Western Nostalgia

Home to the last stretch of Route 66 to be bypassed, Williams, Arizona, still harbors a rich appreciation for the history of the time. Interstate 40 bypassed the historic route in town in 1984, but Williams has not forgotten its heyday. The street is the life of the bustling downtown district, lined with shops and diners.
Of course Route 66 merchandise is abundant, with shops like Cruiser’s Route 66 Gift Shop, which is next door to the Cruiser’s Café 66, serving up burgers and shakes inside their ‘50s themed diner. Cars, Coca Cola and vintage signs adorn the walls of the diner, which offers indoor and outdoor seating and you may even hear some live music on the patio. You surely will smell the BBQ from down the block!
Several other restaurants on the street honor the Route 66 era, such as Jeff’s Place at Goldie’s Route 66, which serves breakfast all day along with delicious sundaes, malts and more.
Aside from the classic diners, you can find just about any cuisine along the old route, including Mexican, Italian and Thai food.
Continuing the nostalgia is Pete’s Route 66 Gas Station Museum. It is a small collection of vintage cars and antiques, housed in a restored gas station from the time.
The Route 66 Zipline offers a high-flying view of downtown as guests are belted into a seat before soaring 110 feet in the air alongside Route 66. The exciting ride will zip both forward and backward at 30 mph for a roundtrip of 1,400 feet. Two people can ride together for just $12 per person, or a solo rider is $15.
Southwestern culture and souvenirs are also found all along the historic route in downtown. The Gallery in Williams is an artist cooperative which features around 40 local artists selling their handmade pottery, paintings, drawings, woodwork and sculptures — many with a Western theme.
A beautiful selection of leather goods, purses, clothing, belts, boots, cowboy hats and more is found inside Western Outfitters. The store carries popular Western wear brands, such as Old Gringo and Tony Lama boots, Stetson hats and Minnetonka sandals. If you are in the market for authentic leather goods, whether it be saddlebags, chaps, gun holsters or a fringe vest, Western Outfitters has the best selection.
Colors of the West and its sister store Copper Canyon Trading together has 12,000 square feet of souvenirs, from vintage signs to polished rocks, kitchen ware, pottery, cow hides, crazy socks, jewelry, food items and so much more. They have a Route 66 room filled with classic memorabilia, a T-shirt room lined with souvenir shirts for every age, and the Old Glory room, which features all products made in the USA. Each store, located on opposite sides of the street, offers different items, so be sure to stop in both.
For authentic Native American gift items, like Kachinas, Navajo rugs and Hopi baskets, visit Native America, the only Native American-owned shop in Williams. They have plenty of souvenirs to commemorate your trip to the Southwest.
Williams is more than a stop along the historic route, it is also the gateway to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon Railway station, which offers trips to the South Rim, is also located in the heart of downtown. The train departs daily for a 2-hour trip on the tracks up to the Grand Canyon, then a 3.5-hour layover at the South Rim before heading back to Williams.
Stop in the visitor center downtown at 200 W. Railroad Ave. for more information on the sights surrounding Williams.