Best Things to Do from Springfield to St. Louis, MO on Route 66

Today we begin in Springfield to St. Louis, Missouri. There’s little to finish on Route 66! We’ve traveled at least 1,600 miles (probably more), and we still have 512 miles ahead to get to Chicago (counting today).

The day after tomorrow, we will be entering Chicago. We are in the state of Missouri, and we have to go further north to reach the state of Illinois.

Read what to see from Chicago to St Louis on Route 66

If you want to go from Chicago, IL, to St Louis, MO, you have around 300 miles. But there are plenty of things to do and visit, so I recommend splitting this day into 2 or 3 if you have enough time.

Here you have how we did these stretches:

Route 66 From Springfield to St. Louis, MO

Historic Route 66 Missouri sign

Route 66 From Springfield to Marshfield

We begin our route in Springfield, where we’ve spent the night. If you couldn’t see Springfield yesterday, you can do it in the morning after a good breakfast.

Here, I’ll tell you everything you have to visit in Springfield, Missouri, the Birthplace of Route 66.

If you want to go down Route 66 from Springfield, you must go east to E Kearny Street. This street continues on Route 66, which runs parallel to I-44.

We are going toward a village called Strafford. Once you cross Strafford, Route 66 almost merges with I-44, so you must be aware to continue parallel to I-44 and not on I-44.

Marshfield

The first stop today is Marshfield. Here, you can visit:

  • the Walnut Springs Farm,
  • the Skyline Cafe
  • Marshfield Oil Co. Station from 1920
  • Route 66 Park
  • Marshfield Route 66 Mural
  • Hubble Telescope Replica
  • Missouri Walk of Fame

Hubble Telescope in Marshfield

In Marshfield, there’s a replica of the Hubble telescope. It’s in Webster County Courthouse 140 S. Clay St.

It’s not something unique but for curiosity, worth a stop.

Route 66 from Springfield to St Louis

Indications from Marshfield to Phillipsburg and Lebanon

Once you return from Walnut Springs, you can take Route 66 again from Marshfield (from Washington St on the right side and Hubble Drive W).

Continue driving along with it quite separated from the I-44, in fact, until you get to Conway.

In Conway, Route 66 ends, and you’re forced to merge onto I-44 until Phillipsburg.

In Phillipsburg, you get off the I-44 and pass under it. Route 66 runs parallel to I-44 and has two directions by the left of the I-44 as you go to St. Louis, and you can continue up to Lebanon.

*Note: this indication may change with time. Be sure to have an updated map 🙂

Conway

This small town in the Ozarks has some things to visit. So, you may want to stop here.

  • Harris’ Station and Cabins (along Route 66)
  • Harris’ Cafe and Texaco Station
  • Route 66 Commemorative Rest Area (an interesting modern area)
  • Ghost Sign
  • Conway Service Station

Phillipsburg

Phillipsburg is a small town close to Route 66 with some vintage cafes and gas stations you must visit.

  • Carter & Lawson’s Underpass Cafe and Service Station
  • Timber Hill Station
  • Stan Adams filling station (north of town)
  • Hi-Lite Cabin Court
  • Twin Oaks cabins and Texaco
  • the former Midway Cafe and Standard Station
  • Old Phillipsburg General Store
  • Redmon’s Candy store
  • Historic Route 66 Roadside Park

What to visit in Lebanon?

Lebanon is already a larger town with many places to visit and attractions: including classic US 66 motels, shops, service stations, neon signs, diners, and restaurants.

The Munger Moss Motel is a classic on the road with a good collection of toy trucks.

It was a sandwich shop and opened first in the Devil’s Elbow around 1940 (we will write about it later) and was moved to Lebanon in 1946 with the highway’s modification.

Taking advantage of the move, it was turned into a Motel and was acquired in 1971 by Bob and Ramona Lehman, known for their passion for Route 66.

bridge from Springfield to St Louis

Also, check Wink’s Food Market. It opened around 1955 and operated for 50 years until its owner died in 2005. It was left abandoned and half-destroyed until his son reopened it in 2007.

It became somewhat famous when Paul Harvey recommended his bologna sandwich for 99 cents. It is curious for a stop on a classic of the route.

From Lebanon to Waynesville

We keep driving! We leave Lebanon and point to a section with many things to see. You can continue on Route 66 in E Seminole Avenue, taking it straight (right where the Munger Moss is), and Route 66 runs parallel to I-44 on your left side as you drive.

Attention! When you find an intersection with some signs that say “Sleeper United Methodist Church,” turn to your right to go over I-44 and continue on route! It’s not indicated, and you’ll be going the wrong way if you don’t.

*Note: this indication may change with time.

Hazelgreen

In this small town, you’ll find some Route 66 attractions like an Old Phillips 66 Station, Lentz’s Oasis motel and station, and the Gasconade River Bridge from 1924.

