Amarillo began as a small town in Texas; however, it has since grown into one of the largest cities in the US. This sprawling metropolis is full of history, culture, good food, and fun.
There are plenty of things to do in Amarillo ranging from history museums, science museums, art museums to nature, hiking, and food.
When you visit this lively city, you'll be surprised by all there is to see & do in what is often thought of as a "small town". In reality, Amarillo has not been a small town in a while.
Let's explore some of the top tourist attractions in Amarillo.
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Palo Duro Canyon is one of the best Amarillo attractions for people who enjoy nature and the outdoors. This state park is only 24 miles from Amarillo, making it an easy day trip. Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the US.
You can reserve a camping spot and stay overnight. They also have a few cabins to rent. These rustic cabins allow you to get a feel for life in the canyon in the old days.
You can also park an RV for an overnight stay. If you are more interested in Glamping, try the Doves Rest Cabins.
Some must-see sights of Palo Duro Canyon include the Canyon Gallery, Zipline Adventure Park, and TEXAS, the Musical.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park has tons of great hiking and backpacking trail options. They also have plenty of biking trails. Take a drive along the 16 miles of the paved road if you are short on time.
Address: 11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5, Canyon, TX 79015
Also Read: 25 Best State Parks to Visit in the US
Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway is another one of the must-see attractions in Amarillo for nature and outdoor enthusiasts. This State Park is about 2 hours south of Amarillo. You can visit for a day or reserve a camping spot and stay a few days or longer.
This State Park has 90 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. They offer ranger-led programs, including history presentations, park tours, and nature hikes. Every September, they host the Texas State Bison Herd Music Festival in nearby town Quitaque.
Caprock Canyons State Park is one of the few places where you can still see Bison roaming. The music festival in September helps them care for and maintain the herd.
Address: 850 Caprock Canyon Park Road, Quitaque, TX 79255
This National Monument is about 40 minutes north of Amarillo on the shore of Lake Meredith. Start at the visitor’s center and check out the exhibits. You can hike the trails, take a self-guided tour, or take a Ranger-led hike.
They also offer other fun ranger-led activities and programs. Ranger-led programs cover a variety of topics relating to the history and culture of the area.
Check out the petroglyphs carved into some of the rock formations. There are many theories of why these images were carved into stone.
Nearby attractions include the Lake Meredith Aquatic and Wildlife Museum. Spend the day exploring these two attractions and the beautiful Lake Meredith. Grab lunch or dinner at Smoke Rings Craft BBQ in Fritch.
There are multiple places to camp and hike in the area if you are looking for a break from the city while visiting Amarillo.
Address: Cassjohnson Road, Fritch, TX 79036
The Panhandle Plains Historical Museum is one of the largest history museums in Texas and one of the best places to visit in Amarillo. It is located at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, 20-30 minutes from Amarillo.
The museum boasts a variety of interesting exhibits. There are art galleries, archaeology, geology, and history exhibits. Check out their special exhibits ahead of time to see what is on display.
Museum admission costs $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for kids. During the summer, they are open 9 am - 6 pm Monday through Saturday and 1 pm - 5 pm on Sunday. During the winter, they are closed Sunday and Monday, and open 9 am - 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday.
There are so many things to do and see at the museum it will take you at least half of the day. Grab some lunch or dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Address: 2401 4th Ave, Canyon, TX 79015
The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the most impressive attractions in Amarillo for horse lovers. This museum details the history of the American Quarter Horse. This famous horse breed has an exciting and curious history that may surprise you.
Even if you think you already know everything about Quarter Horses, the museum is worth a visit. The museum also boasts a collection of Western Art and a gift shop full of the perfect gifts for the horse lover in your life.
The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm. It is closed Sundays, Mondays, and Holidays. Museum admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $3 for kids.
Just down the street is the Palo Duro Trading Company; pop in for a quick look or spend some time browsing this great Native American arts and crafts store.
Address: 2601 E I-40, Amarillo, TX 79104
A visit to the Amarillo Museum of Art is one of the most interesting things to do in Amarillo, especially for art lovers. The museum is located on the grounds of Amarillo College. The collection at this museum is unique in that it includes both Western art and Asian art.
The museum has over 1800 works of art and rotates them in and out. They typically have about 15 exhibits each year. They also have the occasional visiting or loaned exhibit, so check their website or call in to check what will be on display.
