For a town of 250,000, Lubbock gets overlooked for other, larger, more easily accessed Texas cities. In fact, Lubbock ranks as the 11th largest city in Texas, and is a great stop if you’re traveling through West Texas – to or from Amarillo, or headed elsewhere in the wide-sweeping southern Great Plains.
No matter the reason you find yourself visiting Lubbock, never fear. There are a delightful number of things to do in Lubbock – and they don’t all have to do with Buddy Holly (though, of course, some do!). Read on for suggestions of what to do in Lubbock to see why this Texas town is worth a return trip too.
Note: We’ve numbered the items on this list for you – but they’re in alphabetical order, not in rank order (the #1 one is not the best, the #21 one is not the worst). We just wanted to make it easier to see all 21 items!
1. Adventure Park
If you want to get your adrenaline pumping while visiting Lubbock, there’s no better place than Adventure Park. With go-karts, zip-lines, mini golf, a laser maze, and something called the “Ninja Zone,” this is the perfect place to bring kids – and kids at heart.
You can purchase a day pass for Adventure Park, which helps encourage you to try it all and save compared with paying for each attraction individually. The basic day pass is $26.99, but splurge on the “Extreme” day pass for $56.99 and you’ll have unlimited access to basically everything!
2. American Windmill Museum
You’ve probably seen them while traveling to or around Lubbock: windmills. Turns out, they’re a lot more interesting than you might think, and you can learn all about them at the American Windmill Museum.
Located on 28 acres east of downtown Lubbock, this museum has more than 160 windmills on display, in a variety of styles and designs and throughout history.
Plan for a day out exploring the grounds, and be sure to check inside for any special exhibits during your visit.
windmill.com; Photos courtesy of their Facebook
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3. Ballet Lubbock
If you love performance art, plan your trip to Lubbock when Ballet Lubbock has a show on. Ballet Lubbock is moving into the brand new Buddy Holly Hall (more on that below) which will improve the experience even more.
Ballet Lubbock puts on shows each year – such as Snow White –, offers ballet classes (and school performances), and of course produces an annual Nutcracker show for the holiday season.
4. Buddy Holly Center
Not to be confused with the Buddy Holly Hall, the Buddy Holly Center is the museum dedicated to Buddy Holly’s life and career. Through a series of small but detailed exhibits, you’ll learn all about this music icon and the impact he had despite his short life. There are also a number of authentic artifacts from Buddy’s life.
The museum also has an exhibit showing off some of his furniture, a good gift shop, and two iconic art pieces outside: one giant pair of Buddy’s glasses, and a statue of the singer himself.
5. Buddy Holly Hall
Formally known as the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences, this brand new building north of downtown Lubbock will soon become a gem in the city, especially for those who love music and performing arts.
Designed with state-of-the-art technology to deliver an unparalleled acoustic experience, the performance hall at Buddy Holly Hall will be on par with the best in the world – and there are plans to bring major Broadway and international shows to the stage in the early years after it opens. (Like Hamilton!)
6. Buddy Holly’s Grave
If you are a Buddy Holly fan – and it’s hard not to be when visiting Lubbock –, you may want to make the pilgrimage to his grave at the Lubbock Cemetery. The 22-year old found his final rest here with a grave marker that includes a few bars of music and a guitar. People who visit often leave memorabilia including replicas of his iconic glasses and fake flowers.
While in the area, keep an eye out for other graves marked with Buddy Holly’s glasses and the “Holley” family name; they share the same area as their family member and icon.
7. Caprock Canyon State Park
Technically, Caprock Canyon State Park is outside Lubbock, but if you’re an outdoorsy person and want an adventure while visiting, this is a must.
Caprock Canyon is 15,000 acres of state-protected land with gorgeous rock formations and hiking trails – over 90 miles of them! You may also spot Bison roaming free, and bats that live in the area are often spotted at sunset.
It’s a 90-minute drive from Lubbock to Caprock Canyon State Park, but there are campgrounds in the park where you can turn this into a weekend in the great outdoors.
8. CASP & Lubbock Arts District
Lubbock has a strong arts scene, propelled by the creative types that find beauty in West Texas and the Great Plains and the university students who encourage these cultural elements.
