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Cosmos Highlights of Route 66 with Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (8680)

16 days from Chicago to Los Angeles 
Follow legendary Route 66 and see how Americans traveled from the 1920s through the 1960s. This historic route begins in Chicago, travels through eight states, and ends in Los Angeles. On this Route 66 tour, you’ll get the opportunity to travel to some of the cities along Route 66, visit many of the Route 66 museums, and step back in time to when the journey was part of the fun.

Visit Pontiac’s Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum, featuring memorabilia from the heyday of Route 66. In Oklahoma, visit Pops, a landmark building selling gas, sodas, shakes, and diner food. At the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, antique cars and historic documents help you feel what it was like to travel Route 66. In New Mexico, visit Russell’s Car Museum, featuring classic cars and memorabilia. Travel though Williams—in Arizona—listed in the National Register for Historic Places and where you’ll see neon signs of the intact circa 1940s “Motel Row.” Before arriving at the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica, California, visit the Barstow Route 66 Museum, which houses a collection of historic Route 66 artifacts and photographs.

In Albuquerque, be part of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Stand in awe as you experience the morning’s pre-dawn opening ceremonies and the unforgettable Mass Ascension, where hundreds of hot air balloons take off, turning the sky into a virtual rainbow of colors. It is spectacular! This tour also deviates from Route 66, so you can see breathtaking scenery at the Grand Canyon and experience the excitement of Las Vegas.

These are just some of the many highlights of this Route 66 tour designed for value-minded travelers. Sit back, relax, and let Cosmos handle the driving and details while you enjoy!

Cosmos Highlights & Sightseeing

Sightseeing:
In Chicago, Oklahoma City, and Los Angeles; orientation in St. Louis, Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Gateway Arch, Will Rogers Memorial Museum, Elk CIty National Route 66 Museum, Pops Landmark Diner & Gas Station, Russell’s Car Museum, Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta & Mass Ascension and Barstow Route 66 Museum. Inside visits as shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.

Cosmos Hotels

CHICAGO Holiday Inn Chicago Mart (F)
SPRINGFIELD State House Inn (MF)
ST. LOUIS Pear Tree Inn Union Station (ST)
BRANSON Comfort Inn Thousand Hills (ST)
OKLAHOMA CITY Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown Hotel (SF)
AMARILLO Drury Inn & Suites Amarillo (ST)
ALBUQUERQUE Crowne Plaza Albuquerque (SF)
FLAGSTAFF Days Hotel Flagstaff (MF)
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK Grand Canyon National Park Lodges (NP)
LAS VEGAS Harrah’s Las Vegas Casino and Hotel (F)
LOS ANGELES L.A. Hotel Downtown (SF)

Itinerary (2017)

