The Scene

Enjoy iconic ice cream parlors on Route 66

Photo provided by Heritage Corridor Destinations

As you start to plan your throwback summer road trip along The First Hundred Miles of America’s Mother Road, be sure to visit a few of these iconic Route 66 ice cream stops. Here’s a look at six of the classic shops and diners serving up everything from old-school treats to modern favorites.

Lou Mitchell’s

565 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, 312-939-3111

Even before the opening of Route 66, the Lou Mitchell’s location on Jackson Boulevard has been feeding hungry travelers and commuters since 1923. With the opening of the route in 1926, Lou Mitchell’s was and is conveniently located at that very same spot 100 years later. Besides it offering a delicious breakfast and lunch, did you know that Lou Mitchell’s serves up some great soft-serve?

Try an old-fashioned root beer float known as a Black Cow or enjoy one of the classic shakes and malts made with fresh bananas, strawberries or a combination of the two. Lou Mitchell’s is an ideal starting point to your journey along The First Hundred Miles; you’ll find plenty of nearby parking, official Route 66 signage and good prices.

Eleven City Diner

1112 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago

The Eleven City Diner, a Chicago staple for deli delicacies and American fare, is also home to some of the most authentic throwback ice cream treats. The perfect spot to kick off your culinary road trip across The First Hundred Miles, Eleven City Diner still offers old-fashioned counter service, complete with a nostalgia-rich soda fountain.

On the dessert menu, you’ll find rare classics like a delectable Brooklyn-style egg cream, alongside tried-and-true favorites such as shakes, malts and ice cream floats, all crafted by an in-house soda jerk. True Midwesterners won’t want to miss the Green River Float, made with Green River soda and vanilla ice cream. Beyond the frozen treats, you’ll find a large selection of in-house smoked meats, a full breakfast, famous deli sandwiches and a well-stocked bar.

Rich & Creamy on Broadway

Photo provided by Heritage Corridor Destinations

920 N. Broadway St., Joliet

The Rich & Creamy ice cream stand is the official starting point for historic Route 66 in Joliet. Alongside an offering of classic soft-serve ice cream options, you’ll find the beautiful Route 66 Park. The walkway that snakes along the Des Plaines River is the perfect spot to stretch your legs and enjoy your ice-cold treat, before hopping back on the Mother Road for more adventures.

Snap some photos of the life-size fiberglass likenesses of Jake and Elwood Blues dancing on the roof of the vintage ice cream spot, just a stone’s throw away from one of “The Blues Brothers” movie’s legendary filming locations, the historic Old Joliet Prison. Follow for schedule details.

Walt’s Ice Cream “The Original”

1314 W. Jefferson St., Joliet

Looking for some hand-dipped ice cream? Pay a visit to The Original Walt’s Ice Cream, a staple of Joliet since 1926, the same year Route 66 was opened to the public. Walt’s boasts a wide menu of more than 24 flavors of hand-scooped ice cream (including the regional favorite Superman, the classic multi-color mix), premium sundaes, malts, shakes and frozen yogurt.

The famous Walt’s Rainbow Cone, a tower of orange, vanilla, pistachio, strawberry and chocolate, is a can’t-miss for connoisseurs of hand-dipped ice cream. While you’re there, pick up a bag of the gourmet popcorn, a perfect snack for traveling along Route 66.

Route 66 Creamery

507 E. Baltimore St., Wilmington

This locally owned and operated ice cream shop on historic Route 66 in Wilmington serves up a delicious assortment of cones, cups, shakes and sundaes. Route 66 Creamery’s signature Twisters, made with the fresh soft-serve and blended with an assortment of toppings, are a fan-favorite with a selection of standard and premium offerings with multiple mix-ins.

Route 66 Creamery also offers nine varieties of fruit-flavored slushes and 12 premium sundaes, including classics such as banana splits and root beer floats. All soft-serve ice cream options have the choice of adding one of eight flavor blasts, like mint and banana ripple, to the three core flavors: vanilla, chocolate and twist.

Polk-a-Dot Drive In

222 N. Front St., Braidwood

This 1950s-infused roadside diner, lined with fiberglass statues of your favorite characters from yesteryear, serves up delicious milkshakes, malts and much more. If you’re in the mood for some mix-ins, be sure to order an Arctic Swirl, loaded to the brim with your choice of candies. You’ll also find frozen-yogurt options if you’re looking for something a little lighter.

Polk-a-Dot also features a full menu with all the drive-in classics you know and love, like burgers, malts and chili cheese fries. Inside, you’ll find jukebox booths, iconic black-and-white-checkered floors and black patent leather booths, all held together with miles of stainless steel. Dine in or enjoy the outdoor picnic tables overlooking Old 66.

Photo provided by Heritage Corridor Destinations