Here Are 9 Must-Stops Along Route 66 In New Mexico

Traveling Route 66, the famous Mother Road, from Chicago to California has been a rite of passage since 1926. But did you know that 535 miles of the 2,450-mile route ran right through New Mexico once upon a time? So, what are the best stops on Route 66 in New Mexico? Let’s explore!

Though no longer an official road, you can still follow the Route 66 Scenic Byway across the entire state, east and west. From the east, the route starts in Glen Rio and primarily runs parallel to Interstate 40, until it exits the state past Gallup, through Manuelito. However, older parts of the route swing up through Las Vegas and Santa Fe. For whichever path you follow across this historic road, we’ve lined up a few must-stops along the way:

Have you traveled Route 66 in New Mexico? What are your favorite stops and attractions along Mother Road? We want to know! Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Address: Watson's BBQ, 502 S Lake St, Tucumcari, NM 88401, USA
Address: Blue Swallow Motel, 815 E Rte 66 Blvd, Tucumcari, NM 88401, USA
Address: 1257 U.S. Rt. 66, Santa Rosa, NM 88435, USA
Address: West Historic Highway 66, W Historic Hwy 66, Gallup, NM 87301, USA
Address: 500 Central Ave, Moriarty, NM 87035, USA
Address: 423 Central Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102, USA
Address: San Miguel Chapel, 401 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
Address: 1000 E Hwy 66, Gallup, NM 87301, USA
The OIYS Visitor Center

Best Stops on Route 66 New Mexico

July 04, 2022

What are the best Route 66 New Mexico attractions?  

There are 465 miles of Route 66 in New Mexico, and there are a lot of fun, interesting, unusual, educational, or otherwise noteworthy stops along the way. Some of the best Route 66 New Mexico attractions include gems like the legendary Route 66 Diner, in Albuquerque. It’s an old-school soda fountain diner with all of the fixings you’d expect at a place like this. It’s a wonderfully nostalgic little place to eat and your adventure will not be complete without it. While in Albuquerque on Route 66, be sure to also visit the Old Town Plaza, which has more than 150 eateries, cafes, museums, galleries, and more to spend hours exploring.  

Where are the most interesting Route 66 stops in New Mexico?  

With so many stops, it’s kind of tough to figure out which ones are the most interesting, which is, of course, subjective. That being said, you could start with some of the most objectively interesting Route 66 stops in New Mexico, like the Continental Divide, which marks the point between where water flows to the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic. It’s a geographical wonder that nature lovers will find interesting for sure! You could also visit Tucumcari and check out the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum, a 10,000-square-foot exhibit hall with some absolutely awe-inspiring exhibits including everything from skeletons to fossils and more. Then, there’s the truly amazing Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, one of the most amazing examples of a “blue hole” lake and easily one of the most photogenic natural wonders in New Mexico. 

What are some fun things to do on Route 66 in New Mexico?  

Route 66 is an experience to be had at least once in everyone’s life. Check out Sky City, where you can explore, quite literally, thousands of years of fascinating history. It’s thought to be the single oldest continually-populated area in North America, having been occupied for no less than 2,000 years thus far. Another truly amazing Route 66 attraction in New Mexico is the sheer number of old, abandoned hotels and motels – ghosts of another era long past in the Land of Enchantment.  

Address: Watson's BBQ, 502 S Lake St, Tucumcari, NM 88401, USA
Address: Blue Swallow Motel, 815 E Rte 66 Blvd, Tucumcari, NM 88401, USA
Address: 1257 U.S. Rt. 66, Santa Rosa, NM 88435, USA
Address: West Historic Highway 66, W Historic Hwy 66, Gallup, NM 87301, USA
Address: 500 Central Ave, Moriarty, NM 87035, USA
Address: 423 Central Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102, USA
Address: San Miguel Chapel, 401 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
Address: 1000 E Hwy 66, Gallup, NM 87301, USA