top of page

Get Your Kicks On Missouri's Route 66 (10 Roadside Attractions)

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

An antique car at a Route 66 stop

If you're at a fairly young age like me, and perhaps even if you're not, my perfect picture of Route 66 in its heyday comes from the Disney-Pixar film Cars. Particularly, I visualize the scene when the road and neon lights are fixed and the cars cruise to "Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream)." Anyone else?

There's a reason why so many people decide to drive or bike Route 66 every year. It's a fixture in American culture and takes many visitors back to "simpler" times.

I've been traveling Missouri's Route 66 all of my life, heading to school, to see family and to go to college. Currently, living in Illinois, I drive it to see my parents located in the southern part of Missouri, though now it's mostly known as I-44. So why not, I thought, hit all of the main Route 66 stops on my next journey home? And I did.

Here are 10 attractions that you should pull off the road and view on your Route 66 route through Missouri.


Pin this post for later!

Missouri Route 66 Pinterest Pin


Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis

1. Chain of Rocks Bridge — St. Louis (MO/IL)

The first stop was the Chain of Rocks Bridge, which opened in 1929 and spans the Mississippi River. While it used to be the way to travel, now the landmark is just off the main interstate and is open to walkers and bikers. You can usually park on the Missouri side (it was closed when I was there) or the Illinois side, also called Chateau Island.

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

2. Ted Drewes Frozen Custard — St. Louis

Curb your sweet tooth by ... not curbing your sweet tooth and getting Ted Drewes Frozen Custard! The shop first opened in St. Louis in 1930 and is a popular destination after visitors have checked out the other city sites. You can get concretes, malts, shakes, sundaes, floats and ice cream sodas. And FYI, the sizes will be larger than you think! (Click through the gallery to see a mini cup of Turtle Concrete.)

Route 66 State Park

3. Route 66 State Park — Eureka

I was pleasantly surprised by this approximately 424-acre park, which has 8 miles of trail. Its wildlife areas were beautiful, and the driving, walking and biking paths were well-groomed. This would be a great place to stretch your legs or have a picnic on your journey.

Meramec Caverns on Route 66

4. Meramec Caverns — Stanton

In all honesty, I stopped to take a photo of the Maramec Caverns sign but not to actually take part in a cave tour, light show, floating or zip-lining experience. I had been there before as a child and decided not to spend the money or take up any additional time (sorry, but not sorry!). This is a popular roadside attraction for many driving Route 66, particularly for families.

Mural City Rocking Chair

5. Route 66 Mural City — Cuba

There is a lot to see and do in and near Cuba, Missouri. The Fanning Outpost General Store, located about 5 miles from the town, used to have "The World's Largest Rocking Chair." Although it's now the second-largest (surpassed by one in Casey, IL), the rocking chair is still really big! (Click through the gallery to view it.) Cuba itself is known for being the "Route 66 Mural City" and includes paintings on the sides, fronts and backs of buildings all over town. You'll also discover the Wagon Wheel Motel, vintage gas stations, various dining options and more.

Uranus Missouri on Route 66

6. Uranus Missouri Towne Center — St. Robert

How do I describe Uranus? Perhaps "unique" sums it up well? This description mainly comes from the shopping center's choice of building design, but the businesses there go hand in hand with it. One building says "tattoos" and another says "Uranus City Jail," though it's actually an escape room. One building houses a slideshow museum and another includes a fudge factory and general store. There's also what looks like an outdoor eating area or venue for concerts or speakers, but it was under construction when I visited. If you're looking to go to another planet, here's your stop!

Sweetwater BBQ on Route 66

7. Sweetwater BBQ — St. Robert

Hungry from our drive, it was nice to find Sweetwater BBQ near the Uranus Missouri Towne Center. It definitely caters to Route 66 travelers, is local and will fill you up. The restaurant has all types of BBQ food, and I really loved the fried spuds!

Route 66 Museum Lebanon Missouri

8. Route 66 Museum — Lebanon

Located in Lebanon's public library, this free museum displays the recreations of a Route 66 gas station and diner as well as historical documents and objects. For me, it was interesting to learn how important of a stop Lebanon was years ago for travelers and how and why that changed. Overall, don't expect too much from this museum, as it's not very big or modern, but it will be interesting for local history buffs.

Route 66 Car Museum Springfield Missouri

9. Route 66 Car Museum — Springfield

Even though I know nothing about the mechanics of vehicles, I happen to love vintage cars and hope to own one later on in my life, so this museum engaged me. I didn't count, but the website boasts more than 70 automobiles, from brass era and classic to sporty and movie famous models. I noticed that many people online weren't ecstatic about the museum's price, and if you aren't into cars, then you probably won't be either. However, if cars are your passion or even just an interest, check it out.

Sinclair Service Station

10. Gary's Gay Parita Sinclair Service Station — Paris Springs

I've been by this Route 66 attraction more times than I'll ever be able to count — I grew up near it, passing it every day on my way to school — and had never stopped to take a look. Yes, shame on me! I can tell you that I remember noticing every time Gary Turner (the previous owner) added a new feature. I remember my family and myself always commenting on how many people we saw at the gas station that day and if they were in cars or on motorcycles. And I remember when Gary Turner passed away how nice it was to learn that the station was going to continue to remain open. There is a lot to see at this historic gas station, so park, take a look around and capture some photos.

Woman sitting on Route 66 road

Many of you might be wondering ... What about the rest of Missouri? Although I wasn't able to drive the final hour to Arkansas on this trip, there are two other main towns or cities you can stop in on your journey. Carthage has the Route 66 Drive-In Theatre (it wouldn't have been playing anything at the time I was on my trip) and the Boots Motel, which was built in 1939. Finally, Joplin is home to Route 66 Mural Park.

There are many Route 66-themed attractions in Missouri, in addition to these iconic places, that I wasn't able to visit or couldn't mention here. With the help of this list, you bikers, sports car owners and family minivan drivers hoping to see the Route 66 sites can make your own itinerary. And for everyone else, let me say this: "If you ever plan to motor west, travel my way, take the highway that is best. Get your kicks on Route 66."



bottom of page