Tucumcari Travel on Route 66
Leaving Glenrio on the Texas-New Mexico border, Route 66 headed west and passed through San Jon on its way to Tucumcari. Further west were the towns of Montoya, Newkirk, Cuervo and Santa Rosa.
Today as we leave Glenrio, we are back on I-40, and arrive in Tucumcari after only a 42 mile trip. It is an active city with a variety of vintage motels and electric neon signage, and services for Route 66 fans and travelers.
Founded in 1901, Tucumcari is located in Quay County and has a population of over 5,000 residents. Tucumcari is the largest city between Amarillo and Albuquerque, and has long used the slogan "Tucumcari Tonite!"
|Early 1900s aerial view of Tucumcari, New Mexico, with its namesake mountain in the background|
For decades, Tucumcari has been a popular stop for travelers on Interstate 40 and previously Route 66. Many businesses, service stations, restaurants and motels were built to accommodate tourists as they traveled through the city on the Mother Road.
Today, Historic U.S. Route 66 continues to pass through the center of Tucumcari via Route 66 Boulevard.
A large number of the vintage motels, restaurants and gift shops built in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s are still in business. One of the more famous hotels here is the Blue Swallow Motel.
Two area State Parks offer boating, fishing, skiing and other outdoor recreation.
We have visited and stayed in Tucumcari on several occasions, and highly recommend making Tucumcari a stop on your next Route 66 road trip!
Map of Route 66 from Glenrio to Santa Fe showing the location of Tucumcari
|Early scene of rural U.S. Route 66 between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa, New Mexico|
Things to See and Do in the Tucumcari Area
|The Route 66 Monument in Tucumcari, New Mexico|
Whatever your interests, Tucumcari offers a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions, including:
- Mesalands Community College Dinosaur Museum
- Tucumcari Historical Museum
- New Mexico Route 66 Museum
- Tucumcari Railroad Museum
- Tucumcari Mountain
- Route 66 Monument
- Ute Lake State Park
- Conchas Lake State Park
- Tee Pee Curios
- Vintage neon signs
- Route 66 Townhouse Welcome Center & Gift Shop
- Murals of Tucumcari
The city also offers other facilities such as a convention center, golf course, and public library. Tucumcari Municipal Airport is a full-service facility.
The Murals of Tucumcari
Also known as the “City of Murals”, Tucumcari and Quay County have over 40 murals and counting!
Mural maps are available at the Chamber of Commerce, 404 W. Route 66 Boulevard.
Several popular murals are shown below.
The "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico
The "Dodge and Cowboy" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico
The "Texaco" Station on Main Street
In Tucumcari at 1201 East Route 66 Boulevard at the corner of South Lake Street is a building restored to resemble a Texaco service station. Now known as "The Trade Station", it features a gift, antiques and memorabilia shop inside. On the outside are period gas pumps.
Shown below is the artfully done mural on the side of the building.
The Route 66 "Texaco" mural at 1201 E. Route 66 Blvd. in Tucumcari
The "Tucumcari in the Land of Enchantment" mural
The "Red Corvette and the Ladies" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico
Signs of the Times in Tucumcari
| Ranch House Cafe
in Tucumcari (2004)
|| Westerner Drive-Inn ... Tucumcari NM (2004)
New Mexico Route 66 Museum
The New Mexico Route 66 Museum offers a unique look into New Mexico's Route 66 heritage, as well as a wide range of representation, from Glenrio to Gallup and everywhere in between.
The museum is in Tucumcari, New Mexico on the south side of the Convention Center at 1500 West Route 66 Boulevard. Nearby is the famous Route 66 Monument commissioned by artist Tom Coffin (photo lower right).
Lodging Options in Tucumcari
Tucumcari offers a variety of lodging options, and features over twenty motels for the traveling public, including the historic and well-known Blue Swallow Motel and Motel Aztec.
Many "one-of-a-kind" properties are available as well as nationally operated chain facilities. Several are in the city, others offering great views of area lakes.
Long famous for its number and variety of motels and lodging, the city adopted the "Tucumcari Tonite" advertising campaign.
"1,200 rooms, RV parks, 3 museums, restaurants and fuel" ...
Tucumcari hotels and traveler reviews at TripAdvisor
Restaurant reviews at TripAdvisor
Tucumcari Travel Guide and Things to Do
The Route66RoadTrip website has no connection with any of the hotels and motels listed ... they are provided as a starting point in your research and selection on where to stay on Route 66 on your next road trip.
Classic Lodging in Tucumcari
The Blue Swallow Motel
The Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari has been serving travelers along the Mother Road since 1939, and today, guests enjoy a pleasant reminder of what it was like to travel across the USA in the “good old days.”
From the beautifully restored rooms, to the distinctive attached garages, to the fabulous neon display each night, a stay at the Blue Swallow is a unique experience!
815 E. Route 66 ... Phone 575.461.9849
website of the Blue Swallow Motel
The Motel Safari opened in 1959, and today many of the original design elements are still evident, such as the quirky geometric sign, oozing brick mortar and counter stacked bricks in the facade, and square holes in the cinder block structures.
Enjoy mid-century modern style with today's convenience! All rooms include free WiFi, cable HDTV, and in-room Route 66 Radio.
722 E. Route 66 ... Phone 575.461.1048
Classic Dining in Tucumcari
|Del's Restaurant ... Since 1956 ... 1202 East Historic Route 66|
|La Cita Mexican Food ... 820 S. 1st Street|
Classic Shopping in Tucumcari
|Tee Pee Curios ... at 924 East Route 66 Boulevard in Tucumcari|
|The Route 66 mural at Tee Pee Curios in Tucumcari|
Earlier Times: Vintage Views along Route 66 in Tucumcari
We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards dealing with Tucumcari and Route 66.
What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove through and around Tucumcari? 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 around Tucumcari.
Interactive Map of the Tucumcari, New Mexico Area
Travel Guides for Other States Along Route 66
Planning a Road Trip on Route 66? Here are trip planners for the major segments ...
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Popular Route 66 resources for your next road trip!
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More Information About Tucumcari
Tucumcari Economic Development Council (EDC) website
Tucumcari at New Mexico Tourism website
Tucumcari Travel Guide at TripAdvisor: Hotels, restaurants, things to do