The capital of Illinois is the place to visit to experience the historical existing, new and recently renovated Mother Road.

Neon signsBack in 2022, the Illinois State Fairgrounds Route 66 Gate 2 Experience was opened. This educational exhibit is open 365 days a year, located on the corner of Route 66 and Sangamon Avenue. The Experience features a self-guided tour, highlighting businesses in 92 communities along the Illinois section of Route 66, beginning in Chicago and ending at the Chain of Rocks Bridge in Madison. See vintage billboards, a drive-in movie theatre, Legends Neon Sign Park and a tribute to muffler men.  The desire to educate youth, bring back the road trip, and promote Illinois Route 66 communities was the driving force behind this project.  Continuing to enhance the Gate 2 area is part of the plan to celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Route 66 in 2026.

Outside view of Shea's Gas StationShea’s Gas Station and Museum will reopen to the public May 21, 2024. This outdoor adventure is one you don’t want to miss on Route 66 in Springfield. Shea’s Gas Station Museum was a Texaco, and later Marathon, gas station from 1946 – 1982. Owners Bill and Helen Shea transformed the property into a world renowned museum in 1995 until Bill passing in 2013. The building contents were auctioned off and property sold in 2016. The City of Springfield, thanks to a DCEO Route 66 Grant, made improvements to the property including reproducing the original signage on the exterior and interior of the station.

Hand holding an explorers passportExperience the Living Legends and Landmarks of Route 66 listed in the Explorer Passport, available at the Springfield Visitors Center and three other local historic sites. This two-in-one guide will take you from North to South along the route, catching some of the truly legendary people and places paying homage to the Mother Road. There are 25 sites, attractions, culinary treasures and museums in one passport of memorable fun! The best part? Once you complete either adventure, you can redeem it for a prize!

  • Visit the Ace Sign Museum, a great stop to see all the neon and other signs that made Route 66 famous. There are more than 85 historic signs from Springfield and Route 66 and still growing. Don’t miss the recently-restored Sonrise Donuts signSonrise Donut sign. Another notable sign is a 12’ tall 1953 Neon Pepsi Bottle Cap that once identified the Train Depot where the former President Abe Lincoln gave his farewell speech, Ace Sign Museum tours offered Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. There is even a museum sign store where you can buy souvenirs to take home with  you to remember your trip.
  • Explore Springfield’s culinary uniqueness at the famous Cozy Dog Drive In, Outside of a culinary restaurantMotorheads Route 66 Bar, Grill, Museum & Motordome, grab a slice at Mahan’s Filling Station or indulge in elegance at Maldaner’s, the oldest continuously operated restaurant on the route in Springfield.
  • Route 66 Monarch Flyway will be in full bloom again this year. The vision of the project is supporting thriving monarch populations that sustain the monarch migration into perpetuity and serve as a flagship for the conservation of other plants and animals.
  • Cruise into the capital for the 23rd Annual International Route 66 Mother Road Festival, September 27-29, 2024. Cars, music, fun and a night cruise into downtown to kick-off the weekend.

GDPR Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner