Throughout its history, the city of Amarillo has produced everything from cattle to natural gas to helium. Today it also produces tourism, to the tune of 1.9 million visitors a year. From breathtaking natural beauty to Panhandle cuisine, Amarillo has a Texas-sized list of attractions for your next weekend getaway.
Imagine it’s 1887 on the outside and 2017 on the inside. The Big Texan Motel combines the look of an Old West main street with modern amenities. It’s also part of the Big Texan complex that includes a steakhouse, brewery, RV park and Texas-shaped swimming pool.
Although specializing in personalized country-style weddings, Three Falls Cove Country Inn and Vineyard is sure to appeal to the romantic in anyone. Guests can choose a bedroom in the Countryside Lodge or enjoy a secluded stay in the Luxury Cabin. A private lake, red rock canyons and rolling hills add to the tranquil atmosphere.
If you’re interested in an All American lunch with a Southwestern twist, Pan-Handlers Café may be the downtown destination you’re looking for. Many of the classics on the menu include a dash of the Panhandle — such as the Amarillo Philly, a cheesesteak with pepperjack and green chiles, and prickly pear lemonade. The café, locally owned and operated and offering local produce, also provides catering services and dinner parties.
Brisket, ribs, chicken and pork cooked over mesquite … the classics never get old, especially in Amarillo. Tyler’s Barbeque offers the kind of roadside smokehouse experience that any visitor will want to mark off of his or her bucket list. All meat is cooked and sold the same day, and the potato salad, macaroni and cheese and other sides are made fresh from scratch.
The owner of the Bar Z Winery takes pride in making Texas wine from Texas grapes. Located 20 miles south of Amarillo in the aptly named Canyon, the winery offers majestic views of the Palo Duro countryside along with the award-winning wines.
Like so many other homegrown American business ventures, Long Wooden Spoon Brewing started with two friends in a garage. Their labor of love would eventually become Amarillo’s first commercial brewery. Today, Long Wooden Spoon Brewing offers everything from porters to pale ales to dunkelweizens, all hand-crafted.
What started as a public art project eventually became an icon in itself — the Cadillac Ranch. The row of 10 Cadillacs partially buried in the Panhandle soil portrays the evolution of the car’s signature tailfins, from the late ’40s to the early ’60s. Is it a genuine tribute or a parody of American consumerism? See it up close and decide for yourself.
Nothing captures the rugged beauty of the Texas Panhandle quite like Palo Duro Canyon. Visitors have many ways to explore and experience the nation’s second-largest canyon system, including hiking, mountain biking, camping and horseback riding. Also, the state park’s Pioneer Amphitheater hosts performances of the outdoor musical drama “TEXAS” in the summer.