Riding Historic U.S. Route 66 thru Missouri

"The Mother Road" was established on November 11, 1926, and ultimately stretched 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. Starting in Chicago, westbound travelers traversed a series of towns in Illinois before arriving in St. Louis.

Greetings from scenic Missouri on Route 66

Heading westbound the route traveled through these cites and towns in Missouri:

  • St. Louis
  • Cuba
  • Rolla
  • Lebanon
  • Springfield
  • Carthage
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • Joplin

Route 66 across Missouri features a variety of large cities and small towns, connected by roadways over rolling hills and valleys. The Mother Road followed much of the Kickapoo, or Osage, Trail, an Indian trail that later became the Old Wire Road. Like other Route 66 segments, the actual alignment varied over the years as engineering improvements were constructed.

We've driven much of Route 66, including multiple segments across Missouri.

Approximate location of Historic Route 66 from St. Louis to Joplin, Missouri
Approximate location of Historic Route 66 from St. Louis to Joplin, Missouri

 

Photo Highlights from Our Road Trips Along Route 66 in MIssouri

The historic Chain of Rocks Bridge spanning the Mississippi River on the north edge of St. Louis, Missouri

 

Vintage view of the Chain of Rocks Bridge spanning the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri

Chain of Rocks Bridge
St. Louis, Missouri

The historic Chain of Rocks Bridge spanning the Mississippi River on the north edge of St. Louis, Missouri was opened in 1929.

The bridge was part of U.S. Route 66 and linked two states: Illinois and Missouri. The bridge is short and narrow, only 1 mile long by 24 feet wide, but has now been repurposed as a bike and pedestrian trail across the river.

It towers more than 60 feet above the water, and features a unique 30-degree turn midway across.

 

The Gateway Arch
St. Louis, Missouri

The Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River is the world’s tallest arch, and the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, “Gateway to the West,” administered by the National Park Service (NPS). More than a million visitors ride to the top of the 630-foot Arch each year. It's a favorte stop for travelers on Historic Route 66!

Gateway Arch Website at NPS

The Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis Missouri
Photo Credit: NPS

Historic U.S. Route 66 Byway in Missouri
Historic U.S. Route 66 Byway in Missouri


Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
St. Louis, Missouri

Located at 6726 Chippewa in St. Louis, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard has been selling frozen custard for over 80 years. They are also famous for their Christmas trees, for over 50 years. With the motto, “Our Business Is Service”, Ted has inspired four generations of family members and employees to work hard, and succeed. A not-to--be-missed attraction in St. Louis!

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard Website

The classic neon sign at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St. Louis, Missouri

The ever-popular Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St. Louis, Missouri
The ever-popular Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St. Louis, Missouri

The FourWay restaurant at 102 W. Washington Street in Cuba, Missouri ... Kabobs, Salads, Burgers, Fresh Food & Drinks
The FourWay restaurant on Historic Route 66 in Cuba, Missouri

Murals on the wall at The FourWay restaurant, a former Mobil gas station, on Historic Route 66

Murals on the wall in downtown Cuba, Missouri, on Historic Route 66


Mural City
Cuba, Missouri

Shown here is a staff photo of the Prosperity Corner mural, in Cuba, Missouri, on Historic Route 66. Cuba was designed the "Route 66 Mural City" by the Missouri Legislature in 2002. Today, twelve officially commissioned murals have been painted around the town, the result of the Viva Cuba organization. Other murals can also be seen around town. The Cuba Chamber of Commerce offers a well done walking tour brochure.

Murals on the wall in downtown Cuba, Missouri, on Historic Route 66

Downtown Cuba, Missouri, on Historic Route 66
Downtown Cuba, Missouri, on Historic Route 66

Prosperity Corner mural, Cuba, Missouri, on Historic Route 66 (Staff Photo)

 

Bob's Gasoline Alley
822 Beamer Lane
Cuba, Missouri

Located just off Route 66 in Cuba, Bob's Gasoline Alley is home to hundreds and hundreds of pieces of vintage gas station memorabilia. On display are over 300 old signs, gas pumps, quirky statues, antique cars and lots more "petroliana".

