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
|The Route 66 Monument in Tucumcari, New Mexico
Whatever your interests, Tucumcari offers a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions, including:
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
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
Welcome to Tucumcari mural
| 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).
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" ...
|This website has no affiliation or connection with the listed hotel properties. Listings from TripAdvisor are provided as a starting point in your hotel research. It is always recommended that travelers do their own research and make informed decisions about the hotels they book.
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
Roadrunner Lodge Motel
The older portion, on the west side, was built in 1947 as La Plaza Court. The present owner moved to the property in 2014, rebuilt a previously lost part of classic Americana, and gave it the name “Roadrunner Lodge”.
Today, the Roadrunner offers premium bedding, plush bathroom accessories, and fast Wi-Fi.
Travelers that call ahead or reserve online will have their room prepared for their arrival with the lights on and the radio tuned to Roadrunner Lodge Motel’s own station!
1023 E. Route 66 ... Phone 575.282.7866
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 Wi-Fi, cable HDTV, and in-room Route 66 Radio.
Owner/operator Larry Smith is almost always at the front desk to greet you upon arrival, along with his loyal sidekick, Sam.
722 E. Route 66 ... Phone 575.461.1048
|Del's Restaurant ... Since 1956 ... 1202 East Historic Route 66
Del's on TripAdvisor
|La Cita Mexican Food ... 820 S. 1st Street
La Cita on TripAdvisor
|Tee Pee Curios ... at 924 East Route 66 Boulevard in Tucumcari
|The Route 66 mural at Tee Pee Curios 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.
MORE NEW MEXICO ROUTE 66
Planning a Road Trip on Route 66? Here are trip planners for the major segments ...
More Information about Tucumcari