The Southwest is overflowing with magical natural settings that attract visitors from around the world. But like any good adventure through popular hot spots, a drive down the dusty roads of Route 66 (and beyond) also takes you past offbeat and quirky attractions. From elaborate exhibitions to quaint confections, there’s a bounty of eclectic offerings awaiting you beyond the red rocks.
If the mainstream isn’t your scene, you’ll want to be sure to add these fun and funky experiences to your road trip itinerary.
Southwest Midas locations
Midas wants to help you get ready for your summer road trip, starting with your vehicle. Our techs can run a completely free Closer Look Vehicle Check. This in-depth visual inspection lets you know what needs fixing now and what can wait, so you can hit the road with confidence.
Make the trip before the trip to Midas and get $20 off a full-synthetic oil change. Request your appointment at Midas.com.
Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Oklahoma
The most famous road in the U.S. is no doubt Route 66. It’s inspired countless movies, songs, and road trips, enchanting people with visions of attractive signage, intriguing roadside attractions, enthralling scenery, and other relics of a bygone era. At the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, visitors making the trek down the Mother Road can feast their eyes on nostalgic memorabilia, be immersed in the history of this revered roadway, and enjoy a meal at a replica of a 1950s diner as they indulge in a true Americana experience.
Prada Marfa, Texas
Despite its name, Prada Marfa is not actually in Marfa… nor is it a Prada boutique. This tiny storefront standing along U.S. Route 90 in the Texas desert (nearly 35 miles northwest of Marfa) is an unexpected art installation that serves as a commentary on the obsession with luxury goods. Stocked with actual bags and shoes (though the left one is missing from each pair) from a 2005 Prada collection, this sculpture makes for a convincing store at first glance, though its permanently locked door leaves only room for window shopping.
Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return, New Mexico
Step inside a mysterious Victorian home, breaking time and space to explore a maze of secret passageways, cosmic vistas, and immersive environments. Santa Fe’s House of Eternal Return, brought to you by art collective Meow Wolf, offers a series of illusions that bend the mind and implore visitors of all ages to venture deeper into an explorable art experience. It’s maximalism at its finest: A choose-your-own-adventure story comes to life, with unexpected twists in the narrative awaiting you around every turn in this trip into the unknown.
International UFO Museum and Research Center, New Mexico
Theories of an alien spacecraft landing in Roswell, New Mexico, have swirled since a military balloon crashed in the area in 1947. Those with questions about UFO sightings and other unexplained phenomena, such as crop circles and rumored extraterrestrial abductions, can seek answers at the International UFO Museum and Research Center. The exhibits offer books, magazines, DVDs, and other materials related to unidentified spacecraft mysteries, making it an interesting stop for both believers and skeptics.
Magnolia Market, Texas
Since its opening in 2016, fans of HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines have flocked to Waco’s 120-foot-tall silos that are home to the couple’s Magnolia Market. The grounds include several historic buildings, including a retail store, food truck park, garden store, bakery, and more. But even those who’ve never seen an episode of Fixer Upper can enjoy Magnolia Market’s charming mix of wares and participate in the complex’s regular slate of themed seasonal events, concerts, and other activities.
Pops Soda Ranch, Oklahoma
Driving down historic Route 66 you’ll pass a variety of eye-catching sights, but one you’re sure not to miss is the towering 66-foot-tall soda bottle that beckons travelers into Oklahoma’s Pops Soda Ranch. As enticing as it appears from the outside, the inside is even more compelling. Here you’ll find hundreds of varieties of soda and other beverages for sale, and those in need of refueling can enjoy milkshakes and heavier fare at the on-site restaurant before gassing up the car for more adventures.
Museum of the Weird, Texas
“Keep Austin Weird” is a slogan that Austinites embrace and embody. Offering quirky attractions such as a cathedral of junk, elaborate murals, and millions of bats in flight, this Texas city has more than its fair share of idiosyncratic charms. But perhaps the biggest shrine to Austin’s eccentric spirit is the Museum of the Weird. This collection of curios and oddities includes everything from a Bigfoot skull to shrunken heads and a 3,000-year-old mummy, and you can pick your own batch of unique souvenirs at the museum’s equally eclectic gift shop.