8. San Angelo: Jewel of West Texas
Downtown you'll find art, apparel, fine dining, and the city's own brands of jewelry. Artisans at Legend Jewelers craft beautiful settings for locally harvested Concho Pearls. Holland's, another jeweler, offers its own brands of Western buckles and accessories, including its famous "Spur Clip" for the tie. J. Wilde's creates an avant-garde line of fashions.
Stroll through San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, also downtown, with its astounding 20th-century ceramics collection, and see buffalo soldiers on parade during special events at Fort Concho National Historic Landmark. Hungry? Find Texas favorites at Miss Hattie's Café & Saloon and international flavors at Peasant Village. Visit www.sanangelo.org.
9. Tyler: Africa, Azaleas, Roses, and Wine
Grab a chili dog from Chakula Café, have a seat under a shady arbor, and watch Africa for a while. Giraffes, elephants, and other mammals roam the excellent Caldwell Zoo. Elsewhere Tyler abounds in flowers, with spring's Azalea Trail that winds through fine neighborhoods and fall's famous Texas Rose Festival, this year October 18-21. In the near countryside, you can buy native plants and other flowers for your garden at Blue Moon Gardens. For exquisite dining and lodging, head to the winery, Kiepersol Estates. Visit www.tylertexas.com.
10. Lubbock: Worth a Closer Look
This city's even better through a pair of big black-framed glasses like the ones Buddy Holly wore. A sculpture of those eye pieces recall Lubbock's famous musician at the Buddy Holly Center. You'll hear his legacy there. Each night in the Depot District at spots such as Cactus Theater, you can listen to live music. Around town, explore three wineries (Cap*Rock, Llano Estacado, and Pheasant Ridge), stroll through the National Ranching Heritage Center, and watch air itself high in the windmills at American Wind Power Center and Museum. Visit www.visitlubbock.org.