Trip on Route 66 to Springfield, Illinois

The Illinois State Capitol in SpringfieldThe Illinois State Capitol in Springfield

Most travelers seem to start their journey on Route 66 in Chicago, and head westbound. That is the direction we take on this website.

The beginning point of Route 66 in Chicago has changed over the years, originally starting on Jackson Boulevard at Michigan Avenue in 1926. Since 1933 the starting point has been Jackson Boulevard at Lake Shore Drive.

Once outside the metropolitan Chicago area, Route 66 followed the Pontiac Trail, a former Indian trail and stagecoach road.

From its beginning in Chicago, Route 66 headed southwest to Joliet, Wilmington, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Bloomington, Lincoln and Springfield. The segment from Chicago to Springfield is roughly a 2.5 hour drive.

Springfield is the capital of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County, and home to over 115,000 residents. The most famous historic resident was¬†Abraham Lincoln, who lived in Springfield from 1837 until 1861, when he was elected President and moved to Washington, D.C.

Visitors can tour the house where Lincoln lived, the Lincoln Tomb State Historical Site, the Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, and the Illinois State Capitol Building. The Lincoln Train Station and Springfield Union Station are also popular attractions as is the Dana Thomas house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1904.

The city of Springfield operates a Visitors Center on the first floor of the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office across from the Old State Capitol.

Leaving Springfield, Route 66 traversed Litchfield, Staunton and Hamel, and then continued on to the Chain of Rocks Bridge at St. Louis, where it turned west through Rolla, Springfield, Joplin and into Kansas and Oklahoma.

Map showing the approximate route of U.S. Highway 66 in Illinois and the location of Springfield
Map showing the location of Springfield, Illinois on Historic Route 66

Photo Highlights of Road Trips to Springfield

Union Station in Springfield
Union Station in Springfield Illinois
Lauterbach Giant
Lauterbach Giant in Springfield, Illinois
Phillips 66 Station at Fulgenzi's Pizza
Phillips 66 Service Station at Fulgenzi's Pizza in Springfield, Illinois
Route 66 Drive In ... Springfield, Illinois
Route 66 Drive In ... Springfield, Illinois

Cozy Dog Drive In

Home of the original hot dog on a stick, dipped in batter and deep friend. Owned and operated by the Ed Waldmire family on famous Route 66 in Springfield, since 1949.

Located at 2935 So. Sixth Street, Springfield, IL 62703. Read more at the website of the Cozy Dog Drive In

Cozy Dog Drive In ... Springfield, Illinois Cozy Dog Drive In ... Springfield, Illinois Cozy Dog Drive In ... Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln Presidential Library

Opened in 2005, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum has become a popular attraction for visitors to Springfield. The 200,000 square foot complex, which includes an Archive, Library and Museum, features public experiences, galleries and theater presentations. It is located at 112 North Sixth Street in Springfield.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln's Tomb

The Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary, and three of their four sons. The Lincoln Tomb was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960; it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

Construction of the Lincoln Monument began in 1868, and it was dedicated in 1874. It is located at 1500 Monument Avenue.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site

The Lincoln Home National Historic Site preserves the home where Abraham Lincoln lived from 1844 to 1861, before becoming the 16th President of the United States. The site includes four blocks surrounding the home and a visitor center.

The Visitor Center is located at 426 South Seventh Street. Street access to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site is restricted to pedestrian access only.

Details, directions and hours at the Lincoln Home website at NPS

Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Abraham Lincoln Home in Springfield, Illinois

The Dana Thomas House, at 300 E Lawrence Avenue, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1904, in Springfield Illinois

The Dana Thomas House, at 300 E Lawrence Avenue, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, in Springfield Illinois

Lodging Options Along Illinois Route 66


Springfield, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Joliet, Illinois

Pontiac, Illinois


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Interactive Map of Springfield, Illinois


Driving West
on the Next Route 66 Segment?

From St. Louis to Joplin Across Missouri

Route 66 Road Trip across Missouri from St. Louis to Joplin


Earlier Times: Vintage Views along Route 66 in Springfield

Earlier times on Route 66 in Illinois: the A. Lincoln Tourist Court, south limits of Springfield, Illlinois


We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards dealing with Illinois and Route 66.

What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove around and across Illinois? What did all the service stations, motels and public buildings look like when they were new?

What did the traveling public experience on the Mother Road? We wonder such things when we travel Route 66 today.

Those earlier times in the 1930s, 40s and 50s were not always captured on film. But the use of colorful postcards was common in those decades.

These portray the historic road in its prime and help us to visualize, and appreciate, "earlier times" as we drive Route 66 today across Illinois.

Lincoln Trail Motel
Lincoln Trail Motel - Spingfield, Illinois
Leonard's Modern Motel
Leonard's Modern Motel - Springfield, Illinois
Springfield Motel
Springfield Motel on US 66 North in Illinois
Southern View Motel
Southern View Motel, Springfield, Illinois
Poland's Motel
Poland's Motel, City Route 66 North, Springfield, Illinois
Magnolia Court
Magnolia Court, Springfield, Illinois

More Information About Springfield & Illinois Route 66

Springfield Convention & Visitor Bureau website


City of Springfield, Illinois website


Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce website


Dana Thomas House


Lincoln Home National Historic Site


Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum


Lincoln Tomb


Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway


Springfield Travel Guide at TripAdvisor: Hotels, restaurants, things to do


Route 66 Association of Illinois