Missouri: Route 66 in the Show-Me State

An old fashioned gas station with lots of old signs located on Route 66 in Missouri.

There’s something magical about taking a road trip down Route 66, known as the “Main Street of America” and the “Mother Road.” One of the eight states it passes through is Missouri, home to big-city St. Louis and the iconic Gateway Arch, as well as other unique attractions, rich history and legendary Route 66 stops. 

Missouri and Route 66: A Historic Journey 

Route 66 was established on November 11, 1926, and quickly became one of the most famous highways in the United States. It passes through Missouri diagonally, entering from the northeast and exiting from the southwest. Missouri’s portion of Route 66 stretches for approximately 300 miles and traverses a diverse landscape of rolling hills, lush forests and urban areas. 

St. Louis: The Gateway to the West 

Your journey along Route 66 in Missouri will most likely start or end in St. Louis, the largest city along the route. Known as the “Gateway to the West,” St. Louis is home to the iconic Gateway Arch, a symbol of westward expansion and a must-visit landmark. Take a tram ride to the top of the arch, which is designated a national park, for stunning views of the Mississippi River and the city skyline. 

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard: A Route 66 Classic 

No trip along Route 66 would be complete without a stop for some frozen custard at Ted Drewes in St. Louis. This iconic eatery has been serving its famous frozen custard since 1930 and is a beloved stop for locals and travelers alike. 

Meramec Caverns: Missouri’s Buried Treasure 

A short drive from St. Louis, in the Ozark region, you’ll find one of the most popular tourist attractions along Route 66: historic Meramec Caverns. This extensive limestone cave system is filled with stunning formations and is said to have been used by Native Americans, early settlers and even the infamous outlaw Jesse James and his gang as a hideout. 

The Route 66 Mural City: Cuba, Missouri 

As you continue your journey southwest, you’ll come across the town of Cuba, known as the “Route 66 Mural City.” Here, you’ll find a series of murals depicting the history and heritage of the town and Route 66. It’s an interesting place to take a break, stretch your legs and shoot some photos. 

A State of Beauty and History 

As you continue your journey along Route 66, you’ll pass through more towns and attractions, each with unique charm and history. Missouri is not just a portion of Route 66; it is a state of natural beauty, historic landmarks and warm hospitality. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast or just looking for a fun road trip, Missouri has something for everyone. From its bustling cities to its scenic countryside, Missouri is a state worth exploring, both on and off Route 66.