Museum admission is free. This makes it a great tourist spot in Amarillo for anyone on a budget. Do not think you have to be on a budget though, if you can afford it, they would welcome a donation to help fund their school programs.
The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm.
Address: 2200 S Van Buren St, Amarillo, TX 79109
The Texas Air and Space Museum is one of the must-visit Amarillo attractions for air and space fans. It is also a great museum for families; kids will love exploring the many different exhibits.
This family-friendly museum is located near the Amarillo International Airport, Amarillo Railroad Museum and Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian.
The Texas Air and Space Museum has both indoor and outdoor exhibits. It is open from 10 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday.
This museum honors the efforts and contributions of Amarillo and Texas in the history of flight. Whether you are an aviation fan or simply curious, this museum may teach you something you did not know before. After your visit, head to the Big Texan for a Texas-sized meal.
Address: 10001 American Dr,Amarillo, TX 79111
If you are curious about the history of Amarillo, this museum is the place to visit in Amarillo. It is run by the Amarillo Historical Society. The museum is by appointment, so make sure to call or email ahead of time and make a reservation.
The Amarillo Historical Museum delves deep into the history of Amarillo and the sometimes hidden and often forgotten contributions Amarillo has made to Texas, the US, and even the world.
This museum is one of the hidden gems in Amarillo. It is also one of the newest and fastest-growing museums in the area. The museum is located along the tracks of the BNSF Railway. Not only does the museum teach Amarillo History, but it is also located in one of Amarillo's historic school buildings.
A visit to the museum will only take a few hours so make plans to wander around historic downtown Amarillo, grab a bite to eat, or head to another of the smaller museums in the area for the rest of the day.
Address: 1612 S Johnson St, Amarillo, TX 79102
The Amarillo Railroad Museum looks at the history of westward expansion and the railroad's effect on the Texas Panhandle.
The museum is open Thursday evenings from 7:30 pm to 9 pm, making it great for an end-of-the-day activity. It is also open Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm. The museum is on the smaller side, so it makes a great pairing for a trip to another of the smaller museums.
If your family is interested in both planes and trains, consider visiting on a Thursday. You can see the Air and Space Museum in the day, grab dinner at the Big Texan, and see the Railroad Museum all in one day.
This museum also goes well with the Amarillo Historical Museum as they both deal with the history of the area. This museum is another hidden gem of Amarillo and well worth the visit. Whatever you decide, this museum is a must for any train and railway enthusiasts.
Address: 3160 I Ave, Amarillo, TX 79111
The Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian is one of the best sights to see in Amarillo. They have limited hours, Thursday through Saturday, from 1 pm to 5 pm.
In the wintertime, they are only open on Saturday and Sunday. In the summertime, they host events and traditional dances. Dance performances are usually later after the museum has officially closed.
This is the museum to visit if you are interested in the history and culture of Native Americans from the region. This museum is a great place to visit if you only have an afternoon, whether you have other plans for the morning or got a late start.
You can also head to one of the other small museums beforehand. If you love history, you can probably get the Amarillo Historical Museum, Amarillo Railroad Museum, and the Kwahadi Museum all in one day.
Do not feel like you have to rush through; take your time and enjoy the museum and the glimpse of culture it provides.
Address: 9151 I-40, Amarillo, TX 79118
The Natural History Museum is located on the grounds of Amarillo College, not far from the Amarillo Museum of Art. If you have time, head to both museums in one day. You can grab lunch in between at the College’s Bookstore and Cafe.
This museum requires an appointment for entrance and a tour; make sure to contact them ahead. The museum is open Monday through Thursday from 1 pm to 5 pm and Friday from 9 am to noon. The museum is closed on Saturday and Sunday.
While you are on campus, take a stroll and admire both the historical buildings as well as newer additions.
The museum hosts a large selection of representations of local wildlife and fauna. A unique addition is a collection of ships in bottles. This museum is a quick and exciting thing to do while visiting Amarillo.
Address: 2201 S Washington St, Amarillo, TX 79109
If you enjoy a matinee or nighttime performance, a visit to the Globe News Center Performance Hall is a must-do on any trip to Amarillo. Here you can see a performance by the Amarillo Opera, Amarillo Symphony, Lone Star Ballet, as well as visiting performers and musicians.
