Frugal Foodie Mama: Experience a Taste of Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas

Friday, January 12, 2018

Experience a Taste of Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas

The city of Amarillo, Texas embodies the very essence & spirit of Route 66 with its quirky roadside stops & historical sites...
The city of Amarillo, Texas embodies the very essence & spirit of Route 66 with its quirky roadside stops & historical sites. The perfect destination for experiencing a taste of this iconic American highway!
This post was created in partnership with Visit Amarillo. As always, all opinions & thoughts expressed below are 100% my own.

I think many Americans and foreign tourists alike share the dream of one day traveling the entire length of the historic & iconic Route 66. It is one of those bucket list items. The ultimate American road trip. A journey back to a simpler time when Cadillacs ruled the roads & families packed up the station wagon or camper to head out west for the annual family vacation.

But the nearly 2,450 mile drive from Chicago to Santa Monica can seem a bit daunting at first. This trip can take you weeks round trip, especially if you stop often to take in the quirky & iconic roadside attractions along the way. I mean, what's the point of making the epic Route 66 journey if you aren't going to actually going to make the time to experience everything this nostalgic highway has to offer?

If weeks of paid vacation time is not something that you currently have the luxury of possessing, but you are itching to get a taste of Route 66 then a trip to Amarillo, Texas is definitely the cure for what ails you. ;) Amarillo happens to be the largest city along the 178 mile stretch of Route 66 from Oklahoma to New Mexico. And even though only a little over a mile of the Mother Road runs through the historic district of Amarillo, the city embodies the very essence of Route 66 with its quirky roadside stops & historical sites...

Stop #1: Cadillac Ranch 
Standing as a tribute to the classic cars that once cruised up & down Route 66, Cadillac Ranch is by far one of Amarillo's most popular tourist attractions.

Standing as a tribute to the classic cars that once cruised up & down Route 66, Cadillac Ranch is by far one of Amarillo's most popular tourist attractions. The art installation was originally erected in 1974, but was relocated to its present location off of I-40 in 1997. Tourists come from all over the world to leave their mark one spray paint can at a time on one of the ten classic Cadillacs buried nose first into the former wheat field.


Tourists come from all over the world to leave their mark one spray paint can at a time on one of the ten classic Cadillacs buried nose first into the former wheat field- better known as Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.
Photo courtesy of Visit Amarillo


Tourists come from all over the world to leave their mark one spray paint can at a time on one of the ten classic Cadillacs buried nose first into the former wheat field- better known as Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.

In fact, so many people visit Cadillac Ranch each year that it is reported that the Home Depot just two miles from the ranch sells more spray paint than any other Home Depot in the entire country! And after seeing for myself the layers & layers of spray paint that has accumulated on these Cadillacs over the years, I definitely believe it...

Layers & layers of spray paint have accumulated on the partially buried Cadillacs at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas over the years.

It is discouraged to remove paint chips from Cadillac Ranch unless you have special permission from the ranch owners. One such local artisan does, and I will be sharing more about what he does with these colorful paint chips a little further below. ;)

Stop #2: The Big Texan Ranch & Microbrewery
The Big Texan, an iconic Texas-style steakhouse, first opened in 1960 along the historic Route 66. When the new interstate was built in the 1970's, the Lee family made the decision to relocate the bigger than life restaurant alongside I-40.

If you happen to work up an appetite from all that spray painting at Cadillac Ranch, then be sure to stop in at The Big Texan Ranch & Microbrewery just a few miles up the interstate. This iconic Texas-style steakhouse first opened its doors in 1960 along the historic Route 66. When the new interstate was built in the 1970's, the Lee family made the decision to relocate the bigger than life restaurant alongside I-40 bringing with them the gusto of Route 66 & the spirit of a bygone era of Americana. 


The Big Texan, an iconic Texas-style steakhouse, first opened in 1960 along the historic Route 66. When the new interstate was built in the 1970's, the Lee family made the decision to relocate the bigger than life restaurant alongside I-40.

The Big Texan menu offers a hearty selection of juicy steaks, buffalo burgers, & their famous chicken fried steak. Since June 2011, the Big Texan has also been brewing & serving hand crafted beers from their very own microbrewery. On any given day, they offer over 12 different brews on tap that rotate seasonally.


The Big Texan's biggest claim to fame is their World Famous Free 72-oz. Steak Dinner. Free, that is, if you can devour the entire steak and all the fixings (3 fried shrimp, garden salad, baked potato, & dinner roll) in 60 minutes or less!

