Don’t forget these must-see stops as you head down Route 66.
The 19-foot-tall Muffler Man statue in Atlanta, Illinois, was one of the original Muffler Men used to advertise businesses along Route 66. Instead of a muffler, the so-called Bunyon Giant cradles a giant hot dog in his hands. Before moving to Atlanta, the statue advertised a now-defunct hot dog stand in Cicero, Illinois. When that business closed in 2003, the owners gave the statue to Atlanta.
The Giant, with his red shirt and blue pants, is a major Route 66 attraction, pulling in about 10,000 visitors a year. Most of them just want to snap a selfie with the statue. Groups coming to see the Giant can stop in Route 66 Park to visit the U.S. Route 66/Illinois Route 4 Driving Exhibit on the north edge of town, which features a quarter-mile section of concrete roadbed constructed in 1924.
Standing on the Corner Park
It’s hard not to hum The Eagles classic song “Take it Easy” when you’re standing on the corner of Kinsley and East Second Street in Winslow, Arizona, one of the most famous photo stops along Route 66. Standing on the Corner Park was dreamed up in 1997 by the Standin’ on the Corner Foundation, which wanted to commemorate The Eagles song that put Winslow, a fading Route 66 town, back on the map. The park was dedicated in 1999 and features a two-story mural by John Pugh.
After founding Eagles member Glenn Frey passed away in 2016, the park added a bronze statue of a man holding a guitar called “Easy.”
Oklahoma Route 66 Museum
In Clinton, Oklahoma, interactive displays and artifacts from every decade of the Mother Road’s history make the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum a must-see stop for groups. Visitors can enrich their experience at the museum by listening to an audio tour and using QR codes throughout the exhibits, which share more details about each artifact and era along the road.
The museum shares how the two-lane road, which runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, was built and its influence in the development of the American West after the 1930s Dust Bowl and World War II. From kitschy shops and restaurants to famous neon signs and Instagram-worthy photo stops, Route 66 still fires the imagination, attracting travelers from all around the world.
Considered the Stonehenge of the 1970s, Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, is a man-made wonder that can clearly be seen from Route 66. An artists group called The Ant Farm wanted to create a public art installation in the area and settled on placing 10 Cadillacs made between 1949 and 1963 nose down in the dirt. The display showed off the cars’ distinctive tailfins and the evolution of the Cadillac.
When first placed in the ground, the cars were the colors they were when they left the factory floor. But in the 1980s, visitors started writing messages on the cars with spray paint. Now, the ability to make their mark on this art piece is one of the installation’s biggest draws. Visitors can buy spray paint and Cadillac Ranch memorabilia at a stand near the sculpture, which is in a wheat field about 100 yards off the road.