Above: Pink Elephant Antique Mall in Livingston, Illinois.
You will soon realize that antique stores are a real specialty along Route 66. They can be found all along Route 66, even if they seem more numerous, larger and more specialized in the east, especially in Illinois and Missouri.
If you would rather avoid the traditional mugs, t-shirts and other Route 66-stamped souvenirs, enter and walk around these shops trapped in time: old biscuit or tobacco tins, discs, cassettes, VHS, DVD , audio devices, various electronic units, jewelry, clothing, posters, postcards, plates, books, old toys ... gift ideas abound.
Above: Redbird Antique Mall. Chenoa, Illinois. The gigantic mall even sells old tractors! It is housed in a large shed outside Chenoa.
Tip: focus on light and less bulky items because not many will fit in your suitcase. And do not forget to negotiate the price, especially if you buy multiple items from the same antiques dealer.
Above: Totem Pole Trading Post (Antiques and souvenirs). Rolla, Missouri. Totem Pole Antiques, old Trading Post, opened in 1933. It is the oldest business still in operation along Route 66 in Missouri. It offers, besides very nice antiques, various memories of Route 66 and local delicacies.
Small, independent antique shops and antique malls
Antique shops, as announced along Route 66, sometimes stand by or within historic buildings. They may be pretty small shops but also large hangars that usually accommodate several antique shops grouped under the same name, and where each one sets its own prices - and its own discount.
Above: Antique dealer cooperative the Pink Elephant Antique Mall, comprising some forty antique dealers in Livingston, Illinois. One of the most important antique malls on Route 66 and one of our favorites. Even if prices are not all that competitive, the choice is endless and the atmosphere very welcoming.
These antique malls are very common and the choice is huge, from clothing to music records all the way to road signs, magazines, decorative accessories, paintings, photographs, posters, jewelry, household appliances, electronics, dishes, etc. There are also much larger objects (petrol, furniture, even cars or tractors!) that antique dealers can deliver by sea freight dealing, sometimes, with customs formalities. Warning: it can be outrageously expensive.
Above: Whitehall Mercantile Collectibles and Antiques in Halltown, Missouri. This tiny, independent antique dealer of ghost-shop appearance remains open, usually on weekends.
Check other original gift ideas under "Local specialties, gift ideas".