We had a heavy plate this summer. One Tail. The garage. The kitchen! We’ve been on the go-go-go, and we were unkind to ourselves when it came to relaxation. It wasn’t until last week that we remembered, oh yeah, our vacation is around the corner!, a vacation we began planning in February. Our long time blog friends and readers know that we have an annual anniversary tradition to explore a new place every year, but this year – this year! – we’re doing something we’ve always wanted to do: Take a road trip down historic Route 66!
We first admitted that this was on our wish list in this Reader Q+A of yore, and the time has come. It’s here! Route 66 is a 2,500 mile drive, starting in downtown Chicago and ending at the Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles. We’ll pass through St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque and Flagstaff (to name only a few), but we’ll also cheat (just a little!) and detour off the famous route to visit the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Palm Springs. We are 100% open to suggestions on where to eat, where to sleep, where to shop and what’s a must see, so comments are welcomed and encouraged!
We’ll be taking a short blog break while we travel, but we’d love for you to get your kicks alongside us on Instagram (@yellowbrickhome)! We’re feeling curious and adventurous, we’re ready to recharge and we’re looking forward to conversation that’s not related to All Things Home. We want to shake things up, stop roadside on a whim or stay up and drive all night (why not?). Inspiration, we’ll take that, too! We’ll be back here in a few weeks with stories to tell, photos to share and how in the world we made it work for us. xo.
PS: Photo from the first time I visited Palm Springs. I can’t wait to go again, this time with the coolest guy I know.
OMG awesome!!! You MUST visit the Blue Whale of Catoosa (directly on Route 66, right outside Tulsa). It’s so ridiculous and basically our favorite thing ever. I’m gonna try to think of some other good Tulsa and OKC suggestions and I can’t wait to see pictures of your trip… it’s gonna be great!
I have a feeling there will be a lot of ridiculous-ness, ha!
When you arrive in Santa Monica at the Pier, Blue Plate Oysterette is a great little spot right on Ocean Ave. (across from the Pier). Also, there is a small Route 66 display at the end of the Pier of signs that you might want to take a picture next to. Have a great trip!
The City Museum in St. Louis. It is a DO NOT MISS! It’s a gigantic playground in an old factory building but it’s not just for kids. They serve beer and cocktails, it’s open until midnight on the weekends, and it really is amazing.
Yeah! This was already on our list!
The Big Texan & Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo!
The Petrified Forest National Park is a little detour off Route 66, not far from the Grand Canyon. It’s built so that you can either drive through without significantly detouring (from I-40, I believe) or stop and hike/camp/picnic as much or as little as you want. We just drove through on a similar road trip years ago, but it was pretty cool.
You NEED to stay here: https://www.facebook.com/HistoricWagonWheelMotelFeaturingConniesShoppe?pnref=story
Cute kind of tudor cottages, a true old fashioned roadway motel. It’s nearish to St. Louis.
You must eat at Joe and Aggie’s cafe in Holbrook, AZ. Historic Mexican food restaurant on Route 66 that my step-mom’s family owns. Delicious!
Aw, great! Sounds yummy.
This is so exciting! I’m a long-time reader but first-time commenter coming out of the shadows to say that I’m looking forward to following along on your journey! My husband and I are kicking off our own in a few weeks – living full time in an RV with our two dogs (both rescues – a 60 lb Chow mix, Rosey, and a 30 lb mostly-Boston Terrier, Ramble) while we travel the country. We are planning on heading southwest in January, so I’ll selfishly be keeping your recommendations for our own trip to come! Have fun – and safe travels! – Alexandra
Thanks for chiming in, Alexandra! That sounds like SO much fun. The ultimate would have been a similar journey with an RV and pups in tow, but we couldn’t swing it. I’m sure hilarity will ensue!
Agreed with the above! Also halfway cafe in Texas, the inspiration for Flo’s V8 in the movie Cars. I believe we used this guide:http://www.amazon.com/Route-66-Travelers-Roadside-Companion/dp/0312644256
Have so much fun! Cant wait for pictures!
We picked up a similar guide, but we’ll see how helpful it is or how much we’ll actually follow it – the spontaneity is half the fun, right? Right?!
Route 66! How fun! Can’t wait to see the photos and read the stories for the trip. Have a wonderful time!
if you’re in Albuquerque for breakfast go to Cecilia’s. Get red & green chile on breakfast burritos or enchiladas with an egg on top. Delicious and authentic. Its the best New Mexican food.
So much fun!
In while you are in Santa Monica, take a trip to the Getty Villa! It is so lovely. Admission is free, you just need to request tickets online in advance. Also, while in Flagstaff you MUST stop at Pizzicletta for pizza. http://www.pizzicletta.com It is amazing. Seriously.
Have a great trip!
Yes! We’ll be in Flagstaff for a day and a half, and we have no clue what to do. Looks like we’ll be eating pizza for sure!
