Amarillo – Where Old West Meets New
Amarillo is made from a different cloth. It has been home to many cowhands and ranchers, who made their lives easier by using the red soil and sagebrush. But it also got the quirkiness and colorful personality Route 66 that brought America’s heartland together. You can still see the footprint of the Old West, but a New West is tracing its own path through town. It is not here to replace or expand the Old West. Amarillo is a destination that combines Old West and New West.
Get off the highway and enjoy a horseback ride through Palo Duro Canyon’s stunning landscapes. The ride begins in the shortgrass prairies and descends into Palo Duro Canyon’s red walls to reveal a unique environment full of trees, cacti and amazing rock formations. To find vibrant backdrops for your social media posts, visit any of the many murals or public art instillations located around Amarillo.
There’s nothing more satisfying than finding the perfect souvenir to take home from a trip full of memories. No more tired souvenirs and tchotchkes that are bound for the junk drawer. Amarillo is home to many talented local artisans, craftspeople, curators, as well as boutique shops. You could spend days wandering from one shop to another, but it’s worth stopping by the 6th Collective to see a variety of local talent all in one place. Amarillo-themed shirts, stickers for your Hydroflask and home decor that would make Shea McGee proud are all available. You can also grab a flat brim hat to finish your Western-Chic look.
Amarillo’s food scene reaches much further than a grilled steak and baked potato, and it continues to blossom into a must visit foodie destination. You can find your favorite steak grilled to perfection at places such as The Big Texan and Tyler Barbecue. Don’t be surprised to find Amarillo’s drink menus filled with unique cocktails, world-class wines, and local craft beers. Crush has one of the best menus in town. It serves up plates upon plates of mouth-watering fusion dishes that will please visitors from all major cities. This rooftop dining experience can be found in downtown Amarillo. Local historical preservation groups are restoring the retro neon signs and marquees which once lined the streets.
There are many tired itineraries and well-worn trips. Plan a road trip that is unique. Amarillo’s rich culture has shaped the way the country views the Wild West. A new group of creators is introducing the next generation the beauty and creativity that this place inspires. Let’s all embrace the past that shaped the Old West and discover the new trails being blazed by it.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.