You’re in cowboy country now. Amarillo is real Texas — we’re talking cowboy boot- and hat-wearing people with strong accents and even stronger Lone Star state pride. Located on Route 66 in the Texas panhandle (the area of the state bordered by New Mexico and Oklahoma), this city is chock full of Americana.
Moving to Amarillo won’t set you back too much; the average home listing price is $229,297 and median rent is $1,192 a month. Median household income is $46,488, and a majority of that income comes from three major industries in Amarillo: meat, oil and aviation. Some of the biggest employers in town are Tyson Foods, Bell Helicopter and Pantex, the primary United States nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility.
If you want to immerse yourself in the rugged terrain of the panhandle, head to Palo Duro Canyon State Park — it's one of the largest canyons in the United States. Outdoorsmen and women explore the desert landscape of Palo Duro by foot, horseback and bike. There are also camping sites and cabins and an amphitheater. Be sure and spot Lighthouse Rock, a rock formation that looks (you guessed it) like a lighthouse. Animal lovers should be on the lookout for the Palo Duro mouse, the Texas horned lizard, wild turkeys, deer, coyotes, bobcats, roadrunners, snakes and lizards. If you’re confident in your athletic abilities, try doing 24 Hours in the Canyon, the only simultaneous 24-hour road and mountain bike event in the United States.
Remember how we mentioned that this is cowboy territory? Well, The Working Ranch Cowboys Association (WRCA) World Championship Ranch Rodeo is held in Amarillo, Texas, each year. And when cowboys get hungry, they like steak and BBQ. Check out The Big Texan Steak Ranch on Route 66 for some authentic Texas steak — you’ll know you’ve found it when you see a huge cowboy cut-out presiding over the parking lot. There’s also a massive cow out front (a fake one) and the Big Texan Dinosaur. Inside, you’ll feel like you’re in a wild west saloon.
Also on Route 66 in Amarillo is the famous Cadillac Ranch. This art installation was created in 1974 and consists of Cadillac cars lined up and nose-first in the ground. The cars are covered in layers and layers of brightly colored graffiti. If you’re into architecture, check out the Route 66-Sixth Street Historic District, where you’ll find beautiful Art Deco, Spanish Revival and Art Moderne buildings.
Other things to do in Amarillo: Cheer on the beloved Amarillo Bulls hockey team, take in some history at the Panhandle–Plains Historical Museum, admire the majestic animals of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and take the kids to Wonderland Amusement Park and the Amarillo Zoo.