Route 66. What to see from St Louis to Bloomington

Are you one step away from completing Route 66, or you’re just starting your journey? You’ll find what to do and visit from St. Louis to Bloomington (or vice versa) in today’s post.

You start in St Louis, Missouri. You have visited the Chain of Rocks Bridge and the city of St Louis, and you are about to perform another stretch of Route 66. First, you have to know that you are crossing the Mississippi River.

Not too long ago was called the Mississippi-Missouri river and was considered the longest river in the world as it flows from Montana to New Orleans.

Route 66 Stretch from St Louis to Bloomington

Route 66 Illinois: from St Louis to Bloomington

Besides, you are crossing the eighth state of your road trip. You are stepping into Illinois, the last state you’re going to see on this beautiful travel (or maybe the first one!).

We say it easily, and when you’re doing it seems quite normal, but when you look a little backward and take a look at what you have driven on a map or in Google Maps, you realize the route you have done.

Perhaps you wonder why I didn’t set this section straight to Chicago, as you are at 297 miles. The truth is I have two reasons for doing so.

  1. The first is that every day we are walking an average of about 200 miles and there is no reason to change that, the second and most important is you are not in a hurry and is better to arrive in Chicago tomorrow with plenty of time to enjoy it.
  2. And at the same time, you can drive this stage today without any hurry and without missing a thing.

So we start in St Louis, if you didn’t have time last night to know it, you could do it this morning. If you did it yesterday, then you start directly going to Bloomington.

Today’s section is relatively short, 162 miles. It will take a short time so you can enjoy stops and take it easy, no rush at all.

How to go from St Louis to Bloomington on Route 66?

To exit St Louis, you must cross the river; you can do it through the “New Chains of Rock Bridge” or the “McKinley Bridge” since both have taken part in any of the historical paths of Route 66.

Whether you cross by McKinley Bridge or the New Chains of Rock Bridge, you will follow Route 66.

The first is to the south, and it is the one I recommend you follow as you can pass by Brooklyn, Venice and Granite City, and St Louis. You should follow the 203rd until you cross the 270th in Mitchell.

If you do it through the Chains of Rock Bridge, you drive into the 270, but you’ll miss these villages through the Route 66 passed until the ’50s. In addition, there is a mustangs cemetery between Granite City and Mitchell along the highway, which is curious.

*Note that these indications can change with time.

How to get to Mustang Corral?

When you cross the 159th Hwy, you take it north to Edwardsville, where the Moon Cafe is. Furthermore, in Edwardsville is the Mustang Corral which is a repair center for Mustangs. They have an exhibition where both the old and the new ones are if you want any.

If you go, you will see that they also have all the spare parts of all versions of Mustang. In Edwardsville, you take the 157 Hwy toward Hamel. At Hamel, you have two alternatives, or take Interstate 55 or take the old Route 4, both were part of Route 66 in different times and layouts, but the older is Route 4.

UPDATE: It looks like it’s closing permanently.

Route 66, Mustang corral

Visit the Henry Rabbit Station

If you take Route 4, you will go through Staunton, the Henry Rabbit Station, an old gas station that also acts as an outdoor museum of Route 66.

Route 66 from Staunton to Mount Olive runs parallel to Interstate 55. There’s a former Soulsby Shell Gas Station in Mount Olive, although already seen many of these.

Continue along the old Route 66 that runs parallel to I-55 to Litchfield, where you’ll find the motorcycle shop called Niehaus. When we were there, the exhibition was brutal, mostly Goldwings.

From Litchfield, Route 66 and I-55 merge, so there’s no alternative; you have to go within the I-55. Continue to Waggoner, where there’s a Virgin Mary statue, which is a replica of the Virgin of Lourdes called  “Our Lady of the Highways.”

Route 66 Stretch from St Louis to Bloomington

Springfield, Illinois

In Springfield is the Cozy Dog Drive Inn that has been running since the 2nd World War. They invented the Cozy Dog, a kind of hot dog, but rather put the wiener into bread, coated in batter, has a stick, and eats. It became very famous on Route 66.

Springfield was founded in 1819 and is known, especially because Abraham Lincoln lived in this city and has his tomb in the Oak Ridge Cemetery. You can also visit the city with no rush and see the house where Lincoln lived.

Nowadays, it has been converted into a museum. Also, some ancient government buildings are in Springfield.

You should know that Illinois is Amish territory. The Amish are descendants of Dutch immigrants. They refuse to use the technology, which involves not using cars, no electricity, or machinery of any kind.

They live as if they were in the eighteenth century. So don’t be surprised to see them at all. The largest Amish community in Illinois is in Arcola. You can detour if you want and go there, but beware, they don’t like to be taken in pictures (logically).

Route 66 Stretch from St Louis to Bloomington

Keep going north, and there’s little to get to Bloomington, but before you must go through Lincoln, where it’s The Mill Restaurant, formerly called Blue Mill and was established in 1920. Its design is like a German mill. In 2007 a conservation initiative saved it from demolition and is now a museum.

Before Bloomington is McLean, where Dixie Truckers Home is, for many years here, in a small parlor, the “Route 66 Hall of Fame”, with pictures, souvenirs, and memories of Route 66, but it was moved to Pontiac, Illinois, due to a fire in 2004.

The Dixie Truckers Home is the oldest still operating truck stop on Route 66.

And we’ve got to Bloomington, where there are the headquarters of Beer Nuts. It is a snacks factory well known in the USA, and you can visit it, and there’s a souvenir shop.

As you can see, the stage of today is simpler and shorter than others.

Get ready for tomorrow as you get to Chicago, your endpoint of Route 66. You need to take good advantage of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow to see as much as possible. So I recommend you go to bed early and wake up pretty early too, well, as usual in the last few days.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!! Do you think I should add something? Any comment? Please tell me Did you like the post? Please let us know! Your opinion is important to us!

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

Route 66 best things to do + Tips

Route 66 itinerary day by day

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Last Updated on 5 July, 2021 by Veronica

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