Things to do in Amarillo Texas

The 25 Best Things To Do In Amarillo Texas: Must-See Attractions That Will Leave You Nostalgic!

Last Updated: July 26, 2023By

Home to Western heritage and natural wonders, Amarillo is a Panhandle city with no shortage of unique attractions. This list of the top 25 things to do in Amarillo highlights the best activities and sights in the area.

Experience the spirit of the American West at these Amarillo attractions:

  • Make a stop at the iconic Cadillac Ranch to see 10 graffitied Cadillacs buried nose-down along Historic Route 66.
  • Pay tribute to American cowboys at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum, then see cattle drive history come alive at the Charles Goodnight Ranch.
  • Satisfy your need for speed at Amarillo Dragway, where nitro burns and engines roar every weekend during racing season.

Gaze up at starry skies from the Amarillo Observatory or explore downtown art galleries like the Amarillo Museum of Art.

  • The whole family will have a blast at Wonderland Amusement Park with its fascinating exhibits and thrills.

Whether you love Western heritage, roadside kitsch, adrenaline-pumping action, or stargazing under big Texas skies, Amarillo offers an unforgettable travel experience.

Let’s hit the road and dive into this charming city and show you the best attractions and things to do in Amarillo Texas!

Key Takeaways

  • Amarillo, Texas offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors, including the Route 66 Historic District, Cadillac Ranch, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, and the American Quarter Horse Heritage Center & Museum.
  • The city is known for its unique roadside attractions such as the Helium Time Columns Monument, VW Slug Bug Ranch, Combine City, Ozymandias on the Plains, and the Dynamite Museum.
  • There are several museums in Amarillo that offer a glimpse into different aspects of art and culture, including the Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum, Texas Air & Space Museum,

Top Attractions in Amarillo, Texas

  • The top attractions in Amarillo, Texas include the:
  • Route 66 Historic District
  • Cadillac Ranch
  • Palo Duro Canyon State Park,
  • American Quarter Horse Heritage Center & Museum,
  • Don Harrington Discovery Center, and
  • Amarillo Botanical Gardens.

1. Route 66 Historic District

Immerse yourself in a vibrant blend of history and culture at the Route 66 Historic District in Amarillo, Texas. This mile-long stretch of road, once part of the original Route 66, is packed with eclectic shops, lively clubs, and diverse restaurants that attract visitors from all over.

A standout location within the district is the Nat Ballroom – formerly a renowned music venue that has now morphed into a visitor favorite. Amarillo holds prominence as an essential town along Texas’ Route 66 stretch, keeping this district alive with historic legacy.

Located conveniently along I-40 in Amarillo means it’s easily accessible for travellers passing through. Don’t miss out on The Big Texan whilst there; this famous restaurant offers a memorable experience – eating a whopping 72 oz steak!

Sprinkling some more fun to your visit could be exploring vintage RVs at nearby Jack Sisemore RV Museum or adding color to old Cadillacs at the Cadillac Ranch art installation.

Being part of the cherished 6th Street Historic District adds more charm and attraction to your nostalgic journey down Route 66.

2. Cadillac Ranch

Immerse yourself in the vibrant and artistic atmosphere of Cadillac Ranch, an iconic attraction nestled along Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas. This riveting public art installation features ten Cadillac cars buried nose-first in the ground with their tail fins proudly jutting into the air.

A group of bohemian artists from San Francisco constructed this out of ordinary site back in 1974 – turning it into a must-stop roadside attraction for tourists exploring historic Route 66.

Cadillac Ranch isn’t just visually striking; it’s also incredibly interactive. Visitors are encouraged to unleash their creativity by spray painting these partially interred automobiles—contributing to an ever-evolving kaleidoscope of color that encapsulates the free spirit and eclectic charm of West Texas.

Just hop off at Exit 60 on I-40 west, and you’ll find yourself within walking distance of this quirky treasure. With its easy accessibility and proximity to other popular attractions like Amarillo Botanical Gardens, it’s no wonder why Cadillac Ranch is considered one of the top things to do when visiting Amarillo!

3. Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the second-largest park in Texas, is a top attraction you can’t miss when visiting Amarillo. Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” this stunning natural wonder spans approximately 28,000 acres and offers rugged beauty for tourists to explore.

Just 24 miles from Amarillo, it’s easily accessible for day-trips or overnight camping stays. The park boasts over 30 miles of hiking trails where visitors can soak in the array of colors and formations that have been carved out by centuries of erosion on the Caprock Escarpment.

Adventure seekers can also enjoy thrilling activities like ziplining across the canyon while those looking for a more relaxed experience might opt for scenic drives through the park or swimming in designated areas.

Don’t forget to visit ‘The Canyon Gallery,’ a mesmerizing man-made structure built with native stone which adds its own charm to this remarkable place.

4. American Quarter Horse Heritage Center & Museum

The American Quarter Horse Heritage Center & Museum is a must-visit attraction in Amarillo. Located at 2601 I-40 East, the museum offers a fascinating insight into the history and modern activities of the American Quarter Horse, which happens to be the world’s most popular breed of horse.

Ranked as the third best thing to do in Amarillo out of 57 attractions, this museum showcases artwork and exhibits that celebrate these magnificent horses. It is categorized as an art gallery, specialty museum, and history museum.

Plan a visit to this unique destination and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of one of Texas’ most iconic symbols – The American Quarter Horse.

5. Don Harrington Discovery Center

The Don Harrington Discovery Center in Amarillo, Texas is a must-visit attraction for families and science enthusiasts. This engaging children’s science museum offers a range of interactive exhibits that cover various subjects such as art, archaeology, geology, and history.

With special exhibits constantly changing, there’s always something new to discover at this center. Visitors can enjoy hands-on activities and play areas that encourage exploration, creativity, invention, learning, and fun.

The planetarium and giant dinosaur statues add an extra element of excitement to the experience. For those looking for an educational yet entertaining outing in Amarillo, the Don Harrington Discovery Center comes highly recommended among the city’s top attractions.

6. Amarillo Botanical Gardens

The Amarillo Botanical Gardens is a must-visit attraction in Amarillo, Texas. This magnificent garden spans over 4 acres and offers a beautiful and immersive experience for visitors.

With its walkable paths, stunning succulents, and palm-tree-filled arboretum with ducks, it’s no wonder that the gardens are considered one of the most gorgeous things to see in Amarillo.

Not only do they showcase plants native to Texas, but they also provide seasonal displays that add to their charm. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful escape, the Amarillo Botanical Gardens is definitely worth exploring.

Unique Museums in Amarillo

Some of the unique museums in Amarillo include these top 4 attractions:

  • Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum,
  • Texas Air & Space Museum,
  • Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian, and
  • Amarillo Museum of Art.

7. Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum

The Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum is a must-visit attraction in Amarillo, Texas. Founded by father and son duo Jack and Trent Sisemore, this unique museum showcases a collection of unusual and vintage RVs dating back to the 1930s.

Open from Thursday to Saturday, it offers visitors a nostalgic experience as they learn about the history and culture of RV travel. Whether you have fond memories of camping trips or simply appreciate the charm of classic recreational vehicles, this museum provides an engaging glimpse into the past.

So if you find yourself in Amarillo, be sure to make a stop at the Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum for an unforgettable journey through time.

8. Texas Air & Space Museum

The Texas Air & Space Museum, located in Amarillo, is a must-visit attraction for aviation enthusiasts. This museum houses an extensive collection of aircraft from various decades and offers a fascinating history of aviation engineering.

From civilian to military aircraft, the museum showcases the evolution of flight with its impressive displays. In addition to the aircraft, visitors can explore art galleries, archaeology exhibits, geology displays, and historical artifacts.

The museum is associated with other unique museums in Amarillo and provides an interesting look into the world of aviation. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about planes, the Texas Air & Space Museum is definitely worth a visit when exploring Amarillo’s top attractions.

9. Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian

The Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian is a fascinating cultural heritage site located in Amarillo, Texas. This unique museum showcases art and artifacts from both the Pueblo and Plains tribes, offering visitors a deeper understanding of Native American culture.