CASP – the Charles Adams Studio Project – is home to studios and live/work spaces for artists; the neighboring Lubbock Arts District has galleries and more studios to encourage arts in every medium.
If you’re visiting on a Friday during non-pandemic times, check out if the First Friday Art Trail is happening during your visit. This is a chance to tour the studios, see a wide variety of work, and nosh on food from local food trucks.
9. Cook’s Garage
Part art/history exhibit, part restaurant/bar – whatever you call Cook’s Garage, it’s one of those can’t miss things to do in Lubbock. From the parking lot, you know you’re in for a treat: the lot is dotted with historic gas station signs, and it only gets more visually stimulating once you step in the doors.
This former garage is now a huge restaurant-slash-bar-slash-event space. You can pop in for a drink or a bite to eat – but be sure to explore while you’re there too! Each room has tons of old signs and other fascinating artifacts from the auto era.
They also host tons of events and concerts outside, so check the schedule depending on your visit to see if there will be more crowds than usual.
10. Craft Beer Tasting
Like all good towns in America anymore, Lubbock has its own craft beer scene! If you like craft beer and enjoy tasting it, be sure to plan an afternoon to try a few of them. Here are some suggestions:
- The Brewery LBK
- Two Docs Brewing Company
- Auld Brewing Company
- The Plains Brew Co – out of town, but we obviously love the name!
There are plenty of other microbreweries, taprooms, and brewpubs too, so don’t let this limit you – it’s just meant to inspire you to plan your own craft beer crawl.
11. FiberMax Center for Discovery
Formerly called the American Museum of Agriculture, the FiberMax Center for Discovery is the kind of experience you expect to have in the Great Plains – focusing on the importance of agriculture and agricultural science!
This kid-friendly museum helps you learn about the history of agriculture in the U.S. and around the world. Exhibits include historic farming artifacts like tractors, plows, and harvesters; cotton gins and other information about the cotton harvesting and ginning process (which ties into the cotton fields that surround Lubbock); and one all about the crops of the U.S.
12. Holly Hop Ice Cream Shoppe
Any place that’s called a “shoppe” instead of a “shop” means it has to be great, right? Step back in time at Holly Hop ice Cream Shoppe, perfect for taking a break on a hot West Texas day.
They serve vintage style malts, splits, sundaes, sodas, and even sandwiches if you want something other than sweets. Bring your sweet tooth if you have one though – that’s their specialty, along with fabulous poodle skirts.
Photos courtesy of Holly Hop Ice Cream Shoppe on facebook.com
13. Joyland Amusement Park
The name says it all: Joyland is an amusement park with a number of classic and modern rides and attractions that will entertain the whole family.
Rides are grouped into four categories: Thrill Rides, Water Rides (bring your swimsuit!), Family Rides, and Kiddie Rides. You’ll see rides you recognize, like carousels and tilt-a-whirl, as well as other more intriguing (or scary!) rides like the Sandstorm (roller coaster) and X-Factor Extreme (swing ride). There’s something here for everyone who loves amusements like this!
Armbands are $20-$23 depending on your age, and give you unlimited rides. General Admission (for non-riders) is $7 for those who don’t love the rides but still want family fun time.
14. Museum of Texas Tech University
The Museum of Texas Tech University (TTU) has it all: main exhibits with arts and artifacts, a planetarium, and an exhibit with dinosaur and ice age mammalian fossils.
It would be easy to spend an afternoon hear – if not a whole day – with all the different sections and exhibits in the museum. They also offer tours of the museum if you want a guide to all of its wonders, and a Museum By Night program which add live music, activities, expert talks, and a cash bar to keep you engaged.
15. National Ranching Heritage Center
Like the FiberMax Center for Discovery, the National Ranching Heritage Center focuses on an important part of life in Western Texas and the Great Plains: ranching. Texas Tech University also operates the NRHC and it offers a number of exhibits:
- Proctor Historical Park – A living history museum that show the different structures of historic ranching and how people lived in them.
- DeVitt Mallet Museum – Galleries and exhibits about ranching history in all its forms, from fine art to classic automobiles.
- J.J. Gibson Memorial Park – Home to the nineteen life-size bronze Longhorns and other sculptures to commemorate the Texas Trail Drive Era.
- The History of Beef Cattle Breeds Exhibit – Most of us don’t think about our beef that closely, but cattle is a critical part of the food ecosystem in America. Learn more about the different breeds and ranching them.
