The Best Things To See & Do In Amarillo, Texas

Cadillac Ranch
Cadillac Ranch | © Jamie/Flickr
Alexia Wulff

Don’t be fooled by this panhandle city – Amarillo, Texas’s hidden gem, is a historic town located along Route 66 with a rich western culture, beautiful natural scenery, and a quaint downtown. Visiting the ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’? Here’s how to best experience the town: read on for the top five things to do in Amarillo, Texas.

1. Pay Cadillac Ranch A Visit

Pay Cadillac Ranch A Visit

Created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez, and Doug Michels of Ant Farm, a group of artists, Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation made up of ten junkyard Cadillacs buried half way into the ground, serving as a tribute to the ‘Golden Age’ of American automobiles. Over the years, the cars have lost their original colors, replaced by wildly colored graffiti art of the people who have visited the installation. Gaining national recognition after being featured in music videos and films, Cadillac Ranch has become a popular destination for tourists and is one of Route 66’s most iconic stops along its 2,500-mile-long journey.

Cadillac Ranch, I-40 Frontage Rd, Amarillo, TX, USA

Cadillac Ranch | Public Domain/Pixabay

2. Walk Along Route 66-Sixth Street Historic District

Walk Along Route 66-Sixth Street Historic District

Discover Amarillo’s rich history with a stroll down the Route 66-Sixth Street Historic District. Here, find shops, restaurants, antique stores, annual festivals, and noteworthy architecture, including Art Deco, Spanish Revival, and Art Moderne, representative of Amarillo’s early 20th-century roots, its evolving phases of American culture, and the town’s significance in relation to Route 66. Originally developed as a streetcar suburb, Sixth Street Historic District now stands as a historic symbol of a bygone era, considered a national transportation artery that has carried travelers out of Amarillo for decades.

Route 66-Sixth Street Historic District, Amarillo, TX, USA

Route 66 in TX | © Barbara Brannon/Flickr

3. Head To The Big Texan Steak Ranch

Restaurant

Head To The Big Texan Steak Ranch

The Big Texan Steak Ranch isn’t just your average small-town restaurant – this historical stop along Route 66 is home to the famous 72-ounce Steak Challenge, a contest started back in 1962 for the rugged cowboys that once filled the eatery. Now, it stands as a legendary quest that is open to the average traveler. The plus side? If you finish in under one hour, it’s free. Visitors can test their own, or opt to be a spectator; either way, the Big Texan Steak Ranch is worth a visit.

Big Texan Steak Ranch, 7701 Interstate 40 Access Rd, Amarillo, TX, USA, +1 806 372 1000

Big Texan | © Todd McCann/Flickr

4. Discover Beauty At Amarillo Botanical Gardens

Discover Beauty At Amarillo Botanical Gardens

For garden aficionados and green thumbs, head to the Amarillo Botanical Gardens – a 1920s haven for lush foliage, colorful flowers, butterflies, and an array of desert plants. Guests can enjoy music in the garden or take a guided tour of the grounds, and although the gardens aren’t as expansive as others, the history, serene setting, and Amarillo views make it all worthwhile.

Amarillo Botanical Gardens, 1400 Streit Dr, Amarillo, TX, USA, +1 806 352 6513

Amarillo Botanical Gardens | © Barbara Brannon/Flickr

5. Explore Nature At Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Park

Say hello to the ‘Grand Canyon of Texas’: Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the second largest canyon in the US, boasts over 30 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails alongside campsites, guided tours, and musical performances at the amphitheater. Palo Duro’s strikingly beautiful landscape makes for an unforgettable experience, with 60 miles of ravines, canyons, and 800 feet high colorful cliff sides set against the Texan sky. Plus, it allows nature lovers to get their fix of outdoor activities just a short drive from Amarillo.

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