Combining Culture and Fun on Route 66 in DuPage County
One of the highlights of my recent trip to Illinois was driving on Route 66 through DuPage County, just west of the metropolis with easy access from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Exploring this first stretch of the Mother Road is an easy add-on and absolutely worth your time. You’ll pass by historic Route 66 markers, home-grown American restaurants as well as a wonderful museum with unique Route 66 memorabilia.
Explore Route 66 with Fun and Style!
To make your trip through the area feel authentic and fun, I highly recommend renting a classic car or motorcycle. There are several providers that are easy to locate on the web and driving one of these fabulous old-timers is easier than you think! Take the top off, put your gloves on and off you go like in the movies!
Historic Restaurants: Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket and White Fence Farm
One of the first places to visit along your drive on Historic Route 66 in DuPage County is Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket. A destination in itself located in the charming community of Willowbrook, this original 1940s roadhouse has been featured in countless documentaries and travel books. It is a favorite with both locals and international visitors, and a wonderful spot to sample American favorites like fried chicken and baked macaroni. For the health conscious among us it also features a salad bar.
My fondest memory of Dell Rhea’s, however, is the unique roadside atmosphere and the inimitable wit and charm of the local waitresses. While you’re there, make sure to snap a photo of the beautiful historic Route 66 road marker outside the restaurant!
Continuing a few miles further you will get to the town of Romeoville where I found another famous local eatery, the scenic White Fence Farm. Famous throughout the mid-west for its outstanding and always fresh chicken dinners, White Fence Farm has served hungry diners since 1920. It also features great live music with local artists to round out your experience.
Travel back in time at the Joliet Area Historical Museum
You will be in Route 66 heaven when you get to Joliet where you can pose next to an original 1920s gas pump right on the street corner diagonally across from the Joliet Area Historical Museum. The museum itself, located where Route 66 used to intersect with the Lincoln Highway, is an absolute must-visit.
Aside from the fact that you can stock up on free road maps and Route 66 souvenirs in the gift shop, you will find state-of-the-art exhibits there that take you on a nostalgic journey back in time to when the Mother Road was in its heyday. The museum also pays tribute to the many movies filmed in Joliet from Blues Brothers to Public Enemies and many more. The shot I took with the life-sized John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd mannequins is among my favorites!
Who hasn’t dreamed of driving along the legendary Route 66? Begin at Chicago’s Navy Pier, and experience the first stretch in DuPage County, with its iconic American restaurants, nostalgic roadside markers and fun cultural offerings. Here you’ll truly get your kicks on Route 66!