Housed in a replica Pueblo Indian kiva, the museum’s pink exterior glows beautifully during sunset, making it an iconic landmark in Amarillo. Inside, you’ll find exhibits featuring fine art and crafts related to Native American history, including the Thomas Mails collection of Native American art.

In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also offers special exhibits that further enrich the visitor experience. Whether you’re interested in Indian art or simply want to learn more about Native American history, a visit to the Kwahadi Museum is highly recommended for those looking for a unique cultural experience in Amarillo.

10. marillo Museum of Art

The Amarillo Museum of Art is a must-visit attraction in Amarillo, Texas. Located in the vibrant Amarillo Cultural District, this unique museum offers a variety of interesting exhibits that cater to art enthusiasts and those interested in American art.

With its diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and photographs, the museum showcases the rich artistic heritage of the United States. From thought-provoking galleries to informative archaeology and geology displays, visitors can immerse themselves in the world of art and culture.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for an engaging cultural experience, a visit to the Amarillo Museum of Art is definitely worth adding to your itinerary when exploring this charming Texan city.

Quirky Roadside Attractions in Amarillo

Some of the quirky roadside attractions in Amarillo include the Helium Time Columns Monument, VW Slug Bug Ranch, Combine City, Ozymandias on the Plains, and the Dynamite Museum.

11. Helium Time Columns Monument

The Helium Time Columns Monument is a quirky roadside attraction located in Amarillo, Texas. Erected in 1968 to commemorate the discovery of helium, this unique sculpture consists of four time-capsule columns filled with books, artifacts, and documents from that year.

It serves as a fascinating time capsule, allowing future generations to learn about life in 1968. Shaped like a helium molecule, the monument is considered one of the must-visit landmarks in Amarillo and is situated outside the science museum.

If you’re looking for something different and intriguing to explore in Amarillo, don’t miss out on the Helium Time Columns Monument!

12. VW Slug Bug Ranch

Located in Panhandle, Texas, near Amarillo, the VW Slug Bug Ranch is a quirky and unique roadside attraction. It features a small car graveyard with several partially buried or abandoned VW Beetles.

Similar to the famous Cadillac Ranch nearby, this free attraction offers visitors a chance to explore the creative and artistic side of corporate development and roadside entrepreneurism.

Situated between Groom and Amarillo in Conway, the Bug Ranch is a must-visit for lovers of the iconic VW Beetle. As part of the numerous interesting roadside attractions in Amarillo, it adds to the offbeat charm of this fun destination along Route 66 in Texas.

13. Combine City

Combine City is a unique roadside attraction in Amarillo, Texas that features half-buried combine harvesters as a nod to the famous Cadillac Ranch. Located just outside of town, Combine City offers visitors a quirky and fun experience as they explore these massive agricultural machines partially buried in the ground.

It’s a must-see for those looking to add some offbeat charm to their visit to Amarillo.

14. Ozymandias on the Plains

One of the must-see attractions in Amarillo, Texas is Ozymandias on the Plains, a roadside monument created by philanthropist and artist Stanley Marsh 3. Similar to his famous Cadillac Ranch, this peculiar creation is located along historic Route 66.

Ozymandias on the Plains features a unique expression on its face, and it has become known as one of the quirky roadside attractions that make Amarillo an interesting place to visit.

This iconic stop offers a glimpse into the rich western culture and history of Amarillo, making it a fun addition to any road trip itinerary through Texas.

15. Dynamite Museum

The Dynamite Museum in Amarillo, Texas is a unique and quirky roadside attraction that is redefining urban art in the city. It features thousands of painted-over road signs scattered across Amarillo, creating an unconventional and eye-catching display.

This offbeat museum has become a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors who are looking for something different and interesting to see. With its unconventional approach to art and its unusual collection of roadside attractions, the Dynamite Museum is definitely one of the weird things to do in Amarillo.

Family-Friendly Activities in Amarillo

– Wonderland Amusement Park offers a plethora of fun rides and attractions for the whole family to enjoy.

