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16 Fun & Best Things to Do in Lubbock, Texas

16 Fun & Best Things to Do in Lubbock, Texas

Lubbock is a mid-sized town in northwest Texas, about an hour and a half from the New Mexico border. While most people know Lubbock as the home of the Texas Tech University Red Raiders and the birthplace of Buddy Holly, the town offers so much more.

Visitors to Lubbock will experience big skies, stunning sunsets, cool nights, and low humidity. In addition, there are numerous attractions for both families and adults, with museums, parks, historical landmarks, tasting rooms, and culinary delights.

Family-friendly attractions include the Moody Planetarium at the Museum of Texas Tech University, Prairie Dog Town at Mackenzie Park, and the Spectrum Science Museum. Kids will also be amazed by the number of windmills at the American Wind Power Center and the glider planes at the Silent Wings Museum.

While adults will certainly have fun at the kid-friendly attractions, there are also more “grown-up” options. For example, the Lubbock Cultural District includes numerous venues for history, culture, and the performing arts. Most of the trendy and intimate venues are in the Depot District.

You can catch the Friday Art Trail or the Living History Saturdays at the National Ranching Heritage Center. In addition, you can walk around the beautiful grounds at the Lubbock Memorial Arboretum or see a show at the historic Cactus Theater.

Whether visiting with kids, as a couple, or with a group, there is no shortage of fun things to do in Lubbock, Texas!

Cotton Court Hotel by Valencia Hotel Group
1. Cotton Court Hotel , by Valencia Hotel Group Top Recommendation

Cotton Court Hotel is a modern hotel situated in downtown Lubbock, Texas. It is located 1.7 miles from the Jones AT&T Stadium and 6 miles from the Austin Stock Yards. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi access throughout, a 24-hour front desk, parking and an outdoor swimming pool with sun loungers. All rooms at the hotel are equipped with air conditioning, cable TV and a private bathroom.

Country Inn Suites by Radisson Lubbock Southwest TX
2. Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Lubbock Southwest, TX

The hotel is located at the I-27 and Loop 289 intersection, just six miles from the South Plains Mall. It is near several area attractions including the Buddy Holly Center, Texas Tech University campus, Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, and Jones AT&T Stadium The hotel serves a complimentary hot breakfast each morning while also offering a business center and fitness centre on site.

Hyatt Place Lubbock
3. Hyatt Place Lubbock

Hyatt Place Lubbock is one of the best hotels near Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock. The hotel is located less than 0.6 miles from Jones AT&T Stadium and offers free WiFi access. All rooms in this 4-star hotel are equipped with a coffee machine, air conditioning and a desk. Other amenities include a hairdryer, telephone, and free toiletries.

TLDR

  • Most significant landmark – Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark
  • Best park – Mackenzie Park
  • Best free activity – National Ranching Heritage Center
  • Best activity for kids – Prairie Dog Town
  • Best activity for adults – Lubbock Memorial Arboretum
  • Best food – The West Table Kitchen and Bar
  • Best nightlife – The Roof
  • Best all-around accommodationCotton Court Hotel

Best & Fun Things to Do in Lubbock, Texas

1. Buddy Holly Center

Buddy Holly Center
Image by John W. Schulze used under CC BY 2.0

Address: 1801 Crickets Ave, Lubbock, TX 79401

The Buddy Holly Center is easily one of the coolest museums in Texas, with exhibits showcasing the impressive musical career of Buddy Holly and other West Texas musicians. Not only can you see a statue of Buddy Holly at the West Texas Walk of Fame (just outside the Center), but the historical site will show you Holly’s life as he transformed from a small-town kid to an international superstar.

If you’re not already a Buddy Holly fan, be prepared to become one. The lyrics of his popular hits “That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue” will likely run through your mind as you walk through the exhibits.

Visiting the Buddy Holly Center, you’ll learn about his early days with Buddy and the Crickets and his band’s travels to Clovis, New Mexico, and New York City. In addition, fans will appreciate seeing his Fender Stratocaster and his record collection.

In 2013, the J.I. Allison House opened on the property. The house is the home where Holly’s bandmate J.I. “Jerry” Allison lived and where they wrote their megahit “That’ll Be the Day.” Across from the Buddy Holly Center is the West Texas Walk of Fame, which began with Buddy Holly as the first inductee in 1979.

Whether you’re a fan or not, a trip to the Buddy Holly Center and the West Texas Walk of Fame should be on your itinerary. They’re both fun things to experience in Lubbock! If you’ve worked up an appetite while learning everything there is to know about West Texas musicians, head to The West Table Kitchen and Bar just a few blocks away.

