The Ultimate American Road Trip: Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles

Route 66, also known as the “Mother Road,” is the quintessential American road trip. Stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles, this historic highway offers a journey through the heart of the United States, taking travelers through eight states and countless iconic landmarks. If you’re ready to hit the open road and experience a slice of Americana, buckle up and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

Starting Point: Chicago, Illinois

Your journey begins in the Windy City, where Route 66 officially starts. Take a stroll down the Magnificent Mile, grab a classic deep-dish pizza, and snap a photo in front of the famous “Begin Route 66” sign at Adams Street and Michigan Avenue. As you leave Chicago, you’ll pass through the picturesque Illinois countryside, dotted with charming small towns and quirky roadside attractions.

Highlights Along the Way

As you make your way southwest, you’ll encounter a treasure trove of Route 66 icons. In Missouri, don’t miss the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the historic Meramec Caverns. Oklahoma boasts the Route 66 Museum in Clinton and the Blue Whale of Catoosa, a beloved roadside attraction. In Texas, stop at the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, where ten graffiti-covered Cadillacs are buried nose-down in the ground.

New Mexico offers a change of scenery, with stunning desert landscapes and the historic town of Santa Fe. Be sure to visit the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa and take a detour to the otherworldly Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. As you cross into California, you’ll be greeted by the Mojave Desert and the iconic Route 66 shield painted on the road in Amboy.

Final Destination: Los Angeles, California

After covering over 2,400 miles, you’ll finally reach the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica, California. Take a moment to dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean and reflect on the incredible journey you’ve just completed. Celebrate your accomplishment by exploring the vibrant city of Los Angeles, from the glamour of Hollywood to the laid-back beaches of Venice and Malibu.

Tips for Your Route 66 Road Trip

  • Plan your itinerary in advance, but leave room for spontaneous detours and discoveries.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good condition and pack essentials like maps, snacks, and a spare tire.
  • Take your time and embrace the slower pace of the open road.
  • Talk to locals and fellow travelers to learn about hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path attractions.
  • Document your journey with photos, videos, and a travel journal to preserve your memories.

Embarking on a Route 66 road trip is a chance to experience the diverse landscapes, rich history, and unique culture of the American heartland. So fill up your tank, cue up your favorite playlist, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on the Mother Road.