Texas has no shortage of exciting cities and places to visit—Austin, Dallas, and Houston are favorite destinations. But those looking to find some hidden gems in Texas should look to the top of Texas, also known as the panhandle.


Amarillo sits right in the heart of the panhandle and along the famous Route 66, known as the Mother Road of the U.S. as one of its original highways. Along Route 66 sits Bill’s Backyard Classics for auto enthusiasts. Here, tourgoers can see more than 100 classic cars, including restored Model A’s, Corvettes, street rods, and more, spanning from 1920 to 2012.

During this auto tour, make sure to add a stop to Cadillac Ranch, also located along Route 66. Cadillac Ranch isn’t exactly the style of ranch most people think of. This unusual landmark features 10 partially buried 1974 Cadillacs. Even better, this is a free attraction for your group to experience.

Time a visit just right by scheduling to be in Amarillo in June during the Texas Route 66 Festival. Enjoy classic car shows, parades, cattle drives, and much more!

Off Route 66, but still in Amarillo, is a cultural experience visitors won’t want to miss. The Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian includes a large variety of Native American exhibits and artifacts, as well as special ceremonial events throughout the year. There is a summer dance performance on Friday and Saturday nights. Visitors will enjoy all of this with the backdrop of the museum itself, which is designed to mimic an Indigenous pueblo.

Palo Duro Canyon

The Palo Duro Canyon is in Amarillo but holds several attractions all on its own. The Palo Duro Canyon State Park is known as the nation’s second-largest canyon in the country. Along with camping, the park offers more than 30 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, or biking.

Located in the park, the Texas Outdoor Musical is an amphitheater that puts on outdoor performances during the summer months. This year it’ll feature a “Shakespeare in the Canyon” series.

Also in the canyon is the Panhandle-Plains Museum (PPHM), Texas’ largest history museum. PPHM includes various styles of art, an American fashion gallery, and interactive exhibits, as well as a life-size Pioneer Town. PPHM has five galleries that rotate yearly with new themes.

The Brewery LBK, Lubbock, Texas;
Credit: Visit Lubbock/Robert Rodriguez

For those looking to wet their whistle after a long day on the dusty trail, Lubbock is a must-stop. The area is known for its Texas High Plains wine, with many wineries in the area. One especially noteworthy winery is the McPherson Cellars, located in a historic Coca-Cola bottling plant in the Depot Entertainment District. On the brews side, visit the top brewpub as named by USA Today, The Brewery LBK. This brewery is known for its delicious and locally sourced menu items to pair with a cold brew.

Outside of wining and dining, Lubbock has a thriving arts scene. Groups can enjoy a performance at the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences. The hall has The Brewery LBK, Lubbock featured headlines such as “Hamilton,” “Hairspray,” and “The Book of Mormon.”

In an homage to Buddy Holly, who was born and raised in Lubbock, the Cotton Court Hotel is styled in his honor. The hotel is modeled as a vintage cotton gin and is conveniently located near the downtown area, several dining options, and shopping destinations.

Get a handle on Texas in the panhandle! Experience the rich history, natural beauty, and fun experiences of this historic region. Your group won’t be disappointed.

By Danielle Devota

Main Image: Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas; Credit: Amarillo Convention & Visitors Bureau/Jackie Phommahaxay