Try their grilled, double bone-in pork chop for dinner and Snickers whipped chocolate mousse for dessert (if you’ve still got room!).

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Dallas, Texas

2. Lubbock Veterans War Memorial

Lubbock Veterans War Memorial
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 4001 82nd St, Lubbock, TX 79423

Located in Henry Huneke Park, the Lubbock Area Veterans War Memorial honors the veterans and heroes of the South Plains. Aside from Washington, D.C., this Memorial is one of the largest in the country. Dedicated in 2003, the Memorial cost over a million dollars to build.

The Memorial features bricks representing local veterans, while the names on the marble wall are reserved for those killed in action. There are still bricks available for members of the Armed Forces who would like a lasting memorial or those who wish to honor a loved one.

Visiting the Memorial is a sad reminder of the sacrifices of the West Texas veterans. While some served, others gave all in the name of freedom. It’s a beautiful way to remember those who gave their lives for the country.

3. Silent Wings Museum

Silent Wings Museum
Image by Barbara Brannon used under CC BY 2.0

Address: 6202 N. I-27, Lubbock, TX 79403

Whether you’re a history buff or have kids interested in planes, a trip to the Silent Wings Museum is fun for all ages! The museum showcases glider planes from World War II, and as you walk through, you’ll hear stories about the missions carried out by the glider pilots who served.

The Air Force used glider planes in WWII to transport heavy military equipment and troops without detection by the enemy. So the exhibits highlight this specific war period, with one of the few fully restored gliders in their collection.

The permanent exhibits include an overview of the glider pilot training, why they used these planes, and the glider pilot experience. Currently, the featured exhibit is A Legacy Remembered, which highlights the South Plains Army Air Field’s development of the Advanced Glider Training.

This current exhibit also explains the effort to restore the CG-4A glider, which is the museum’s centerpiece. It’s only appropriate that the Silent Wings Museum is on the South Plains Army Air Field site, where WWII glider pilots were initially trained. So whether you are a glider plane expert or not, you’ll enjoy a trip to the Silent Wings Museum.

See Related: Best Things to Do in San Antonio, Texas

4. American Wind Power Center

Windmill at American Wind Power Center
Image by mhamilton456CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 1701 Canyon Lake Dr, Lubbock, TX 79403

Whether you’re familiar with the Aermotor Windmill or don’t know a thing about wind energy, the American Wind Power Center should be on your list of things to do in Lubbock! This American Windmill Museum showcases over 160 American-style windmills on almost 30 acres.

The American Wind Power Center is the largest windmill museum in the world. Each windmill has signage with the manufacturer’s information and history, making for a very educational experience.

While more than 100 historic windmills are indoors, another 60 are outdoors. In addition, many of the outdoor windmills are currently pumping water.

The most impressive is the Vestas V47 wind turbine, a 660kW turbine that provides all of the power for the museum. In addition, the excess energy is then sold to the local power grid.

In addition to windmills, the American Windmill Museum also showcases historic wind turbines, a large train display highlighting life in the early 20th Century, and a collection of miniature houses.

Whether you’ve got kids in tow or you’re traveling with your spouse, this museum is one of the most fun things to do in Lubbock! And if you want to stay just a few miles down Broadway from the museum in downtown Lubbock, the Cotton Court Hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, free bike rentals, and an onsite restaurant!

5. Prairie Dog Town

Corn cobb Prarie Dog Town Lubbock Texas
Image by amanderson2 used under CC BY 2.0

Address: MacKenzie Park Rd, Lubbock, TX 79401

Located inside Mackenzie Park, Prairie Dog Town is one of the most fun things to do for all ages. In addition, it’s open year-round, and it’s free! What started with four prairie dogs and two burrows in the 1930s is now a world-famous tourist attraction.

These black-tailed prairie dogs are critical to the ecosystem, so they’re known as a keystone species. These prairie dogs are actually in the rodent family, not canines, as their name implies.

The complex environment around their colonies provides shelter for numerous creatures. In addition, these cute little animals are a critical food source for many animals, including birds of prey.

Prairie Dog Town includes a viewing area, pavilion, sidewalk, and interpretive signage. There are many rodents to see, and visitors can take pictures or give treats to the brave ones that will come close to humans. You might even find some prairie dogs in the parking lot area, but most like to stay near their burrow for safety.

This prairie dog viewing area is one of the top Lubbock tourist attractions, especially if you’re already at Mackenzie Park.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Austin, Texas

6. FiberMax Center for Discovery

FiberMax Center for Discovery
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 1121 Canyon Lake Dr, Lubbock, TX 79403

If you’re headed to Lubbock with kids, the FiberMax Center for Discovery is a must-do item on your itinerary! This interactive agricultural history museum highlights the South Plains farmers and how the small town became the leading area for cotton production.

