The charming city of Lubbock is now home to almost 300,000 people, but back in the day this area was a sleeping town known for its farming industry. The production of cotton in particular was one reason why this town boomed, and even today this is still a major industry in the area.
The town may have started life in an unassuming way, but now it is home to the powerhouse Texas Tech University. Another reason that Lubbock is now firmly on the map is due to some of its alumni, as musical talent Buddy Holly once called this city home.
Nowadays you will find dining, shopping, and cultural events galore in this city, coupled with a friendly small-town feel that has made Lubbock such a popular place to visit over the years. As Lubbock sits in the state of Texas, you can also expect a range of fantastic outdoor pursuits that provide a nod to this city’s agricultural heritage.
Lets explore the best things to do in Lubbock:
1. The National Ranching Heritage Center
The National Ranching Heritage Center, or the NRHC, spans an impressive 16 acres and has an amazing 48 buildings on it, some of which date back to the 18th century. The NRHC has been lovingly preserved and can be visited throughout the year, when guests here can take a tour of the center and learn how life would have been in days gone by for the ranchers who lived and worked here. There are also events held throughout the year, including during holiday season such as Candlelight at the Ranch in December, so make sure you check what’s on when you are in town.
2. Buddy Holly Center
One of Lubbock’s most famous sons is the musical genius Buddy Holly, and with that in mind visitors should head to the Buddy Holly Center in the Depot Entertainment District of the city, itself also something of a cultural landmark. The center features a static exhibit that will tell you all about Buddy Holly’s life and impressive musical career, and you will find period artifacts that belonged to the musician as well as anecdotes and other antique memorabilia. Part of the center is also the Allison House which was the childhood house of Jerry Ivan Allison who was a drummer for Buddy Holly’s band The Crickets, and who collaborated with Holly over the years to write some of their greatest hits. The house is much as the Allison family left it, and there are antiques that will give guests a unique glimpse into this special time in the history of the house.
3. Silent Wings Museum
Many people won’t know that Lubbock was once a training ground for glider pilots during the Second World War, and with that in mind the Silent Wings Museum is now dedicated to their memory. The museum offers a fascinating insight into the men who served their country as American Glider Pilots, and will tell visitors the history of the Glider Program through a series of engaging exhibits. There is a C-47 plane on display as well as a theater and a Second World War antique glider which has been lovingly restored.
4. CapRock Winery
Nestled just outside of the center of Lubbock is the CapRock Winery which is known primarily for its gorgeous architecture and stunning vineyards. The wines here are a range of both red and white varieties, and as the winery has been here since the early 1990s, they certainly know what they are doing when it comes to wine production. You can come here and visit the tasting rooms to sample the latest blends and pick up a bottle or two to take home with you as a souvenir of your trip.
5. Caviel Museum of African American History
The Caviel Museum of African American History is one of the newest museums in Lubbock, so with that in mind make sure you check out this relative newcomer to find out all about African-American history in the region. The museum aims to tell the story of this history through a range of exhibits that include artwork as well as period artifacts and antiques. Permanent exhibits at the museum also feature displays that tell the stories of prominent local figures who helped to pioneer African-American history in Lubbock.
6. Cactus Theater
The Cactus Theater certainly has a very Texas-themed name, but it is also something of a historic landmark, having first opened its doors in the 1930s. At the time it was the first theater of its kind in Lubbock, and was slowly and painstakingly restored in the 1990s when it reopened after several years of closure. The theater is now known for its performances that include Broadway shows, musicals, live theater, and concerts, so if you are in the area make sure you check out what’s on.
7. American Wind Power Center
If you want to come to the largest windmill museum in the world then you need to head to the American Wind Power Center which has over 170 preserved windmills that stretch over 28 acres. As well as the gorgeous scenery here which takes in lush landscapes and grassy hills, you will also learn all about the interesting history of wind power in the United States. There is over 33,000 square feet of exhibition space here to be enjoyed, including windmills, replica houses, and even a G-scale train that runs through the museum.