Bob's Gasoline Alley in Cuba, Missouri

Mule Trading Post in Rolla, Missouri
Mule Trading Post in Rolla, Missouri

 

Roadside Attraction: Devil's Elbow, Pulaski County, Missouri
Roadside Attraction: Devil's Elbow, Pulaski County, Missouri


Devil's Elbow Bridge, Pulaski County, Missouri

Devil's Elbow, Pulaski County, Missouri


Vintage view of Big Piney River and Bridge at Devil's Elbow, Missouri

Vintage view of Big Piney River and Bridge at Devil's Elbow, Missouri

Route 66 Museum
Lebanon, Missouri

Shown here is the Route 66 Museum located in the Laciede County Library in Lebanon, Missouri. The museum features a large-scal display of an old Texaco gas station as well as displays of vintage motel rooms and diners. It also features a large display of Route 66 maps and collectibles. Admission is free to the museum, located at 915 S. Jefferson Avenue.

Route 66 Museum and Library in Lebanon, Missouri

Texaco gas station display inside the Route 66 Museum in Lebanon, Missouri
Texaco gas station display inside the Route 66 Museum in Lebanon, Missouri

Springfield, Missouri, Route 66 Visitor Center, at 815 E. St. Louis Street
Springfield, Missouri, Route 66 Visitor Center

Gary's Sinclair Filling Station near Halltown, Missouri, 25 miles west of Springfield
Sinclair Service Station in Parita, Missouri

66 Drive-In Theater, Carthage, Missouri
66 Drive-In Theater, Carthage, Missouri

Neon sign at the 66 Drive-In Theater, Carthage, Missouri
Neon sign at the 66 Drive-In Theater, Carthage, Missouri


Route 66 Mural Park
Joplin, Missouri

Shown here is the mural in downtown Joplin, Missouri at Pearl Brothers Hardware Store. This is only one of many murals painted throughout the downtown area.  The Route 66 Mural Park in Joplin features two nostalgic murals and an oversized 45-record imprint of "Get Your Kicks on Route 66". The upper mural is called "Cruisin’ into Joplin", and showing a vintage Buick arriving in Joplin on Route 66 from the west.

Route 66 Mural Park in downtown Joplin, Missour

Joplin, Missouri mural at Pearl Brothers


 

The lower mural is called "The American Ribbon", tracing the route of the Mother Road from Chicago to Los Angeles. Jutting out in three dimensions from the mural is a mock 1964 red Chevrolet Corvette. This is a favorite stop for Rouge 66 travelers in Missouri for photo-ops! The mural is located at 619 S. Main Street in Joplin.
Joplin, Missouri, Route 66 Mural ... with the red Corvette

And just across the border from Missouri ... this Route 66 mural in Galena, Kansas
Route 66 mural in Galena, Kansas


Lodging Options Along Route 66

St. Louis, Missouri

Rolla, Missouri

Springfield, Missouri

Joplin, Missouri

Click to review hotels and restaurants, read reviews and make reservations at TripAdvisor

 

Earlier Images of Route 66 in Missouri

King Bros Motel, Historic Route 66, St. Louis, Missouri
King Bros Motel, Historic Route 66, St. Louis, Missouri


Nelson Dream Village, Lebanon, Missouri, on Historic Route 66
Nelson Dream Village, Lebanon, Missouri, on Historic Route 66


Ranch Courtel, Mt. Vernon, Missouri, on Historic Route 66
Ranch Courtel, Mt. Vernon, Missouri, on Historic Route 66

Modern Cottages, Rolla, Missouri, on Historic Route 66

Modern Cottages, Rolla, Missouri, on Historic Route 66

Vintage Postcard: Rock Village Court, Springfield, Missouri, on Historic Route 66

Vintage Postcard: Rock Village Court, Springfield, Missouri, on Historic Route 66

Sunshine Motor Courts, Springfield, Missouri, on Historic Route 66

Vintage Postcard: Sunshine Motor Courts, Springfield, Missouri, on Historic Route 66


New Haven Courts, Springfield, Missouri, on Historic Route 66

New Haven Courts, Springfield, Missouri, on Historic Route 66


Little Chum's Lodge, Springfield, Missouri, on Historic Route 66

Little Chum's Lodge, Springfield, Missouri, on Historic Route 66

Lake Shore Motel in Carthage, Missouri
Lake Shore Motel in Carthage, Missouri


Bob Miller's Restaurant, 419 Main Street, Joplin, Missouri ... Where the Guest is Served the Best

Bob Miller's Restaurant, 419 Main Street, Joplin, Missouri ... Where the Guest is Served the Best


Hotel Connor in Joplin, Missouri

Hotel Connor in Joplin, Missouri


Continuing West
on the Next Route 66 Segment?

Across Kansas

Route 66 Road Trip across Kansas

More Route 66 and Travel-Related Resources