Is Cadillac Ranch on Route 66 Worth a Visit?
One of the most famous attractions along historic Route 66 is Cadillac Ranch.
You may have heard about it or seen pictures of the spray-painted Cadillacs on social media, but is it worth a visit?
Should you take the exit and pause your travel to see this iconic art installation? Or should you steer clear and not waste your time?
Let’s dive in!
About Cadillac Ranch
If you venture down I-40 towards Amarillo, Texas, you might feel the tug to visit Cadillac Ranch. This tourist attraction features ten Cadillacs buried with their noses in the ground. Yes, you read that correctly. This unusual scene beckons travelers every day to veer off the interstate, buy a can of spray paint, and take a selfie.
Since 1974, Cadillac Ranch has welcomed people as they travel along Route 66 towards the plains of Oklahoma or the deserts of New Mexico. Cadillac Ranch gives travelers a short break to stop and walk around as they marvel at the unique art at no fee.
Three men from the San Francisco-based art group Ant Farm created Cadillac Ranch. They originally placed it in a wheat field before relocating to the present-day cow pasture.
Stanley Marsh, a project patron and millionaire, owned both pieces of land and enjoyed supporting artistic expression. The classic cars, lined up from oldest to newest, range from a late 1940s model to an early 1960s model.
But you also won’t see billboards or advertising for Cadillac Ranch. It’s one of the things that makes this place so unique. Even without marketing, this public art installation welcomes almost two million visitors every year.
How Do You Get to Cadillac Ranch
You’ll find Cadillac Ranch just a few miles west of Amarillo, Texas. Whether you travel down historic Route 66 or take I-40, both roads merge in this part of the country. You’ll exit between markers 60 and 62, depending on your direction, onto the I-40 Frontage Road. It’s pretty easy to navigate, and your GPS will take you straight there.
Be prepared for mud as Cadillac Ranch sits in a field, and you have a bit of a walk from the gravel lot where you park your car. This makes it a pet-friendly location, but it can get a bit messy, especially after a hard rain.
Pro Tip: After exploring Cadillac Ranch, make sure to check out these 9 Best Things To Do on Route 66 in Texas.
Can You Spray Paint the Cars?
Absolutely! And it’s encouraged — so make sure to stop by a Walmart on the way and pick up a can or two. But don’t forget your camera. As Roadside America explains, “If you bring spray paint, make sure to snap some photos. Because whatever you create at Cadillac Ranch will probably only last a few hours before it’s created over by someone else.”
This art installation is graffiti-laden, almost to the point where the cars themselves are unrecognizable. But have some fun and leave your mark when you visit.
Is It Free to Visit Cadillac Ranch?
There is no fee to visit Cadillac Ranch. The only expense is purchasing a few cans of spray paint before you arrive. However, you may find a souvenir trailer recently added to the experience or a few food trucks in the gravel lot.
Are There Any Amenities?
Because of the iconic nature of Cadillac Ranch, Bryan Brumley, general manager of the ranch, added a souvenir trailer where you can purchase t-shirts, spray paint, or grab a couple of sodas for the road.
With the addition of a gravel lot, food trucks also station at Cadillac Ranch, so this could provide a great stop along your route to grab a quick bite to eat while enjoying the infamous site.
Pro Tip: You can find many tourists cruising down Route 66 safely, but should you get off Route 66 while in Texas make sure to avoid The Most Dangerous Roads in Texas.
Is Cadillac Ranch Worth a Visit?
Even though Cadillac Ranch has undergone a few changes since 1974, it remains a classic art installation. As a representation of American history through the Cadillac’s iconic symbol in American society, this attraction is worth a short stop if you find yourself traveling down I-40 or historic Route 66.
Since it isn’t far off the main roads and or an art museum that requires ticket entry or waiting in line, there’s no reason not to stop and enjoy the colorful art of Cadillac Ranch. You can spend less than 30 minutes here or take longer to create your masterpiece on one of the Cadillacs.
So come on and bring your spray paint and add your own touch to this classic attraction. With so many hands-off art exhibits, this is one place that welcomes visitors to express themselves. And since the art changes daily with new tourists, you’ll see something brand new the next time you visit.
What color paint will you bring next time you’re near Amarillo?
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