There are quite a few great restaurants where you can grab a meal before or after a show.
The Globe News Center for the Performing Arts is part of the Amarillo Civic Center, which hosts several events throughout the year. Check out what is going on, just in case you are interested in spending the day wandering exhibits at a fair or convention.
Tickets to events can go fast, especially during the summer, so make sure to purchase them ahead of time if possible.
Address: 500 S Buchanan St, Amarillo, TX 79101
Adventure seekers will love the Palo Duro Canyon Zip Line Adventure Park. If you are looking for fun and exciting things to do in Amarillo, this is the place. Kids and adults alike will enjoy zipping across the canyon.
Just imagine telling your friends after your visit that you went ziplining over one of the biggest canyons in the US. This is not the only thing to do at Palo Duro Canyon, so if you need a break from visiting Amarillo's museums, take the weekend to explore the park.
Admission to Adventure Park is $40 for general admission. Seniors and Military admission are $35. One important thing to know is the weight range allowed.
No children under 60 pounds can ride alone (there are special rigs for these children to go with an adult). Also, the Zip Line can only hold adults up to 300 pounds in weight.
Address: 11100 TX-217, Canyon, TX 79015
Texas Outdoor Musical is an outdoor musical drama performed at the Amphitheater in Palo Duro Canyon. Tickets must be bought ahead of time and cost $22-38 for teens and adults, $17-33 for children 12 and under, and $18-34 for seniors and the military. The prices range based on seating.
The show is rarely canceled for weather, so come prepared for the potential of a Texas thunderstorm. A minor storm will not stop the show and it will add to the drama. The show is a fictionalized dramatization of Texas History and is a lot of fun for the whole family.
You can eat before going or pay extra for dinner beforehand. They serve a great BBQ meal. Dinner is about $18 with tax for anyone over 12 years old (teens, adults, and seniors) and about $9 for kids 12 and under.
If you are interested, they also offer backstage tours for an extra $5 per ticket holder.
Address: 11450 State Hwy Park Rd 5, Canyon, TX 79015
If you are looking for family-friendly things to do in Amarillo, the Don Harrington Discovery Center is a great choice. The kids will enjoy a day of exploring the exhibits. They have a planetarium with some great shows as well as summer camps. If you are in the area for a month or more, you can sign your kids up.
The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. They are also open Sundays from noon to 4:30 pm. Admission is $14 for adults, $11 for Seniors and Military, $11 for students ages 17-22, and $9 for kids ages 3-17. Kids under 3 are free.
The Discovery Center is located in Medical Center Park. Kids will enjoy a visit to the Medi Splash Park and the Medi Park Playground as well.
Address: 1200 Streit Dr, Amarillo, TX 79106
If you are looking for thrilling and fun places to go in Amarillo, look no further than Wonderland Amusement Park. Wonderland Amusement Park was opened in 1951; despite its age, it has remained a favorite among locals.
The park is a combination of the theme park, water park and mini-golf course. They have roller coasters and thrill rides, water slides, classic rides, and a mini-golf course. There is something fun for everyone, no matter what age.
Check their websites for hours and prices as they change. In general, they are open afternoons and evenings in the summer. They are closed in the wintertime. The 3-hour Wow Pass is about $17 Tuesday through Friday. The 5-hour Wow Pass is about $19 on Fridays. Weekend Wow Passes are about $25.
The Ultimate Wow Pass includes special rides like the Texas Tornado and the Fantastic Journey. The Ultimate Pass costs about $31-33 during the week and $40 for the weekend.
Address: 2601 Dumas Dr, Amarillo, TX 79107
The Amarillo Botanical Gardens is one of the most gorgeous things to see in Amarillo. They have over 4 acres of beautiful gardens to explore. There is also a Tropical Conservatory.
Admission to the Botanical Gardens is $5 for adults and children six and above. Admission is $4 for seniors. Children 5 and under are free.
The Gardens are open Monday through Friday year-round from 9 am to 5 pm. April through the end of October, they are open Saturday 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm. November to the end of March, they are open Saturdays from 1 pm to 5 pm and closed Sundays.
The gardens are the perfect place to get a little slice of nature and peace inside the city. Self-guided and guided tours are available. If you are looking for a guided tour, make reservations ahead of time.
