14 Top Best Things to Do in Amarillo, Texas

best sights in Amarillo

Amarillo, which means “yellow” in Spanish, is the center of the Texas Panhandle, at the edge of the Great Plains. It offers wide, open spaces, and breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Amarillo is the gateway to Palo Duro Canyon, America’s second largest canyon. With its relatively mild climate, the city has some of the cleanest air in the country.

Native Americans, conquistadors, buffalo hunters, settlers, cowboys, adventurers, lawmen, gunfighters and the railroad all contributed to the development of the area. That heritage is still felt here.

Founded in 1887, the city charter was adopted in 1913. Amarillo is one of the first cities in the nation to use the city commissioner-city manager form of government.

Today, the city features excellent accommodations, a spacious convention/civic center, symphony, ballet, theater, opera and Amarillo College.

The Big Texan Steak Ranch is known nationwide for a 72-ounce steak dinner offered free to anyone who can eat the entire meal in one hour. More than 50,000 people have taken the challenge and 8,700 have succeeded. www.bigtexan.com.

 

The modernized city has several historic treasures from the past preserved carefully. Walking down the Polk Street, tourists would find a range of houses and structures, some of them included in the National Register of Historic Places, that portray the development of Amarillo from the early 1900’s.

The parks of Amarillo, which include 50 local parks and one State park, hold the best of nature’s gifts and present numerous recreational possibilities. Bird watching, horse riding, boating, swimming, golf, tennis and hiking are some of the popular outdoor activities. An admired destination is the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which has the nation’s second largest canyon, after the Grand Canyon. Another important park, the Thompson Park holds the Wonderland Amusement Park, the biggest of its kind in the city.
Other important attractions include The Cadillac Ranch, American Quarter Horse Association – a museum of national repute, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum and the Don Harrington Discovery Center. The Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument which is considered to be a significant pre-historic dwelling is in close proximity to Amarillo.

A great deal of excitement awaits one and all at Amarillo.

Amarillo Livestock Auction

Amarillo Livestock Auction is a year long event that attracts the attention of cattle owners from all over the state of Texas. This privately owned independent livestock auction is held in Amarillo, Texas and an estimated hundred thousand cattle exchange hands annually. This auction is also an important contributor to the economy of the region.

Held every Tuesday of the year, visitors can directly experience the excitement in the air and also interact with the cattlemen and the cowboys. Though visitors cannot see the pre auction activity such as cattle being weighed and getting sorted, the exact auction process can be observed. Every other day of the week, tourists can freely move around in the auction ring and check out the history of the event and the procedures followed.

The auction has gained popularity due to the fact that it offers the best price discovery for cattle breeders. Apart from auction services there is wholesale and retail distribution, direct sales service and franchise operations carried out by the management of the Amarillo Livestock Auction.

The Stockyard Cafe located just beside the cattle auction ground is a great place to have a delicious snack or lunch all at affordable rates and of course is an excellent place to relax.

100 S Manhattan, PO Box 30668, Amarillo, Texas 79120

Cadillac Ranch

Call it modern art or an eccentric endeavor, the Cadillac Ranch which is located in Amarillo, Texas, is definitely a one of its kind place for followers of contemporary art.

With the Texas millionaire Stanley Marsh, 3 as its patron, Cadillac Ranch has gained global acclaim on the very basis of its simple yet novel concept. Starting in 1973, in a vast marshland owned by Marsh, 10 cars of the Cadillac brand were buried nose down slightly angled and facing west. All the cars were manufactured between 1949 and 1963 and most of them were junk or used. Artists collectively called as Ant Farm were behind this unique concept.

The most interesting part of the visit is the free flowing graffiti that one can view on the car body and also the freedom to scribble one’s own thoughts. Though repainted several times, the constant influx of visitors and their additions certainly adds an artistic and original touch to the display.

Cadillac Ranch is a part of several magazines, newspaper articles, music albums, videos, and movies including the Walt Disney blockbuster – Cars. This is indeed a big compliment to an incomparable destination.

Tourists can click pictures during their visit but strictly for personal use.

US Route 66 – Sixth Street Historic District

Over one mile of art galleries, antique and collectible stores, restaurants, and bars in historic buildings can be found in the Route 66 Historic District. Not only was Route 66 known as the Mother Road of America, but this district was also one of Amarillo’s first residential and business districts. People traveled long distances to visit the stores and restaurants on the strip and to dance on the best ballroom floor in town, The Nat Ballroom, which is now home to over 100 vendors. This historic strip is located on Sixth Avenue between Georgia and Western Streets in Amarillo, TX. The Historic 6th on Route 66 Association, Amarillo66.com, is a 501 C 6 non profit organization made up of merchants and residents.

