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Route 66 Road Trip Day 17: Pasadena to Santa Monica

Our Day 17 of our Route 66 Road Trip was from Pasadena to Santa Monica and because we live in Los Angeles (and maybe because it was a Sunday) we didn’t stop at every single little thing as we drove from Pasadena to Santa Monica, so this is quite a shorter post than all of the previous days, but it included stop at vintage hotel signs, Gus’s BBQ for lunch, and a muffler man turned into a chicken. 

Route 66 Road Trip Day 17: Pasadena to Santa Monica

Our first stop was to grab a shot of the amazing logo at the Saga Motel on Colorado Blvd. 

Other motels with awesome signs or architecture in Pasadena include:

  • Saga Motel
  • Pasada Motel
  • Hi Way Host Motel
  • Astro Motel
  • Swiss Lodge

There’s also some great vintage signs along Colorado Blvd. including this vintage Surplus sign:

We then started with breakfast at Gus’s BBQ (they serve amazing breakfast/brunch on the weekends) in South Pasadena. Gus’s has been on Route 66 since 1946 when Gus, Mike, and Jack left Ohio and traveled along Route 66 to California where they purchased a diner and established their BBQ restaurant. I love the neon sign with the little neon pigs and chickens running down the side.


Across the street is the Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain which has been open since 1915. They serve delicious sandwiches, hamburgers, and hot dogs along with floats, shakes, and ice cream. Sorry I didn’t snap a photo.

We then stopped at the giant fork in the road in Pasadena. I guess it was guerrilla art that suddenly appeared in November 2009.

We started to make our way into Los Angeles and there are a couple of different Route 66 alignments that one can decide to take. We decided to drive across suicide bridge and make our way into Highland Park and Los Angeles.

I probably chose this route in order to drive by Chicken Boy

If you go through Highland Park, be sure to stop at Galco’s, a family-run shop that specializes in soda and has been in business for over 100 years! 

And we also liked driving by Heritage Square Museum where we got married almost two years ago.

We drove into Los Angeles and it is just SO busy! I loved driving along Route 66 in the middle of Oklahoma and being able to just pull the car over, hop out and snap a photo. In Los Angeles it takes a bit more planning, some cursing at drivers/pedestrians, etc. So at the end of the day, I really didn’t take many photos. But here’s where I’m planning to stop when we finally finish this trip in 2021:

  • Hollywood Forever Cemetery
  • Trejos Donuts
  • Formosa Cafe
  • Astro Burger
  • Car Wash – SMB x Fuller Ave.
  • Diving Lady Neon sign in meridian – Santa Monica Blvd x Sweetzer
  • Dan Tana’s 
  • Beverly Hills Shield Sign
  • Beverly Hill’s Arch Sign
  • Cafe 50’s
  • DK’s Donuts
  • End of Route 66 Sign at Mel’s Drive
  • Will Rogers Highway Plaque at Park at SMB x Ocean Blvd
  • Santa Monica Yacht Harbor Sign
  • Tribute to Robert Waldmire at The Last Stop Shop
  • End of the Trail Route 66 Sign
  • Santa Monica Pier

We drove to the actual end of Route 66 at the corner of Lincoln Blvd. and Olympic Blvd. and wow, it was an anti-climatic ending. There is just nothing there except for a tiny sign up near the traffic light. I already knew that, and we had decided we were going to go to the Santa Monica Pier where there is an “End of the Trail” sign, but we got stuck in traffic and we were still more than 9 blocks away from any decent parking. We also saw people walking towards the beach with their beach chairs and blankets and we knew parking was just going to be a bitch, so we decided to just “finish the trip” another day.

2021 Update: I’m sure you can guess that we still haven’t technically “finished” the road trip, although we plan to! We think it’s funny that we’ll finish the trip in a different car (minivan), with 3 kids, and we now live just off a Route 66 alignment.

If you’re planning a Route 66 trip from Chicago to Los Angeles, be sure to check out the rest of our trip day by day right here: 



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