You’ll find some of the perfect Route 66 stops here in New Mexico. These are the 8 best Route 66 attractions New Mexico.
New Mexico has some awesome stops as you travel along Route 66. Whether you are coming from Chicago or from Santa Monica it has some great places to stay the night and an awesome way to kill some time in the hot sun.
> Read our full guide to the ultimate Route 66 Road Trip!
We’ll cover Route 66 attractions New Mexico, Route 66 Amarillo to Albuquerque, Route 66 New Mexico stops, attractions along I 40 in New Mexico, and more!
This post is all about Route 66 attractions New Mexico!
Route 66 Attractions New Mexico:
Hotel El Rancho
We’ll start from the west of the state to the east since we drove Route 66 from California to Illinois. Hotel El Rancho is the perfect neon-lit hotel for Route 66. It’s located in the small town of Gallup just across the Arizona New Mexico border. There’s not much to Gallup, but we highly recommend driving through the parking lot or getting out and enjoying all the sights this lobby and hotel have to offer. There is a restaurant on property, The 49er Lounge, perfect for a road trip meal. The hotel is still open so you can book a night at Hotel El Rancho!
Once you head into Albuquerque, there are a few attractions you have to visit and one of them is 66 Diner. This diner is the quintessential diner you are hoping to find along Route 66. Complete with a jukebox, red leather booths, tons of Route 66 memorabilia, a diner counter, and of course amazing malts. Just outside the diner is a fantastic wall of old road signs!
Sandia Peak Tramway
Even though this isn’t part of Route 66, it’s definitely worth the visit. We stayed the night in Albuquerque since it is about halfway through the state. The Sandia Peak Tramway is perfect for an overnight stay. This nearly 3-mile aerial tramway takes you up the mountain top. You’ll get fantastic views and once at the top, there is hiking, restaurants, and even skiing!
Another off the Route 66 stop, but this park is a perfect place to stretch your legs. It overlooks the Rio Grande River and is a popular spot for hot air balloons. We came for a gorgeous sunrise and walked around a bit before heading back into the car for a long day of driving. Parking is free and plenty and it’s a pretty desert landscape in the city.
Just outside of Albuquerque is the Musical Highway. Although it is no longer maintained, you can still try to find it if you’re patient. We drove over it 6 times before we were satisfied! There are grooves on the right side of the road only going eastbound that will play America the Beautiful if driven over at exactly the speed limit of 45 mph. It was installed as an experiment to see if people would drive the speed limit if there was a reward like a musical highway. Unfortunately, it was too expensive to keep up and most of it has been removed or destroyed, but you still can find a bit of it if you’re quiet and keep the windows up in the car.
The Blue Hole
If you are traveling Route 66 during the summer, the Blue Hole is a great place to stop. The public swimming lake is located in Santa Rosa. It’s extremely blue and clear and it is over 80 feet deep! It’s a popular place to take a dip and there are even people that scuba dive here since it’s so deep and clear. There’s a whole park around the hole so it’s a great place to set up shop for an afternoon or for a picnic and take a break from the heat.
Silver Moon Cafe
Just in the same town as The Blue Hole, is Silver Moon Cafe. This iconic stop on Route 66 serves up delicious Mexican and New Mexican dishes just off the highway. It’s a fun place to look around inside with the decor and gift shop and perfect to sit outdoors if the weather permits!
Glenrio Ghost Town
The last noteworthy stop of New Mexico actually sits on the border of New Mexico and Texas. The town of Glenrio is completely abandoned and now sits empty as a ghost town. It’s a stark reminder of how the interstate rolled just past the town and eventually everyone moved away, leaving the city behind. There is an old motel, post office, diner, and gas station. All sitting just as they were before they were abandoned. Even with cars in the driveways! It’s eerie for sure but definitely worth a visit.
> Next up is Texas, check out our full guide on fun things to do in Amarillo, Texas!
New Mexico Accommodations:
Budget | Historic El Rancho Hotel – This historic hotel screams Route 66 with the neon lights, lounge, and wagon wheel beds. It’s a perfect stop on your Route 66 trip through New Mexico.
Mid-Range | SpringHill Suites Albuquerque North – Located a bit north of Route 66 but perfect if you have plans to explore more of Albuquerque. It’s clean and roomy so perfect for a whole family!
Luxury | Hotel Chaco – If you are looking for a bit of luxury on your road trip, the Hotel Chaco is the perfect option! This hotel has a gorgeous outdoor swimming pool, a rooftop bar, and is brand new with amazing in-room amenities.
> Find your perfect accommodations in New Mexico on Booking.com!