff, Winslow


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Holbrook (city)
  2. Williams (city)
  3. Seligman (city)
  4. Flagstaff (city)
  5. Winslow (city)
1 thanks


answered by
Gigi

Tulsa has some really good Route 66 stops.  check it out on your way through.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tulsa (city)


answered by
JonMarla

One of the places that are less known as you travel down Route 66 is just off the route, is a military installation and is named Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  There are WWII barracks that you can tour, an amazing military museum, among many other things.  Fort Leonard WoodFort Leonard Wood is one of the United States' largest military training installations and is beautiful during the fall to visit.  


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Route 66 (attraction)
  2. Fort Leonard Wood (city)




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