Amarillo Travel Guide
As the economic hub of the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo isn’t exactly a short-list destination for travelers, but its blend of cowboys, ranchers and farmers creates the quintessential Texan town. Amarillo was also once a major stopover along the famous Route 66 motorway, which today provides most of the city’s tourist attractions and gives it some degree of interest.
Although its roots are mainly agricultural, Amarillo’s role as a transport hub via the railway, and later the highway, has infused a certain temporal quality to the city’s atmosphere. A compact downtown district can be found running north from I-40, and it’s here that visitors will find most of the amenities and other sites of interest, as well as the sections of Route 66.
Except for driving to see an attraction on the outskirts of the city, nearly everything you’d want to see is in the downtown core. Amarillo’s exterior is certainly bland, but the people are friendly and it can make a decent, inexpensive stopover if you’re traveling. There are dozens of motels, restaurants and shops which cater to cross-country drivers. Amarillo may not particularly dazzle you, but it won’t necessarily disappoint you either.
Cadillac Ranch: Amarillo’s most infamous roadside attraction is this creative work of art consisting of 10 classic Cadillacs which are half-buried in a wheat field west of town at the same angle as the Great Pyramid in Egypt.
Route 66 Historic District: Route 66 is also known in American folklore as the “Mother Road”, and Amarillo was once a big stop along its cross-country path. Today, the old motels and shops have been transformed into a hub for the city’s nightlife and shopping.
Wonderland Amusement Park: Reflecting the style of Route 66, this Amarillo landmark is a nostalgic trip into the past with more than 25 rides that lean more to the classic than the modern.
Amarillo Museum of Art: if you need your art fix, this is the only real museum within nearly 300 miles. Thankfully, its collection of photographs, paintings and sculptures is quite impressive.
Don Harrington Discovery Center: if you brought the kids, don’t miss one of the state’s most famous children’s science museums, with enough engaging exhibits to keep you all busy for hours.