Route 66 Road Trip to Bloomington-Normal

Greetings from Bloomington, Illinois

Route 66 was one of the United State's first continuous stretches of paved highway, and served as a major path for those who migrated west.

"The Mother Road" was established on November 11, 1926, and ultimately stretched 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles.

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, originally starting on Jackson Boulevard at Michigan Avenue in 1926. Since 1933 the starting point has been Jackson Boulevard at Lake Shore Drive.

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 Joliet, Wilmington, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Normal and Bloomington.

Map showing the approximate route of U.S. Highway 66 in Illinois and the location of Bloomington
Map showing the location of Bloomington and Normal in Illinois on Historic Route 66

Bloomington - Normal, Illinois

Route 66 information kiosk in Bloomington, Illinois

The Bloomington - Normal area is located in the heart of Illinois, at the intersections of Interstates 39, 55 and 74 and within two hours of Chicago and St. Louis. The Bloomington-Normal area is a vibrant community, home to over 167,000 people who exemplify the values of the Midwest and a remarkable quality of life.

The legendary U.S. Route 66 once ran directly through downtown Bloomington and Normal, and later on a bypass to the east. Today, it features a number of Route 66 attractions.

Be sure to check out the "Cruisin with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center"! One wing of the center is dedicated to Route 66, and one wing to Abraham Lincoln. Visitors can compare the travels of Abraham Lincoln with those of tourists and automobilists during the golden era of Route 66.

The exhibits cover stories from dining to lodging and travel. Interactive exhibits, video monitors, a gift shop and visitor information are also included in the center.

Also available is the Bloomington Area Route 66 Driving Tour which includes complete list of major and historical attractions along Route 66 in Bloomington-Normal.

Other popular attractions include the Miller Park Zoo, David Davis Mansion, McClean County Museum of History, the Prairie Aviation Museum and much more!

For more information, visit the website of the
Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Bloomington-Normal Illinois Visitor Center Bloomington-Normal Illinois Visitor Center

Normal, Illinois

Circa 1931 Sprague's Super Service and its large, unique, brick, two-story Tudor Revival architecture .... and Ryburn Place Gifts & Gab. At 305 Pine Street in Normal, a former Route 66 segment.

More information at NPS

Sprague's Super Service .... and Ryburn Place, in Normal, Illinois
McClean County Museum of History
McClean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois
David Davis Mansion
David Davis Mansion in Bloomington, Illinois
Miller Park Zoo
Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, Illinois
Prairie Aviation Museum
Prairie Aviation Museum in Bloomington, Illinois

Towanda, Illinois

Located only 9 miles north of Bloomington is Towanda, Illinois along Route 66 ... Dead Man's Curve shown to the right below

More information about Towanda, Illinois

Towanda, Illinois along Route 66 Dead Man's Curve near Towanda, Illinois along Route 66
Route 66 Dead Man's Curve signage in Towanda, Illinois

Lodging, Dining and Attractions in the Bloomington - Normal Area

TripAdvisor

Bloomington-Normal Travel Guide at TripAdvisor

Hotels in Bloomington with traveler reviews at TripAdvisor

Bloomington restaurant reviews at TripAdvisor

Attractions and Things to Do in Bloomington-Normal

Interactive Map of the Bloomington - Normal Area in Illinois

 

More Information about Bloomington-Normal

Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

 

City of Bloomington, Illinois website

 

City of Normal, Illinois website

 

Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts

 

McLean County Chamber of Commerce

 

Vrooman Mansion

 

McLean County Illinois

 

Bloomington-Normal Weather at WeatherUnderground

 

Bloomington Travel Guide at TripAdvisor: Hotels, restaurants, things to do

 

Route 66 Association of Illinois

 

Earlier Times on Route 66: Hotel Tilden Hall in Bloomington, Illinois

Earlier Times: Vintage Views of Bloomington

What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove around or through Bloomington? 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.

We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards showing scenes in Bloomington. These portray the city in its earlier years and help us to visualize "yesterday" as we drive Route 66 today.

Coachman Motel
Coachman Motel in Bloomington, Illinois
Rusk Haven Motel
Rusk Haven Motel on Route 66, on the south edge of Bloomington, Illinois. Adjacent to the beautiful municipal golf course. 14 nicely furnished units. Recommended by Duncan Hines
Withers Public Library
Withers Public Library in Bloomington, Illinois
The Hills Hotel
The Hills Hotel in Bloomington, Illinois
Prairie Travler Motel
Prairie Travler Motel on Highway 66 at Towanda Avenue, in Bloomington, Illinois. 53 air conditioned units. Member of Best Western Motels and AAA
Hotel Rogers
Hotel Rogers, 112 East Grove Street in Bloomington, Illinois

 

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on Route 66 in Illinois?

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Route 66 Road Trip across Illinois from Chicago to St. Louis
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