Head to Amarillo, Texas, for an unforgettable blend of Wild West charm and modern buzz! This Panhandle gem is your gateway to a world where history meets quirky fun. Dive into outdoor thrills at Palo Duro Canyon, and don’t miss the iconic Cadillac Ranch.
Amarillo is a playground of diverse experiences set against a stunning landscape.
Feel the Texas spirit right from the start! Visit the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum to honor the legendary American horse breed. Then, soar high at the Texas Air & Space Museum, a haven for aviation enthusiasts of all ages.
Amarillo’s vibrant art scene, with its outdoor murals and galleries, adds a unique local touch to your visit.
Adventure awaits just a short drive at Palo Duro Canyon, which is perfect for hiking or horseback riding. Or, relax in Amarillo’s lush parks and elm-lined neighborhoods.
Every step in Amarillo unveils a new aspect of this multifaceted city, ensuring a trip full of discovery and enjoyment.
Best Things To Do in Amarillo
Amarillo, Texas, is a city rich with history, and several landmarks offer a tangible connection to its past. From the nostalgia of historic Route 66 to the artistic flair of Cadillac Ranch, these sites provide a unique glimpse into local and national history.
Route 66 Historic District
In the Route 66 Historic District, you walk through a time capsule of the 20th century. This area, also known as the Historic Route 66 District, showcases vintage signs, architecture, and the historic Paramount Theater.
Take a leisurely stroll and appreciate the well-preserved buildings that hark back to the heyday of Mother Road.
Cadillac Ranch is not your typical historical landmark; it’s an iconic public art installation featuring ten Cadillac cars half-buried nose-first into the ground.
Created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez, and Doug Michels, members of the art group Ant Farm, Cadillac Ranch stands as a quirky testament to America’s love affair with the automobile.
Feel free to bring a spray can and add your touch to the ever-evolving graffiti canvases.
Amarillo Railroad Museum
The Amarillo Railroad Museum is where you can indulge in the city’s deep-rooted rail history. Here, you’ll find an extensive collection of model trains and railway artifacts that chronicle the evolution of the railroad industry in the Texas Panhandle.
Step into the elegance of the early 20th century at the Harrington House. This historic home, built in 1914, was once the residence of a prominent local family.
Now a historic house museum, Harrington House has been meticulously maintained, allowing you to experience the luxury and craftsmanship of a bygone era.
Visiting these historical landmarks gives you a deeper understanding of Amarillo’s cultural and historical significance, and you don’t need to be a history buff to appreciate the stories they tell.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
A visit to Palo Duro Canyon State Park unveils the canvas of nature’s artistry. Known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” this natural wonder showcases dramatic geological formations and colorful rock layers.
Engage with the park’s culture through outdoor performances at the Pioneer Amphitheater, including the musical drama “TEXAS.”
Amarillo Museum of Art
At the Amarillo Museum of Art, be inspired by an impressive collection spanning from Asian to contemporary works.
Embrace the celebration of creativity through revolving exhibitions highlighting international and local artists. This cultural hub serves as a window into the vibrant art scene of the Texan High Plains.
Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian
Explore the Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian to connect with the traditions and art of the Plains and Pueblo tribes. Exhibits range from fine art to artifacts, offering direct insight into the rich cultural tapestry of the Native American peoples.
Live dance performances enhance your understanding and appreciation of the indigenous heritage.
American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum
Discover the celebrated history of the American Quarter Horse at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum.
Journey through interactive exhibits that honor these versatile horses and the people who have shaped their legacy. The museum’s galleries recount the bond between these horses and the American West.
Hiking and Biking Trails
Palo Duro Canyon State Park beckons you with more than 30 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. These paths offer you varying difficulty levels, with the Lighthouse Trail being a popular choice.
For mountain biking enthusiasts, the Caprock Canyons Trailway delivers challenging terrain against the stunning backdrop of the Texas Panhandle.
- Hiking Trail Highlight: Lighthouse Trail (Moderate, 6 miles round trip)
- Mountain Biking Trail Highlight: Capitol Peak Mountain Bike Trail (Difficult)
Amarillo Botanical Gardens
Discover a peaceful retreat at the Amarillo Botanical Gardens, featuring themed areas such as a butterfly garden and a collection of Palo Duro canyon plantings.
Nature’s splendor is showcased year-round through meticulously maintained gardens, providing sensory delight and educational insights into the region’s flora.
