Amarillo is in the center of the Texas Panhandle, a 26-county area that is bordered by New Mexico and Oklahoma. Historically, Amarillo is a center for cattle ranching. The local ranches and feedlots produce 25% of the nation's beef. As home to some of the earliest large cattle ranches in the United States and location near the scenic and historic Palo Duro Canyon, Amarillo is a major destination for Old West enthusiasts from across the globe. Amarillo is also known for its hundreds of quirky mock traffic signs placed throughout the city as a massive public art project funded by one of the city's resident philanthropists. The Amarillo airport has the 3rd largest runway in the world and was designated as an alternate landing site for NASA's space shuttle. The Osprey, a hybrid aircraft that flies like an airplane and hovers like a helicopter, is built at an assembly plant in Amarillo.
Founded in 1887 at the intersection of two railroads in the midst of an expansive range ideal for grazing great herds of cattle, Amarillo grew into a cattle marketing and distribution center. In 1893 Amarillo’s population was listed as "between 500-600 humans and 50,000 head of cattle." By the late 1890s, Amarillo had emerged as one of the world’s busiest cattle shipping points, and its population grew significantly. The city became a major producer of livestock feed during the early 1900s. Discovery of gas in 1918 and oil 1921 attracted oil and gas companies to Amarillo, resulting in an economic boom. In 1929, the first helium plant opened, making Amarillo the world’s largest producer of high-purity helium. After World War II, Amarillo’s economy expanded to include heavy manufacturing, meat processing, and petrochemicals in addition to the area’s traditional industries of farming and ranching. Read more about the history of Amarillo by following this link.
Amarillo weather is generally sunny, with only 20 inches of annual rainfall. Average temperatures in the summer range from 90° F during the day to an average low in the 60° F range at night. Winter high temperatures average near 50° F and fall into the 20° F range at night. Get more information about Amarillo’s climate and weather using the following links.
Amarillo City Transit operates fixed route bus service in Amarillo. Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport was named for Amarillo native and astronaut, Rick Husband. The airport is served by several major air carriers with non-stop service to Dallas, Houston, Denver, and Las Vegas. Get more information about travel around Amarillo with these links.
Cost of Living in Amarillo
The cost of living in Amarillo, Texas is very attractive at more than 19% below the national average. Housing is very affordable, as are other common necessities, including food and utilities. Use the following calculators to determine your budget needs in Amarillo.
The Amarillo Independent School District (AISD) and Canyon Independent School District (CISD) provide public education in Amarillo, serving more than 36,000 students. The AISD operates 4 high schools, 9 middle schools, 36 elementary schools, a specialty high school, and an alternative school. The CISD has 2 high schools, 2 junior high/intermediate schools, and 4 elementary schools in Amarillo.
Northwest Texas Healthcare is a general medical health system in Amarillo. This health system is ranked as the 23rd best in the state of Texas and has been recognized for its high performance in several treatments and procedures. If you’re planning a move to Amarillo, it’s a good idea to know the medical resources available to you:
Amarillo Real Estate
One of the benefits of living in Amarillo is that you won’t have to fight traffic, meaning you can choose to live where you like, even if it leads to a daily commute across town. The majority of homes have 3 bedrooms and the median sale price for a home in Amarillo is around $140,000, with many attractive options below and above that price. Check out the home buying options in Amarillo with these links.
More than two thousand hotel rooms are located within ten minutes of downtown Amarillo, featuring many of your favorite name brand accommodations. If you are seeking something off the beaten path, La Casita del Sol and the Starlight Canyon Retreat offer more intimate accommodations for the traveler who enjoys unique and tasteful surroundings. Explore more places to stay with the following links.
Nearly 200 restaurants, from popular chains to locally-owned originals, are ready to serve diners in Amarillo. The Big Texan Steak Ranch is known worldwide for their massive 72 ounce steak dinner that is on the house--but only if you finish it. If you’d prefer a more elegant atmosphere and reasonably-sized portions, OHMS Cafe serves a selection of American and International entrées. If pasta is your preference, Macaroni Joe’s offers an array of Italian dishes and is a top choice by Amarillo locals. Discover other great dining experiences using the following links.
Things to Do in Amarillo
There are some things that should be on the must-see list for every Amarillo visitor. The 10 Cadillacs buried nose down at Cadillac Ranch along Interstate 40 is Amarillo’s most famous monument, celebrating America’s love affair with the automobile. You can continue the love affair with a visit to the Route 66 Historic District where more than one hundred antique stores, restaurants, and bars are housed within uniquely designed buildings along a casual walkway. When you want to entertain the kids, Wonderland Amusement Park provides a perfect family adventure, with vintage rides, roller coasters, and a fun water park. The Don Harrington Discovery Center is a great place for children interested in learning about science, and the Palo Duro Canyon is worthy of being called America’s second Grand Canyon. Explore more things to do in Amarillo using the following links.