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The cultural and commercial center of the Texas Panhandle has its own special brand of rustic charm. Home to rodeos, wagon roundups, and canyons that rival the majesty of the Grand Canyon, Amarillo’s modern streets celebrate its history and frontier spirit without ignoring the present and future. Whether you’re looking for motorsports or performance dance, wild buffalo or some of the best landscapes on this side of the Grand Canyon, there are plenty of things to do in Amarillo that bring the city to life.
Amarillo’s business district shows off the identity of this frontier outpost that became a modern commercial hub. Glass-walled skyscrapers stand along streets that are still paved in brick, and a sleepy urban park rests in the shadow of Route 87. The city’s first skyscraper has been standing for nearly a century, and the historic buildings hold plenty of hotels, diners, and shops just off the highway.
Just across the railroad tracks from the city center, this neighborhood keeps up the country life in between the blocks of single-story homes. The American Quarter Horse Association and the home of the Tri-State Fair & Rodeo dominate the landscape, with roadside restaurants facing a giant flea market filled with unknown treasures and a charming hotel district with lots of accommodation options.
Southwestern Amarillo is where most of the hottest new developments have taken hold, and the Wolflin district was one of the first to get in on the action. Bounded by a town square of trendy shops and coffee houses, a shopping mall built by a squared-off lake, and gentle tree-lined arcs of residential roads, this neighborhood shows off the best of the new Amarillo in a location with easy access to downtown.
Amarillo sits in between a pair of terrific canyon systems. Even inside the city limits you get a sense of the setting filled with grand, open spaces that Texas is famous for. On the outskirts, you can find an eclectic mix of landmarks, from the whimsical row of half-buried sedans at Cadillac Ranch to the vivid flora at the Amarillo Botanical Gardens. Closer to the city center, you might run into the colorful mains of brightly painted quarter horse statues, enjoy a wide range of trendy cafes and bars, or head to a show at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, home to the Amarillo Opera and Lone Star Ballet.
You shouldn’t finish your trip to Amarillo without taking a look at the scenery of Palo Duro Canyon, where cabins, campsites, and hiking trails give you access to the second-largest ravine in the United States. If you’ve got time to head farther afield, try out the trailway that leads through Caprock Canyons State Park and watch for the Texas State Bison Herd, the last Southern Plains bison in the world.
Within the city limits, Amarillo offers up attractions that cover your intellectual bases with a deep look at North Texas life. The Texas Air & Space Museum calls out the city’s role in the aerospace industry, while the Panhandle–Plains Historical Museum and American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame show the legacy of the pioneers and people of the plains who lived here.
If you’re in the mood to hone your cowboy skills, the Amarillo Gun Club runs target sports that let you try out 5-stand, skeet, and trap shooting, or you can try some paintball in a carefully designed combat zone. Golf courses and amusement parks round out the attractions, leaving something to do for guests of all ages while you get to know what makes Amarillo the place to be.