Route 66 was first commissioned in 1926, picking up as many bits and pieces of existing road as possible. The first route alignment of 1926-1937 ran north-south through Albuquerque, part of a giant S-curve that /travel-tools/abq-expertsed Santa Rosa, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Los Lunas and several Indian reservations. This original section was 506 miles of mostly unpaved road. Albuquerque boosters began pushing for a straighter route, and in 1931, federal money was designated to realign the road to a more east-west direction. By 1937, the entire route from Chicago, Ill., to Santa Monica, Calif., was paved. The new road carried thousands of GI's longing for a better look at America and yearning to see what the country held in store for them. Route 66 was fixed in the memory of many by John Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath and Bobby Troup's lyric "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" as well as CBS TV's "Route 66." Today I-40 runs over much of the original roadbed, but many parts of the old highway can be seen today just beside I-40.
Visit the Route 66 Tour page for more Route 66 information about the area. You will also find a Route 66 map that will will guide you through the University of New Mexico and the eclectic personality of the area. Further east in Nob Hill, vintage neon signs glow alongside new neon signs as shops and restaurants have kept up the authentic look of old Route 66. With a focus on shopping, dining and architecture, this tour serves as an excellent introduction to the city.