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North America > United States of America > Southwest (United States of America) > New Mexico > Northeast New Mexico > Tucumcari


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Local wares in Tucumcari

Tucumcari is a small town in northeastern New Mexico, United States of America. It is located along Interstate 40 and is the first town of significance in New Mexico if driving west from Texas along that route. The town is a highlight for those following the former Route 66 (Tucumcari Boulevard) as it contains a large amount of Route 66-era neon and colorful signs.


Tucumcari Mountain

Tucumcari, a city of 5300 people, is the county seat of Quay County, New Mexico and home to Mesalands Community College. Founded in 1901 as Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad construction camp Six Shooter Siding, it was renamed for Tucumcari Mountain in 1908. The USS Tucumcari (PGH-2), one of two prototype US Navy hydrofoil patrol vessel boats (1968-1972), was named for the town. Many scenes in Rawhide (1959–1966 Clint Eastwood TV series) were shot in the town; a modified version of Tucumcari Mountain (with the hand-painted 'T' changed to 'RS') appears in Radiator Springs in Pixar's 2006 Cars (film).

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Tucumcari is one of the historic wide-spots-in-the-road along Route 66 across the United States, which is followed by Interstate 40 in this region. It is about 1 hour and 40 minutes west of Amarillo, and 2 hours and 40 minutes east of Albuquerque by way of I-40. This section of I-40 was one of the last Interstate highway sections to become 4-lane, limited-access, but it's now good road and should be open in all but the worst winter conditions.

By plane[edit]

Get around[edit]

Tucumcari is accessed via any one of four exits off Interstate 40. Exits 329 and 335 both connect to Tucumcari Boulevard (Route 66), which runs east-west. Exit 332 and 333 connect to First Street and Mountain Street (respectively), which both run north-south.


  • Mesalands Community College's Dinosaur Museum, 222 East Laughlin St, +1 575 461-3466. March 1 - Labor Day: Tu-Sa 10AM-6PM; Labor Day - February 28/29: Tu-Sa 12PM-5PM. $5.50/4.50/3.50/3.00/Free (Adults/Seniors/Children 5-11/College Students/Children under 5).
  • The Gallery Etc, 201 S 2nd St, +1 575 461-9908. Eastern New Mexico Art Space
  • New Mexico Route 66 Museum, 1500 West Historic Route 66. 9AM-2PM wkdays. On convention centre grounds, near back of parking lot. 1930s-1960s memorabilia and classic motorcars.
  • Ostrich Ranch, 3705 Quay Road 64.5, +1 575-461-1657.
  • Wall Murals. Tucumcari has over 30 wall murals throughout town
  • Historic Downtown Main Street.
  • Tucumcari Train Depot.
  • Tucumcari Mountain Cheese Factory, 823 E Main St, +1 575-461-4045.




  • Mother Road Old Time Photo studio, 824 E. Route 66 Blvd., +1 615-424-5582. Mother Road Old Time Photos, Route 66 Wedding Chapel and a Christmas store; a simple wedding may be had on a day or two notice from $99+.
  • Quarles Art Gallery, 515 E. Route 66 Blvd., +1 575-461-8689. Home of Tucumcari's Wall Muralists. Acrylics, pastels, postcards, prints, other artists works, collectable books and coins, unique jewelry, custom handbags.
  • Tepee Curios, 924 E Route 66 Blvd, +1 575-461-3773. Last of the original Route 66 curio shops in New Mexico.
  • Things, 920 W Route 66 Blvd, +1 575-461-3133.
  • Timeless Treasures, 1900 W Route 66 Blvd, +1 575-461-3889.


  • La Cita, 812 Tucumcari Blvd, +1 575 461-7866. Mexican, on Route 66 with large neon sombrero.
  • Pow Wow Restaurant & Lizard Lounge, 801 W Route 66 Blvd, +1 575 461-2587.



“Tucumcari Tonite!” A town of 2,000 motel rooms! Billboards on US 66 for hundreds of miles inviting travellers to spend the night in this tiny town of 5000 people. This was Route 66 in its heyday.

As US 66 (Tucumcari Boulevard) was bypassed by Interstate 40, prime spots for billboards on the new road were few and far between due to highway beautification acts, independent family-owned motels were forced to compete with huge chains who built hotels on the new freeway's offramps and the number of rooms is now closer to 1200, but Tucumcari's position along Interstate 40 and Route 66 still means that it has far more motels and motor lodges than most towns its size. A small sampling:

Independent motels[edit]

  • Blue Swallow Motel, 815 E. Route 66 Blvd., +1 575 461-9849, fax: +1 575 461-9905, e-mail: . Check-in: 3-9PM, check-out: 10AM. Non-smoking, wi-fi, elaborate neon signage. Twelve rooms and two suites restored to 1940's era with rotary-dial 'phones. On national historic register; this motel's neon '100% Refrigerated Air' slogan appears on the 'Cozy Cone Motel' in Cars (film). $70-130.
  • Historic Route 66 Motel, 1620 E Hwy 66, +1 575 461-1212. Mid-century modern, curtain wall, floor to ceiling windows. Colour TV. Cash, credit card, travellers cheques honoured. Some rooms pet-friendly, some rooms with microwave and refrigerator. Circa Espresso Bar on-site with coffee, tea, baked goods and wi-fi.

Hotel chains[edit]

  • Holiday Inn Express, 2624 S. Adams, +1 575 461-3459. Free Breakfast & WIFI

Camping and RV[edit]


Go next[edit]

Routes through Tucumcari
AlbuquerqueSanta Rosa  W I-40.svg E  San JonAmarillo
Santa Rosa ← Merges with I-40.svg  W US 54.svg E  DalhartStratford
AlbuquerqueSanta Rosa  W US 66 (historic).svg E  San JonAmarillo

This city travel guide to Tucumcari is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.