Fun things to do in Lubbock Texas include visiting outstanding museums, great restaurants, the oldest winery in the state, and the cool Buddy Holly Center. Lubbock is called Hub City, being the heart of a vast area of the southern end of the High Plains. Did you know that the Lubbock area is the largest grower of cotton in the world?
McCool Travel note: I and a half dozen other travel journalists were hosted by Visit Lubbock—before the Travel Media Showcase conference—as an opportunity to explore and learn about Lubbock, Texas and share favorite findings with our audiences.
8 Great Things to Do in Lubbock Texas
1. Buddy Holly Center
Ever hear the song, American Pie? Don Maclean, the writer and singer, dedicates his famous song—with “the day the music died” haunting theme—to Lubbock’s most famous resident, Buddy Holly. Buddy Holly was massively talented and prolific, a rock & roll pioneer. Among those citing Buddy Holly as a strong influence are Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Elton John, and, of course, The Hollies.
Buddy Holly Center has dual missions—preserving, collecting and promoting the legacy of Buddy Holly and the music of Lubbock and West Texas, as well as providing exhibits on Contemporary Visual Arts and Music, for the purpose of educating and entertaining the public. The museum features Buddy Holly memorabilia and two wings (currently Women in Rock and Roll photographs and National Park photographs).
Photographs are not permitted of the vast artifact collection inside the Buddy Holly Center so you will have to take my word—it is worth visiting, especially for music fans.
The Buddy Holly statue is at the West Texas Walk of Fame, across the street from the museum.
2. Cast Iron Grill
OK, you are going to get heaping plates of tasty food at Cast Iron Grill. No doubt. You will also get a whole bunch of Texas hospitality and amazing feel good stories.
Teresa Stephens is the dynamo owner of Cast Iron Grill. While talking to my group, she dropped in phrases like “pay it forward” and “blessed to help.” One day about 9 years ago she said she had an epiphany and changed her life attitude to work with the homeless.
She is a critical component of the St. Benedict’s mission in Lubbock, which feeds 140-160 people every night. Teresa works with eight couples from three different churches to provide Cast Iron Grill dinners on Monday nights; Tuesday to Sunday dinners are provided by churches. Her group does not just make spaghetti either. With a lot of pride, she says everyone eats the same food as in the restaurant and everyone eats together. (homeless and affluent).
After a meal at Cast Iron Grill, your stomach and heart will be filled, but order some pie. Believe me, get some pie!
3. Funky Door for Mystery Wine Monday
The Funky Door Bistro and Wine Room is the first and only (so far) restaurant where I have tried fondue. Thankfully I did not completely fill up on veggies and bread dipped in cheese and saved room for my sweet and hot Kobe burger entree. It was amazing, although my personal preference would have been more heat.
A very popular event every week is Mystery Wine Monday. Glasses of wine are $5. You get to choose red or white and then dry or sweet. My friends immensely enjoyed the chardonnay. I had a magnificent glass of sweet red and then an excellent dry Merlot.
Funky Door regularly wins the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator so you know these are quality wines. They also celebrate Martini Maddness (sic) of Wednesdays with $5 martinis all day.
4. Llano Estacado Winery
Llano Estacado is the largest and best selling premium winery in the state of Texas. One of the founders of Llano was a Texas Tech horticulturist who envisioned the Lubbock area producing high quality wines and grapes—and made it happen. The Texas High Plains does not seem the ideal environment but the temperatures, low humidity, and average 18 inches of rain combine to produce thriving grapes.
The property is also ideal for hosting events, such as weddings, retreats, or just group wine tastings.
5. Lubbock Lake
Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark is an archaeological and natural history preserve, exhibiting a virtually complete cultural sequence from the Clovis Period to Historic times (making this location unique because most archaeological sites have only one or two cultural levels). Uncovered relics show human activity at this site almost 12,000 years ago.
In addition to the museum building, visit the active dig site and the trail system, where you might catch a brilliant Texas big sky sunset.
6. National Ranching Heritage Center
“Ranching started here and then moved westward and into the southern Texas Plains,” Sue Jones, the Outreach Coordinator, told me. “While most museums and historic sites are focused on relics, this is living history, continually maintained. Relics will be the same in 100 years.”
The life of North American ranchers is celebrated and depicted at the National Ranching Heritage Center. The 19-acre historic park, Foy Proctor Park, houses 49 structures dating back to the 1700s, which have been authentically restored and furnished.
Inside the 44,000 square foot building, DeVitt Mallet Museum displays include historic coaches, period artifacts, clothing, and more. Before the Grid is an eye-opening experience for younger visitors. A new exhibit this month includes the largest collection of Comanche artifacts outside the Smithsonian.
Events include the popular Candlelight at the Ranch hosted each December and Ranch Days held every April, where spectators can watch and learn how life was lived during that time.
7. Silent Wings Museum
Silent Wings Museum preserves and promotes the history of the World War II military glider program.
Transport yourself into the era of swing music and patriotism and experience World War II as told by the glider pilots who lived it. 88% of the artifacts here have been donated by the pilots and their families.
View a rare, restored WACO CG-4A, mainstay of the U.S. glider force that flew in every major invasion of the Second World War. Only 7 known fully intact gliders exist and the Smithsonian owns one.
The glider pilot program was volunteer and a “one way” mission. The missions were dangerous and the pilots, after landing, became armed guards or infantry fighters.
8. Windmill Museum
American Wind Power Center (aka Windmill Museum) is home to more than 170 rare and fully restored windmills spread out on 28 acres of rolling hills. Inside you’ll find a G-scale train exhibit, windmills, dozens of miniature houses and an impressive collection of grist stones from the mid-19th and early 20th centuries. They have the oldest self-governing windmill, first steel windmill, and a replica of the first windmill brought to the New World in 1621.
BONUS: Texas Tech University Public Art
While I did not spend much time at Texas Tech, I recommend seeing their very cool public art.
Map of Lubbock TX
Lubbock is located midway between Albuquerque and Dallas and Lubbock is also halfway between Amarillo and Midland.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Lubbock?
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