It’s been 51 years since an F5 tornado—the most powerful category of twisters—last struck a major U.S. city. Lubbock, Texas, still bears the scars.
You’ll have already admired the mid-century architecture of Lubbock and learned about the tornado that tore through here a half-century ago. You now find yourself on the very edge of downtown, in the shadow of I-27 which runs from Amarillo to Midland and forms the spine of this dusty West Texas town. Just outside The Nicolett’s main restaurant sits a brick and glass greenhouse full of vines, succulents, and twinkle lights. It’s a natural and naturally inviting space, with room for just one long table for eight or a pair of four-tops.
Is a trip to Lubbock a left-field selection as far as family vacation ideas go? It sure is, but this west Texas town is thriving thanks to one of the most spectacular public art collections found anywhere on Earth—massive sculptures scattered all over Texas Tech University’s campus. Tours are free and involve riding around in a cute trolley, so even your little ones will be in heaven. Downtown is on the rise and full of mid-century architecture, so you’ll love wandering around and looking up, as well as popping into stellar restaurants like The Nicolette to sample the local wine scene, as there are some great wineries to visit. And if you can, enjoy a show at the glittering new Buddy Holly Performing Arts Center. (Lubbock was his home, FYI.)
Since taking over Tom & Bingo’s Hickory Pit Bar-B-Q in 2017, Ian Timmons has paid homage to the restaurant’s half century of legacy while serving some of the region’s best brisket.
One of the challenges for Texas wineries is to convince consumers that California wines shouldn’t dictate Texas palates, but as Steve Newsom of English Newsom Cellars points out, “California set the American palate.” That means Cab is king, Chardonnay should be buttery and oaky, Pinot Gris should be melon-y and uninteresting, Sauvignon Blanc should be all lemongrass and melon, Pinot Noir should be fruit forward and borderline bombastic, and Moscato should be sweet. Sugar and alcohol are the markers for much of California’s overhyped wine, and Americans love sugar. More than that, though, is the brand and varietal familiarity.
Texas is full of fabulous pet-friendly properties, but the Cotton Court Hotel in Lubbock rose to the top of our list for a few reasons. First, the retro-chic accommodations are spacious, so your pet has plenty of room to stretch his legs and make himself comfortable. More importantly, pets won’t be stuck in your room while you enjoy your getaway. The Cotton Court Hotel is home to a beautiful open air courtyard, and pets are welcome to join you while you play lawn games.More
Lubbock, the west Texas town of nearly 300,000 people, where 1950s musician Buddy Holly was born and raised, is famed for a variety of reasons. It’s a major college town with Texas Tech University. It’s also one of the biggest producers of cotton in the U.S. The community’s emphasis on art, creativity and diversity is blossoming. And then there’s Prairie Dog Town. Population? Anybody’s guess. It’s popularity? Abundant.
While we weren’t looking, the Hub City got its groove on in a big way. In the heart of the Texas High Plains, where more than 80 percent of the state’s wine grapes are grown, Lubbock booms alongside the wine industry. Vintage buildings lining downtown’s grid of pretty red brick streets glow with new energy, thanks to an explosion of businesses reclaiming and repurposing handsome old structures. Folks visiting students at Texas Tech or passing this way en route to the New Mexico or Colorado mountains have plenty of diversions.
One may think that there’s not much happening in West Texas, but one has not stumbled upon Lubbock County. Like a diamond in the rough, once you Discover West Texas, there is no denying that the culture and all it embodies will have you wanting more.
Home to everything from award winning wineries, live music, a thriving business community, and an emerging new way of life, the City of Lubbock is boasts history makers, entrepreneurs, entertainers, creators and catalysts.
As Texas gets a break from the humidity and baking heat, the icy-cool winter months are really the best time of year for outdoor adventures in Lubbock, Texas.