Plan a Museum-Packed Lone Star Weekend in Lubbock, Texas

Rock ‘n roll singer Buddy Holly's hometown is a West Texas treasure.

Texas Tech University
Photo: Getty Images/David Kozlowski/Contributor

Amongst Texas' slightly more well-known and highly visited regions like the Hill Country and Gulf Coast, West Texas doesn't always get quite as much attention—primarily because it exists on a metaphorical desert island of its own, hours away from the nearest big cities and airports. However, those who do end up venturing westward quickly find out that West Texas is full of hidden gems and unique attractions.

Nestled away in the northern part of West Texas, Lubbock is largely known for two things. First, it's home to Texas Tech University where the mascot dons a cowboy hat. Second, it's the birthplace of Buddy Holly, rock 'n roll singer of the 1950s who gained fame after opening for Elvis Presley. Part of the desert plains that make up the northwestern region of Texas and eastern region of New Mexico, Lubbock is a windy city surrounded by expansive rustic terrain, with neighboring cities including Amarillo around two hours' drive away and Fort Worth around five hours' drive away.

The biggest draw of Lubbock is undeniably its impressive collection of cultural centers and museums, as well as a bustling downtown and Depot District, making it a great getaway for those who want to explore and learn. Here's our ultimate trip guide to Lubbock, Texas.

What To Do

It's all about discovery in Lubbock, where museums, heritage centers, and outdoor parks are sure to fill your time. Top of your list should be the Buddy Holly Center, which offers tours, educational programs, concert series, and a plaza that contains the West Texas Walk of Fame. From there, visit the National Ranching Heritage Center to see its frontier museum and historic dwellings. It offers informative Living History Saturdays (which can host demonstrations for activities like blacksmithing and sewing) and trolley tours.

Other cultural centers to put on your list include the Museum of Texas Tech University, American Windmill Museum, Silent Wings Museum (devoted to World War II military gliders), and the Caviel Museum of African American History, which is housed in a building donated by Alfred and Billie Caviel who were the first African-American husband and wife in the United States to own and operate their own pharmacy—right in Lubbock!

For kid-friendly adventures, visit small family-owned Joyland Amusement Park, the popular Science Spectrum & OMNI Theater, and Prairie Dog Town, the first protected prairie dog colony of its kind. Watching the adorable animals pop up and around is a real treat. For happy hour (at any hour), adults can enjoy local wineries, such as English Newsom Cellars, McPherson Cellars, and Lllano Estacado Winery. Fun fact: More than 80 percent of the state's wine crop is grown in Lubbock.

Where To Eat

Lubbock is home to many local-owned restaurants that showcase Texas charm. Cast Iron Grill is a must-hit spot for their homemade pies that often sell out before the lunch rush is over. Evie Mae's serves up famed Texas barbecue that's made many best-of lists in the state. Beyond the smoked meats, its jalapeño cornbread and green chile cheese grits are standout menu items.

Visit Ninety-Two Bakery & Café for flaky croissants and your morning java, and La Sirena offers up incredibly flavorful Latin fare. Start with the poblano "fries" and pork belly empanadas to share. Another dinner not to miss will be at The Nicolett, fine dining from Chef Finn Walter, 2022 James Beard Semifinalist for Best Chef: Texas. The vine-covered outdoor space makes for a dreamy backdrop.

Where To Stay

Beyond the usual chain hotel suspects, there are a few more bespoke hotels in Lubbock to explore for your stay, such as the Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast, Cotton Court Hotel, and Pioneer Pocket Hotel. All three are located close to all the attractions, including Texas Tech University and the bustling Depot District.

Consider your northwestern Texas itinerary squared away.

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