- Garden Feature: Seasonal butterfly garden
Wildcat Bluff Nature Center
Venture into the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, home to over 600 acres of the natural Panhandle environment.
You’re encouraged to explore the 5 miles of trails that offer intimate encounters with local wildlife and native plants, fostering a deep connection with nature.
- Trail Tip: Don’t miss the Libb’s Trail for a scenic hike representative of the Texas Panhandle’s rugged beauty.
Horseback Riding at Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West
Experience the Old West authentically through horseback riding adventures at Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West.
Located at Los Cedros Ranch, you can gallop or trot along guided trails that offer panoramic views of the surrounding canyons and plains.
- Riding Tip: Opt for a sunset ride for breathtaking views of the Texas skies.
Wonderland Amusement Park
Discover a mix of thrills and family-friendly rides at Wonderland Amusement Park, a regional staple for amusement seekers. You can experience everything from adrenaline-pumping roller coasters to relaxing carousel rides.
Don Harrington Discovery Center
At the Don Harrington Discovery Center, engage your curiosity with interactive science exhibits. This educational attraction encourages hands-on learning, catering to children and adults interested in the wonders of science and the universe.
Texas Outdoor Musical
Experience the vibrant Texas heritage with the Texas Outdoor Musical set in the scenic Palo Duro Canyon. This live performance brings local history to life through captivating storytelling and music under the stars.
For a touch of elegance, attend a performance by the Amarillo Symphony. The longest-running professional orchestra in the Texas Panhandle offers a rich program of classical and modern compositions, showcasing live music and entertainment at its finest.
The Big Texan Steak Ranch
The Big Texan Steak Ranch is not just a restaurant; it’s a landmark of Amarillo’s dining culture.
Known widely for the 72-ounce steak challenge, where your meal is free if you finish the giant steak and all the trimmings in an hour, it’s a place that combines good food with an unforgettable experience.
Amarillo takes pride in its local restaurants. Local hotspots cater to all tastes, from the unforgettable BBQ at Tyler’s Barbeque to the authentic Indian flavors at It’s a Punjabi Affair.
Discover Thai Thai for a taste of Thai cuisine, or if you prefer health-conscious options, FAVs stands out for nutritious eating without sacrificing taste.
Coffee Shops and Cafes
For those who seek a good brew or a cozy nook to relax, Amarillo’s coffee shops and cafes welcome you with open arms. These are perfect spots to recharge with a coffee, catch up with friends, or even get some work done in a comfortable atmosphere.
Whether you’re starting your morning or needing an afternoon pick-me-up, you’ll find the perfect café to suit your needs.
Downtown Amarillo is the heart of local culture where friendly faces and urban amenities converge. Stroll through its streets and you’ll notice a mix of historic architecture and modern flair.
Local shops and eateries showcase Amarillo’s spirit, making downtown a prime spot to soak in the city’s unique atmosphere.
Shops Along Historic Route 66
As you journey down Historic Route 66, also known as The Mother Road, you’ll discover a variety of shops that exude charm and nostalgia. Imagine strolling down this iconic path where the spirit of Americana is captured in every storefront. You can expect to find:
- High Fidelity Vinyl is an exceptional store for music enthusiasts, offering various records, from vintage classics to the latest hits.
- Game Quest: For gamers, this shop provides a haven of retro and modern games alike, and it is also located on the bustling Route 66.
Antique Shops and Art Galleries
If your interest lies in antiques and fine arts, Amarillo will not disappoint. You’ll find a selection of shops and galleries showcasing everything from historical treasures to contemporary artworks. Key spots include:
- American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum: Although primarily a museum, this destination also offers a unique shopping experience with its selection of specialty items and art.
- The NAT: A local favorite where antique lovers converge to explore a variety of vendors who sell a wide range of antique goods.
Amarillo’s antique stores and art galleries testify to the city’s rich cultural tapestry. Whether you are a collector or simply appreciate the aesthetics, these establishments offer an appreciation for the past and a selection of purchasable treasures.
Jack Sisemore RV Museum
The Jack Sisemore RV Museum is a treasure trove for anyone fascinated by the evolution of recreational vehicles.
Here, you can step inside classic and vintage RVs, including rare models that date back to the 1930s, showcasing the rich history of road travel.
