Best Stop on Route 66 in Oklahoma Will Amaze You

A fantastic road trip stop combines whimsy, nostalgia, and a healthy dose of novelty. Of course, providing gasoline for both automobiles and passengers is an advantage. Pops, a convenience store, gas station, diner, and specialty soda shop off Mother Road in Arcadia, offers it all–including a bottle of pop.

No, literally–the Route 66 landmark is home to the world’s largest soda bottle, a 4-ton, 66-foot-tall sculpture (yes, the height was intended) that includes a giant straw and hundreds of multicolor LED lights that sparkle nightly.

After just one visit, you’ll understand why residents named this landmark Oklahoma’s greatest Route 66 destination in their 2024 South’s greatest awards.

A History of Pops

Best Stop on Route 66 in Oklahoma Will Amaze You

Many Route 66 stops date back to the 1920s and 1930s, but Pops is relatively new, having opened in 2007 by the late Aubrey McClendon, former CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corporation. It was designed by renowned architect Rand Elliott, who spoke with writer, historian, and Route 66 enthusiast Michael Wallis about the Route 66 style before embarking on the project.

Though many people believe the famed pitstop is named after the drink it serves, McClendon named it in honor of his father, whom he affectionately referred to as Pop. (As a native Oklahoman, calling soda anything other than soda or Coke is a stretch.) Jessie and Zar Sandhu purchased Pops in 2021 and have kept the tradition alive ever since.

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Inside the Soda Ranch

Best Stop on Route 66 in Oklahoma Will Amaze You

An imposing cantilever truss covers petrol pumps and the parking lot, but the building’s main showpieces are the two-story-tall, floor-to-ceiling windows that stretch the length of the space and display shelves upon shelves of multicolored soft drink bottles. This highly carbonated Willy Wonka Factory comes to life when light refracts off the glass, creating a rainbow of colors.

The business takes another lesson from the fictitious candyman, with an astonishing assortment of over 400 varieties ranging from the rare and odd to the bizarre and nasty. Drinks flavored with spaghetti, ranch dressing, and grass are among the unusual offerings.

Pina colada, chocolate, peanut butter & jelly, and key lime pie are some of the most appealing rarities. The effervescent concoctions are acquired from countries all around the world and cost $2.59 per bottle, allowing you to mix and match a different six-pack each time you come.

Learn More: Alabama’s Best Banana Pudding Can Only Be Enjoyed in This BBQ Place, Claims Residents

A Full-Service Restaurant

Best Stop on Route 66 in Oklahoma Will Amaze You

Pops’ restaurant provides the final piece of the puzzle, serving basics like burgers and fries, as well as regional delicacies like chicken fried steak and Tex-Mex favorites like a quesadilla with poblano ranch. On weekends, guests can enjoy fluffy pancakes, breakfast burritos, and loaded omelets.

An old-fashioned soda fountain makes hand-dipped milkshakes, malts, and floats. Though you can choose from over 400 flavors for your float, root beer remains the favorite (and most popular).


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