16. Prairie Dog Town
One of the most off-beat attractions in Lubbock, Prairie Dog Town is exactly what it sounds like: a huge community of Prairie Dogs set aside on city land.
The concept was originally conceived by the Clapps, a Lubbockite couple, in the 1930s. It was relocated to its current location in 1935 and has flourished ever since. In fact, it’s the 5th most popular tourist attraction in Lubbock!
Visit to learn more about and observe this prolific Great Plains species in pretty close to their natural habitat.
17. Silent Wings Museum
As the name suggests, Silent Wings Museum is not your average airplane or aerospace museum. It is specifically dedicated to “The Legacy of The World War II Glider Pilots” – among which our founder’s grandfather can be counted.
The museum is located out near the Lubbock Airport, so you will need a car to reach it. It’s only a short 10-minute drive from most parts of town though.
Like many similar museums, you can explore exhibits dedicated to the history of World War II and see the planes, guns, and other artifacts from the time. This one will impress history buffs and families with kids who love planes alike!
18. Street Art
This thing to do in Lubbock isn’t located in just one place – there is street art all over town! If you enjoy street art and love taking a great photo near murals, be sure to check out:
- Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts – A number of murals, including the Lubbock Sunrise mural
- The LBK Mural – located on the side of Cc Electric, this is the most iconic mural for a photo
- Lubbock in the Depot District – Located on the side of Vape 180 (yep, a vape shop), this is another Lubbock mural, this one by local artist Joey Martinez
Keep your eyes peeled though – there are lots of other murals around town too!
19. Texas BBQ
Here’s another not-a-specific location but definitely one of those necessary things to do in Lubbock: eating Texas BBQ! You already can imagine how good it is, right?
There are fantastic barbecue spots in town and the surrounding area; here are a few to inspire you – don’t be surprised if you end up eating BBQ every meal in Lubbock!
- Evie Mae’s – Out of town, this food truck-turned-restaurant is fantastic.
- hill barbecue – Another food truck, you might spot them serving up brisket and ribs all over town.
- Chopped And Sliced BBQ Restaurant – Not unnecessarily fancy, but unbelievably delicious!
There are over a dozen other barbecue spots in Lubbock though, so research more on your own for your Lubbock trip!
20. Texas Tech University Public Art
The Public Art Program at Texas Tech is a great way to add some culture to your trip, even if you’re not a huge museum person. All over the TTU campus you can see gorgeous public art on display; there are over 100 in total.
The best way to experience all this public art is by downloading the walking tour guide from the website and setting out for a nice stroll across campus on your own time.
21. Wine Tasting
Last but definitely not least, Lubbock is the heart of possibly the best wine-making region in the Great Plains. You might not expect West Texas wine to stand up to competition from California and international wine regions, but the winemakers here are vinifying classics and getting creative. In fact, you’ll find some varietals here that don’t do well in other parts of the U.S.
We have a forthcoming guide to West Texas wine, but for now, add these wineries to your list for sure:
- McPherson Cellars – Located in the heart of Lubbock, this winery produces from vineyards around the area. There are plenty of unusual varietals to try here, as well as a few you might recognize.
- English Newsom Cellars – Located outside of town on part of their wine-producing land, this big winery feels like you’re in the heart of California’s wine country – but with tons of creative wines to try instead of the Cabs and Sauvs.
- Burklee Hill Vineyards – With a restaurant downtown and a sommelier to help you choose, the best way to try their wines is with an indulgent multi-course dinner.
Again, there are other vineyards and wineries in Lubbock too, so let this list inspire you to do an afternoon of wine tasting.
Where to Stay in Lubbock
If you need a place to stay in Lubbock, here are a few suggestions. These are great options in the downtown area that will give you easy access to these things to do in Lubbock.
- Cotton Court Hotel – from $109/night (book on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- Pioneer Pocket Hotel – from $146/night (book directly or on Hotels.com)
- Hyatt Place Lubbock – from $84/night (book on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
There are plenty of vacation rentals in Lubbock, too, if that’s how you prefer to stay.
Which of these things to do in Lubbock make your list? If you have questions or comments, let us know below!
Don’t forget: join our Great Plains Travel Tips group for even more travel inspiration!