The museum includes an outdoor exhibit of tractors, farm machines, and an authentic working pivot irrigation system. In addition, there is an original two-bedroom farmstead from the 1930s from President Roosevelt’s program called “The Ropes Project.”

This project aimed to help the economy after the depression and gave 77 families a small farm between 100-200 acres. The government included the farmstead along with a windmill and a barn.

The Exhibit Hall contains historic agricultural artifacts like harvesting equipment and antique tractors. In addition, visitors can go to the interactive Blacksmith Shop and learn about the history of cotton ginning.

Head to the Central Exhibit Hall to learn about the major crops grown in the United States and modern agricultural practices. The Cotton Harvest Experience lets visitors “drive” the John Deere CS690 Cotton Stripper as they harvest cotton. Museumgoers also learn about the evolution of the cotton stripper with a short video on the tractor’s history.

If you need to bring home souvenirs to your family, stop at the gift shop. They have John Deere hats and other fun things for all ages, such as toy tractors, combines, and other gifts.

Kids and adults will enjoy this museum, highlighting much of Lubbock’s history, from a small town to a major agricultural center. Kids will love the hands-on exhibits and the tractors, while adults will appreciate the detailed history.

7. Texas Tech University Museum

Texas Tech University Museum
Image by Billy Hathorn at English WikipediaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 3301 4th St, Lubbock, TX 79415

The Museum of Texas Tech University combines natural science, fine arts, and cultural artifacts. This museum is perfect for all ages, whether you’ve got kids in tow or traveling with a group of adults.

For example, one of the current exhibits showcases a century of student attire. Visitors can see what students wore to school 100 years ago versus what they wear today.

Bug enthusiasts will love the Invertebrate Zoology Collection, the third-largest collection in Texas. The exhibit focuses on arthropods from North America but is international in scope.

One of the most exciting things about the Museum of Texas Tech is the Moody Planetarium, which offers a perfect balance of entertainment and education. The Planetarium has a range of shows, from in-depth looks at the solar system, moon, and sun to studying black holes and constellations.

The various shows offer something to suit everyone, whether you know that the approximate radius of a Supermassive Black Hole is 0.001–400 AU or you’ve never even heard of a black hole. Laser shows are one of the most fun things at the planetarium, with music by Metallica, Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, and other famous artists.

If you’d like to conveniently stay across the street from the university, the Woodrow House Bed and Breakfast is perfect! This highly-rated B&B is excellent for couples, with antique furniture, free WiFi, breakfast, and a pool and hot tub.

8. Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark

Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 2401 Landmark Dr, Lubbock, TX 79415

As a protected state and federal landmark, the Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark is a natural history preserve covering over 300 acres. Also referred to as Lubbock Lake Site, the archeological site is part of the Museum of Texas Tech University.

In 1936, the accidental discovery of a Folsom point spurred the first excavation. The city was dredging the area to revive the underground springs at the time. A few years later, the first site explorations were performed by the now Museum of Texas Tech University.

The Lubbock Lake Site confirms evidence of ancient peoples in west Texas from 12,000 years ago. These ancient peoples include hunter-gatherers such as the Folsom and Clovis to the Comanche and Apache tribes.

Visitors to the park can see archaeological sites along Yellowhouse Draw, an interpretive center, and a research center operated by the Museum of Texas Tech. In addition, the interpretive center has life-size statues of animals from the Ice Age.

This historic site is easily one of the most incredible things to do in Lubbock, as it’s one of the most accessible and complete archeological sites in Texas.

9. Mackenzie Park

Lake at Mackenzie Park
Image by Billy HathornCC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 301 I-27, Lubbock, TX 79403

Mackenzie Park is the perfect place to let your kids run free, let your golf-loving friends hit the back nine, or replenish your sanity on the hiking trails. This 248-acre park has everything, from golf courses to a prairie dog habitat, to equestrian trails.

While the park is also popular because of the Joyland Amusement Park, that unique attraction is temporarily closed with the hopes of new ownership coming soon (fingers crossed!). Hopefully, the roller coasters, thrill rides, and Dare Devil Drop will be back soon!

Golfers, rejoice! Meadowbrook Canyon Creek Golf Club has two 18-hole championship courses to cure your fairway fantasies. In addition, the park’s location next to the Brazos River will make it a scenic golf match.

Kids love visiting Prairie Dog Town, playing on the playscapes, looking at the sculptures, picnicking, and swimming. Adults love relaxing near the river with access to hiking and equestrian trails.