But perhaps The Big Texan's biggest claim to fame is their World Famous Free 72-oz. Steak Dinner. Free, that is, if you can devour the entire steak and all the fixings (3 fried shrimp, garden salad, baked potato, & dinner roll) in 60 minutes or less! And when they say "world famous", they mean world famous. The gentleman pictured above who unsuccessfully attempted this massive challenge had traveled to Amarillo from Russia.

Could you conquer this monster steak challenge? ;)

Stop #3: The RV Museum at Jack Sisemore Traveland
After collecting & restoring vintage RV's for over 25 years, Jack Sisemore & his son Trent decided to build their very own museum in Amarillo, Texas to house their massive collection of campers, recreational vehicles, classic cars, & motorcycles.

After collecting & restoring vintage RV's for over 25 years, Jack Sisemore & his son Trent decided to build their very own museum to house their massive collection of campers, recreational vehicles, classic cars, & motorcycles. Their RV collection encompasses all decades from the 1930's to the 1970's. You are actually allowed to walk around inside most of these antique homes away from home & really get a feel for what it would have been like to have traveled along Route 66 in a shiny Airstream or a teardrop camper during the Mother Road's heyday.

After collecting & restoring vintage RV's for over 25 years, Jack Sisemore & his son Trent decided to build their very own museum in Amarillo, Texas to house their massive collection of campers, recreational vehicles, classic cars, & motorcycles.

The RV Museum is definitely worth a little detour to go and visit. Plus, admission to the museum is free! :) Just visit the main showroom & a friendly staff member will walk you back to the museum during operating hours (Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm; Saturday, 9am to 4pm).

Stop #4: Bill's Backyard Classics
Bill's Backyard Classics in Amarillo, Texas is an impressive private collection of over 100 classic cars, many of which hark back to the glory days of Route 66.

Another museum worth a stop at in Amarillo is Bill's Backyard Classics. The museum is an impressive private collection of over 100 classic cars, many of which hark back to the glory days of Route 66. On display are cars & trucks of all makes & models ranging from the 1920's to present day- from Model A's to hot rods to smart cars.

Bill's Backyard Classics in Amarillo, Texas is an impressive private collection of over 100 classic cars, many of which hark back to the glory days of Route 66.

Classic tunes from a 1950's style jukebox set the mood as you walk up and down the aisles of the museum admiring the shiny chrome & timeless curves of these beautifully restored vintage vehicles.

Bill's Backyard Classics in Amarillo, Texas is an impressive private collection of over 100 classic cars, many of which hark back to the glory days of Route 66.

Bill's Backyard Classics is open for tours from 10am to 4pm, Monday through Saturday. Admission is $10, but children 12 & under get in for free. 

Stop #5: Route 66 Historic District (Sixth Avenue)
To get a real taste of Route 66 in Amarillo, go straight to the source- the over one mile of the Mother Road that runs straight through the heart of the historic 6th Street district!
Photo courtesy of Visit Amarillo

To get a real taste of Route 66 in Amarillo, go straight to the source- the over one mile of the Mother Road that runs straight through the heart of the historic 6th Street district! Here you will not only find that the spirit & gusto of Route 66 is still alive & well, but you will also find a plethora of restaurants, bars, shops full of antiques & collectibles, and art galleries

Crocodile Lile transforms paint chips from Cadillac Ranch into wearable pieces of art at his gallery in the Route 66 Historic District in Amarillo, Texas.

One such art gallery in the Route 66 Historic District is the Lile Art Gallery where you can find the ever colorful & entertaining Crocodile Lile mulling over paint chips from the Cadillac Ranch on any given day of the week. (Remember that local artisan I mentioned above when I was telling you all about Cadillac Ranch? Well, this would be the guy! ;) )

Lile transforms these layered paint chips into wearable works of art. He sands down & polishes each paint chip and then turns them into beautiful necklaces, earrings, & bracelets, aka what he calls Cadilite jewelry. You can literally take a piece of Cadillac Ranch & Route 66 home with you. 

To get a real taste of Route 66 in Amarillo, go straight to the source- the over one mile of the Mother Road that runs straight through the heart of the historic 6th Street district!
Photo courtesy of Visit Amarillo

For a full list of shops & restaurants & a calendar of events happening in the historic district, be sure to visit the Historic 6th on Route 66 Association's website

The city of Amarillo, Texas embodies the very essence & spirit of Route 66 with its quirky roadside stops & historical sites. The perfect destination for experiencing a taste of this iconic American highway!

Have you traveled to Amarillo, Texas before?
What are some of your favorite quirky & iconic stops there?

For more information & to start planning your getaway to Amarillo soon, be sure to click on over to the Visit Amarillo website

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