Travel on Historic U.S. Route 66 to Springfield, Illinois

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. Today, the starting point is at East Adams Street at South Michigan Avenue, and the end point is at East Jackson at South Michigan. One way streets in the area can be difficult to navigate for first-time Route 66 visitors!

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 Romeoville, 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

Lodging and Travel Options in Springfield


Hotels and lodging in Springfield, Illinois

Springfield Travel Guide at TripAdvisor

Springfield, Illinois Hotels

Restaurants and Dining

Attractions and Things to Do

Vacation Rentals in Springfield

Photo Highlights of Road Trips to Springfield

Lauterbach Giant on display at 1569 Wabash Avenue in Springfield
Lauterbach Giant in Springfield, Illinois
Union Station in Springfield
Union Station 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

Motorheads Bar, Grill and Museum

Motorheads is located at 600 Toronto Road in Springfield. Read more about Motorheads or Motorheads on Facebook.

Sign at Motorheads Bar, Grill and Museum in Springfield, Illinois Cars on the roof ... at Motorheads Bar, Grill and Museum in Springfield, Illinois
Many Route 66 travelers to Springfield over the years have known about two famous places in town: Shea's on Route 66, and Sonrise Donuts. Motorheads now features a replica of the front of Shea's, and one side of the Sonrise Donuts neon sign (the other side of the sign is located at the Ace Sign Company Museum, 2540 S. First Street in Springfield)
Sonrise Donuts sign at Motorheads in Springfield, Illinois Replica of the famous Shea's Station, on exhibit at Motorheads in Springfield, Illinois

Shea's ... In Earlier Days

This well-known building was transformed from a working Texaco, and later Marathon, station into a museum by owner Bill Shea and his wife Helen. It was located at 2075 Peoria Road in Springfield.

Due to his commitment to preserving Route 66 history and gas station memorabilia, plus his many years of quality service to his customers, Bill Shea and his shop were inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame in 1993. Bill died in December of 2013 and the gas station was sold, and its contents were auctioned in 2015.

The staff of our website have visited Springfield numerous times over the years. Shown below is an original photo of Shea's on Route 66 that we took on September 7, 2009.

Shea's on Route 66 in Springfield, Illinois, circa 2009

In the right of our photo above, one can see the historic Mahan's Phillips 66 Filling Station. It was later moved in 2016 to Fulgenzi's Pizza at 1168 E. Sangamon Avenue in Springfield (see photo below).

Phillips 66 Service Station at Fulgenzi's Pizza in Springfield, Illinois

Today, in 2023, plans are underway to restore at least a portion of Shea's back to earlier times. The City of Springfield has accepted a $623,000 state grant to reopen Bill Shea’s Station Museum along Route 66. The goal of the project is to restore the exterior as close as possible to how Bill Shea left it before his passing in 2013. Plans are to remove the front fencing, repave the front and side lots, freshen up the blue & white paint scheme and restore the exterior signage including decals on the garage doors.

Illinois State Fair Grounds

The Illinois State Fair Grounds on Historic Route 66 in Springfield


Route 66 Experience

This unique area is located at the Illinois State Fair Grounds in Springfield. It involves a walking tour that begins at the southernmost part of the route, at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in Madison, Illinois, and travels north through over 90 Illinois communities along The Mother Road and into Chicago. It also features a new Neon Sign Park.

More information at the Visit Springfield Illinois website

Route 66 Experience opens as State Fair approaches
WCIA - Central Illinois - 07/28/2023

The Route 66 Experience at the Illinois State Fair Grounds in Springfield
The Neon Park at the Route 66 Experience ... a visual treat, day and night!
Neon signs during the day at the Route 66 Experience at the Illinois State Fair Grounds in Springfield Neon signs at night at the Route 66 Experience at the Illinois State Fair Grounds in Springfield

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 website

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

Murals in Springfield, Illinois

There are many excellent murals in Springfield, many dealing with Route 66, like the one shown below. To see other murals and get directions, visit Springfield Route 66 Mural Trail.

Route 66 mural  in Springfield, Illinois

The Stadium Smokehouse Bar & Grill in Springfield

The Stadium Smokehouse Bar & Grill is located at 2300 North Peoria Road in Springfield. In 2023, a new Route 66 mural was painted on the side of the building by artist Spencer Stokes @marsho217.

Stadium Smokehouse Bar & Grill website and Stadium Smokehouse on Facebook

Read more about other area outdoor art at VisitSpringfield

Route 66 mural on the The Stadium Smokehouse Bar & Grill in Springfield, Illinois


Interactive Map of Springfield, Illinois



Route 66 Road Trips in Illinois

Route 66 road trip to Chicago, Illinois Route 66 Road Trip to Joliet, Illinois Route 66 Road Trip to Pontiac, Illinois Route 66 Road Trip to Bloomington and Normal in Illinois
Dwight, Illinois along Route 66 Route 66 road trip to Springfield, Illinois Route 66 road trip to Litchfield, Illinois


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