If you’re visiting Lubbock with a large family or group, stay at the gorgeous Manioca Manor, a 3-bedroom, 5-bathroom home that sleeps up to ten guests. And in case you can’t watch the football game in-person, head to the large media room and watch it in style!

See Related: Best Family Travel Hacks You Need to Know

10. Caviel Museum of African American History

Caviel Museum of African American History
Image by Barbara BrannonCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 1719 Avenue A, Lubbock, TX 79403

For almost 50 years, Alfred and Billie Caviel had their own pharmacy, Caviel’s Pharmacy, at the corner of 17th Street and Avenue A. After they retired, they donated the building to the Roots Historical Arts Council in hopes of it housing an African American museum.

Today, it is the Caviel Museum of African American History, the first African American museum in west Texas. Visitors to the museum will first see the mural on the south side of the building, including local African American legends such as former educators, community leaders, and city council members.

Two of the prominent figures in the mural are Alfred and Billie Caviel, the original owners of the building. In addition to African artwork and antiques donated by community members, the Caviel Museum of African American History also features pieces by local African American students at Texas Tech University.

The Lubbock Arts Council hosts events throughout the year, such as the Caprock Jazz Festival, and is part of the Art Trail on the first Friday of every month, with various African American artists featured in the museum. The art trail is a free, self-guided public art show in the city’s cultural district.

11. Lubbock Municipal Garden and Arts Center

Address: 4215 University Ave, Lubbock, TX 79413

The Lubbock Municipal Garden and Arts Center (GAC) is the perfect place for events such as weddings, workshops, and receptions, but it’s also great for art classes, art exhibits, and festivals. Since 1960, the GAC has been an art and culture hub for residents of Lubbock.

The GAC is also part of the monthly First Friday Art Trail and showcases a rotating art exhibit in its open gallery space. Visitors to Lubbock in the fall can see the Pumpkin Trail at the GAC, with lighted pathways and carved pumpkins, resulting in a spooky, family-friendly experience.

There is also a Fall Festival, with music, art, crafts, food, and plenty of vendor booths. December brings a craft fair highlighting the handmade items of many local artisans.

The Lubbock Municipal Garden and Arts Center is perfect (and free!) for visitors, with local art and a beautiful garden.

See Related: Visiting the Four Corners National Monument in the USA

12. Lubbock Memorial Arboretum

Address: 4111 University Ave, Lubbock, TX 79413

If you are looking for something fun to do with all ages, look no further than the Lubbock Memorial Arboretum. This nature sanctuary has gardens, walking paths, and a chapel spanning almost 100 acres. This historical site and Level I Arboretum is located in Clapp Park.

The Arboretum offers something for everyone, whether you want to enjoy the serene nature trails or have a fun family adventure. Various events, activities, and tours make this a perfect experience for people of all ages.

Visitors to the Arboretum can expect to see various flowers, trees, plants, birds, and butterflies. In addition, Playa Lake within the grounds is home to waterfowl in the colder months and butterflies in August and September.

You can visit the rose garden, see wildflowers, and look at beautiful perennials throughout the nature sanctuary and picnic in the picturesque Lubbock Memorial Arboretum gazebo. There is also a relaxing water feature and a large pecan tree for shade and relaxation.

13. Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts

Address: 511 Ave. K, Lubbock, TX 79401

The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (LHUCA) has a main building with four art galleries that showcase over 20 annual exhibits featuring local and international artists. Art lovers will especially enjoy a trip to the LHUCA.

Located in the Cultural District of Lubbock, this arts center also hosts the monthly First Friday Art Trail. This free art event brings over 3,000 visitors to the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center every month.

The Firehouse Theatre, Plaza Stage, and the Christine DeVitt Icehouse are also part of the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center, with live performances at each venue. In addition, each space hosts various programs, such as concerts, art lectures, and dance productions.

Or, if you visit Lubbock in the fall, you may be able to see one of the many films shown during the famous Flatland Film Festival. Whether you are interested in hearing the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, watching the Flatlands Dance Theatre, or seeing a family-friendly concert, Lubbock has it all!

See Related: Best Cheap Places to Travel in the US

14. Cactus Theater

Cactus Theater
Image by EpopanCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 1812 Buddy Holly Ave, Lubbock, TX 79401

The Cactus Theater was built in 1937, costing around $30,000. The 720-seat theater was originally a neighborhood movie theater. However, it closed in 1958 and became a storage facility for almost 40 years until Lubbock music producer Don Caldwell purchased it in 1993.

