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Nicknamed "The Yellow Rose of Texas" (the Spanish word for yellow is, after all, "amarillo"), this is unashamedly - proudly - a true cow town deep in the heart of the Panhandle. And well it should be: The grasslands and prairies of the area made for the perfect locations for some of the greatest cattle ranches, while the railroad system built in the 1880s allowed the creation of what is still the largest meat-packing centers in the United States. Explore the history and ranching tradition and culture of the area with visits to the Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West, a ranch that combines horse riding and classic Texas grub.

If you love horses, visit the American Quarter Horse Heritage Center and Museum for a true appreciation of that breed and its special place in local history. Of course, beef is king, and the local restaurants reflect the local (and national) love of steak, ribs, chili and all the fixings. The geology and natural history of the Panhandle are well worth exploring. The Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a magnificent destination, second only to the Grand Canyon itself for its wild beauty. Learn more about the special nature of the local flora at the Amarillo Botanical Garden, or visit the Amarillo Zoo. Other cultural sites include the Texas Air & Space Museum, as well as the Museum of Art (with a collection that spans from Native American art to modern paintings and sculpture).

Of course, there's the famous Cadillac Ranch, which displays painted automobiles of that make set in the plains in an instillation that combines the American love of cars with, um, desert roadside strangeness. A lesser-known part of the Ranch is the Dynamite Ranch, which displays hundreds of strange, even mind-bending, road signs. When was the last time you saw a warning by the side of the road that "road never ends"? That's the way of the Panhandle. Weird and wonderful, traditional and beautiful, special and welcoming, Amarillo, Texas is where Western history and American society come together. Come, visit and feel the welcome.


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