Your visit to the Amarillo Zoo brings you face-to-face with over 60 species of animals. Stroll through this 15-acre haven and spot exotic creatures, including lions, kangaroos, and snakes, providing an educational and engaging experience for all ages.
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
At the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, you discover the remnants of prehistoric flint quarries used by Native Americans for over 13,000 years.
Take a guided tour to learn about the quarries’ historical significance and view the flint that played a crucial role in the survival and trade of the High Plains.
Helium Time Columns Monument
The Helium Time Columns Monument commemorates Amarillo’s role in the helium industry.
Opened in 1968, during the 100th anniversary of the discovery of helium, it holds time capsules and educates visitors on the city’s contribution to the development of helium extraction.
Amarillo Civic Center Complex Events
The Amarillo Civic Center Complex is your go-to destination for a diverse lineup of events. Here is what you can expect:
- Concerts: Enjoy a variety of genres, from classical to contemporary.
- Sporting Events: Experience the thrill of live sports, such as ice hockey games.
- Festivals: Seasonal festivals offer unique experiences with local flair.
Keep an eye on the Civic Center’s schedule to catch one-of-a-kind events, like the Amarillo Symphony’s performances.
Tascosa Drive-In Movie Experience
At the Tascosa Drive-In, step back in time and enjoy a movie night that’s both retro and distinctly Amarillo. The Tascosa is one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in Texas, offering a unique viewing experience.
- Double Feature: Double the fun with two movies for the price of one.
- Snack Bar: Indulge in classic movie treats from the concession stand.
Remember to check the drive-in schedule. They often screen double features, giving you two movies back-to-back for a full evening of entertainment.
At Combine City, you stumble upon a farmer’s creative display of half-buried combine harvesters.
Stand in awe as rows of these agricultural giants present a quirky take on public art. With spray paint in hand, you’re welcome to add your personal touch to the metallic canvas.
Just west of Amarillo, the Floating Mesa is a testament to artistic illusion. This natural landmark appears suspended in the air, thanks to a strategically placed white strip that wraps around the mesa’s midsection.
While no painting is involved here, your photographs will capture the intriguing visual trick.
2nd Amendment Cowboy
Meet the 2nd Amendment Cowboy, an imposing metal sculpture that captures the spirit of the Old West. This roadside attraction brings a slice of cowboy culture with a modern twist, making it a perfect spot for an unforgettable selfie.
Remember, this public art piece is not just an ode to Amarillo’s cowboy roots but also a symbol of American freedom.
Amarillo Little Theatre
The Amarillo Little Theatre is a cornerstone of local culture, producing high-quality live performances that highlight both community and professional talent.
If you appreciate performance art, this is your go-to destination. Their repertoire often includes an enticing blend of contemporary plays and classic musicals, ensuring there’s something to match everyone’s theatrical tastes.
Galleries and Exhibits
Art enthusiasts will be captivated by the numerous galleries in Amarillo, each boasting its unique art collection.
- For a dynamic exploration of art, consider visiting venues like The Legends Arts Co-op, which is known not only for its exhibitions but also for fostering community support for the arts.
- The city’s pulsating live music scene finds a home in various galleries, where the blend of visual and auditory experiences creates a rich cultural tapestry.
By engaging with Amarillo’s art and performance venues, you add a memorable layer to your visit, infused with creativity and local flavor.
Texas Air & Space Museum
At the Texas Air & Space Museum, you’ll encounter a diverse collection chronicling the advances in aviation and space exploration.
This museum provides a hands-on learning experience through its aerospace artifacts to understand the impact of air and space travel in Texas and beyond.
- Full-scale aircrafts
- Educational programs
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
As the largest history museum in Texas, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum offers a deep dive into the state’s rich past. From paleontology to fine arts, the exhibits cover a broad spectrum that reflects the Panhandle’s multifaceted history.
Features to Explore:
- Extensive historical collections
- Educational events and resources
Golf Courses and Clubs
With its clear, sunny skies, Amarillo is an ideal place for golf enthusiasts. The city boasts several public and private golf courses where you can enjoy a round of golf. Notable courses include:
- Ross Rogers Golf Complex: Home to two 18-hole courses, Mustang and WildHorse, each offering unique challenges and vistas.
- Comanche Trail Golf Complex: Provides another two 18-hole courses suitable for all skill levels amidst panoramic views.
The mild weather, well-maintained greens, and friendly atmosphere make golfing in Amarillo an enjoyable experience for players of all abilities.
