According to the city's chamber of commerce, Amarillo – which is Spanish for "yellow" – earned its name from the color of the subsoil of Amarillo Creek and the flowers of the area's yucca plants. The Texas Panhandle city is at the crossroads of the desert and southern plains, as well as a tenacious ranching lifestyle and a creative urban vibe. Here, you'll find the wild beauty of the Palo Duro Canyon and the quirky artistry of Cadillac Ranch. You'll also find plenty of appealing venues and activities for your next destination meeting.
The Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council (CVC) serves as your guide while planning your visit here—and they’ve received rave reviews for their efforts. “The Charles H. Roan Association was very pleased and thankful with the cooperation and benefits received from the Amarillo CVC. … This was the best reunion in many years,” says Thomas Patten, who helped organize the USS Charles H. Roan Reunion in the city.
Where to Stay
Amarillo has more than 6,000 hotel rooms with even more on the way. The 110-room Barfield is a luxury boutique hotel scheduled to open this fall in the historic downtown Barfield Building. The sophisticated property will include nearly 2,500 square feet of meeting and event space.
Embassy Suites Amarillo Downtown is located adjacent to the Amarillo Civic Center and the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts. The hotel’s amenities include a 24-hour fitness center with heated indoor pool and whirlpool. The property has nearly 18,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a 10,000-plus-square-foot ballroom.
Additional hotels with meeting and event space include the 151-room Holiday Inn Amarillo West Medical Center with 11,000 square feet of meeting space, 1Hotel with 15,000 square feet of meeting space, the newly refurbished Fifth Season Inn and Suites with 8,500 square feet of meeting and event space, and Drury Inn and Suites Amarillo with more than 3,200 square feet of meeting and event space. Also coming soon is the dual-hotel-brand property, the Four Points by Sheraton and Fairfield Inn and Suites.
Where to Meet
Amarillo offers planners plenty of options for meeting off-site, as well.
The 340,000-square-foot Amarillo Civic Center includes the 4,870-seat Cal Farley Coliseum and the 2,300-seat Civic Center Auditorium. It also has two exhibit halls, two ballrooms and additional meeting rooms. Across the street, you’ll find the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, which includes the 1,300-seat Carol Bush Emeny Performance Hall, the Gilliland Education Room, a three-level lobby, numerous dressing rooms and a backstage green room.
Texas’s largest history museum, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, is found in Amarillo and can serve as a backdrop for an off-site event. Spaces include the two- story Derrick Room, the Hazlewood Lecture Hall and the 4,325-square-foot Pioneer Hall.
Add some cowhand to your event with a gathering held at River Breaks Ranch or Los Cedros Ranch. River Breaks offers team-building activities and challenges, such as horse racing and team roping, and Los Cedros will treat your group to a chuckwagon experience, complete with a guitar-picking cowboy, wranglers and historians.
You can even host an event in the rugged landscape of the Palo Duro Canyon—the second-largest canyon in the country. The state park’s Mack Dick Pavilion can host groups of up to 169 and has air conditioning, a commercial kitchen, restrooms, tables and chairs.
Post-meeting, treat your group to some culture with a tour of a museum, such as Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian or the Amarillo Museum of Art. Take a hike in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Head to the Starlight Ranch Event Center, one of Amarillo’s top outdoor music venues for live music, dancing, food and more. Take on the famous 72-oz. Steak Challenge by yourself or as a group at Big Texan Steak Ranch. Book a private movie showing at Cinergy Amarillo (followed by some bowling or virtual games) or take in a baseball game at the Hodgetown Stadium, home of the Sod Poodles, Amarillo’s minor league baseball team.
And whatever you do, make time to head out to the iconic Cadillac Ranch and leave your spray paint mark on this experiential art sculpture, which features 10 cars buried nose-first in the ground.
“We are still hearing accolades about how wonderful and welcoming Amarillo was. As a member of the Board of the Texas Cultural Arts Trust I am proud to say I am from Amarillo,” says Laura Street, Texas Women for the Arts.