Trading Places in Gallup, N.M. on Historic Route 66

Surrounded by tribal land, Gallup is home to Native American artists and traders.
Publish date:
Kids at the Trading Post in Gallup, New Mexico. Photo by RAH Photography courtesy of Gallup

Kids at the Trading Post in Gallup, New Mexico. 

To immerse yourself in some classic Route 66 culture as well as a strong Native American arts scene, stop in Gallup, N.M., home to 1,000 artists and a long history of being a vibrant trading post for Native American arts.

Start your adventure off at the rambling El Rancho Hotel, a true route classic built in 1936. In the 1930s and 40s, it catered to Hollywood movie stars filming westerns in the area. Today, hotel rooms are named after stars like Ronald Reagan whose autographs paper the walls on the second floor. Stop at the 49er Lounge, arguably the best-stocked bar in town, that’s popular with locals and travelers alike.

El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, N.M.

The lobby of the El Rancho Hotel

Before leaving the hotel, visit Ortega’s Jewelry Store, which sells Native American crafts and jewelry handmade by local artists. It’s a good place to get your feet wet in a small store before heading out to the city’s larger stores.

On Route 66 lies Richardson Trading Co., which has been in business for nearly 100 years. With its creaking oak floors, vintage and contemporary Native pieces and nearly 3,000 handwoven Navajo rugs, Richardson’s is a museum in itself. Stroll a little farther to Bill Malone Trading Co., where longtime trader Bill is on hand to answer your questions.

“We really encourage people to go in and talk to the traders,” says Jennifer Lazarz, Gallup’s acting tourism and marketing manager. “We are all so excited to talk about what makes this place so special.”

Roach Family Dancers at Summer Nightly Indian Dances Program

Roach Family Dancers at Summer Nightly Indian Dances Program

If you are in town sometime between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, watch a free Native American dance performance at the Gallup Nightly Indian Dances, which take place every evening, two blocks off Route 66 in Courthouse Square.

For more information, visit


Seligman Sundries on Route 66

Route 66 Road Trip

Plunge deep into Americana on this 2,448-mile odyssey from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif. We've highlighted the New Mexico and Arizona stretch of the Mother Road.

Big Blue Whale in Catoosa, Okla. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith via Library of Congress, Public Domain

Roadside Attractions along Historic Route 66

Head out on the all-American road trip along historic Route 66 and you'll see some unusual sights including oddly-shaped buildings and neon signs.

Standin' on the Corner Park in Winslow, Ariz.

Renaissance Town Winslow, Arizona

See the best eras of the Southwest brought back to life from Native American lore to Route 66. Don't miss Standin' on the Corner [of Winslow, Ariz.] Park.

Route 66 drive-thru neon arch

4 Kicks on Route 66 in Grants, N.M.

You'll discover vintage Route 66-themed stops and an uncrowded national monument at this classic New Mexico town.

Mural of Route 66 at the Arizona Rt. 66 Museum in Kingman

Kingman, Ariz., the King of Route 66

For Route 66 lovers, Kingman is a living tribute to the Mother Road, but it also has great trails to explore juniper and pine forests, as well as desert landscapes.

Angel Delgadillo gazes out his window toward Route 66 in his barber shop in Seligman, Arizona.

Route 66 Angel Connected to Mother Road for 89 Years

Born near Arizona's Historic Route 66 five months after the road was established, barber Angel Delgadillo brought back its neon lights after they had faded.

KiMo Theatre and Art Gallery in Albuquerque. Photo by Karen Blaha via Flickr

Slow Down in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Route 66

Albuquerque's connection with Route 66 keeps getting better with age. See the trail of neon signs and art deco architecture that dots the straightened road.

Sunset hiker in White Sands National Park in New Mexico

Space to Roam in Alamogordo, N.M.

Just minutes from White Sands National Park, Alamogordo has some selfie-worthy attractions.

Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona

Petrified Park Stop in Holbrook, Ariz.

Pull over on Route 66 and stay in a wigwam near Petrified Forest National Park. Bring your dog to the park!