Address: 1400 Streit Dr, Amarillo, TX 79106
The Amarillo Zoo is one of the best things to do in Amarillo for families. They have everything from Bison to Wild Cats, Monkeys to Prairie Dogs.
The Amarillo Zoo is unique in its variety of local animals. It has more than 15 acres of animal habitats and trails. There is plenty to do all day long.
The zoo is open from 9:30 am to 5 pm every day of the week. Admission for Teens and Adults is $4. Admission for children 12 and under is $2. Admission for Seniors is $3.
The zoo also celebrates some fun animal-centered holidays, such as International Cat Day on August 8th. If you are in Amarillo around Halloween, you can celebrate Halloween in the zoo between October 28th-30th. In December, they have Zoo Lights after dark.
Address: 700 Comanchero Trail, Amarillo, TX 79107
If you haven't been to a rodeo, it is an exciting and fun thing to do in Amarillo. In September, there is the Tri-State Fair & Rodeo. There are a number of Rodeos in and around Amarillo year-round.
The Cost of admission for the fair is $10 for teens and adults, $5 for seniors, and $5 for kids 12 and under. The Fair is open from 8 am to midnight. Rodeos are on the weekend at 7:30 pm.
The Coors Cowboy Club Ranch Rodeo is in June. The Will Rogers Range Riders Rodeo is always held on the July 4th Weekend. The Boys Ranch Rodeo is on Labor Day Weekend.
The WRCA World Championship Ranch Rodeo is in November.
Eating Mexican food or Tex-Mex food is one of the best things to do in Amarillo that you have to try. There are enough good Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants in and around Amarillo that you could eat at a different place every night for at least two weeks.
If you are looking for something more traditional Mexican, try El Manatial, El Tejavan, or try Braceros Mexican Grill and Bar if you are looking for something closer to Mexican Fine Dining. Abuelo’s is one of the top Tex-Mex restaurants in Amarillo. Another Tex-Mex favorite is Jorge’s Mexican Bar and Grill.
On the cheaper end of the spectrum, try Tacos Garcia or La Pasadita. These are by no means the only good Mexican and Tex-Mex places in town. You’ll see one just about anywhere you go. Most locals will be happy to direct you to their favorite places.
No trip to Amarillo is complete without visiting the Big Texan. This place is part old-time Texan Steak House and part arcade. The restaurant is considered a Texas Icon.
If you are up for the challenge, they have a 72 oz Steak Meal. If you can eat the whole thing, they will give it to you for free.
Kids will love the fun and lively Southwest and Cowboy atmosphere and adults will love the great prices.
Make time to stop in at the gift shop as they sell some of Texas’s classic candies and tourist gimmicks. They also sell some unique Big Texan Themed items to remember your trip by.
This Steak house does not only sell the steak, but they also serve BBQ, vegetarian options, fried chicken, and more.
Their appetizers include some old favorites like onion rings and fried cheese sticks and lesser-known items like Mountain Oysters and fried pickles. They are a steak house, so if you like steak, you have tons of options (about half of the menu).
Address: 7701 I-40 East, Amarillo, TX 79118
Barbecue is among the favorite things to do in Amarillo for the Food-Lovers’. Amarillo has a multitude of good and great Barbecue places.
Top Rated (4.5 stars or above) barbecues include Tyler’s Barbecue, Wesley’s Bean Pot & BBQ, Spicy Mike’s Bar-B-Q Haven, Shi Lee’s Barbecue & Soul Food Cafe, Crazy Larry’s Barbecue, and more.
If you haven't been to eat Texas Barbecue before, there are a few things you ought to try. First, the Barbecue Sauce. Most places will have a regular (or mild version) and a spicy version.
You can order any Barbecue meat that you enjoy. Sides will include fried okra, coleslaw, pickles, mac & cheese, BBQ Baked Beans, and more.
Other foods you should try if they are available are Pecan Pie, Frito Pie (not a dessert), or Buttermilk Chess Pie.
There are numerous places to go horseback riding in Amarillo. Palo Duro Canyon Stables offers horseback riding adventures. Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West offer Horseback Riding adventures in and around Amarillo.
Horseback riding is a cool activity for singles, couples, and families. Whether you are new to horseback riding or experienced, there is plenty to do in Amarillo.
Horseback riding allows you to wander through nature in the way the old cowboys would have. Without the sounds and the hustle and bustle of the modern-day.
