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Located in the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo is one of the state’s most captivating destinations, put on the map by the famous Route 66. Although Route 66 has given Amarillo a unique distinction, there are other incredible attractions in this popular Texas town that draw visitors from all over the state. Complete with incredible outdoor recreation options along with top-notch museums and restaurants, you will not have a boring time in Amarillo. Experience all Amarillo has to offer through these top things to do in this Panhandle city.
What Is It? Palo Duro Canyon State Park is considered one of the most picturesque state parks in Texas.
Why Do It? Although it’s located a short 20-minute drive outside of the city, it’s still worth a visit to anyone in the Amarillo area. This state park is home to the second-largest canyon in the country, referred to as the Grand Canyon of Texas.
Good to Know: Hike, bike, or ride on horseback on the backcountry trails found in the park. Or birdwatch or photograph from the number of scenic points here.
What Is It? This Route 66 landmark has gained national attention for its steak, specifically its 72 oz. steak challenge.
Why Do It? Now you don’t have to do this steak challenge to enjoy the food and beer at The Big Texan.
Good to Know: Complete with a gift shop, brewery and a hotel, this highway hot spot in Amarillo deserves your attention and your appetite.
What Is It? The famous Route 66 road trip runs through the town of Amarillo.
Why Do It? This 13-block area in Amarillo’s city center is home to unique architecture, antique shops, local boutiques, and art galleries.
Good to Know: Even if you don’t buy anything while strolling this area of town, it’s worth taking a photograph at the Route 66 sign.
What Is It? Enjoy a great show at Amarillo Little Theatre, which is a small theater that is known for its big acts.
Why Do It? From Broadway musicals to unique comedies to classical dramas, there is always something playing at Amarillo Little Theatre.
Good to Know: This family-friendly theater production is one of the oldest and longest-running theaters in the state.
What Is It? Don’t be fooled by the name; Cadillac Ranch is not an actual ranch at all.
Why Do It? This unique art display, located along Route 66, draws passersby and locals alike. Built by three artists in 1976, this unique work of art features 10 Cadillac cars carefully placed nose-first into the Amarillo earth. The cars are painted wild colors, and visitors are even encouraged to add their own paint to the cars.
Good to Know: Cadillac Ranch has grown as a popular roadside attraction, as it has been featured in films, music videos and of course Instagram posts.
What Is It? Both adults and kids will learn something new at Don Harrington Discovery Center.
Why Do It? This science center features hands-on exhibits on a variety of scientific topics. The planetarium is a fun spot in the museum to learn about space and weather.
Good to Know: Younger children will enjoy playing and learning at the KinderStudio and Little Builders exhibits. With events and programs throughout the year, this museum is a hot spot for learning in Amarillo.
What Is It? Dress your best and head to Amarillo Opera, where incredible productions occur year-round featuring the most talented local vocalists.
Why Do It? You may find your favorite operetta playing here, or discover a new and creative opera that’s being showcased. In operation since 1988, Amarillo Opera’s productions aren’t typically performed in English. But don’t worry, the opera house provides subtitles so guests can follow along.
Good to Know: Enjoy a bit of culture and music with this 75-member opera in Amarillo.
What Is It? From native Texas critters to exotic animals alike, the Amarillo Zoo showcases a wide variety of creatures in the animal kingdom.
Why Do It? This 15-acre park is home to 150 animals in 88 different species.
Good to Know: From tarantulas to lions, the Amarillo Zoo will not disappoint eager animal lovers.
What Is It? Enjoy the outdoors in Amarillo at The Amarillo Botanical Gardens.
Why Do It? This four-acre oasis features native Texas plants and seasonal gardens too. Learn more about the gardens through a guided tour or simply tour the grounds on your own for a more personal experience.
Good to Know: The Amarillo Botanical Gardens welcomes a wide variety of visitors through educational programs and even weddings and private events.
