Amarillo is in the high plains, in the center of the Texas Panhandle (bordered by New Mexico and Oklahoma). Amarillo means yellow in Spanish, and is the color of the soil in Amarillo Creek and of many local flowers. This is the source of Amarillo's nickname, "The Yellow Rose of Texas." The city has four distinct seasons and is one of the few places in Texas where it snows in the winter.
A quaint western city with a well-preserved historic district, Amarillo still proudly wears its Old West influences and also produces about 88% of Texas beef. You'll find rodeos, covered wagon rides and chuck wagon meals at River Break Ranch. For even more beef, you can get a free 72-ounce steak at Big Texan Steak Ranch . . . if you can eat it in under an hour. If you want a hat and spurs to go with your steak, western wear is available from small custom shops and larger retail chains. A life-size 1880s frontier town is on display at the Panhandle-Plains History Museum. Amarillo is also home to the American Quarter Horse Heritage Center and Museum and quarter horse statues are scattered throughout the city. Also scattered throughout the city, less Old West, but no less notable, are bizarre road signs, masterminded by the same man who created the nearby Cadillac Ranch (classic cars planted face-down in the ground).
About 30 miles outside of Amarillo, the natural terra-cotta beauty of Palo Duro Canyon State Park draws a number of tourists and sports enthusiasts. It is the second largest canyon in the nation. You can hike, mountain bike, ride horseback or take a driving tour along trails used by Native Americans and buffalo hunters. Spend the night in cabins or enjoy primitive or enhanced camping. Water sports are offered at Lake Meredith, 50 miles northeast of Amarillo.
Amarillo is at the midpoint of the famous Route 66, which runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. It is also the only metropolitan area on the 543-mile stretch of I-40 between Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Albuquerque, New Mexico. East/West I-40 and North/South I-27 intersect in the middle of downtown Amarillo.