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Cadillacs and Crossroads on Route 66

Downtown Flagstaff


During its heyday, Route 66 served as the main thoroughfare through Flagstaff, Arizona. And today, from east to west through downtown, Route 66 signage is still used. A mix of art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops fill the buildings that date from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

A self-guided, one-mile Route 66 walking tour starts at Flagstaff’s visitors center, which is housed in the 1926 train depot. Amtrak still uses the depot for its Los Angeles-to-Chicago run.

“The walking tour focuses on the original alignment before the mid-1930s,” said spokeswoman Joanne Hudson. “Phoenix Avenue contains several operational 1930s motor inns, such as Motel DeBeau, whose owners are working to fully restore its charming rooms with hardwood floors.”

Afterward, groups can grab a bite at the Galaxy Diner, which sports a soda fountain and walls covered with black-and-white glamour shots of midcentury movie stars. Miz Zips Café, a classic American diner, has been family-owned and operated since 1952 and remains famous for its Zip burger, chicken fried steak and pie.


La Posada Hotel

Winslow, Arizona

During its heyday in the 1930s, La Posada Hotel was a favored destination of the Hollywood jet set. Fred Harvey built the showplace in 1929 for the Santa Fe Railway. La Posada is known as architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter’s Southwest masterpiece. The total budget with grounds and furnishings was rumored at $2 million — about $40 million in today’s dollars.

Rooms feature handmade Ponderosa pine beds, hand-woven Zapotec rugs and Mexican tin and Talavera tile mirrors. Some boast the original 1930s black-and-white mosaic-tile bathrooms complete with cast-iron tubs. Interior views take in the lovely gardens, and Route 66 can be seen to the north.

“Our Turquoise Room’s history and cuisine guarantees that groups will enjoy unforgettable dining,” said Bob Hall, CEO of the Winslow Chamber of Commerce. “From stuffed squash blossom appetizers to the grilled lamb with tamales and a decadent chocolate souffle for dessert, our from-scratch menu incorporates local products for an authentic Southwest experience.”

Elizabeth Hey

Elizabeth Hey is a member of Midwest Travel Journalists Association and has received numerous awards for her writing and photography. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @travelbyfork.