What Is It? For those hoping to hike in Amarillo, a visit to the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center is a great option.
Why Do It? This 600-acre park is situated on Amarillo’s rolling grasslands. During the spring, the center becomes a popular spot to view wildflowers. You may even spot native wildlife like hawks and horned lizards during your visit.
Good to Know: To learn more about the ecological and historical importance of the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, head to the visitors center here or even take a guided tour.
What Is It? One of the best museums in Amarillo is the American Quarter Horse Foundation – Hall of Fame & Museum.
Why Do It? Visitors will find paintings, pictures, riding attire, and other artifacts relating to horseback riding and cowboy life.
Good to Know: Texas is known for its horse-riding cowboys, so it’s only fitting that a museum exists showcasing the importance of the American Quarter Horse.
What Is It? Get a taste of the Wild West at Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West, a hospitality and tour guide company conveniently located near Route 66.
Why Do It? This company primarily offers horseback riding tours and chuckwagon events. Embrace the Texan in you with a horseback riding tour that guides you through Texas’ finest land at the rim of Palo Duro Canyon.
Good to Know: From one-hour tours to three-hour rides, an experience at Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West will offer a remarkable experience that can only be found in Amarillo.
What Is It? Art lovers visiting Amarillo should not skip out on a visit to the Amarillo Museum of Art.
Why Do It? This art museum is home to over 1,800 works in its permanent collection, including American, Western, and Asian pieces.
Good to Know: The museum is always changing, as it regularly hosts 15 different temporary exhibits a year. Therefore you will most likely find something new at the Amarillo Museum of Art no matter if it’s your first visit or 10th one.
What Is It? This Amarillo museum is all about aircraft and the history of flight.
Why Do It? View full-size aircraft exhibits, and learn about the history of aviation through models and photographs. History buffs will love learning about the war history of aviation.
Good to Know: The Texas Air and Space Museum offers free two-hour tours, making a visit here a budget-friendly thing to do in Amarillo.
What Is It? The RV industry has come a long way, and there’s no other place to view its fascinating history than at Jack Sisemore RV Museum.
Why Do It? The one-of-a-kind museum started out as a personal collection of vintage RVs by a father and son, Jack and Trent Sisemore.
Good to Know: This collection of vintage RVs from the 30s to the 70s includes the world’s oldest Airstream and the very first Itasca motorhome.
What Is It? View the largest private car collection in the area that showcases hot rods and classic cars right here in Amarillo.
Why Do It? Bill’s Backyard Classics is a family-friendly museum that showcases an ever-changing display of special cars, so you’ll find a new car every time you visit. There are a wide variety of automobiles here, from cars and trucks that date back as early as the 1920s to as recent as 2012.
Good to Know: There are over 90 cars in this classic car museum, making Bill’s Backyard Classics a great spot to spend a few hours on a nice Amarillo day.
What Is It? This 610-acre park is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in Amarillo.
Why Do It? No matter if you want to go for a run or bike ride or simply want a nice place to picnic, Thompson Memorial Park is a go-to spot for outdoor fun within the city.
Good to Know: Featuring a disc golf course, playground, bike trails, zoo, picnic areas, dog park, and two small lakes, this city park’s versatile array of activities attract locals and tourists alike.
What Is It? Learn all about Native American history and culture at Amarillo’s Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian.
Why Do It? This heritage museum has both fine art and historical artifacts on display. Guests can also watch live dance performances here by Kwahadi dancers.
Good to Know: After perusing the museum, stop in the trading post to purchase a piece of Native American jewelry or art to honor and remember this unique Amarillo attraction.
What Is It? Watch movies on the big screen at this retro drive-in in Amarillo.
Why Do It? Known for its back-to-back double feature, the Tascosa Drive-In offers a vintage experience in this modern age.
Good to Know: Purchase popcorn and other snacks at the concession stand and relax with a movie at one of the state’s last drive-in movie theaters.