It is so good – we’ve considered going back just for that pizza!
If you’ll be in Flag for a day and a half, you should take a short trek down (~30 miles) to Sedona to see the amazing Red Rocks. Perhaps you could go on the Pink Jeep Tour while you’re there (https://www.pinkjeeptourssedona.com/)
So glad you’ll be stopping in STL! Do you want to stay with us? I’m serious. Is that weird? We are near South Grand which is a restaurant/commercial strip south of Tower Grove Park. Anyway, I understand if you don’t want to stay with a stranger (but the offer is real), so here are my recommendations: Tower Grove Park Saturday Farmer’s market, Clementine’s (ice cream), Meskerem (Ethiopian), The Future Antiques (mid century furniture), the Loop, Fortune Teller Bar, Forest Park (rent paddleboats at sunset! the Art Museum of course, and the “A Walk in 1875 St Louis” at the MO History Museum) and here are a few more suggestions (some of these restaurants are now closed so double check first before going). http://rustwire.com/2013/02/13/an-impossibly-breakneck-24-ish-hours-in-st-louis/
If you have any STL questions let me know!
Hi Amy, you’re so nice to offer us a place! No, it’s not weird. We’ve done stranger things, for sure!
St. Louis and OKC are actually the two places where we know people and will be staying with them (we’re winging most of the rest!), but I’m going to dive into all of your suggestions. THANK YOU!
Awesome, have a great time!
Amy has great suggestions, and also the City Museum mentioned earlier is a good one too. And one of the quintessential stops is Ted Drewes for custard – it’s actually ON route 66. We live just off of it in the city, right across from Blues City Deli – you can’t beat the live blues on Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons if that aligns with your visit here. We often have friends over to our front yard to listen and people watch. You’ll love the neighborhood too – such great housing in STL. Clementine’s is in Lafayette Square, so you can go there for dessert and do some more house ogling. And breakfast is a must at The Mud House – fuel up before browsing Cherokee Street.
Have a great trip – sounds wonderful.
How fun! My husband and I want to do this some day, but it would be a little weird to do start-to-finish since we live in Tulsa! Speaking of Tulsa, if you have time, stray off of Rt 66 and poke around a bit- parts of it have been part of a Main Street improvement effort but others are still struggling. Be sure to check out Downtown- we have the third most significant collection of Art Deco architecture outside of New York and Miami! Boston Avenue United Methodist Church is particularly stunning. The Mayo is an historic hotel that has been refurbished in the last decade, and would be a very lovely place to stay, and would be perfect if you want to do an architectural tour of downtown. You also can’t miss the Philbrook Museum of Art, which is a bit further south. The collection is nice but the real beauty is in the historic villa in which it’s housed and the surrounding formal gardens. The Gilcrease Museum has my favorite collection in the area- it’s the foremost collection of western art in the world! There are plenty of nice places in town if you do some exploring- Tulsa is in the midst of a rejuvenation effort that is beautifying our city little by little.
Other than Tulsa, my other suggestion in Oklahoma is a place called Pops in Arcadia. You can’t miss it!
Thank you, Piper! We’ll definitely look into The Mayo, because I’m pretty sure we’ll be in Tulsa for an overnight. All awesome suggestions. Thank you, thank!
Have fun guys! It is clearly a much deserved vacay!
My boyfriend and I are planning the same trip! We live about an hour north of Santa Barbara (CA) so we’re playing on flying out to Chicago and driving back. I’m so excited for you! I’ll be following along for sure, and taking notes to see where you stop along with checking out some of your readers suggestions too. A HUGE congratulations, and enjoy your much needed break.
What a fun trip! I loved in Albuquerque for three years so I wanted to pass along some recommendations.
– The Grove Cafe and Market is a great stop for lunch. (good vibe, good food, and scenes from Breaking Bad shot here :) Downtown and right on your route – 600 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM 87102
– There’s a section on Central Avenue (which is part of historic Route 66) called Nob Hill. Lots of fun places to eat and shop. http://route66central.com/
– If you want a fancier meal, a few miles off of Route 66, one of our favorites was Savoy Wine Bar & Grill. http://savoyabq.com/
– If you want to go a bit farther through town and hit a local dive with the absolute best New Mexican food I ever found (including Santa Fe), hit up Sophia’s Place. And try their tomatillo sauce on enchiladas, shrimp and black bean quesadillas, pinion/blue corn pancakes, etc. etc.
Have a great trip!
UGHHHH you are so awesome! We’re wide open in the southwest, so excited to read these recs! Thank you!
66 goes through Downtown Tulsa, over the past years they have been doing some incredible revitalization and building up small businesses. Eat pretty much anywhere in the Brady District or Blume Dome District. I’m a tex mex addict, so I usually make a trip to El Guapo and sit on the roof top when I visit home. And you can check out the Woody Guthrie Museum in the Brady District.
