With everything going on in the world right now, road tripping has become more and more popular than every form of travel. The comforts of our cars feel a bit more approachable than taking to the skies these days. If you're feeling stir crazy and itching to drive off into the horizon to someplace new, then I have an adventure for you - Route 66.
Established in 1926, Steinbeck called Route 66 “ the Main Street of America." It was one of the original highways in the US and connected travelers from Chicago, Illinois all the way to Santa Monica, California. Route 66 was famous for its many tourist "traps" and a journey along this famous road was more of the draw than the destination to many travelers. In fact, my very own grandparents honeymooned along Route 66 back in the 1940s!
Today, Route 66 is broken up in several places, giving way to America's interstate system. But many cities and towns have created historic districts surrounding the original route that continue to thrive today. Route 66 passes across the Texas Panhandle and weaves right on through Amarillo. We visited Amarillo and had such a fun time exploring stops both new and old along the famous Route 66. To help you plan for your next road trip, I'm rounding up 6 of the Best Things to See & Do Along Route 66 in Amarillo today.
Make your Mark on Cadillac Ranch
Cadillac Ranch is an ever-changing colorful public art installation sitting along the outskirts of Amarillo. This roadside sculpture boasts 10 vintage Cadillacs buried in the dirt so that they are angled similarly to that of the Great Pyramids of Giza. The vintage cars' original paint is long gone and visitors are even encouraged to bring their own can of spray paint along with them to make their own mark on the installation.
Try the 72 oz. Steak at the Big Texan
Whenever I'm on a road trip, thinking about where we're going to stop for our next meal can feel all-consuming. It gives me something to look forward to and ponder over on those long hauls! If you're heading to Amarillo, or even just passing through, you simply have got to stop at The Big Texan. It's home to the famous "free" 72 oz. oz steak. The catch is it's free - only if you can eat the entire steak and all the sides that come along with it in under an hour!
The Big Texan feeds over half a million visitors each year and has been featured on numerous foodie television shows and even parodied in films. You can't miss its larger than life sign and bright yellow exterior when passing through town!
Shop Until You Drop Along Amarillo's Route 66 Historic District
Amarillo's Route 66 Historic District is home to oodles of unique boutiques. You'll find a souvenir (or seven) here along with one-of-a-kind gifts which are sure to surprise and delight those loved ones back home. Route 66 Historic District is home to several blocks of walkable shops and restaurants along what was once the "main drag" through town.
We had so much fun popping in and out of the colorful antique shops. Alley Katz Antiques and 6th Street Antique Mall have over 100 vendors combined and are the places to peruse for those retro, vintage and collectible finds. There's even an official Route 66 Store sporting goods that pay homage to Route 66's heyday.
Dine on Flagstaff Pie at GoldenLight Cafe
The oldest restaurant in Amarillo, the GoldenLight Cafe has been serving up burgers to Texans and travelers alike since the 1940s. We were told we couldn't miss the Flagstaff Pie at the GoldenLight. It's consists of a platter full of Fritos smothered with the cafe's famous chili, cheese
and onions. The description reads, "better be hungry!" before ordering & I'm here to tell you, "ain't that the truth!"
Step Back in Time at an RV Museum
Car enthusiasts will get a kick out of Amarillo's Jack Sisemore Traveland and RV Museum. The museum houses Jack's collection of restored vintage RVs dating back to the 1930s. Visitors are treated to the history of these larger-than-life vehicles from their inception until present day.
Patrick and I have always dreamed of owning our own RV one day and it was such a treat to step inside these RVs of yesteryear. I was particularly inspired by the floral prints and 1970s decor adorning several of them. I'm thinking if we ever did get our own RV, it would have to have all the retro vibes!
Salute a Larger-Than-Life Cowboy
This giant cowboy saluting cars passing by is a symbol of the golden age of funky roadside attractions. Before selfies were even a thing, tourists would flock to the "Second Amendment Cowboy" for photo ops and to get a glimpse of this cowboy in person. This 22' cowboy gets his name due to once being used as target practice before he was restored and sent to Amarillo to be put on display.
Snap a Shot in Front of Street Art
Speaking of selfies, Amarillo's Route 66 Historic District has ample opportunities for visitors to snap that perfect insta-worthy shot to share. Take a seat in front of dozens of lone star states at the corner of 6th Avenue and Virginia Street. Just a few blocks down the way you'll find the Route 66 sign on the back of a painted truck. This is the perfect spot to really show off those kicks (mine are Tecovas!) on Route 66!