Spas and Retreats
When you’re seeking an oasis of tranquility, The Scarlet Door Salon Spa & Boutique stands out with its natural ingredient-based products that are particularly gentle on sensitive skin. For an immersive experience, consider Awaken Med Spa, known for its comprehensive wellness therapies.
- Top Spa Recommendations:
- The Scarlet Door Salon Spa & Boutique: Embrace a luxurious pampering session.
- Awaken Med Spa: Unique health-focused treatments for complete rejuvenation.
Amarillo’s yoga studios provide an idyllic setting for health and wellness. With classes that range from beginner to advanced, you will find a studio that resonates with your pace and style.
- Notable Yoga Facilities:
- Yoga for Harmony: Varieties of yoga styles, from Hatha to Vinyasa, suitable for all levels.
- Inner Peace Studio: Specializes in restorative yoga, promoting deep relaxation.
Amarillo’s modern architecture scene is vibrant, characterized by both functionality and style. You’ll notice buildings with clean lines and innovative designs that reflect the city’s growth and forward-thinking mindset.
An example of this modernity is the Amarillo Civic Center Complex, a state-of-the-art venue for events, showcasing sleek design elements catering to aesthetics and utility.
When it comes to historic buildings, Amarillo does not disappoint. The city’s commitment to preserving its architectural heritage is evident in landmarks like the Potter County Courthouse, an eye-catching example of Classical Revival design.
Moreover, your journey through Amarillo’s architectural past would be incomplete without a stroll through the U.S. Route 66 Historic District, where you’ll witness a range of structures with design elements from different eras, all telling the story of early 20th-century America.
In these historical areas, pay close attention to the intricate details and craftsmanship that embody the city’s bygone eras. The preservation of these buildings provides a lens through which you can view the layers of Amarillo’s cultural and architectural history.
Finding the right place to stay in Amarillo can greatly enhance your visit, whether you’re looking for a comfortable hotel room or an RV spot with all the amenities.
Below, you’ll find specific options for both hotels and campgrounds.
Hotels and Motels
Amarillo provides a range of hotel accommodations that cater to various preferences and budgets. For instance:
Drury Inn & Suites
- Price: From USD 94
- Amenities: Complimentary breakfast, evening meals, free Wi-Fi, and a pool.
- Distance: 20-minute drive from Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport.
My Place Hotel
- Location: Central Amarillo
- Features: Fully equipped rooms with kitchen facilities.
Moderately priced motels are also available for travelers looking for more economical options without compromising basic comforts.
RV and Camping Sites
Amarillo has picturesque camping sites as well as facilities for RV enthusiasts.
RV Museum (Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum)
- Experience: A chance to see historically significant and vintage RVs.
- Admission: Free.
RV parks in Amarillo offer various amenities, such as electricity hookups, water, and dumping stations. For those who prefer a more natural setting, camping near natural attractions provides a serene experience of the Texan outdoors.
When planning your trip to Amarillo, Texas, efficient transportation options and well-planned itineraries are essential for a seamless experience. Here’s how you can navigate the city and optimize your travel plans.
In Amarillo, your primary mode of transportation will be driving or using the public transit system. If you’re following the historic Route 66, having a car at your disposal will allow you to explore at your own pace.
- Car Rentals: Accessible at the airport and various locations throughout the city.
- Public Transit: Amarillo City Transit (ACT) provides bus services with routes that cover most areas of interest.
- Taxis and Ridesharing: Services like Uber and Lyft operate in Amarillo for direct travel to your destinations.
Your stay in Amarillo can be full of exploration if you plan within a structured itinerary. Here are suggestions for a one-day visit:
- Morning: For an unforgettable outdoor adventure, Start with Palo Duro Canyon, the second-largest canyon in the United States.
- Afternoon: Visit the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum to celebrate the city’s equestrian heritage.
- Evening: Experience local art and culture with an Amarillo Scavenger Hunt to cap off your day.
For multi-day trips, consider interspersing historical tours with visits to local art installations and outdoor activities to capture the diverse spirit of Amarillo.
Plan Your Trip
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Vero, a seasoned traveler, has explored 25 countries and lived in five, gaining a rich perspective and fostering an infectious passion for travel. With a heart full of wanderlust, Vero uncovers the world’s hidden gems and shares insights, tips, and planning advice to inspire and assist fellow adventurers. Join Vero and let the shared passion for travel create unforgettable memories.