Amarillo Route66. 3511 6th Ave, Amarillo, TX 79106

Amarillo Botanical Gardens

Born of a garden center developed by the Amarillo Garden Club to develop test gardens in the high plains of the Texas Panhandle, the Amarillo Botanical Gardens grew into a botanically diverse showcase of plants that are able to thrive with assistance in this arid environment.

1400 Streit Dr, Amarillo, TX 79106

Wonderland Amusement Park

Wonderland, an Amarillo landmark since Route 66’s glory days, is the Panhandle’s top amusement park, with more than 25 different nostalgic rides on a 15-acre chunk of Thompson Park. Three roller coasters, six water rides, a carousel, and several kiddie rides are among the attractions. The double-loop “Texas Tornado” coaster and the “Shoot the Chute” water ride are two of my favorites. A minigolf course and an arcade are also available.

2601 Dumas Dr, Amarillo, TX 79107

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

The Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River has the largest canyon of this great divide, Palo Duro Canyon, which is known as the Grand Canyon of Texas and is allegedly the second largest in the United States. This is based on its length (120 miles) rather than depth, as the ravine is never more than 800 feet deep, making it quite shallow by Southwest canyon standards. Palo Duro Canyon State Park, established in 1934 and now Texas’ fourth largest state park, contains seven miles of the upper (west) part of the gorge.

11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5 Canyon, TX 79015

Amarillo Museum of Art

The Amarillo Museum of Art, located on Amarillo College’s Washington Street Campus, is a vital community partner that uses art education, exhibitions, and programs to enrich the lives of our students and the surrounding community. The AMoA welcomes and admits all visitors for free. Temporary exhibitions and education are the Museum’s primary focuses. Each year, the Museum hosts approximately fifteen art exhibitions that feature original works in a variety of media, periods, and styles, ranging from avant-garde to traditional.

2200 S Van Buren St, Amarillo, TX 79109

Panhandle Plains Historical Museum

The museum houses extensive materials on the cattle industry, Plains Indians, firearms, transportation, fine arts, decorative arts, textiles, and historical artifacts depicting life in the region, in addition to major collections in anthropology, geology, paleontology, and natural history. A replica of an early twentieth-century pioneer town, a display on oil and gas exploration and production, and galleries of European and American art with an emphasis on Texas and southwestern artists such as C. F. (Frank) Reaugh and the studio of painter and muralist Harold D. Bugbee are among the permanent exhibits.

2401 4th Ave, Canyon, TX 79015

Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum

Step back in time, reminisce, and marvel at the evolution of the RV industry from its beginnings to the present. More than 25 years ago, the museum’s owner began restoring and collecting unusual vintage RVs. The collection now includes the Flxible Bus from the film “RV,” the first Itasca motor home ever built, the oldest Fleetwood in existence, classic Winnebago, Airstream, and Volkswagen models, as well as many other RVs from the 1930s to the 1970s.

4341 Canyon Drive, Amarillo, Texas 79105

American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum

With a series of exhibits, events, and outreach programs that create opportunities and make dreams come true, the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum in Amarillo, Texas inspires and creates people. Visitors see priceless works of art and artifacts that help them understand the importance of the exquisite breed in both the past and the present. The American Quarter Horse Association and breed have been forever influenced by influential people and horses in the Hall of Fame. Guests can be inspired and enjoy the joy that Quarter Horses bring.

2601 East I-40, Amarillo, TX 79104

Amarillo Zoo

The Amarillo Zoo is a great place for kids of all ages to learn about the wonders of the animal world. The beautiful 15-acre site is located in Thompson Park and is home to over 80 different animal species. The zoo is designed for enjoyment and discovery, and it will provide you with memories to last a lifetime. You will do more than just look here; you will experience the animal world. After you’ve had your fill of the zoo, make your way to Thompson Park. In this 330-acre regional park, visitors will find shaded picnic areas, playgrounds, beautiful lakes, swimming, tennis, and walking trails.

Comanchero Road, Amarillo, TX 79101

Texas Air & Space Museum

The Texas Air & Space Museum recently acquired a historic Douglas DC-3 aircraft, the only airworthy aircraft on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States. Following the arrival of that aircraft, the Texas Air & Space Museum was added to the National Park Service’s travel itinerary (Aviation: Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms).

10001 American Dr, Amarillo, Texas 79111

Downtown Amarillo

Downtown Amarillo may surprise you with its art deco buildings and seemingly endless number of restaurants and coffee shops!

Amarillo is not only the economic hub of Texas Panhandle but also the largest city in this region. With the availability of quality educational, healthcare and recreational opportunities, the population figures of this city are on the rise and very soon expected to reach the 200,000 mark from the present 184,000.