Also we typically try to catch a meal or at least an Ice Cream break at Bailey’s Range in Downtown St. Louis when we make the drive from Chicago to our family in Tulsa.
Blue Dome is on our list! Loving these suggestions, everyone!
How fun! My husband and I have been trying to plan a similar trip, but we can’t get it to fit our vacation schedules. I’ll be living the trip vicariously through your Instagram in the meantime :) As for food recommendations, in St. Louis, check out Bogart’s for amazing BBQ. It’s a spinoff of the very famous Pappy’s and even better. If you’re around for dessert too, check out Bailey’s Chocolate Bar as well as a butter cake from the little bakery and coffee shop down the street from Bailey’s. Yummm. Now I’m hungry and want to go to St. Louis. Enjoy!!
It was tough to make it work, and we’ll definitely share how we did it when we get back! And now, I’m starving for dessert. YUM.
Restaurant recommendation in Albuquerque – Flying Star Cafe!
If you would like to do something a bit touristy take a tram to the top of Sandia Peak.
Flying Star is great too. If you eat there, I recommend the Southwest Benny. And the coconut cream pie. Man I’m missing the food writing this!
If you have time in Tulsa definitely check out McNellie’s in the Blue Dome district! They have an amazing beer selection with over 60 different beers on tap and 300 different bottled ones on their menu. The Max in Blue Dome is also a lot of fun, it’s a retropub – a bar and 80’s themed video game arcade in one. Philbrook Museum is also a can’t miss, the gardens are beautiful this time of year!
I’m gonna chime in with some Vegas love, China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan is delicious! And of course the age old advice to see a show :)
We’d love to see a show! Any favorites?
I love The Beatles LOVE at the Mirage, definitely very highly recommend it!
Cirque de Soleil “O” is my favorite.
While you’re in Vegas, just off the strip is Frankie’s Tiki Room. It’s perfect for a kitsch fix and the drinks are great. Also the Neon Graveyard is a photog’s dream, but I think you have to make a reservation for a tour ahead of time. And once you hit the ocean, have a drink at the bar at Shutters, it’s a fancy shmancy hotel right on the beach (and a drink is about all I can ever afford there). ;) Looking forward to seeing your photos, and I’m glad you finally get a break!
Have always wanted to do a road trip on the iconic Route 66 too. I know you will have an enjoyable ride. Take care.
Make sure you hit up Santa Fe! It’s not far from Albuquerque and it’s a must-visit!
What should we do there?! We’re up for anything. Favorite food? Favorite shopping? Best thrifting?
Santa Fe – The plaza right in the center of town is fun. Tia Sophias is a great restaurant but has wonky hours so check ahead. There is also a great crepe restaurant right on the main plaza if you want to branch out of NM food. Jackalopes is a fun place to hit for shopping. Everyone talks about the flea market http://www.pueblooftesuquefleamarket.com/ – I never got a chance to do it but it’s popular.
Also – there’s a little town between ABQ and Santa Fe on the turquoise trail called Madrid. It’s a great stop. Awesome jewelry, art galleries – kinda hippy vibe. I’d recommend it if you have time. http://www.turquoisetrail.org/
If you go there, the Great Madrid Gift Emporium is my favorite place for amazing jewelry. The owner is Hugh and I’ve bought a lot of wonderful pieces from him. He can recommend the best spot for lunch – I can’t remember the name. Just down the street from him shop. :) You should buy some Cerrillos turquoise while you’re there.
Thank you so much, Heidi!!
FUN! Enjoy and be safe! Maybe one year take the northern route…Northern Idaho is a pretty spectacular place to be…just sayin. :-)
You should stop at the Donut Man on 66 in Azusa CA, they stuff the donuts with fresh fruit, amazing! Also, Bill’s Pizza in Palm Springs is the business. Have fun!
You rock. Thanks, Martina!
When you are in Vegas, try the chicken and waffles at any of the plethera of locations of Hash House A Go Go. You won’t want to leave!
In another note, I’ve always wanted to use the word “plethera” in real life!
AH SO JEALOUS! Hope you guys have a blast, and I’ll be tagging along on social and planning out how to do it myself next year.
Josh | The Kentucky Gent
In Flagstaff you guys should visit The Peaks. The view from the snow bowl is amazing. The Lumberyard has some really good beer and we always make sure to get some coffee from Wicked AZ. On the way to the Grand Canyon you guys won’t regret if you make a pit stop in Cameron for a Navajo Taco.
Sump is the best coffee spot in St. Louis and worth a visit. Also, the Botanical Gardens are amazing! Enjoy the adventure!!
If you haven’t made your way through Vegas yet, we have a “suite” *har har* little casita for rent on airbnb. We’d love to have you and the pups if it’s available!
What a great place!! We passed through Vegas early last week, but we so appreciate the offer and link!