Established in the 1920s, Route 66 was one of the first United States highways and is still one of the nation's most famous roads. While it was officially removed from the United States Highway System in 1985, parts of the original highway route still exist, along with alternate alignments. While there is no longer an uninterrupted highway to travel on, with some planning, travelers can still visit many of the same scenic stops and original shops along the way. Many of these locations are now landmarks and museums, thanks to the efforts of historical societies and the many people who fought to keep their towns alive. There are also many ghost towns one can visit, which were unable to survive the times and were eventually abandoned.

Below are some of the best, must-see stops along what remains of the original route, rated by their continued legacy and retro style. They are all great historical treasures in their own right and are sure to inspire many generations to come. They are an essential part of any road trip along the historical Route 66.

10 Gemini Giant, Wilmington, Illinois

Only about an hour's drive from Chicago, where the original Route 66 began, in Wilmington, Illinois is the Gemini Giant. A 28-foot-tall fiberglass statue, the Gemini Giant was built in the 1960s, as an advertisement for the Launching Pad, a themed drive-in restaurant. Named after the Gemini space missions, the giant wears an astronaut helmet and is holding a small rocket in his large hands. It is one of many such attractions on Route 66, as many similar statues popped up during the 60s and 70s, but it is certainly one of the most famous.

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9 Rainbow Bridge, Riverton, Kansas

Constructed in 1923, this bridge across Brush Creek is part of the 11 miles of Route 66 that clips through the southeast corner of Kansas. Kansas was one of the first stretches of the highway to be paved, making this section extra special. It is the only bridge of its type that still exists from the former highway, making it a must-see stop along Route 66. The bridge, which sports large painted Route 66 signs on the pavement, is the perfect place for taking a memorable photo.

8 Wigwam Village Motel #6, Holbrook, Arizona

One of only 3 remaining motels on Route 66 of its kind, the #6 is arguably the best site. Made in 1950, it is made up of fifteen teepees made of steel and concrete that have been restored over the years to keep their original charm. It is still used as a working Motel, and part of the main office has been converted into a museum with items like Civil War memorabilia, Native artifacts, and Route 66 collectibles. Several vintage automobiles are parked around the property, as well, adding to its charm.

7 Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

Perhaps one of the most eccentric of the Route 66 attractions, the Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Texas is never the same. The landmark was created by the Ant Farm, a group of art-making hippies from San Francisco, and billionaire Stanley Marsh III. A line of ten half-buried Cadillacs that were originally painted by the group, but have since been torn down to their frames and graffitied. Visitors are encouraged to add their mark to the vehicles, making it a unique experience for all ages.

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6 The Blue Whale Of Catoosa, Catoosa, Oklahoma

Now a beloved landmark, The Blue Whale was built over two years and completed in 1972. The builder, Hugh Davis, built it as a surprise for his wife, who collected whale figurines. Originally meant only to be enjoyed by his family, he decided to open it up to the public, going so far as to bring in sand and build picnic tables. It was recently restored to its original glory, is once again open to the public, and is a nostalgic stop along Route 66.

5 Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch, Oro Grande, California

Constructed from metal pipes and glass bottles, this unique miniature forest of sculptures was created by a man named Elmer Long, who passed away in 2019. A truly eccentric yet charming collection of art, his work has continued to awe and amaze travelers on Route 66, and is now run and kept up by his family. Each "tree" has its style and is made from different items, but all of them are holding glass bottles, many of them part of a collection that Mr. Long started with his father.

4 Tower Conoco Gas Station, Shamrock, Texas

Referred to as the "Taj Mahal of Texas gas stations" this beautiful and strange place was built in 1935. Originally meant to be three separate buildings — a gas station, a cafe, and a retail store — it only ever became two of the three. The retail store instead became an extra seating area for the cleverly named U-Drop Inn Café. Its most recognizable feature is its obelisk-shaped towers and the neon sign at night that spells out Conoco.

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3 Pops 66 Soda Ranch, Arcadia, Oklahoma

One of the most popular stops along Route 66 is Pops 66, known for having a 66-foot tall neon soda bottle outside. Over 700 different kinds of soda bottles line the walls, this stop features a store, restaurant, and a gas station. Many of the sodas are rare or otherwise hard to obtain, and all are available for purchase. The perfect place to quench one's thirst, it is the perfect place for travelers to rest and relax on their trip across the country.

2 Delgadillo's Snow Cap Drive-In, Seligman, Arizona

Built from scrap lumber in 1953, this quirky drive-in has never taken itself too seriously. Known for its genuine hospitality and small-town pride, the restaurant is also famous for its puns and jokes. The inner walls and ceiling are a menagerie of items, pictures, and stickers, making it a unique and well-beloved landmark for travelers and locals alike. It is still family-owned, operated by the son of its creator, and still serves up plenty of burgers and laughs.

1 Tucumcari, New Mexico

Although the city has a rich history outside of its connection to Route 66, Tucumcari still retains many of its old businesses and landmarks from the highway's best days. The unique city is a blend of the old and the new, and it still keeps in touch with its connections to Route 66. Because of this, it is the best stop for anyone traveling along the historical highway, and with all of the things to do and see, there is an endless amount of fun and entertainment to be found.