Today, Barstow is supported by transportation and travel services, some mining that still exists, and the nearby Fort Irwin Military Reservation, which is the national training center for the U.S. Army, as well as the Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow… so one could easily say this is a military town.
Route 66 serves as Main Street, heading through downtown Barstow. It's well-marked and businesses a'plenty line the street, although few are historical in nature. Barstow is a major stop on I-15, since this is about the halfway point between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. An interesting fast-food stop popular with travelers is Barstow Station (1611 E. Main Street, 760-256-0366), with is basically a McDonald's, a Panda Express, a Popeye's and a subs and ice cream shop but with a twist: part of the seating includes booths in rail cars. And yes, there's also a gift shop. Could they resist?
Trivia: The fast-food restaurant Del Taco was founded in Nearby Yermo and the oldest franchise is on 401 N. First Street.
Being a major railroad town, Barstow became home to the Harvey House Railroad Depot (685 N. 1stStreet), known as the Casa del Desierto - its original name, is a former Fred HarveyHarvey House and still stands as a majestic structure alongside railroad tracks that are among the busiest in the nation. The building still functions as an unstaffed Amtrak passenger station and houses Barstow city offices and two museums: the Western American Railroad Museum and the Barstow Route 66 "Mother Road" Museum. To get to the Depot, follow First Street north from Route 66, past the Del Taco and over a bridge that spans the railroad tracks; the Depot is on the "other side of the tracks."
If a drive-in movie sounds about right by the time you get here, check out the Skyline Drive-In (31175 Hwy 58, 760-256-3333) along Highway 58 on Barstow's west side. It has two screens which both show two movies a night.