From outdoor activities to western heritage and a flourishing arts scene, Amarillo has something for everyone. No wonder it’s a favorite destination for traveler’s looking for either an authentic Old West experience or something a bit more contemporary. Within the confines of this archetypal Texan town, you’ll find more museums, shops, historic sites, restaurants, and golf courses than you can wrangle in one trip. And that’s just the beginning.
With so many things to see, do, and experience, it may be a challenge to figure out where to even begin. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Check out our list of things to do in Amarillo below to get your next adventure in the Old West started.
Any trip to Amarillo isn’t complete without stopping by the spectacular Palo Duro Canyon State Park, one of the nation’s most magnificent scenic attractions. In fact, Fodor’s.com named it one of America’s 10 Best State Parks in 2014. The canyon, second largest in the country, offers a Texas-sized serving of unforgettable scenic views and opportunities for outdoor recreation. Fortunately, there are many ways to savor the canyon’s rugged beauty. More than 30 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails will keep you busy, as well as numerous camping sites and geocaching opportunities. The scenic landscape and wealth of wildlife makes the park an ideal place for photography and birdwatching.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is located just 25 miles south of Amarillo and includes a visitor center and gift shop, where you can purchase books, pottery, and jewelry. The Palo Duro Trading Post, located on the canyon floor, offers souvenirs, snacks, meals, and camping supplies. Palo Duro Canyon is open throughout the year, although daily hours may vary by the season.
If you’ve spent any time watching TV cooking shows, then you’ve probably familiar with the 72 oz. Steak Challenge at Amarillo’s own The Big Texan Steak Ranch, Brewery and Hotel. For those not in the loop, here’s how it works: scarf down a 72 oz. steak and all the sides (an appetizer, salad, and potato) in one hour and you eat for free. The rules are simple. If you get sick, get up from your table, or have someone else help you eat, then you lose. On the other hand, you don’t have to eat the fat. What happens if you don’t clean your plate? Your wallet will be about $72 lighter. But at least you’ll have a full belly.Don’t feel like taking on the challenge? No worries. The Big Texan has a standard menu and its own brewery, so you’ll likely find what you’re looking for.
Visit The Big Texan Steak Ranch, Brewery and Hotel website for more information.
Those visiting Amarillo in the summer can’t miss the world-famous outdoor musical drama, TEXAS. The show features a talented cast that reaches into the past to reveal the struggles, strengths, celebrations, burials, and politics of the early settlers, cowboys, and Native Americans. The musical, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is performed at the Pioneer Amphitheater in Palo Duro Canyon State Park Tuesday through Sunday from early June through mid-August.
Ticket prices range from $16.95 to $30.95 (plus fees), varying by the seat location and date of the show. An optional barbecue dinner is available for those who want to have the most Texan experience possible.
Call 806-655-2181 for more information or to make a reservation.
Nowadays, the historic buildings that line the former Route 66 house quirky antique, craft, and specialty shops; art galleries; one-of-a-kind restaurants; bars; and music venues. There is usually a lot going on at just about any time, so you can hang out for a few hours or all day.
Check out Historic Route 66’s website for more information on the shops and restaurants in the district.
The Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts occasionally hosts shows by Lone Star Ballet, whose performances typically occur between November and May.
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