Experience one of the most renowned highways in the world, Route 66, affectionately dubbed ‘The Mother Road’. Journey at your own pace and enjoy your choice of sights, landmarks and monuments. Take in Abraham Lincoln’s first house, the cowboy culture of Oklahoma City, the fascinating petrified forest near Holbrook, the incredible natural wonder of the Grand Canyon and the entertainment capital of the world capital, Las Vegas. This is an iconic road trip to remember.
Suggested Route and Selection
Suggested duration: 18 nights Chicago to Los Angeles
• Chicago, Illinois: 2 nights
• Springfield, Illinois: 1 night
• St Louis, Missouri: 2 nights
• Springfield, Missouri: 1 night
• Tulsa, Oklahoma: 1 night
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: 1 night
• Amarillo, Texas: 1 night
• Tucumcari, New Mexico: 1 night
• Albuquerque, New Mexico: 2 nights
• Holbrook, Arizona: 1 night
• Flagstaff, Arizona: 1 night
• Grand Canyon, Arizona: 1 night
• Las Vegas, Nevada: 2 nights
• Los Angeles, California: 1 night
CHICAGO Begin your epic cross-country journey in the ‘Windy City’. Brave the dizzying heights of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and enjoy incredible views from the glass ledge that extends from the Skydeck on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower. Learn about the city’s striking buildings on the Chicago Architectural River Cruise and don’t miss out on the local deep-dish pizza.
Hotel: Holiday Inn Mart Plaza
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS Explore this historical city, perhaps visiting some of the many sites that connected to Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. Highlights include the Lincoln Home National Historic Site – the only home he ever owned – the Lincoln Tomb and the Old State capital where he made one of his most famous speeches.
Hotel: Crowne Plaza Springfield
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI Located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, the city of St Louis, also known as the ‘Gateway to the West’ has one of the most famous skylines in the country due to the 630-foot high Gateway Arch. The city is made up of many neighbourhoods, including the oldest district of Laclede’s Landing which is now a popular entertainment destination with restaurants, bars and shops housed in the 19th Century buildings which line the cobbled streets.
Hotel: Omni Majestic Hotel
SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI Known as the ‘Birthplace of Route 66’, it was in this city the idea of a Chicago to Los Angeles route was conceived, so a visit here is a must. There are plenty of original motels, gas stations and diners to be seen along the route, so you’ll be sure to get a taste of the charming Route 66 towns to come along your journey. Other than ‘Mother Road’ sites, you can visit Civil War battlefields and cemeteries as well as various historic buildings and sites.
Hotel: Best Western Rail Haven
TULSA, OKLAHOMA Green and verdant, the city of Tulsa sits on the banks of the Arkansas River and has a mix of old west charm and a cosmopolitan atmosphere. When following the original route of Route 66 you’ll pass the only surviving cinema on the route – the Circle Theater – and cross the 11th Street Arkansas River Bridge
Hotel: Holiday Inn Tulsa City Centre
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA As you travel through rural Missouri, also known as ‘Mark Twain country’, en route to Oklahoma City, you can imagine yourself in the novels of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. In Oklahoma City you’ll start to get a taste of the cowboy culture of the American west as well as experiencing life in ‘America’s heartland’.
Hotel: Best Western Plus Broadway Inn & Suites
AMARILLO, TEXAS You’ll pass into Texas, the second largest state, and continue on the the city of Amarillo, which was once an important stop in Route 66. This is the land of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Native American tribes, cattle farmers and oil fields – all the icons of Texas in concentrated into one city. You can follow parts of the original route – some of which are relatively nondescript, while others, in particular the Historic Route 66 – 6th Street District, are pure Americana.
Hotel: Holiday Inn Express
TUCUMCARI, NEW MEXICO The next state you’ll travel through is New Mexico, and the first stop here is the town of Tucumcari. Following its foundation in 1901 it was an almost lawless rail camp on the Rock Island Railroad. Saloons were patronised by outlaws, gamblers and dance hall girls lined the streets and gun fights were frequent gaining it the historic nick name of ‘Six-Shooter Siding’. Thankfully it’s now a much more sedate destination where you can witness the 1940s and 50s flavour of Route 66 along Tucumcari Boulevard.
Hotel: Best Western Discovery Inn
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO Sitting at the crossroads of the major east to west and north to south routes, Albuquerque has grown to be the largest city in New Mexico. As well as a historic portion of Route 66, the city prides itself on its cowboy culture and ancient pueblo, Native American and hispanic traditions. Lovers of the outdoors can head into the nearby Sandia Mountains while culture buffs and foodies don’t need to stray too far from the historic Old Town or Down Town districts.
Hotel: Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn
HOLBROOK, ARIZONA The Navajo country of Arizona – the Grand Canyon State – is next on the agenda as you drive towards the small town of Holbrook. The town is notable for its proximity to the eerie Petrified Forest National Park which is home to thousands of petrified logs – fossilised trees from the Late Triassic period. Back in Holbrook you can see vintage motels on Navajo Boulevard and West Hopi Drive – the original course of Route 66 and adobe buildings dating back to the late 19th Century to the south of the rail tracks.
Hotel: Best Western Arizonian Inn
FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA Surrounded by forests, notable natural landscapes and the remains of ancient settlements, the city of Flagstaff is great base from which to explore. Nearby you can visit the pre-historic ruins of Elden Pueblo, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and the Wupatki National Monument, a further collection of ancient pueblo ruins.
Hotel: Little America Hotel
GRAND CANYON, ARIZONA From Flagstaff you’ll head north through desert and bush to what is undoubtedly the most famous of the USA’s natural landscapes… the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon. Carved and shaped by the Colorado River over a period of a few million years, the canyon exposes layers of rocks up to two billion years old. Your first glimpse of the canyon is a memory that will remain with you forever, and you can explore the canyon on foot, mule-back or by helicopter.
Hotel: Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA En route to Las Vegas travel across the Hoover Dam and the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, and past Lake Mead. Providing a complete contrast to the Route 66 towns and natural attractions you’ve passed through so far, Vegas is a 24-hour entertainment metropolis illuminated by neon, where mega-hotels, casinos and shopping malls line the famous Strip.
Hotel: Tropicana Las Vegas
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA The final leg of your drive takes you across the Mojave Desert, into the state of California and towards the city of angels, Los Angeles. The greater Los Angeles area is made up of a collection of merged cities which include iconic Hollywood, beach-side Santa Monica and upmarket Beverly Hills. Depending on your tastes, you can visit famous movie studios, head to the original Disney Park, Disneyland in nearby Anaheim, seek your favourite entertainer’s stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame or just enjoy the SoCal vibes along the coast.
Hotel: Best Western Plus Gateway Hotel.