5 Reasons Amarillo Is the Hottest Stop on Route 66

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Centered between Oklahoma and New Mexico in the Panhandle Plains of Texas is a history-rich city known as Amarillo. Whether you find yourself mountain biking through the 30,000-acre Palo Duro Canyon or strolling past the shops and bars of the Route 66 historic district, one thing is certain: You'll never be bored in Amarillo.

Where Else Will You Find Cadillac Ranch?

Where else in the world will you find 10 Cadillacs buried head-first in the middle of a field? Nowhere! One of the most popular stops along Route 66, Cadillac Ranch is the ultimate photo op. These 10 colorful Caddies have been in the dirt since 1974 and, by the looks of it, they aren't going anywhere. Admission is totally free, and spray painting is encouraged — just be sure to properly dispose of your trash. And for more auto-centric fun, head to Bill's Backyard Classics, where over 100 classic cars and trucks sit under one roof. Admission is only $10, but spray painting these cars is discouraged.

It's Home to Texas' Route 66 Historic District

Located on 6th Avenue between Georgia St. and Western St. is a special spot called the Route 66 Historic District. The mile-long strip is home to an eclectic mix of shops, bars, art galleries and restaurants all housed within historic buildings. The area is one of the first business and residential districts in the city and has long been a destination for visitors looking to experience all-things Amarillo.

It's Right Next Door to Palo Duro Canyon

Serman Rock at Palo Duro Canyon

Photo by: Chester Kelley

Chester Kelley

Take a walk on the wild side in Palo Duro Canyon. Its 800-foot depth and expansive 30,000 acres makes it the second largest canyon in the nation, but its beauty is unparalleled. Bike, walk or ride on horseback through the 15,000 acres of trails and experience the Texas countryside like you've never seen before. And for the ultimate thrill seekers, how about a 1/4-mile zip line across the canyon? Hold on tight!

It's Chock-Full of Texas History

As its prime position on Route 66 would suggest, Amarillo is a history haven of Texas. Not only is the city itself rich with history, but it’s also home to Texas' largest history museum, the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. Explore exhibits covering everything from dinosaurs to pioneers, dive into the history of Texas energy from petroleum to wind and immerse yourself in the many art galleries the museum has to offer.

The Big Texan Steak Ranch Is a True Texas Staple

Another famous Route 66 locale, Big Texan Steak Ranch is a can't-miss stop in Amarillo and the No. 1 spot to go once your stomach starts grumbling. Since 1960, this local landmark has been serving up something called the 72-oz challenge, which rewards patrons with a free meal if they can finish a 72-oz steak, a salad, a baked potato and a shrimp cocktail in under one hour. While the 72-oz challenge is still going strong, a lot has changed around the Big Texan, and these days, you'll find an RV park, an assortment of Texas-themed lodging options, a microbrewery and even a music venue known as Starlight Ranch. It's a true one-stop shop!

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