Occupying a corner of Tucumcari on the Mother Road since 1939, The Blue Swallow delivers a massive dose of nostalgia: Each room comes with an attached garage, and once the sun goes down, guests spy classic Route 66 neon from the Blue Swallow’s iconic sign.
One man's junk is another man's... museum. Old gas pumps, oil memorabilia, Route 66 signage: This place is an ode to all things auto. Owner Johnnie Meier is likely to be sitting out front, happy to chat with visitors about the collection he says straddles the line between auto and art.
It’s all about the ride. Bozo and Anna Cordova have been the proud owners of Route 66 Auto Museum for nearly 20 years, and the space they built is a celebration of vehicular travel. The museum displays more than 30 cars, ranging from original to custom, each built by Bozo himself.
A dazzling example of Pueblo Deco architecture, the KiMo opened in 1927, and the theater’s details will not escape your notice: murals depicting Puebloan structures in New Mexico, chandeliers shaped like drums, and cow skulls with red, glowing eyes. It remains one of Albuquerque’s most recognizable landmarks.
In 1936, Lee Marmon took his first picture at age 11 of a car accident on Route 66. Since then, he’s become an icon of American and Native American photography: famous for his photos of his native Laguna Pueblo, as well as other people and places on the route, and beyond.
Tee Pee Curios is one of the only remaining Route-66-style curio shops in New Mexico. Stop not only for the all of your souvenir needs — from Route 66 t-shirts, postcards, New Mexican pottery, and jewelry — but also for the distinctive tee-pee-shaped entryway and its quintessential neon sign.
Built by a film director’s brother in the 1930s, the El Rancho Hotel was the lodging of choice for Hollywood stars filming Westerns in the Gallup area. Route 66 travelers will see it by its classic neon sign, and visitors will get a historic-route eyeful in the lobby: high ceilings, lots of dark wood, and a cozy, lodge-like atmosphere.