8. Museum of Texas Tech University
Lubbock is known for being the home of the Texas Tech University, so with this in mind it stands to reason that there is a museum dedicated to the university here as well. The museum features over 5 million exhibits related to Texas Tech and you can learn all about arts, natural sciences, and humanities subjects that are studied here. There is also the Moody Planetarium that has laser and star gazing shows here daily, so budding astrologers should not miss the chance to come here for a whistle-stop tour of the night sky.
9. Ballet Lubbock
Ballet Lubbock was first established in 1969 and is known for being one of the premium cultural experiences in all of Lubbock. If you happen to be here during the holidays then you are in for a treat as you can catch a performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ which is performed every year by Ballet Lubbock. Throughout the rest of the year there are other shows and performances held by the dance company, so be sure to check what’s on when you are passing through so that you can take in the talent of these local dancers.
10. Bayer Museum of Agriculture
The Bayer Museum of Agriculture is also known as the American Museum of Agriculture, and is dedicated to the strong history of farming in the Lubbock area. To that end, the museum has a range of exhibits that will take visitors back in time to the days when agriculture was just getting started here, and you can expect to find a range of antique items on display. Some of these include old-fashioned pedal tractors as well as a model of a blacksmith’s studio from the 1920s. There are also galleries dedicated to the history of cotton production in Lubbock and many of the exhibits are interactive in order to give you a hands on experience as you walk through the agricultural history of this city.
11. Charles Adams Gallery
Part of the Lubbock Cultural District, the Charles Adams Gallery is known as one of the hottest spots in town if you are looking for an evening of art and culture. The gallery has a variety of both static and rotating galleries that feature a range of art work, including local, regional, and international pieces. In the past the gallery has featured works by powerhouse American artists such as Andy Warhol, so make sure that you check out what is on when you are in town, especially if you want to find out more about art in this part of the United States.
12. Joyland Amusement Park
Nestled in Mackenzie Park, Joyland Amusement Park is known for having over 30 rides that will appeal to visitors of all ages who want to visit. These include rides for adrenalin-junkies such as roller coasters and log flumes, or you can enjoy something more relaxing in the form of old fashioned carousels and arcade games. You will also find a range of traditional all-American amusement park snacks here, and as there are rides to suit all age ranges, this provides fun for all the family if you happen to be in the area.
13. Legacy Play Village
If you want to learn about the history of the South Plains then this is the place to come, as Legacy Play Village is dedicated to teaching children all about this period in time. The village was built by local Lubbock residents and has a range of pavilions and picnic area and is the perfect place for children to explore as they also take in the history of this part of Lubbock.
14. Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark
If you want to know more about how human life first came to Lubbock then make sure you visit the Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark. Here you will find this amazing preserve that shows evidence of human life from 12,000 years ago, and there are archeological and historical treasures dotted around the landmark to fill you in on the cultural significance of this area. There is a 3 mile trail here where you can hike to the Yellow House Canyon and there are a range of events held throughout the year that will tell visitors more about the archeological significance of this area, such Archeology in Action nights where excavation crews actually work in front of visitors. If you want to know more about how the first Americans would have lived in this region then this is definitely not to be missed during a trip here.
15. Mackenzie Park
Majestic Mackenzie Park sprawls over an impressive 248 acres in the city, and as such this is also the largest area of parkland in the city of Lubbock. The park has a huge range of activities for visitors to enjoy, including a newly installed and fully serviced golf course, as well as the well-loved Joyland Amusement Park which sits in the center. There are more low key activities here such as a disc gold course, and even a unique Prairie Dog Town, where visitors can see these cute indigenous animals in their natural habitat. There are hiking and equestrian trails all over this area, so you can explore the park in a range of different ways, and there are also delightful gardens dotted across the landscape that tell the story of Lubbock.