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Is Amarillo Fun? Everything You Need to Know

By: Swena Kalra

Edited By: Scott Sidders

Updated on November 6, 2023

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Many people believe that Amarillo is a boring place. However, there are actually many things to do in Amarillo. For example, there are several museums, such as the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum and the American Quarter Horse Heritage Center & Museum.

In addition, Amarillo is home to numerous parks, including Sam Houston Park and Medical Center Park. Several seasonal events, such as the Tri-State Fair and Rodeo, attract visitors from all over the country.
So, while Amarillo may not be the most exciting place in the world, there are still plenty of things to do for those who are willing to look for them.

Top 10 Attractions & Things To Do in Amarillo

This city in the Texas Panhandle is famous for its big sky and even bigger steaks. But there is more to Amarillo than that! Here are our top 10 attractions and things to do in Amarillo, TX.

1. Take a Unique Picture at Cadillac Ranch

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

Families visiting Amarillo can enjoy a unique and free activity by taking a trip to Cadillac Ranch. This roadside attraction features 10 old Cadillacs that have been dug nose-first into the ground created in 1974. Visitors are encouraged to express their creativity by spray painting the cars with colorful graffiti. There is no need to bring your own paint, as plenty of half-filled cans are strewn around the field. This is a great activity for those who want to explore their artistic side.

It's always fun to take a picture at the Cadillac Ranch! This is a popular family activity where kids can explore and be creative. The cars are constantly changing due to the paint, making photographers an interesting experience. You can find souvenirs near the gate. Beware of the slippery and muddy path after rain, though!

2. Shop at the Historic Sixth Street District

Sign for the Historic 6th Street District and US Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas

Famous for its role in the iconic American road trip, Amarillo's Route 66 is a must-see for anyone looking to get a taste of America's storied past. With its many original buildings and traditional signs, the street gives off a fun and unique vibe that can't be found anywhere else.

Be sure to check out Braceros, a converted garage serving some of the best Mexican food in town, and the Golden Light Cafe, a local institution that has been around since the 1940s. It's all well signposted, so you'll have no trouble finding your way around.

3. Stroll through the Amarillo Botanical Gardens

Gardens, conservatories, and playgrounds abound in Amarillo! The Amarillo Botanical Gardens are a great place to see local flora, including a fragrance garden and the stunning silver and glass diamond-shaped conservatory.

The gardens are also lit up in a kaleidoscope of colors during Christmas. The Don Harrington Discovery Center is down the street, and in between the two is Medi-Park, with a children's playground and splash pad. Amarillo is a great place for families and nature lovers alike!


4. Explore at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum

The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is the largest history museum in Texas. It offers a glimpse into the history of Texas, from the age of the dinosaurs to modern times. This museum has one of the finest collections of art in the Southwest.

You can learn about the American Indians who inhabited the land, pioneers, oil, geology, water as a resource, innovations that shaped the region's development, and much more. The museum also regularly hosts special exhibitions. It is located about 15 minutes outside Amarillo but worth the trip!

5. See the Palo Duro Canyon

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

The Palo Duro Canyon is a beautiful and unique place that is located just 30 minutes south of Amarillo. This canyon is the second largest in the United States and is a popular spot for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Visitors can drive down to the canyon floor and explore the many campgrounds and hiking trails. This is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and experience all that nature offers.

Also, the nearby visitors center is a great place to learn about the history and geology of the area. Set atop a ridge with sweeping views of the canyon, it's one of the best places in the park to take in the scenery.
You can't come to Amarillo without hiking the popular Lighthouse Trail. To the base of the Lighthouse, it's a six-mile round-trip hike, but you can find the best views of the towering rock pinnacle found 1.5 miles into the trail. Trust us, it's worth the effort!

6. Admire Exhibits at Amarillo Museum of Art

The Amarillo Museum of Art is open free of charge to the public. It is home to an impressive collection of art from around the world, with most of the pieces from the Far East. You can find sculptures on display from the South and South East Asia region, along with Hindu pieces and 2nd-century BC Buddhist pieces.

The museum also features photographs by Russell Lee and his contemporaries, works from the 17th to 19th centuries, and early and mid-century American Modernists. With such a wide variety of artwork, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the Amarillo Museum of Art.

7. Explore Texas Air & Space Museum

In addition to learning about and exploring different aircraft, you can also explore them with a full hands-on experience. It's one of the best features of the Texas Air & Space Museum. The museum is located near an airport and is designed to utilize indoor and outdoor spaces. The main hangar features a DC-3 from 1945 as its centerpiece.

You can get an up-close look at all the different instruments from the cockpit.
This museum is full of aviation history and interesting displays. In the hangar, you can see a home-built crop duster from the late 1960s and an ejection seat from a B-52 bomber. With so much to see inside, you'll want to come back for another visit.

8. Tour the Downtown Amarillo

Drone shot of downtown Amarillo, Texas

In recent years, Amarillo has been working to revitalize its downtown area. This process has included a mix of old and new buildings, both of which are intriguing. These historical buildings include the former 1927 Fisk Building, which is now one of Amarillo's top hotels, the Courtyard by Marriott.

