America is full of small roadside towns rich in history. Many have seen their fortunes rise and fall dramatically as travel patterns evolved. However, few are as well known for their size as Winslow, Arizona.
If the name rings a bell, you’ve likely heard it in one of the best-known songs by The Eagles. But is it worth your time to visit? Let’s start runnin’ down the road and find out.
About Winslow Arizona
Winslow is in northeastern Arizona, along Interstate 40. It’s under 60 miles from the closest large city, Flagstaff, Arizona. The founders established the town in the late 1800s, supported by a rail line running through the area. It was even home to one of the famous Harvey House restaurants and hotels, providing travelers and locals with quality lodging and food on the go.
Winslow saw a significant boost in the mid-20th century when Route 66 ran through the town, drawing tens of thousands of travelers yearly. Officials replaced the road with Interstate 40, bypassing the central part of the town.
Today, it’s home to roughly 9,000 residents working in various local industries.
Is Winslow Arizona Safe to Visit?
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a safe place for a getaway or an overnight rest, Winslow, Arizona, may not be the best choice. Recent numbers show it was the fourth most dangerous city in Arizona. According to Crimegrades.org, the town has an F grade for safety, with the stunningly low 3rd percentile nationwide.
Approximately 97% of American towns and cities are safer than Winslow. So while the overwhelming majority of visitors to Winslow won’t encounter any trouble, the data is straightforward.
You have a higher chance of becoming a crime victim here than in many other locales.
Pro Tip: Use our guide on How to Spend a Day in Winslow, Arizona to make sure you have an epic adventure.
Why Should You Avoid Winslow Arizona?
Safety isn’t the only reason travelers may want to check out another old-school, Route 66 town instead of Winslow. Generally, many residents and visitors describe the city as struggling to find its place in a post-66 world. While they have seen some improvements, many buildings remain empty and in poor shape.
Attempts to make the community an art town like fellow southwest desert town Marfa, Tex, failed to take off in the way that many hoped. Even restaurants, hotels, and services remain relatively limited. There’s not that much to do in Winslow. It may be better as an overnight stop for weary drivers who can’t make it to Flagstaff or Gallup.
What Is Famous About Winslow Arizona?
If you’re familiar with Winslow, chances are it’s because of one of two things; Route 66 or the country-rock band The Eagles. The small town thrived for years as a regular stop-off point for weary travelers on the Mother Road, looking for a place to grab a bite to eat or a place to sleep as they crossed Arizona’s deserts.
This business spawned a small but thriving main street lining Route 66. Unfortunately, Winslow suffered the fate of many other small Route 66 towns once the highway fell out of favor, replaced by faster and easier-to-drive interstates.
The town saw fame in the 1970s following the release of the classic rock anthem, “Take It Easy.” It was one of The Eagles’ most famous songs. The vocalist sings about “standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” as a woman in a truck slows down to take a look at him. Today, there’s a park at Second Street and North Kingsley Avenue dedicated to the song.
The park is complete with a mural and a statue of a man standing on the corner.
Why Did the Eagles Write a Song About Winslow Arizona?
Most associate “Take It Easy” with The Eagles. However, relatively few people know that Winslow’s place in the song didn’t come from the Eagles! Legendary singer-songwriter Jackson Browne contributed the initial line of the second verse mentioning Winslow.
Eagles member Glenn Frey finished the lyrics, leading the two to work together to complete the song. In a 2003 interview, Frey elaborated that Browne had added the town to the music after having car trouble and getting stuck in Winslow on his way to Sedona. It’s another case of a random incident leading to the creation of rock music history!
Pro Tip: After exploring Winslow, Arizona, grab a pint at one of these 7 Best Breweries in Arizona.
Is Winslow Arizona Worth Visiting?
Winslow, Arizona, is one of the more well-known towns left behind when Route 66 lost its status as the prime cross-country route. Still, whether a visit is worth it will largely depend on your interests and your travel route. Those taking Interstate 40 through northern Arizona won’t have to detour far to visit the town and take a photo of themselves standing on a corner.
However, it’s crucial to consider the area’s crime rate. Some may decide the side trip isn’t worth it. Winslow, Arizona, provides a glimpse into the effect of Route 66.
It shows how many towns have struggled in the decades since and the significant impact this tiny town had on popular culture and rock and roll history.
Would you stop at Winslow, Arizona, on your next adventure? Tell us in the comments!
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