Looking to cool down while exploring the The First Hundred Miles of the historic Mother Road? Pay a visit to one of these 10 nostalgic ice cream parlors, soft serve stands and throwback diners for a frosty throwback treat!
565 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago 312-939-3111
Wed-Fri 6am-2pm Sat-Sun 7am-2pm Mon-Tue Closed
Even before the opening of Route 66, Lou Mitchells’ location at Jackson Boulevard has been feeding hungry travelers and commuters since 1923. With the opening of the route in 1926, Lou’s was and is conveniently located at that very same spot, almost 100 years later. Besides getting a great 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 shakes made with fresh bananas, strawberries or a combination of the two. Start your 1st 100 Miles at this iconic location with parking, route 66 signage and great prices.
Scoops Ice Cream
500 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago
Wed-Sat 9am-11pm Sun-Tue Closed
Located directly across from Grant Park’s iconic Buckingham Fountain, Scoops ice cream enjoys an eye-popping visa of
Lake Michigan as it’s backdrop. Small and quaint, this location is limited to window service only, however there are plenty of picnic tables to accommodate your crew. Walking distance from Millennium Park and Chicago’s Museum Campus. Have a cone and enjoy the million-dollar view at this excellent photo-op!
Rich N Creamy
920 N Broadway St, Joliet 815-740-2899
When you see the giant pink cone and ‘Joliet’ Jake and Elwood Blues dancing on the roof, you’ll know you’ve reached your destination at the Rich N Creamy ice cream shack on Old Route 66. This classic drive-in-come-ice-cream building has been serving up happy customers for decades. And just like the name says, get ready for some Rich N Creamy treats from cones and shakes to cheesecake-on-a-stick! Soft serve by the pint and ice cream sandwiches and frozen bananas by the dozen.
Walt’s Ice Cream ‘The Original’
1314 W Jefferson St, Joliet 815-302-4628
Sun-Thu 12pm-10pm Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm
Look for the red and white stripped building, and you’ve found The Original Walt’s Ice Cream. Voted ‘Best Ice Cream’ in 2020 by the entire county, Walt’s menu doesn’t stop there. Try their hand dipped variety in 24 flavors (one named ‘superman’), including Italian ice in mango and lemon. Kids love their ‘rainbow cone’ with four flavors that makes for an eye-catching presentation.
700 W Jefferson St, Shorewood Plaza 815-409-7424
Mon-Fri 4pm-9pm Sat-Sun 3pm-9pm
You can enjoy and old-fashioned slush in 8 flavors at the Frosty Tips Ice Cream shop conveniently located just off I55 in the Shorewood Plaza. With 11 different milk shake flavors including caramel, marshmallow and butterscotch, you’ll never get bored with their selection. Reviews include ‘great prices’ and visitors love that it is a small, neighborhood family-owned operation.
Lickety Split Ice Cream Shoppe
507 E Baltimore St, Wilmington 815-476-9998
Not just your average ice cream shop, Lickety Split in Wilmington, Illinois offers up some unique fare. Try the refreshing ‘Hawaiian Snow’ with ten different flavors or make up your own combination. Tired of soft serve? Then choose from fresh fruit smoothies, chocolate dipped strawberries and pretzels or one of their specialty sundaes called the ‘Route 66.’ A variety of scoop ice cream rounds out the menu. Easy parking, indoor and outdoor seating.
The Launching Pad
810 E Baltimore St, Wilmington 815-476-6535
When you see the 28ft green Gemini Giant, you know you’ve reached your destination at the Launching Pad in Wilmington, Illinois. Featuring a full-service menu, many enjoy their ice cream creations including their now famous ‘1 Pound Milk Shake’ available in seven different flavors. You can even make it a malt if nostalgia is what you’re looking for. Whipped real fruit soft serve is another specialty. Visitors rave about the bananas foster sundae. So, touch down for a soft serve landing at this 1950′s classic Route 66 location.
222 N Front St, Braidwood 815-458-3377
Walk in the door and you are greeted with a huge red, white and black placard menu resting above the glass block tile at this 1950′s style roadside diner. Choose from the regular milk shake to yogurt shakes and malts. Need a little candy? Then opt for the ‘arctic swirl’ loaded with mix-ins of your choice. Sandwiches, fried chicken and salads round out the menu for a full dining experience. Cool inside and out, look for the giant fiberglass Elvis and you know you’re at the Polk-A-Dot! Excellent photo opportunity.
66 Licks Ice Cream Truck
102 S West St, Odell
What’s better than homemade, hand dipped ice cream? That is what the Licks Ice Cream Truck is all about. With an ever-rotating flavor selection, part of the game is to find them! Usually parked at the spot referenced above, we suggest you get online for opening times and fresh selections of the day. Look for the line queued up at their service window and you know you’ve found 66 Licks, a unique ice cream experience.
Wally’s Gas Station
1 Holiday Road, Pontiac 815-844-8690
Who want’s hand dipped ice cream on a fresh made waffle cone? You do! Look for Wally’s iconic giant neon sign and you know a treats not far away. Set on over 20 acres this 30,000 sq ft gas station has everything you forgot on your trip, plus souvenirs and a full-service menu with carving station. Known as the ‘Home of the Great American Road Trip’ fill up the kids and the car at Wally’s.