The second stop of our Southwest US Road Trip was Amarillo, Texas. (If you haven’t checked out the first leg of our American West road trip chronicles from Missouri to Oklahoma City, click HERE for our guide to 48 hours in OKC). Amarillo, Texas is in the Northwest Panhandle of the state and named after the color yellow in Spanish (Amarillo). The Yucca plants in the area have a bright yellow bloom and thus the name of the city was born. Though we’ve explored multiple Southern Texas cities in the past, this one felt Quintessentially Texan. Hospitality, charm and small town vibes with a modern and up and coming twist. If you’re looking to do a quick getaway along the Original Route 66, Here is your guide to just 24 Hours in Amarillo.
Amarillo, Texas Downtown: Best Places to Stay
After a quick 4- hour trip from Oklahoma City to Amarillo, we checked into the Embassy Suites by Hilton Amarillo Downtown. If you’ve been following us for some time, you know that we love our Hilton Hotels and Embassy Suites are easily one of our favorite sub-brands to stay. For the value, you automatically get a spacious two- bedroom suite and amenities like made to order breakfast and an afternoon reception.
Although Covid put a damper on some of the amenities, we still chose the Embassy Suites Amarillo Downtown for its sleek modern design and spaciousness. If you are traveling to this Embassy Suites during the Pandemic, you can expect a pick up continental style breakfast with cold items such as cereals and yogurt and breakfast bars. During normal times, guests for the Embassy Suites can expect made to order breakfast and a mid-day reception for snacks and drinks. The fitness center and pool was also closed earlier than usual but in 24 hours we had no intent on using either facility. This hotel is located centrally in Downtown Amarillo which was important to us as we didn’t want to waste the 24 hours that we had in the city driving far. Overall, we enjoyed our stay on property and highly recommend choosing this location as your accommodation during your time in Amarillo, Texas.
Amarillo, Texas: Best Places to Eat
When in Texas, you must Eat! One of the most exciting things about a quick stop in Amarillo is indulging in Amazing food. The city has so many amazing options but in just 24 hours, we had to narrow our choices to two. Fortunately for us, we chose the BEST two places that the city had to offer and our taste buds were not disappointed one bit!
Big Texan Ranch
If you’ve ever heard the statement that “Everything is Bigger in Texas” and wondered if it was true, Big Texan Ranch is the place to go to discover your answer. How about a FREE 72 oz. Steak if you can eat it in one hour? The steak is this eclectic ranch’s claim to fame and somewhere you must visit at least once in your life. According to their site, the Big Texan Ranch has been on route 66 since the 1960 and it quickly became a hot spot for tourists, locals and truckers alike. While a 72oz steak was a stretch, we did indulge in 12oz steaks each and they were so delicious.
Nothing about this place is buttoned up and the plate isn’t pretty but I knew that the food was delicious and it did not disappoint. The Big Texan Ranch has other notable items such as ribs, killer slices of cake and a cool gift shop with unique items. Outside the ranch, you can even stay in a wild west themed motel or have a photo opp while on property. If you do nothing else in Amarillo, this is an experience that should not be missed.
Yellow City Street Food and Craft Brewery
Texas and Tacos go together naturally so there was no doubt that I would be searching for the Best Tacos in the area. After watching an epic travel vlog by A+K Adventures, I discovered Yellow City Street Food and knew that I would be adding it to our foodie list. Good thing we did because these Street Tacos were easily the best Tacos we’ve ever had.
Yellow City Street Food is a chef owned by Chef Scott Buchannan who passionately creates unique twists on classic street food items. According to our waiter, he also crafts vegan and vegetarian items in honor of his vegan wife who wanted quality food without sacrificing flavor. While we are not vegan, we do absolutely love and respect a vegan meal full of flavor and this place is IT! My husband fell in pure love with the Dragon Tofu Tacos and Diablo Shrimp Tacos while I drooled over their Famous Fish Tacos. While I am the self- proclaimed Queen of Spice, I finally met my match in the Hulk Taco which is a Jerk Chicken Taco with all the fixing’s. I won’t lie to you, this taco’s spice punk’d me but it was easily the best flavor combos I’ve ever had. If you love the burn for a good cause, I highly recommend grabbing all of these tacos and not skipping down without stopping in YCSF.
Cadillac Ranch: Amarillo, Texas Route 66 Attractions
One of the most famous Route 66 Free Roadside attractions is the Cadillac Ranch. In 1974, a group of artists chose an open field in Amarillo, Texas to bury 10 Cadillacs half nose down. The roadside art attraction quickly became a tourist destination and as the story goes, the open to the public art attractions started to be vandalized. Instead of taking the time to restore them, it was embraced and thus, the trend of spray painting and leaving your mark on the cars was born. Now, thousands of visitors a year come to leave their art mark on the vehicles and you can even purchase spray paint cans on property before entering the FREE attraction.
If your route 66 road trip is taking you to Albuquerque, New Mexico from Amarillo, Texas; I highly recommend stopping at the Cadillac Ranch just before leaving town as this attraction is on the westward bound route. While it was a cool attraction to see, cross of my bucket list and photograph; I don’t recommend planning an entire trip around it. As an honest review of my time, spending 15/20 Minutes tops was more than enough time to grab pictures and add art to solidify your place.
Overall, we enjoyed our time in Amarillo, Texas and recommend making it a quick stop of no more than 24 Hours during your Route 66 road trip. This was certainly one of our favorite stops on the trip with amazing food and cool experiences to add to our Bucket List!