Caldwell’s vision of showcasing and cultivating west Texas talent was well-received, and this concept prompted the development of the Lubbock Depot Entertainment District. In 1995, the renovated Cactus Theater reopened as a live performance venue.

Today, the venue hosts live music, theatrical plays, and musicals. The intimate setting provides exceptional sound in the 379-seat theater. Visitors to Lubbock will be amazed at the comfortable yet intimate historic venue.

This Lubbock tourist attraction should be on your agenda! You can see shows such as Michael Martin Murphy’s Cowboy Christmas show, a live comedy show with Jaston Williams, or Texas’ best new Americana band, The Wilder Blue.

In addition, the theater often shows classic cinema, such as Psycho (1960) and Paper Moon (1973). Want to continue your evening into the wee hours? Head to The Roof where the nights are filled with energetic dancing and crazy memories to be made!

15. Science Spectrum Museum and OMNI Theater

Science Spectrum Museum
Image from TripAdvisor

Address: 2579 S Loop 289 #250, Lubbock, TX 79423

If you visit Lubbock with kids, a trip to the Science Spectrum Museum and OMNI Theater is a must! This museum has three floors of hands-on physical science exhibits, live science shows, an aquarium, and the OMNI Theater.

One of the permanent exhibits includes the Lubbock Children’s Museum, designed for tots five years old and younger. This section consists of a vet clinic, a supermarket, and a road system.

The live science demonstrations are like seeing an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy in person, with chemistry and electricity shows. In addition, the museum hosts live animal shows with snakes and other reptiles.

One of the most popular exhibits is the Texas Alive exhibit, where kids and adults get to see the wildlife in the area with an aquarium showing the diverse marine life. Your budding paleontologist will love the realistic T-Rex that greets everyone at the dinosaur exhibit. They can also learn which dinosaurs lived in west Texas millions of years ago.

The Science Spectrum Museum is easily one of the top things to do in Lubbock, with exhibits on biotechnology, bubbles, optical illusions, military aviation, money, and space!

Note: at the time of publication, the OMNI Theater is closed for repairs, so please check the museum’s website to see if it’s open before visiting.

See Related: Best Father Daughter Trips & Vacation Ideas

16. National Ranching Heritage Center

National Ranching Heritage Center
Image by Billy HathornCC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 3121 4th St, Lubbock, TX 79409

If you’re looking for something fun to do with kids, look no further than the National Ranching Heritage Center. This museum of ranching history includes almost 50 buildings spanning nearly two centuries. Opened in 1976, the Center is located at Texas Tech University.

Visitors to the Center can walk through historically appropriate ranch buildings relocated from the Southwest. The structures are arranged by chronological age so that museumgoers can see the evolution of ranch life from the 19th Century to the mid-20th Century. The one-and-a-half-mile pathway provides easy access to these sites.

The National Ranching Heritage Center is an incredible learning experience, whether you’re 5 or 95. Some exhibits include Hank the Cowdog, a popular character for young kids. He teaches kids (and adults, too!) about the cow’s four-chambered stomach and how these grass-fed animals become part of our diet.

There are many events that the NRHC hosts throughout the year, such as the Saturday Working Days, Candlelight at the Ranch, Summer Stampede, Ranch Day, and Quanah Parker Day.

Candlelight at the Ranch is a family favorite, where holiday scenes are recreated in 15 of the historic homes on the property. On the other hand, Ranch Day is held in the spring, with magic shows, horse demonstrations, and kettle corn.

Whenever you decide to visit the National Ranching Heritage Center, you can rest assured that you will have a kickin’ good time!

FAQ

What are some things to do in Lubbock, Texas, with kids?

Lubbock, Texas, may be known as a college town to some, but there are so many fun things to do with kids in tow. This southern, high-plains town has some of the best museums, such as the Texas Tech University Museum, the American Windmill Museum, and the Silent Wings Museum. If you prefer outdoor activities for your kids, see the cute little animals at Prairie Dog Town, or run free at Mackenzie Park.

What are the best things to see in Lubbock, Texas?

Whether you’re a music lover or not, visiting the Buddy Holly Center is one of the top tourist attractions in Lubbock. In addition, this west Texas town has amazing museums, including the Louise Hopkins Underwood Arts Center, the Caviel Museum of African American History, the Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark, and the FiberMax Center for Discovery (formerly the Bayer Museum).

What is Lubbock, Texas, known for?

Lubbock is a city known for Texas Tech University (go Red Raiders!), the Buddy Holly Center, a long history of agriculture, and 80% of the state’s grape production. Many people don’t know that Lubbock was the site of the Silent Wings training program during WWII. In addition, the Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark spans over 300 acres and has evidence of ancient people from 12,000 years ago.

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