– The Amarillo Zoo is another great option, where kids can get up close and personal with a variety of animals.

16. Wonderland Amusement Park

Wonderland Amusement Park, a beloved family-owned theme park in Amarillo, Texas, offers an array of thrilling rides, classic attractions, and fun-filled activities for all ages. With over 30 rides to choose from, including roller coasters and water slides, visitors can embark on adrenaline-pumping adventures or enjoy the nostalgia of arcade games.

The park’s iconic 250-foot drop ride and exciting roller coasters are sure to satisfy thrill-seekers. Additionally, Wonderland Amusement Park boasts a miniature golf course and numerous game booths for those seeking a more relaxed experience.

As one of the top attractions in Amarillo and a staple along Route 66 since its glory days, this amusement park guarantees endless family fun and entertainment.

17. Amarillo Zoo

The Amarillo Zoo, located in the Texas panhandle, is a must-visit destination for wildlife enthusiasts and families alike. Spread across 15 acres, this zoo is home to approximately 150 animals from 88 different species, providing visitors with an exciting and educational experience.

Situated in Thompson Park, the zoo showcases over 60 species of animals, including African lions named Solomon, Sarai, and Sheba. Alongside animal exhibits, visitors can also enjoy interactive experiences like horseback riding and exploring Wildcat Bluff.

With its focus on community connection and high-quality animal care, the Amarillo Zoo offers a fun-filled day of adventure for everyone.

Where to Stay and How to Get Around in Amarillo

In terms of accommodations, Amarillo offers a range of options to suit every traveler’s needs. Whether you’re looking for budget-friendly hotels or luxurious resorts, the city has something for everyone.

Staying in the Route 66 Historic District is a popular choice, as it puts you in close proximity to many of the city’s top attractions. This historic district is lined with charming shops, restaurants, and hotels that capture the essence of old Route 66.

When it comes to getting around in Amarillo, renting a car is often the most convenient option. Having your own vehicle allows you to explore the city and its surroundings at your own pace.

However, if driving isn’t an option for you, there are public transportation options available such as buses and taxis. These can help you navigate through Amarillo without having to worry about parking or traffic.

To make the most of your stay in Amarillo, it’s important to plan ahead and book accommodations in advance especially during peak travel seasons. Considering the location of your accommodations in relation to the attractions you plan on visiting can also save time and transportation costs.

Check online booking platforms and travel websites for deals on accommodations before making a decision.

Similarly, researching different transportation options can help you choose the most suitable mode of getting around in Amarillo while keeping costs down. Flexibility and adaptability are key when exploring this vibrant city as some attractions may require specific modes of transportation or have limited parking availability.

So be sure to seek recommendations from locals or use online resources to find efficient routes that will allow you to make the most out of your visit!

Conclusion – Things to Do in Amarillo Texas

In conclusion, Amarillo, Texas offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring the historic Route 66 district and experiencing unique roadside attractions, to immersing yourself in art and culture at the local museums, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures at Palo Duro Canyon or looking for family-friendly fun at Wonderland Amusement Park, Amarillo has it all. So plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Amarillo, Texas!

FAQs – Tourist Attractions in Amarillo, Texas

1. What are some of the top attractions in Amarillo, Texas?

Some of the top attractions in Amarillo, Texas include Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Cadillac Ranch, The Big Texan Steak Ranch, and Wonderland Amusement Park.

2. Are there any outdoor activities to enjoy in Amarillo?

Yes, Amarillo offers a range of outdoor activities such as hiking and camping at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, fishing at Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, and golfing at various courses throughout the city.

3. What cultural experiences can I have in Amarillo?

Amarillo has several cultural experiences to offer including visiting the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum, exploring art galleries in the Cultural District, or attending a performance at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts.

4. Are there any family-friendly attractions in Amarillo?

Absolutely! Families can enjoy attractions like Don Harrington Discovery Center & Space Theater which offers interactive exhibits for children, Wonderland Amusement Park with rides and mini-golf courses suitable for all ages or visiting the Zoo where kids can see animals up-close.

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