Things To Do in Amarillo
From outdoor activities to western heritage and a flourishing arts scene, Amarillo has something for everyone. No wonder it’s a favorite destination for travelers 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 the list of things to do in Amarillo below to get your next adventure in the Old West started.
Explore Palo Duro Canyon State Park
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. At Palo Duro Creek Ranch, visitors can enjoy unique Jeep or horseback riding tours of the picturesque canyon.
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.
Watch TEXAS Outdoor Musical
Those visiting Amarillo in the summer can’t miss the world-famous musical drama, TEXAS Outdoor Musical. 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 is performed at the Pioneer Amphitheater in Palo Duro Canyon State Park Tuesday through Sunday, early June through mid-August. An optional barbecue dinner is available for those who want to have the most Texan experience possible.
Call 806-651-2181 for more information or to make a reservation.
Take the 72 OZ. Steak Challenge
If you’ve spent any time watching TV cooking shows, then you’re 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. 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.
Amarillo is one of the best-known stops along the famous Route 66, in part because it was mentioned in the song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.” Although the route doesn’t exist as it once did, it does live on as Amarillo’s Route 66 District, a one-mile area that comprised the city’s first residential and business districts. 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.
Enjoy a Show
Amarillo may have built its reputation on cowboys and cattle, but there’s much more going on than you’d think. These days, Amarillo is a veritable hot spot for the performing arts. Watch a play at the Amarillo Little Theatre, one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the country, or enjoy a performance at the Amarillo Opera. If you’re a music lover, attend a show by the Amarillo Symphony, which offers seven performances per season at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, one of the nation’s best acoustically designed performance halls. The Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts occasionally hosts shows by Lone Star Ballet, whose performances typically occur between November and May.
Amarillo, TX 79101