This website uses Cookies to offer you an enhanced browsing experience. Find out more about how we use Cookies.

USA Radio

Route 66 Car Culture in the Land of Lincoln

By Idoia Gkikas

Do you love classic American cars? Do you long for the simpler time that’s embodied by the world-famous Route 66? Classic car buffs will find much to love among the car museums and other unique Americana sites along the “Mother Road,” from its beginnings in Chicago to the state capital of Springfield, in Illinois’ Land of Lincoln.

The Joliet Area Historical Museum

Not far from Chicago, my first stop takes me to the Joliet Area Historical Museum, where the “Route 66 Experience” exhibition lovingly preserves the history of the great road. Alongside the Blues Brothers and state-of-the-art audio visual presentations, you’ll also find a gift shop that carries Route 66 collectibles. Wandering the exhibit, I also got a great overview of the incredible Route 66 road trip we were about to enjoy.

Historic Gas Station in Odell

As you pull up to the historic and authentically restored gas station from the 1930s in Odell, you’ll feel like you’ve just stepped back in time. Gas was sold here up until the 1960s, and today, the station is home to the Odell Welcome Center. The classic flair of its original 1930s roots is still very much alive. Old gas pumps stand out front, and in the adjacent garage, old tools, tires and spare parts that were once used to repair cars here are on display. This historic treasure is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pontiac Oakland Automobile Museum

My next stop along the legendary road was beautiful Pontiac, whose downtown is covered with many colourful Route 66 murals. At the Pontiac Oakland Automobile Museum, you can see many vintage cars, from a classic Pontiac from 1930 to a rare Pontiac Firebird from the 1970s. Dealer artifacts and signs, brochures and original design drawings round out the collection. There are several other museums in downtown Pontiac, including the Route 66 Association Hall of Fame.

Famous Car Shows and Events

Along Route 66, you can also enjoy a variety of events throughout the year, including the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival, which draws more than 1,000 cars and 80,000 spectators to downtown Springfield every fall. Another favorite is the Berwyn Route 66 Car Show. Classic cars, hot rods, oldies music and food vendors combine for some seriously fun events for the whole family.

For more information, please visit us:

Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway

Welcome to Visit The USA!

Now that you have registered, you can save trip ideas to your suitcase.

Start exploring

Enter your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Please check your email.

Start exploring

The password on your account has successfully been changed. Please use your new password to login.

Start exploring

This website is set to 'allow all cookies' for the best user experience. By continuing without changing this setting, you are consenting to this. You may change your settings at any time at the bottom of this page.

More information about cookies

Cookies are very small text files that are stored on your computer when you visit some websites.

We use cookies to make our website easier for you to use. You can remove any cookies already stored on your computer, but these may prevent you from using parts of our website.

If you choose to disable non-essential cookies, the website will:

  • Allow you to log in and remember you are logged in, while in session
  • Determine your country of origin in order to serve you the most relevant version of the site

This website will not:

  • Restrict welcome messaging to the first time you visit the site
  • Track any activity on the site for analytics purposes

More information about cookies