Lubbock is nestled in heart of the Texas Panhandle and has long been known as the “Hub City,” because of its position as the economic, education and health care center of the South Plains. It’s a welcoming group tour destination that offers all the amenities of a large metropolitan area, but with a small-town feel.
Groups will find western heritage, award-winning wines, unforgettable attractions, delectable cuisine and a thriving arts scene. The team at Visit Lubbock can assist tour operators with customized group itineraries, hotel blocks, welcome bags and step-on guides. Here are just a few reasons groups will love Lubbock.
1. They’ll experience the arts
Lubbock is no stranger to the arts. The city is home to one of the first Cultural Districts recognized by the state of Texas. Creative spirit is alive and well in Lubbock at places like The Buddy Holly Hall, Ballet Lubbock, Lubbock Symphony Orchestra and numerous theaters and galleries. Another gem is the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (LHUCA), a visual and performing arts center in the heart of Lubbock’s Arts District.
LHUCA’s main building houses four art gallery spaces that host over 20 exhibitions annually featuring regional, national and international artists. Concerts, dance, theatrical and film programs are held in its 159-seat Firehouse Theatre. There’s also a Clay Studio, the multipurpose Christine DeVitt Icehouse, the Graffiti Education Building and an outdoor plaza with a stage. LHUCA organizes the popular First Friday Art Trail, a community-wide event that brings 3,000-plus people to the LHUCA campus each month for art, music and fun. Groups in town for the event will be delighted by the art experiences featuring a variety of art centers, museums, galleries and businesses. Tourgoers can grab a map and explore on their own or hope aboard a free First Friday Trolley.
2. They’ll savor delicious food in fun settings
Dining options are plentiful in Lubbock. Groups should consider a stop at The Escondido Grill located within the Spirit Ranch. The restaurant, whose name means “hidden” in Spanish, is set among hundred-year-old elm, oak and cypress trees and features a from-scratch menu with West Texas and New Mexican cuisine. The outdoor patio is a popular place to dine, and visitors will love the seeing the resident peacocks who call the ranch home. The restaurant even sells peacock food for guests to feed the birds.
At Cook’s Garage, groups can dine among a large collection of cool cars, hot rods and vintage neon signs. Menu items include steak dinners, fried chicken, street tacos, wings and burgers. Cook’s Garage features live music every night and plays host to special events throughout the year, including the West-Texas Round-Up, Cook’s Rodeo Days, Texas Tech College Rodeo and numerous car shows.
3. They’ll learn the history of ranching
Groups can discover the history of ranching at the National Ranching Heritage Center, a 27-acre museum and outdoor historical park. The center features 55 historic structures, many of which date back 100–200 years. The structures are chronologically arranged to exhibit the evolution of ranch life from the late 1700s through the mid-1900s and are connected via 1½-mile paved walkway. Tourgoers can download an app that provides information about each structure as they travel through the park.
The center also includes 42 life-size, bronze outdoor art pieces and a 44,000-square-foot museum. The museum has seven galleries featuring permanent and temporary exhibits of art, photography and artifacts that capture historical and contemporary Western life.
Although the experience is typically self-guided, groups can request guided walking tours and guided trolley tours of the center.
4. They’ll sip and sample great wine
Did you know that 90 percent of Texas’ wine crop is grown in the Texas High Plains region? The Texas High Plains AVA lies within the High Plains sub-region of the Great Plains, stretching from Amarillo in the north to the New Mexico border and extending just south of Lubbock. It is Texas’s second largest AVA. With acres upon acres of grape vines in the countryside, the wine scene in and around Lubbock is booming.
McPherson Cellars is a top wine stop for groups, and an integral piece in understanding Texas’ wine history. The McPherson family has been a part of Texas grape growing and winemaking for over 40 years. McPherson Cellars was created to honor Winemaker Kim McPherson’s father Dr. Clinton “Doc” McPherson, a founder and pioneer of the modern Texas wine industry. Groups can visit McPherson Cellars’ tasting room in downtown Lubbock for tastings and tours. Once tourgoers’ find their wine of choice, they can purchase it by the glass or bottle and enjoy it on the courtyard. Reservations are required for groups.
For more information about group travel in Lubbock, call 800-692-4035 or visit visitlubbock.org/meet/group-tours.
Main photo: Downtown Lubbock/Credit: Visit Lubbock