Highlights of Route 66 Illinois–In Photos

Route 66 Pontiac illinois mural_by_Laurence Norah

Well, I’ve finally got to the final state from our epic Route 66 adventure across the United States! We drove the entire route from Los Angeles in California through to Chicago in Illinois, sticking to the original route as closely as we could for the whole journey, using this incredible book to help us stay on track.

I’ve created a post for each of the states in the series, and you can see our Route 66 highlights for each of the following states by clicking on their name: California, Arizona, New Mexico,  Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma.

Today’s post is the last of the photo series, meaning you can now see the best of Route 66 in every state it covers! Let’s see what Illinois had in store for us..

Route 66 Highlights: Illinois

Route 66 Road Sign Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

As with many other sections of Route 66, the Illinois route followed different alignments across the decades. We always did our best to follow the original alignment, but that wasn't always possible, as often it no longer exists!

Atlanta Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah-2

It's always nice when the Route is this easy to find!

Cozy Dog Drive In Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah-2

Like many of the other states on Route 66, Illinois has some classic dining options that you just have to try. In this instance, the famous "Cozy Dog" at the Cozy Dog Drive-In

Cozy Dog Drive In Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah-4

You can even pose with the Cozy Dogs, as Jess did.

Rich and creamy Wilmington Route 66  Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

It's not just Cozy Dogs of course. There's ice cream too. It was delicious.

Giant hot dog man Atlanta Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

Naturally Illinois has no shortage of quirky statues either. This is one of the "Muffler Men", a 20ft fibreglass giant constructed to serve as advertising. Thousands of these statues could be found across the United Stated (and Route 66) in the 1960's, and those surviving figures on Route 66 are now iconic visitor attractions. The one above is holding a hot dog, whilst the chap below is known as "Gemini Man".

Giant Rocket Statue Route 66 Wilmington Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

Giant Wagon Lincoln Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

The Muffler Men aren't the only giants on Route 66! Here's a giant Abraham Lincoln aboard a giant wagon, who can appropriately be found in Lincoln, Illinois.

Lincoln Home National HIstoric Site Springfield Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

Illinois has further connections to Abraham Lincoln. In the town of Springfield, we visited the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, where Lincoln lived for a number of years prior to becoming President of the United States. It was also the only home he ever owned.

Lincoln Grave Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

And of course, Springfield, Illinois is also home to Lincoln's tomb, which can be found in the Oakfield Cemetery.

Henry%2527s Rabbit Ranch Staunton Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

Moving on to somewhat more whimsical subjects, a visit to Henry's Rabbit Ranch is a must when driving the Route in Illinois. Here you can meet Henry, his rabbits, and see all sorts of Route 66 memorabilia.

Henry%2527s Rabbit Ranch Staunton Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah-3

Henry has some pretty cool rabbits.

Henry%2527s Rabbit Ranch Staunton Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah-4

Yep, well worth the visit.

Livingston Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

Naturally Illinois has it's fair share of weird Route 66 roadside structures, with everything from a UFO...

Livingston Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah-2

... to a giant pink elephant.

Motel sign Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

Illinois has drive in theatres as well, definitely a must-stop somewhere along your Route 66 adventure.

Murals Pontiac Illinois Route 66_by_Laurence Norah

There are murals, to help you figure out where you've been and where you're going.

Route 66 gas pump Wilmington Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

And of course, one of our favourite sights, those wonderful old gas stations.

Old Gas Station Dwight Route 66 illinois_by_Laurence Norah

Old gas station Odell Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

Old gas station Odell Route 66 Illinois_by_Laurence Norah-2

Route 66 Association Hallf of Fame and Museum Pontiac Illinois_by_Laurence Norah

As with every state, Illinois has it's own Route 66 Museum, this one is in Pontiac Illinois and is called the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum. Well worth stopping in.

Route 66 Association Hallf of Fame and Museum Pontiac Illinois_by_Laurence Norah-2

And round the back of the museum in Pontiac is this incredible converted school bus. It definitely gave me some ideas for transport options! Also, don't miss the murals around the town of Pontiac, including the one at the start of the post.

Route 66 Chicago end sign_by_Laurence Norah

Finally, and a little bit sadly, we of course made it to the end of Route 66! Which is, to be honest, not quite as exciting as you might imagine, just a little sign half way up a lamp post. Still, we posed for a photo...

Meal at end of Route 66 at Lou Mitchell%2527s_by_Laurence Norah

...and then went for a meal at Lou Mitchell's. Founded in 1923, this is famous as being the first (or last!) stop on the Route, and was traditionally the place to eat a meal before heading out west. So naturally, it seemed like the perfect place for us to end.

Planning your own Route 66 Adventure

If you’re planning your own Route 66 adventure, we’ve got a bit of reading for you!

Enjoy your Route 66 trip!

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