Some horseback riding companies also offer other cowboy and cowgirl delights like a classic cowboy breakfast. Some places, such as Palo Duro Canyon, offer camping, lodging, and horseback riding.
Couples and families will love this classic attraction in Amarillo. The Tascosa Drive In shows different movies. They show classics as well as Box office hits.
They only show two movies a night, so call ahead and see what is playing while you are in town.
Enjoy a romantic picnic as you watch a movie from your car. Families will enjoy sharing this now rare movie experience with younger generations.
Cost is $5 for kids under ten and $8 for everyone older than ten years old. Gates open at eight and movies start as soon as it is dark.
Bring your own picnic or grab food at the concessions stand. If you are unsure, you can check the menu online ahead of time.
Address: 1999 Dumas Dr, Amarillo, TX 79107
Sports fanatics looking for things to do in Amarillo will enjoy a game played by one of Amarillo's Teams. The Amarillo Sod Poodles are the local Baseball team.
They were recently renamed by a vote of the populace. Locals enjoy telling the story of how the team got its name.
Amarillo also has a hockey team called the Amarillo Bulls, if hockey is more your thing. FC Amarillo is the Pro Soccer Team. The Amarillo Venom are the Football team.
Depending on when you visit, you may also be able to get tickets to the Amarillo College games or Texas A&M University’s games. Both have basketball, soccer, softball, baseball, and football.
If you are looking for unique places to visit in Amarillo, check out the Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum. Not only is the RV collection impressive, but also the collection of other old and antique automobiles.
They are open Thursday through Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm and the admission to the museum is free.
This museum is a great way to show kids the evolution of automobiles and RVs in the mid to late 1900s. The museum is quite unique, and you may never see anything like this.
Address: 14501 I-27, Amarillo, TX 79119
Bill’s Backyard Classics is one of the must-visit museums for those interested in taking a step back in time and seeing the history of cars laid out.
Bill’s Backyard Classics is great for kids interested in cars as it offers them the history of cars in a tangible and visible way.
It is also perfect for adults who want to share their interest in the classic cars with the younger generations in the family.
Address: 5309 S Washington St, Amarillo, TX 79110
This roadside attraction just outside of Amarillo along route 66 is one of the most unique in the country; kids and adults alike will love the strangeness of it all. This unusual piece of modern art in the desert has confounded many visitors.
You do not have to solve the 'why' in order to enjoy the view. You do not have to understand 'how' to enjoy this one-of-a-kind sight.
Cadillac Ranch was created in 1974 and includes 10 Cadillacs. The cars are buried nose down in the dirt. They have been painted and repainted again and again.
You can bring your own spray paint and add it to the decor. Make sure to snap a photo because your art might be gone before you leave Amarillo.
Address: 13651 I-40 Frontage Rd, Amarillo, TX 79124
Also Read: 25 Weird Roadside Attractions in the USA
Route 66 is the historic strip that goes straight through the 6th Street Historic District. In fact, it is the reason the historic district exists.
The area is full of art galleries, antique stores, and historic buildings. You can also purchase collectibles and other fun tourist baubles.
The area is teeming with restaurants and bars.
Check out the website ahead of time so that you know the history of the area before visiting. Enjoy the day walking around, see the sights, and shopping.
Address: 3511 6th Ave, Amarillo, TX 79106
Also Read: Must See Route 66 Attractions
Historic Downtown Amarillo is brimming with historical buildings and churches. Fans of architecture would truly love visiting the Historic Downtown area as well as the 6th Street Historic District.
The downtown area is also home to a number of interesting things to see and do. Grab a free visitors guide from the website linked above and explore Amarillo to your heart’s content.
Wander around until you find a store or restaurant that inspires you and take your time. There is so much to see, including many outdoor art sculptures and installations.
Address: Polk St, Amarillo, TX 79101
Amarillo began small and has grown to encompass a large part of the Texas Panhandle. It is a must-stop destination for anyone traveling along historic route 66.
Enjoy your travels and have fun exploring these top attractions and things to do in Amarillo. Whether you are looking for history or a unique experience, you are sure to find it in this list.
Hopefully, you have been inspired to begin making plans and reservations for your next trip to Amarillo. If you have already visited, do not be shy to try something new or return to an old favorite.