Dive into the heart of Lubbock, Texas with these 10 experiences

The Buddy Holly statue in Lubbock, Texas

Deep in the heart of the Texas panhandle lies Lubbock, a thriving urban hub that offers a lot to the visitor, including incredible food and drink, a surprising art scene and enough history and culture to satisfy anyone who enjoys exploring. Here are 10 attractions and experiences that are essential for those who wants to understand what Lubbock is all about:

Rock and roll your way into the Buddy Hally Hall

Lubbock’s most famous son is the legendary Rock & Roll musician Buddy Holly whose brief 18-month career in the 1950s left an indelible mark on the music industry before his tragic death in an airplane crash at the age of 22. The best place to learn about the man is in the Buddy Holly Hall which collects numerous artefacts from his life, including his guitars and signature glasses, along with photographs and displays that explain his enduring legacy.

Learn the little-told story of America’s wartime glider pilots

The history of America’s fighter pilots and bomber pilots during the Second World War is familiar to many, but the story of its glider pilots is not, which is why the Silent Wings museum is so vital. These men transported airborne troops behind enemy lines on the silent wings of gliders in some of the war’s most important battles, including D-Day in Normandy and the invasion of Sicily. Many of these pilots trained in Lubbock which is why the museum was located here. In addition to the many weapons, uniforms and photos on display, the museum has an original Waco CG-4 glider that you can see and touch, one of only seven left in the world.

Take in a show at the Buddy Holly Center

It seems fitting that Lubbock’s premiere performance space is named after its most famous performer. This state-of-the-art venue is an architectural marvel, both inside and out, and the acoustics are among the best in the nation which is why musicians love performing here. Be sure to time your visit to a day when you can get a ticket to one of the many touring shows that pass through town.

Step back in time at the National Ranching Heritage Center

Learn about Texas’ ranching past by exploring the numerous historic buildings collected at The National Ranching Heritage Center. Step inside a bunkhouse, doff your hat inside the Trinity Mission Church or peek inside a one-room schoolhouse to get a sense of what life might have been like for the generations of settlers who ranched in this part of America. One attraction that is getting a lot of attention these days is the original 6666 barn because of the Yellowstone spinoff TV series, Yellowstone: 6666.

Explore Lubbock’s First Friday Art Trail

Lubbock’s outsized art scene is on full display the first Friday of every month at the First Friday Art Trail, a free, self-guided public art happening that should not be missed. Organized by LHUCA (Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts), this buzzy event features a variety of participating art centres, museums, galleries and businesses across town, but primarily in the Lubbock Cultural District. Think art, music, food trucks and fun. Hop on to one of the First Friday Trolleys to ride to galleries along the downtown route.

Tour the Texas Tech public art collection

If you’re not in Lubbock on a Friday but want to see some art, head out to Texas Tech University which has a stunning collection of public art scattered across its sprawling campus. You can tour the collection of more than 100 pieces yourself with the assistance of the map on their website which tells the story of each work of art and the artist behind it or you can arrange a tour with one of the university’s staff in the Art Kart to find out why this is considered to be one of the top 10 collections of public art in the United States.

Raise a glass to Dr. Chilton for his cocktail invention

Not every town can lay claim to its own cocktail, but Lubbock does, and it’s called The Chilton. Legend has it that it was concocted by a Dr. Chilton some 50 years ago when he asked the bartender of the Lubbock Country Club to mix up the juice of several lemons with his vodka and club soda and to serve it over ice with a salted rim on his glass. It’s a staple at bars across the city and you can follow the Lubbock Chilton Trail to discover the many variations that different bartenders have come up with.

Make a pilgrimage to Buddy Holly’s grave

Avid fans of the late Rock & Roller make the trek out to Buddy Holly’s grave to pay their respects to the man who influenced the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones with his music. Many leave mementoes, frequently a pair of sunglasses, at his simple grave which is actually inscribed with the original spelling of his family name, Holley.

Sample the many wineries and breweries in Lubbock

When it comes to vineyards and craft breweries, Lubbock is one of Texas’ best-kept secrets. The Hub City boasts numerous top-notch examples which are run by passionate craftspeople who are more than happy to serve  samples of their libations for your enjoyment.  

Get up close to a prairie dog in Prairie Dog Town

The black-tail prairie dog has long been a nuisance to farmers, but it’s hard to resist the charms of these cute rodents and there’s no better place to do that than Prairie Dog Town. One of Lubbock’s most enduring and popular attractions this protected prairie dog colony was established in Mackenzie Park in 1935 by Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy N. Clapp who feared that widespread poisoning would render the species extinct. He decided to do something about it and started this colony with just four animals. His work paid off because they are thriving and visitors still come here to delight in their antics. 

Mark Stachiew

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