For iconic attractions and some serious eats, make the drive along Route 66 to experience a slice of American history. Blaze down the most famous route through Texas and the United States and stop to see some iconic landmarks along the way. There are many famous landmarks, like Cadillac Ranch and the U-Drop Inn on the 178-mile stretch of Texas history just waiting to be explored.
MidPoint Cafe, located in the town of Adrian, celebrates the momentous median with a sign bearing two arrows—one pointing to the left, toward the words “Los Angeles 1139 miles,” and one pointing to the right, toward “Chicago 1139 miles.” The ’50s-era ambiance and Americana menu transport visitors to another time, and the homemade “ugly” pies are not to be missed.
Amarillo, the largest Texas city on Route 66, has maintained a bygone era’s charm in 13 blocks touched by the road. The U.S. Route 66–Sixth Street Historic District offer hours of shopping, eating, and sightseeing, from the Gothic Revival Natatorium to the Art Moderne detailing of Borden’s Heap-O-Cream. Also in Amarillo is the Big Texan Steak Ranch, famous for its 72-ounce steak, free if you can finish all of it, plus sides, in an hour or less. This challenge is not for the faint of heart and few have conquered the leviathan hunk of meat and sides, which include shrimp cocktail, a baked potato, salad and a roll.
West of Amarillo lies Cadillac Ranch, an iconic public art installation made up of 10 Cadillacs half-buried in a field. The installation consists of various evolutions of the Cadillac car line from 1949 to 1963, half-buried nose-first in the ground at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Visitors are encouraged to leave their mark with graffiti or spray paint, and the aging vehicles reflect this practice.
Fans of Pixar films will find a small thrill in the town of Shamrock, just east of Groom. Holding court on the roadside is a gorgeous building with Art Deco detailing, known as the Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café. Dating back to 1936, the once-bustling service station has been fully restored as a visitor center. The station’s biggest claim to fame? It’s the inspiration for Ramone’s Body Shop in Pixar’s Cars, a film strewn with nostalgic nods to Route 66.