Day 1Chicago.
 Welcome to Chicago, the start of Route 66! Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer questions.
Day 2Chicago.
 Known as the “Windy City,” Chicago is home to America’s tallest building, legends such as Al Capone and his notorious gang, and countless jazz and blues clubs. Get to know this exciting city on a morning sightseeing tour that includes the sign marking the start of historic Route 66. This afternoon is at leisure. Ride the elevator to the top of the Willis Tower, formally known as the Sears Tower, explore The Magnificent Mile or stroll along Navy Pier.
Day 3Chicago–Pontiac–Springfield.
 This morning, immerse yourself in Route 66 memorabilia. Visit the ROUTE 66 HALL OF FAME & MUSEUM in Pontiac, housed in a historic fire station. See the large maps that will sketch out your Route 66 adventure for the coming days, and enjoy the nostalgic photos and postcards from the “Mother Road’s” heyday. Outside the museum, enjoy some of the outdoor murals depicting Route 66 themes scattered throughout the town center. On to Springfield and the former home of President Abraham Lincoln. Visit the ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM.
Day 4Springfield–St. Louis.
 This morning we cross the mighty Mississippi River and continue to St. Louis, “Gateway to the West.” Your orientation tour includes the towering GATEWAY ARCH. Ride to the top of the 630-foot-tall Arch for a panoramic view of the city and river. (CB)
Day 5St. Louis–Branson.
 Today we travel through the Missouri countryside, then on to Branson, one of America’s biggest music centers. Join us this evening for our optional award-winning buffet dinner and one of Branson’s top shows. Your Tour Director will have further details. (CB)
Day 6Branson–Claremore–Arcadia–Oklahoma City.
 This morning, leave the Ozarks and travel through America’s “Bible Belt” into Cowboy Country. After a quick drive through Kansas, enter Oklahoma, once known as Indian Territory. Stop in Claremore to visit the WILL ROGERS MEMORIAL MUSEUM. Born on a sprawling frontier ranch in Oklahoma, Will Rogers was an Indian, a cowboy, a movie and Broadway star, a writer, a speaker, a comedian, and a world figure. View his collection of saddles, photos, and manuscripts that reflect on his incredible life. In Arcadia on historic Route 66, visit POPS landmark diner and gas station. Later today, arrive in Oklahoma City. (CB)
Day 7Oklahoma City–Elk City–Amarillo.
 Start the day with a city sightseeing tour of Oklahoma City, the capital and largest city in Oklahoma. From here, travel to Elk City and visit the NATIONAL ROUTE 66 MUSEUM and take a journey through each of the eight states Route 66 passes through–from Illinois all the way to California. Continue into Texas and on to Amarillo, the state’s oil capital. Get into the Lone Star spirit tonight with our optional dinner of juicy Texas steak, served with heaps of Wild West atmosphere. (B)
Day 8Amarillo–Tucumcari–Santa Rosa–Albuquerque.
 On the way out of Amarillo, see Cadillac Ranch, a quirky art sculpture consisting of a collection of 10 Cadillacs. Before crossing into New Mexico, reach Adrian, the halfway point on Route 66. Across the New Mexico border, visit RUSSELL’S CAR MUSEUM, featuring classic cars and memorabilia that takes you back to the heyday of Route 66. Next, stop in Tucumcari and shop for souvenirs at Tepee Curios, and see the neon signs of the Blue Swallow Motel that has been serving travelers of Route 66 since 1939. Continue along old Route 66 west to Santa Rosa. Look for the signs of the good ol’ days: Comet Drive-In, Silver Moon, Sun and Sand, and the still-grinning faces of Fat Man billboards outside of town. Next, visit Central Avenue in Albuquerque, where many of the original Route 66 buildings and businesses still stand. Afterward, there’s free time in this original Spanish town with its fine parish church and Spanish-style plaza. (CB)
Day 9Albuquerque.
 This morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast or sunbathe in the New Mexico sunshine. Consider a short walk to Old Town, site of the city’s original settlement. Hone your bargaining skills with the local craftsmen who line the square to sell their lovely silver and turquoise jewelry. After exploring more of this atmospheric city, seize the chance to ride the world’s longest aerial tramway up nearby Sandia Peak Mountain and witness spine-tingling views of the desert floor, forests, and canyons below.
Day 10Albuquerque–Gallup–Winslow–Flagstaff.
 This morning stand in awe as you experience the pre-dawn opening ceremonies and the unforgettable Mass Ascension where hundreds of hot air balloons take off, turning the sky into a virtual rainbow of colors. What began as a gathering of thirteen balloons 35 years ago has since turned into the largest ballooning event in the world. Then, cross the Continental Divide and continue to Gallup, which claims a longtime Hollywood connection. From Redskin, filmed in 1929, to the more recent adventures of Superman, the area has provided unequaled movie scenery. Tonight is in Flagstaff, nestled at the base of the San Francisco Mountains.
Day 11Flagstaff–Grand Canyon National Park.
 Deviate from Route 66 to see one of the Natural Wonders of the World, GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK. Wander along the canyon rim for breathtaking views. Perhaps join the optional helicopter flightseeing tour. Overnight inside the national park.
Day 12Grand Canyon National Park–Williams–Seligman–Las Vegas.
 Return to Route 66 and pass through historic Williams, which is listed in the National Register for Historic Places. Make sure to appreciate the neon signs of the intact circa 1940s “Motel Row.” Later today, visit Seligman, home to the rebirth of Route 66. Detour once again from Route 66 to visit the bright lights and excitement of Las Vegas.
Day 13Las Vegas.
 A day at leisure to relax by the pool or explore the world-renowned Las Vegas Strip. Ride the world’s highest rollercoaster, float through a Venice canal, or see man-eating sharks up close—it’s all possible in Las Vegas. Don’t miss downtown Las Vegas, where you’ll find the Fremont Street Experience, five city blocks enclosed in a glass atrium and filled with dazzling lights, sounds, and action. A variety of optional excursions are available, including a float trip through dramatic Black Canyon on the Colorado River. This evening, join an optional night at a dazzling show featuring top Vegas entertainment.
Day 14Las Vegas–Barstow–Santa Monica–Los Angeles.
 Today, depart the man-made phenomenon of Las Vegas and cross the Mojave Desert and the San Bernardino Mountains en route to Los Angeles. Visit the BARSTOW ROUTE 66 MUSEUM, which displays a collection of historic photographs and artifacts related to Route 66 and the Mojave Desert communities. Continue on to Santa Monica, the ending point of Route 66. Overnight in Los Angeles, the “Capital of Glamour.”
Day 15Los Angeles.
 Savor the exciting “City of Angels” on our morning tour of glamorous Beverly Hills, Sunset Strip, Hollywood, and more legendary sights. The rest of the day is yours to perhaps enjoy Disneyland® or Universal Studios®, shop for souvenirs, or relax by the pool.
Day 16Los Angeles.
 The trip ends today with guests departing on individual schedules. Transfers to Los Angeles International Airport are included. You can extend your vacation with extra nights and explore Los Angeles further with a variety of exciting optional activities.

Included Cosmos Meals

4 continental breakfasts, 1 breakfast

Related Cosmos Tours

8530 - Highlights of Route 66

Cosmos Pricing Details

Gratuities for Tour Director and driver are available for pre-purchase.

Prices based on double room occupancy.

Single Room Supplement:
$1,170

Triple Room Reduction per person:
$270

Additional accommodations before or after your tour may be available.

Cosmos Notes

NOTE:
This special departure includes all activities on our regular departures, except the visit to Acoma Sky City.

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