Amarillo Travel Guide, TexasThe city of Amarillo borrowed its name from a nearby lake and it also means "yellow" literally and "wild horse" figuratively. Settled 267 miles E of Albuquerque, New Mexico, on a major east-west highway, Amarillo began its life in 1887 together with the railway tracks that were laid here. A decade before that ranchers raised their cattle on the land and the coming of the railroad led to the development Amarillo into a cattle-shipping capital.
Today Amarillo is the commercial center of the Texas Panhandle and the Amarillo Livestock Auction held here is one of the most important trades that bring a considerable income to the city. The local economy is still preserving its agricultural roots as the basic revenue, but has added to it the touristy one luring visitors with its attractions and most importantly with its location, at the cross-country road.
The city caters to most of the people who come here for an overnight stay having a wide range of motels and restaurants and since they have stopped they are invited to visit this pleasant city and its attractions that are mostly on the taste of those who like cowboy culture and public art. Cadillac Ranch and the Big Texan steakhouse are among some of these attractions.
Cadillac Ranch is the result of Stanley Marsh 3’s imagination. The grandson of a Texas oil millionaire, Marsh has earned the reputation of Amarillo's public art iceberg for this ranch. He is also the master mind of most of the signs in Amarillo. The signs are not like the ones you are used to they are a bit special and they make the city look more colorful and different. The majority of these signs can be found in Old San Jacinto neighborhood. Some of them should be mentioned just to give you a hint: "What is a village without village idiots?", “Either the well is very deep,' thought Alice, 'or I'm falling very slowly”.
A sculpture of a pair of disembodied legs is another vision of Marsh's eccentric public art that can be found at the junction of I-27 and Sundown Lane. There's also another “bigger” vision at about 8 miles northwest of Amarillo, called "Floating Mesa". It is made of hundreds of sheets of plywood painted the color of a blue sky on the side of a mountain.
Not everybody who sees these creations fell in love with them, they might even find them as being of bad taste or even disgusting, as some residents do. But mostly people are amused by them, after all to some extent “Art is a legalized form of insanity” as Marsh explained.
The city does not lack in other forms of art. The performing arts are present in the city with Amarillo Little Theatre that produces mostly musicals and lighter fare, while A.L.T. Adventure Space produces adult-oriented fare. Then there’s the Amarillo Opera that has on offer two main stage operas annually held at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, the place where the Amarillo Symphony is also featuring classical and pops concerts year-round and the Lone Star Ballet features a number of local and guest performances. With all these options in view performing art lovers can’t say they can’t find something they like.
As for nightlife, take in a night at the two main nightlife districts in Amarillo: Historic Route 66 District and South Polk Street. Opened since 1946, Golden Light Cafe is Route 66’s landmark and a must for those who like a good grill. You can check into the club scene, hang out at a cool bar, dance the night away at Midnight Rodeo or stay low key at Brewster's Pub where you can listen to live music or watch or play something at the bar’s game room.
As a destination, Amarillo can be a fun place to spend a weekend, especially for those who fancy cowboy culture.
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Chicago, IL (ORD) → Amarillo, TX (AMA)
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