With the addition of new dining facilities and independent restaurants, downtown Amarillo is beginning to take on a more vibrant atmosphere. You can still find some remnants of the city's past here, such as neon signs (although many of them have been converted to LED). Overall, downtown Amarillo seems well on its way to becoming a more lively and exciting place.

9. Spend a day at Wonderland Park

One of the greatest things to do for families in Amarillo is make a trip to Wonderland Amusement Park. Roller coasters, including the Texas Tornado and Mouse Trap, will have you screaming with either delight or terror. The rides are thrilling, and the water rides are perfect for cooling off on a hot day.

Mini golf, bumper cars, and other amusement rides are also available, making Wonderland Amusement Park the perfect place to spend a day with the family. It's sure to be an enjoyable experience for all.

10. Visit the American Quarter Horse Heritage Center & Museum

A visit to this museum is a must for anyone interested in learning about the horse that played such a pivotal role in the settlement of the American West. The Quarter Horse is the focus here, with displays downstairs exploring topics like its biology and upstairs featuring a Hall of Fame honoring some of the breed's most famous representatives. You'll see trophies, photographs, and memorabilia and hear the stories of these great horses.

The Quarter Horse Museum is not only a place to learn about the history and bloodlines of the Quarter Horse breed but also to appreciate the impressive architecture of the building itself. The Grand Hall on the main level is particularly noteworthy, with its carved wooden floor tracing the bloodlines of the Quarter Horses back to the late 1800s.

Top 4 Day Trip Ideas from Amarillo

This list would not be complete without mentioning some of the best day trips you can take from Amarillo. Here are four ideas to get you started:

1. Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

Fishing, boating, and water skiing are just a few fun activities you can enjoy when you take a day trip to Lake Meredith National Recreation Area. This beautiful area is located in the Texas panhandle, near Amarillo. It's the perfect place to enjoy stunning scenic views or participate in various outdoor activities. Plus, it's a great place to see wildlife. So, if you're looking for an enjoyable day trip from Amarillo, this is definitely the place to go.

2. Caprock Canyon State Park

Caprock Canyon State Park

Caprock Canyon State Park is a beautiful and popular destination for day trips, located only two hours away from Amarillo. The park is home to various attractions, including rock climbing and hiking trails, that are perfect for thrill-seekers. You can also visit the bat cave in the park and see the bats take flight at dusk. The scenery and wildlife in the park are truly breathtaking and make for an unforgettable experience. Whether you're looking for adventure or just want to enjoy a quiet day in nature, Caprock Canyon State Park is the perfect place for you.

3. Ute Lake State Park

Ute Lake State Park is a beautiful getaway for those who love the outdoors. Visitors can enjoy various water activities, including boating, canoeing, and kayaking. The park is also a great spot for fishing, so be sure to bring your rod if you're looking to wet a line. Whether you're looking to spend a day or a week, Ute Lake State Park is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

4. Amarillo Scavenger Hunt

Amarillo, Texas

Lastly, Amarillo Scavenger Hunt is a great way to explore the city and learn about its history and culture. This activity is perfect for families or groups of friends. You'll receive a list of clues that will lead you to various landmarks around the city. You'll learn about Amarillo's rich history and culture as you solve the clues. This is a great way to spend a day in Amarillo and get to know the city a little better.

Top 3 Places To Stay in Amarillo

Although Amarillo is a relatively small city, there's no shortage of places to stay. Here are three of the best places to stay in Amarillo:

1. The Retreat at Wolflin

It is a gorgeous vacation home in Amarillo, Texas that has been updated with all the modern amenities while maintaining its historic charm. The home is situated in a lovely neighborhood and features two bedrooms, one bathroom, a spacious kitchen with granite countertops, and a covered porch. The backyard is perfect for entertaining guests or relaxing after a long day. There is also a washer and dryer in the home for your convenience. This vacation rental is the perfect place to stay while exploring all that Amarillo has to offer!

2. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Amarillo

The Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Amarillo is a great place to stay for anyone visiting the area. It's located next to Interstate 40, making it easy to get around, and it's just five minutes from the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. The rooms are spacious and come with all the amenities you need, including a flat-screen TV, a desk, a mini fridge, a microwave, and a coffeemaker.

You can also request complimentary WiFi access and a choice of hard or soft pillows. For added convenience, there is also a business center and on-site parking. Guests can enjoy a free breakfast bar, an indoor pool, and a fitness room during their stay.

3. Candlewood Suites Amarillo

Amarillo's Candlewood Suites provides a convenient location just off Interstate 40 and comfortable and affordable accommodations. This hotel is perfect for budget-minded travelers looking for a clean and comfortable place to stay while exploring Amarillo and the surrounding area.

The studios feature kitchenettes, free WiFi, and flat-screen TVs, while the suites add separate living rooms with pull-out sofas. Complimentary perks include parking and 24/7 guest laundry facilities. There's also an on-site exercise room, convenience store, and gazebo BBQ area for guests to enjoy. Candlewood Suites Amarillo provides everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

In Conclusion

Amarillo, Texas at night

As you can see, there's no shortage of things to do in Amarillo. Whether you're looking for outdoor activities, historical landmarks, or a place to relax, Amarillo has something for everyone. Have fun on your trip and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

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