Where Does Route 66 Start And End? | USA

Route 66 is the 2448 mile road trip that travels through 8 US states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. But where does Route 66 start and end? The quick answer is that the beginning of Route 66 is in Chicago and end of Route 66 is in Santa Monica, Los Angeles. However, in this post I go in to depths about the official and unofficial Route 66 beginning and end points!

Where Does Route 66 Start and End?

Where Does Route 66 Start in Chicago

Official Route 66 Start

E Jackson Drive and S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, Illinois

The official Route 66 starting point (and end point for east bound travellers) is at Jackson Blvd and Michigan Ave. This is as close to the shores of Lake Michigan that you can get and has been the start/finish point of Route 66 since 1937. Although nothing special marks this location. If you’re looking for a photo opportunity, it’s best to head the the unofficial Route 66 start.

Unofficial Route 66 Start In Chicago

Route 66 Start Sign

E Adams St and S Michigan Ave, Chicago, Illinois

Part of Jackson Blvd is a one-way system. When the route reaches Michigan Avenue, it heads north for one block, before continuing east along E Adams St. Set slightly back from the corner of where E Adams St and S Michigan Ave meet, is the Route 66 BEGIN sign. Unfortunately, groups have started covering the signs with stickers. So sometimes the Begin part of the sign is actually covered up. It did get replaced a while back, but there’s no guarantee that the sign will be fully visible.

Route 66 Chicago Start Sign

There’s a second ‘Historic Route Begins’ sign, on the corner of S Wabash Ave and E Adams St. Again, this one is covered in stickers too and in located in a small park area. Route 66 signs are then found intermittently along E Adams St.

Route 66 Chicago Illinois Sign

Route 66 End Sign in Chicago (East Bound Travelers)

E Jackson Blvd and S Michigan Ave, Chicago, Illinois

Historically the route travels west bound between Chicago and Los Angeles. It was the main route for people migrating to western USA during the dust bowl period in the 1930s. In present day, some travellers choose to do the route in the reverse direction between Los Angeles and Chicago. For east bound travellers, there is a Route 66 end sign in Chicago. This is located along E Jackson Blvd and S Michigan Ave, a short distance away from the official ending.

Related reading: Route 66 Chicago: A Guide To The Start of Route 66 & 2 Days In Chicago!

Where Does Route 66 End?

Official Route 66 End

Lincoln Blvd and Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, California

Just like the official beginning of Route 66, the end point in LA is similarly not marked. Instead a short drive away is the unofficial ending at Santa Monica Pier.

Unofficial Route 66 End In LA

Route 66 end Sign

Route 66 End of the Trail Marker, Santa Monica Pier, LA, California

The Route 66 ‘End of the Trail’ marker can not be driven to or past. It’s located on the pedestrianised area on Santa Monica Pier. So you’ll have to park up and then walk the final stretch to the end sign.

Route 66 End of the Trail sign Santa Monica Pier LA

Palisades Park, Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, LA, California

A short walk from the iconic Santa Monica Pier arch in Palisades Park, is the Will Rogers Highway marker. This is another unofficial end of Route 66. Route 66 is sometimes referred to as the ‘Will Rogers Highway’. Will Rogers was a famous American actor and writer who travelled part of the route in the 1890s. In 1928 he covered a story in a newspaper column, about a race that took place along Route 66. This coverage put Route 66 in the public eye.

Route 66 End

Route 66 Midpoint

Adrian, Texas

The midpoint of Route 66 is in Adrian, Texas. It’s exactly 1139 miles from Chicago and 1139 miles from Los Angeles. There’s a sign/photo opportunity showing the midpoint, located opposite the Midpoint Cafe.

Route 66 Midpoint Cafe Adrian Texas

As you can see there are a couple of options in answer to where does Route 66 start and end. Being tourists on the route, we decided the unofficial beginning and finish points were enough for us. After all the signs make for fun photo opportunities!

Other Route 66 Posts You May Enjoy

Route 66 Itinerary: How Long Does It Take To Drive Route 66?

EZ66 – The BEST Route 66 Guide Book & Other Books About Route 66

Route 66 Budget | How Much Does It Cost To Do Route 66 USA Road Trip?

Real Life Route 66 ‘Cars’ Movie Locations | The Places That Inspired Radiator Springs

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4 thoughts on “Where Does Route 66 Start And End? | USA

    1. Agreed! I actually have a post scheduled in a few weeks time about the Illinois stretch! I wish I had spent longer as we tried to squash it all in to one day! (Not including seeing Chicago)

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