If you continue Route 66 to East, you’ll find Clicks Route 66 General Store and Gascozark Store an antique shop.

Hazelgreen’s Bridge

We arrive at Hazelgreen. And what’s in Hazelgreen? Well, the Gasconade River Bridge, a typical Route 66 bridge, allows passing over the Gasconade River. The peculiarity of this bridge is that it is equal to the Devil’s Elbow Bridge.

Route 66 is separated significantly from the I-44 and is fully immersed in the forests of Fort Leonard Wood, which was the first training camp of the American Army. It is 100% operational and is visitable, especially in military museums.

I personally didn’t get too much interest, so I didn’t go, but I leave it here if you’re interested (see more below).

Waynesville and the Devil’s Elbow

Waynesville is a small town in the Ozarks region. It has some historic landmarks and US66 Classics.

  • Frog Rock
  • Bell Hotel
  • Bell’s Cafe & Sinclair gas station
  • Rigsby Standard Station
  • Bohannon Café Garage
  • Mallow’s Market (Owl Cafe)
  • Roubidoux Bridge
  • First S &G motel

On your way from Waynesville to Devil’s Elbow, you’ll find many interesting places to stop on this fabulous road trip on Route 66.

As you get out of Waynesville to your left and up in a landfill is The Frog Rock, a stone that apparently looks like a frog, often painted so that the resemblance is more significant.

Just after The Frog Rock, you drive under I-44, but Route 66 continues parallel to the highway, sometimes closer and sometimes further.

And you will see that something happens, and Route 66 has two lanes for a few kilometers! This is part of its original design! Meanwhile, you may have noticed that the landscape is much greener!

Around St Roberts (and before Devils Elbow), you can visit:

  • Retro Route 66 Diner
  • Old 1950s gas station
  • Rock Face Phillips 66
  • WWII Fort Leonard Wood: U.S. Army training installation. It was established during World War II and used since then for military purposes. 
  • Uranus Missouri and its Muffler Man, Mega Mayor
  • Uranus Fudge Factory and General Store: One of the spots you just can’t miss here is the Uranus Fudge Factory and General Store. It’s a world-famous fudge factory mixed with a toy store and a bar. They have over 80 flavors to try! Don’t forget to buy yourself their original t-shirt 🙂
Ruta 66 tramo springfield st louis

Devil’s Elbow

Devil’s Elbow is a small village listed as a Historic Place on the US National Register.

Here, you can visit:

  • the Devil’s Elbow Bridge,
  • the Elbow cafe,
  • Devil’s Elbow Cut scenic overlook, and more.

Why is it Called the Devil’s Elbow?

It is called Devil’s Elbow because it is a tight bend where the ships carrying the river logs jammed.

You are about to cross the Big Piney River Bridge and Devil’s Elbow.

As you cross the bridge, you can get closer by taking a small road to the right and driving close to the river. A good place to relax for a few minutes.

As you continue on Route 66, you will go through what they call the “Hooker Cut.”

Basically, it’s a point where they had to dig the surrounding mountain so Route 66 could pass through. Of course, nowadays, we are used to seeing it, but it was exceptional work for those times.

From Waynesville to St. Louis

On your way to St. Louis, you’ll cross some little towns and many attractions. Here we are listing some of them.

Arlington

Arlington is a ghost town on US66. On your way to this town, you can visit:

  • Larry Baggett’s Trail of Tears Memorial
  • Stony Dell Resort – Route 66

After leaving Arlington, the Trail of Tears is on the east side. A little further, you can go see “The Johns Modern Cabins” – If they’re still standing.

There are some cabins in the woods that, despite the name, aren’t modern and were half-destroyed when we saw them. I don’t know if they have been restored since 2010.

Jerome

At Jerome, you can visit the Ruins of an Ozark Resort. A classic attraction from the golden days of Route 66.

What to See in Rolla?

Rolla has many attractions to see, so you have to stop by!

In Rolla, you have a replica of Stonehenge but half the original size inside the university. At least curious.

Also, Rolla, is one of the roads that take you to Mark Twain National Forest if you want to visit.

  • Totem Pole Antiques Trading Post
  • Former Phillips 66 station

Visit St. James

St. James was one of the destinations of the Italians who emigrated to America. They began planting vineyards in that area, and today it produces wines of the recognized name.

You can find a kind of shop at the roadside where you can taste it if you want, but beware! You know, if you drink, don’t drive!

Also, you can visit old gas stations and motels.

Visit Cuba, the Mural City, on Route 66

Cuba, also known as the Mural City on Route 66, is full of churches, many attractions, and the Wagon Wheel Motel.

