Route 66 News

Joliet theater expanding its tour hours

In response to demand from Route 66 tourists and other visitors, the historic Rialto Square Theater in Joliet, Ill., is greatly expanding its hours for tour groups, reported the Naperville Sun.

The newspaper said the theater would expand its tour hours to 10 a week.

In the past, the theater offered only one tour a week on Tuesday afternoons. But more and more people kept popping in on other days of the week asking for impromptu tours, said Annette Parker, the Rialto’s director of marketing and sales. […]

Recently, Rialto officials, working with the City Center Partnership, decided the time had come to show off their theater five days a week. The twice daily tours will give visitors more to do downtown and should lead to more business for downtown restaurants and other tourist attractions, Parker said. […]

Rialto tours are offered at 10 a.m. and noon weekdays through Aug. 31. Tour tickets cost $5 and can be purchased at the box office at 102 N. Chicago St. or by calling 815-726-6600. No advance purchase is necessary.

Tours consist of a 45-minute walk through the 86-year-old theater followed by a 45-minute concert performed on the Rialto’s original Barton Grande theater pipe organ.

The Sun reported that many of the tour referrals have come from the Route 66 Welcome Center and Joliet Area Historical Museum.

While reading that story, I honestly was shocked to learn the theater’s tour hours were so meager. Once word gets around, I bet city officials will be surprised with how much pent-up demand there is — especially from foreign travelers exploring the Mother Road.

The Rialto Square also boasts the double benefit of sitting just a block away from the Lincoln Highway, as well as being on historic Route 66.

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