Aerial view of downtown Amarillo, Texas in summer.

Amarillo, Texas

Amarillo is a large city situated in the Potter and Randall Counties in the US State of Texas. Initially known as Oneida, the city of Amarillo is located in the Llano Estacado area and is the Texas Panhandle's largest city and the state's 14th most populous city. Amarillo is the ideal fusion of old and new Texas traditions because it and the surrounding Panhandle region are a unique blend of two American eras, with operating western ranches and a thriving twenty-first-century economy. The city is also referred to as "The Yellow Rose of Texas" due to its name and "Rotor City, USA" because of its V-22 Osprey hybrid aircraft construction plant.

Geography And Climate Of Amarillo

Aerial view of downtown Amarillo, Texas in summer
Aerial view of downtown Amarillo, Texas in summer.

Amarillo covers a total area of 234 sq. km, of which 233 sq. km is occupied by land, and 1.0 sq. km is covered by water. The Canadian River, which splits the southern portion of the High Plains to create the Llano Estacado, is located about 32 km northeast of Amarillo. A significant source of drinking water for the Texas Panhandle region is Lake Meredith, which has been created by damming the river. The Palo Duro Canyon is a chain of canyons located about 40 km south of Amarillo.

The summers in Amarillo are warm and generally clear, while the winters are brief, bitterly cold, snowy, windy, and partially cloudy. The average annual temperature ranges from 25°F to 91°F, rarely falling below 13°F or rising over 99°F. With an average daily high temperature exceeding 83°F, the hot season lasts for 3.7 months. July is the year's warmest month in Amarillo. The average daily high temperature during the 2.9-month cold season is below 58°F. January is the year's coldest month in Amarillo. The average annual precipitation is 21 inches of rain and 15 inches of snow. The majority of the rainfall either evaporates, seeps into the ground, or gathers in playa lakes as a result of the absence of built drainage.

Brief History Of Amarillo

Historic City Hall of Amarillo, Texas
Historic City Hall of Amarillo, Texas. 

The city, formerly known as Oneida, was founded in 1887 as a railroad construction camp and developed into one of the busiest cattle-shipping hubs in the world in the 1890s. When wheat farming and ranching were established in the area around 1900, its significance as an entrepôt increased even further. Although the community's expansion in the 1930s was constrained by the national economic crisis and protracted drought, the discovery of petroleum and natural gas deposits in the 1920s encouraged the community's development as a regional and industrial center. However, intensive irrigation using underground water after 1940 raised agricultural output. During the city's incorporation in 1892, the name Amarillo was chosen. It relates to the yellow banks of neighboring Amarillo Lake and means "yellow" in Spanish.

The Population And Economy Of Amarillo

Big Texan Steak Ranch, famous steakhouse restaurant and motel located in Amarillo, Texas
Big Texan Steak Ranch, famous steakhouse restaurant and motel located in Amarillo, Texas. Editorial credit: T photography /

As per the latest US Census, Amarillo has a population of 200,393 inhabitants. The population of Amarillo has increased since the last US Census, which reported a population of 190,695 in 2010. The city's development as a cattle marketing center in the late 19th century was aided by the Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad's freight service and accessibility to the railroad. In addition to being economically significant to Eastern New Mexico and the Oklahoma Panhandle, Amarillo also serves as the Texas Panhandle's regional economic hub. Amarillo is renowned for long-term corporate success thanks to its strategic location within the United States, educated workforce, robust transportation infrastructure, and high standard of living. The poverty rate of Amarillo is 15.43%, with an average household income of $71,120. The median monthly cost of rent in previous years has been $876, and the median price of a home is $138,900. In Amarillo, the average age is 34.2 years, 32.7 years for men, and 35.6 years for women.

Best Things To Do In Amarillo

Cadillac Ranch

Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas
Cadillac Ranch - located along I-40 in Amarillo, Texas. Editorial credit: YuniqueB /

On the western outskirts of Amarillo, there is a surprisingly entertaining and accessible attraction. Old Cadillacs are elegantly arranged in a row, each one sunk nose-first into the earth of a farmer's field. The local tradition is to grab a can of spray paint and make your own graffiti on the vehicles.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

The famous Lighthouse Rock and a stone pile at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
The famous Lighthouse Rock and a stone pile at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas. 

One of the top Amarillo attractions for those who love the outdoors and nature is Palo Duro Canyon. This state park is easily accessible on a day trip because it is only 24 miles from Amarillo. In addition, it is the second-biggest canyon in the United States. One can make a camping reservation and spend the night. Palo Duro Canyon's Canyon Gallery, Zipline Adventure Park, and TEXAS, the Musical are a few must-see attractions.

Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum

Exterior view of RV Museum in Amarillo, Texas
Exterior view of RV Museum in Amarillo, Texas. Editorial credit: Alizada Studios /

One of the best and most interesting locations to visit in the area is the Jack Sisemore Travel and RV Museum, which is also one of the city's free activities. The site is entirely devoted to the display and collection of unique and vintage recreational vehicles. RVs from the 1930s and those from as recently as the 1970s are both common.

Panhandle Plains Historical Museum

The Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Texas
The Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. Image Credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Texas's largest history museum, provides an insight into Texas' history from the time of the dinosaurs to the present. The museum houses one of the southwest's best collections of art. One can discover more about the American Indians who lived there, the early settlers, oil, geology, water as a resource, technological advancements that influenced the region's growth, such as windmills and transportation, and much more.

Don Harrington Discovery Center

The front entrance of the Don Harrington Discovery Center in Amarillo, Texas
The front entrance of the Don Harrington Discovery Center in Amarillo, Texas. Image Credit: SarahDHDC,via Wikimedia Commons

One of Amarillo's biggest attractions is the Don Harrington Discovery Center. The museum is devoted to a variety of space and science-themed exhibitions, with interactive displays that are great for kids and anyone who likes to learn by doing. The beautiful Helium Time Column Monument may be found outside the Don Harrington Discovery Center. The six-story building was built in 1968 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of helium. Amarillo was a significant player in the world of American gas production and reserve and is home to a sizable helium facility. 

Even if you just have a short period of time, Amarillo is the ideal destination to experience a large portion of Texas. The city is an Old West enthusiast's fantasy, complete with canyons, vintage Cadillacs, enormous steaks, and majestic vistas. The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum houses one of the best collections of Western art and artifacts in the nation. Therefore, be sure to stop by this city.

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