It is pretty well preserved and offers visitors the possibility of experimenting with how the old hosting service was. Of course, it has a typical neon sign of Route 66. Go to the Visitor Center for a map, updated info, and some souvenirs.

The majority of the murals are around West Washington Boulevard and Buchanan Street. Don’t miss:

  • Harry Truman
  • Prosperity Corner
  • The Millworks
  • A day in the Cooperage
  • The Apple Mural
  • People Bank’s
  • Meeting in Missouri
  • Civil War Murals
  • Gold Star Boys
  • Amelia Earhart
  • History at the 4-Way
  • The River
  • Al West Mural
  • Bette Davis

Fanning

Stop for a moment in Fanning to see the world’s second-biggest rocking chair! Built in 2008 is now known as Route 66 Red Rocker. The rockers are 9,6m long, and weigh 1 ton each, and the whole chair is 12,81m high. It’s a nice spot to take a photo 🙂

What to Visit in Sullivan?

Route 66 continues parallel to I-44 to Sullivan; this city is on the old Route 66 alignment, you can find some attractions, and it’s also, the hometown of George Hearst, Senator and newspaper magnate.

He was Patty Hearst’s grandfather, who kidnapped and left the international press breathless in the ’70s. Patty Hearst suffered an extreme case of Stockholm Syndrome.

She even robbed a bank with her kidnappers. Finally, she was captured and sentenced.

Route 66 Attractions in Sullivan

Meramec Caves in Stanton

Just after Sullivan, you’ll enter Stanton, where you can find Meramec Caves, open since 1930, a highly recommended visit.

Those caverns formed by the erosion of large limestone deposits over millions of years are now open for visitors. The most interesting spots during the visit are the massive stone forms that can be seen in the underground rooms.

The Jesse James Wax Museum (the infamous bandit) and the Ozark Court (an old motel, maybe it’s still standing when you go there) are worth a visit.

Some of Stanton Motels:

  • Ozark Court Motel
  • Delta Motel
  • Kovac’s Cafe and Motel
  • Cavern City Hideout Motel and Restaurant
  • the Stanton Motel
  • El Rancho Motel 
  • Benson’s Modern Cabins

Gray Summit

From here, Route 66 and I-44 run almost parallel. Once you get to Gray Summit, you can stop to see the botanical garden, Shaw Arboretum.

On your way to St. Louis, you’ll find more small towns and attractions on Route 66.

meramec caverns on route 66

St. Louis, MO

The vibrant city of St. Louis has many star attractions, including the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium.

Beyond that, you’ll find that the city has plenty to offer, including great beer, delicious food, sports, and music.

This slice of mid-western Americana will have you charmed in no time. St. Louis is ranked 7th in the country for the Best Weekend Getaways in the midwest.

Gateway Arch St louis sunset

Take a hint from Lewis and Clark and start your exploration of St. Louis! Use this guide to St. Louis to decide what amazing attractions are perfect for you.

The Gateway Arch

This is the most-known spot in the city. The Arch is surrounded by the National Park with many amenities.

The Gateway Arch is 192 meters high and can be reached in an elevator. It was finished in 1965 and dedicated to the westward expansion of the United States and to “the American people”. It is commonly referred to as “The Gateway to the West.”

In Winter, you can go ice skating, and in the Summer, have a walk in the surroundings or take a boat cruise on the Mississippi River. 

Visit the Museum to learn more about Native-American history thanks to its interactive exhibitions. It shows how the pioneers made today’s America possible.

In the center of the Arch stands the Old Courthouse, where Virginia Minor fought for women’s rights.

Ted Drewes

The family business was started by Ted Drewes Senior (originally from St. Louis) in the 1930s when he decided to open a frozen custard store in Florida. The business went so well that 80 years later it’s still the most famous dessert in the region!

Don’t miss it; you have to try it at least once!

Forest Park

It was inaugurated in 1876 and, with an area of 5,2 km2, it’s even bigger than the Central Park of New York!

Apart from the nature and sports areas, it includes the St. Louis Zoological Park, the Science Center, the Art Museum, and the History Museum.

Many events are organized during the year, like the hot-air balloon competition, the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, the St. Louis Earth Day Festival, the St. Louis African Arts Festival, the annual St. Louis Wine Festival, and the Beer Heritage Festival.

Route 66. Stretch from St Louis to Bloomington

Chain of Rock Bridge

In St. Louis, you cannot miss the Chain of Rock Bridge. It was built in 1929 and was originally a toll bridge. Then it supported traffic on Route 66 over the Mississippi River!!

This allowed avoiding crossing the entire city by migrants who did Route 66 and therefore reduce traffic congestion.

This worked from 1937 to 1967. At that time, it was closed to traffic, and its destiny was uncertain until 1990.

In 1990 it was saved from demolition and turned into a pedestrian path. It is characteristic because the middle of the bridge has an angle of 22°, allowing it to resist the river current and easier transit vessels.

