Street signs commemorating the start of the famous U.S. Route 66, Chicago, Illinois, USA

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Route 66 Sign


Attention Route 66 buffs: the Mother Road begins in downtown Chicago. Look for the 'Historic 66 Begin' sign at the northwestern corner of Adams St and Michigan Ave, across from the Art Institute. (There's another sign at the end of the block, but this one is a replica of the original.) From Chicago the route traverses 2400 miles to Los Angeles, past neon signs, mom-and-pop motels and pie-and-coffee diners…but it all starts here.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Chicago attractions

1. Art Institute of Chicago

0.05 MILES

The second-largest art museum in the country, the Art Institute houses a treasure trove from around the globe. The collection of impressionist and…

2. Santa Fe Building

0.07 MILES

The 1904 Santa Fe Building is a terra-cotta beauty where architect Daniel Burnham kept his offices. Enter the lobby and look up at the vast light well…

3. Crown Fountain

0.13 MILES

Jaume Plensa’s two 50ft-high glass-block towers contain video displays that flash a thousand different faces of locals. Each mug puckers up and spurts…

4. Nichols Bridgeway

0.14 MILES

Renzo Piano designed this silver, pedestrian-only span. It arches from Millennium Park over Monroe St to the Art Institute’s small, 3rd-floor sculpture…

5. Lurie Garden

0.21 MILES

If the crowds at the Bean, Crown Fountain and Pritzker Pavilion are too much, seek out the peaceful Lurie Garden, which uses native plants to form a…

6. Fine Arts Building

0.21 MILES

This building has been an artists' haven for more than a century. You'll still hear opera voices and trumpet music drift out of the music studios, which…

7. Cloud Gate

0.22 MILES

Anish Kapoor's beloved silver sculpture in Millennium Park is known informally as 'the Bean.' It reflects both the sky and the skyline, and everyone…

8. Sullivan Center

0.23 MILES

Louis Sullivan designed this ornate building in 1899. For a century it was home to the Carson Pirie Scott & Co department store. Check out the superb…