Route 66 State Park

This State Park is really nice if you like to go out of town to breathe some fresh air. Situated on the southwest of the city of St. Louis, it offers hike, bike, and equestrian routes, boats and a Visitor Center where memorabilia from the region’s past can be seen. 

Also, in the middle of the park, there is an old bridge, once used for the traffic, and now closed for safety reasons.

Missouri Botanical Garden

The botanical garden was founded in 1859 by St. Louis philanthropist Henry Shaw and is one of the oldest in the United States.

n its more than 30 hectares, you will discover that adults and children will enjoy these gardens.

Children’s Gardens features fun exploration in a limestone cave, Spelunkers slide, treehouse, and steamboats.

Adults will love the koi pond and relaxing Japanese garden. You can also see Chihuly’s impressive glass sculptures around the botanical gardens.

Forest Park St Louis

St. Charles

Nearby St. Louis, you can visit a small 19th-century style city, St. Charles. Don’t miss the Lewis & Clark Boat House and Nature Center, where you can learn about the region’s history and see some Native-American artifacts.

It also includes the biggest indoor mural in the state, the Missouri River Walk.

The First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site is just a walking distance from the Center, and it was the first seat of the state’s government from 1821-1826. It’s interesting as it shows the visitors a bit about life in the early 1800s. 

Later, stroll down Main Street to shop in the old-fashioned establishments; you can find almost everything here: from colonial reproductions to floral decors, infused olive oils, handmade soaps, and more.

And if all that walking makes you hungry, have dinner at one of the many patio cafes.

If you’re lucky, you can participate in one of the city’s festivals. There are more than 70 festivals, plays, concerts and other special events.

The biggest is the Heritage Days, an authentic recreation of Lewis & Clark’s 1804 encampment; the Festival of the Little Hills voted Best Craft Fair in the Midwest in 2011; and Christmas Traditions, a celebration that lasts for a month and features a cast of over 40 legendary Santas and storybook characters.

And for today is enough. Don’t you think? Use your remaining time to get to know St. Louis and walk around this vibrant city.

And if you find something interesting, do not hesitate to tell us, and we’ll include it immediately!

Hotel Recommendations

There are lots of good hotels in the major cities, Springfield and St. Louis, and unique Route 66 motels on the road.

Find your favorites on the Booking website and check our recommendations:

Springfield Hotels

Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven

For 75 years, the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven hotel has welcomed international guests who love Route 66.

In fact, the hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This renovated historic motel is set on beautiful grounds and offers continental breakfast included in the price, an outdoor pool, a spa, and Route 66 pavilion.

Address: 203 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield.

Rockwood Motor Court

In 1929, Rockwood Court was built on Route 66, and Deverne Ruckman began operating it as a tourist spot. Ruckman also built a Shell Oil service station and a house on the property.

It was renovated in 2019 and is undoubtedly a classic place to live the complete experience of Route 66 in Springfield.

Each room is inspired by a Route 66 era with vintage decor, furniture, and memorabilia.

Address: 2200 W. College St., Springfield.

The VIB

If you prefer something with a completely different style than Route 66, consider staying at Best Western’s The Vib Hotel.

It has a lot of services, good rooms, and a highly recommended restaurant.

Address: 1845 E Sunshine, Springfield

St. Louis Hotels

Hotel St. Louis Union Station

St. Louis Union Station Hotel has been an icon of the city since 1894. The hotel retains the elegant arches and decorations of its famous Grand Hall.

It is located within the National Historic Landmark, Union Station, and is one of the best hotels in Saint Louis to stay at. Not to mention, this beautiful hotel has a seasonal outdoor pool, two excellent restaurants, and a 100-foot waterfall.

Address: 1820 Market Street, St Louis, Missouri.

Cheshire Boutique Hotel

The Cheshire hotel is created with a British aesthetic and a unique offering. It is located within walking distance of Forest Park and Washington University.

Guests arriving at the hotel are greeted by charming Tudor architecture, latticework stained glass windows, and a British flag flying over the entrance.

Antiques, furnishings, and fixtures from the 18th century are found throughout the hotel, and rooms and suites are named to honor the work of a famous British author, poet, or playwright.

The Fox & Hounds Tavern is just off the lobby, a favorite gathering place for hotel guests and locals of St. Louis for a chilled pint and a bite to eat.

You won’t know if you’re in Europe or the American Midwest 😉

Address: 6300 Clayton Rd, Richmond Heights, MO 63117

Check how to find the hotels that suit you best on Route 66. We prepared a post to help with this topic and to plan your trip without getting a headache!

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain.

Route 66 Itinerary + Travel Tips

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Last Updated on 22 November, 2022 by Veronica

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