Considering a vacation in West Texas? The city of Lubbock is calling your name. Full of rich history and diverse landscapes, an itinerary full of all the best things to do in Lubbock is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Lubbock is a punchy West Texas city that’s a fabulous choice for young families. It’s practically bursting at the seams with museums and amusement parks. The top tourist attractions in Lubbock include dozens of kid-friendly entertainment options including the cute & exciting Prairie Dog Town. There’s also a handful of adult-only attractions such as the Llano Estacado Winery, making it easy for parents and couples to slip away for a romantic date night.
If you’ve been wondering what to do in Lubbock, Texas, look no further. Craft a tourist-approved vacation itinerary with this guide to the best places to visit in Lubbock, TX.
Best places to visit in Lubbock, TX
Buddy Holly Center
If you’re a rock n’ roll fan interested in music history and memorabilia, pencil in a visit to the Buddy Holly Center. The museum is, of course, dedicated to celebrating the career of Buddy Holly. It also features exhibits highlighting the success of other famous Texas musicians.
On your visit to the Buddy Holly Center, take your time exploring the cases of genuine guitars, costumes, and iconic glasses. Be sure to snap a picture with the towering Buddy Holly statue when you’re finished!
There’s plenty to do at the Buddy Holly Center, but a walk-through should only take an hour or two. It’ll leave plenty of time to build out your day in Lubbock with other fun activities.
A word to the wise: The Buddy Holly Center is better suited to older kids and adults as there’s lots of reading required to interpret the exhibits.
Joyland Amusement Park
One of the top Lubbock tourist attractions, Joyland Amusement Park is the city’s best source of fun for the whole family. The park offers a selection of rides geared toward younger kids and several family rides that’ll keep everyone entertained, including a few carnival classics. Of course, Joyland Amusement Park also has a vast selection of more extreme coasters for the thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies.
Make a splash at one of Joyland’s most popular attractions. The amusement park’s three water rides are perfect for cooling off after a long day. Just come prepared to get wet: There’s no way you’ll stay dry as you fly down into these sparkling pools!
Purchase an admission armband for easy, unlimited access to rides all day long. Adults over the age of 21 can also purchase single-ride tickets if they’re more inclined to hang back and snap photos of their kiddos’ giggles and cheer.
Museum of Texas Tech University
For a well-rounded Lubbock museum experience, skip over the Museum of Texas Tech University. The popular museum’s rotating exhibitions cover a wide array of subject matter from fashion to biodiversity. There’s even a planetarium onsite that runs shows every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Amongst a plethora of permanent art exhibits at the Museum of Texas Tech University, you’ll also find a couple of paleontology galleries. The first of these exhibits showcases the skeletons and evolution of dinosaurs. The other gallery gives a rare look at Ice Age fossils from prehistoric giants such as mammoths and saber-toothed tigers.
Much of the research on display at the Museum of Texas Tech University was done in collaboration with the Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark. (More on that to come!)
Prairie Dog Town
Looking for a family-friendly outing? Located in Mackenzie Park, Prairie Dog Town is one of the top Lubbock points of interest for children, animal lovers, and naturalists alike. After all, who doesn’t love prairie dogs?
This protected park started as a family of just four prairie dogs. Prairie Dog Town has since flourished into an entire colony of these cute animals, thanks to the generosity of the Clapp family in the 1930s.
The newly constructed pavilion makes Prairie Dog Town the perfect place to spend an entire day. Though you could just make a quick pit stop and snap a few pictures, the best way to get a glimpse into the life of the adorable prairie dogs would be to pack a picnic and post up in the viewing area for the long haul.
Prairie Dog Town has been renovated to meet ADA accessibility criteria. Now everyone can enjoy watching these cuties burrow and scurry about!
There’s no admission fee to get into Prairie Dog Town. It’s open daily from 5 am to 12 am.
After checking out the prairie dogs, set aside some time to explore the rest of Mackenzie Park. Lubbock’s top green space for outdoor recreation, this semi-urban oasis charms patrons with a renowned disc-golf course, a sculpture garden, and a primo lake for fishing.
Want to make a day of it? Mackenzie Park’s property overlaps with both Prairie Dog Town and Joyland Amusement Park. It’s a fantastic place to break for lunch or unwind before returning back to your hotel.
Looking for a more unique way to experience the wilderness that pays homage to Lubbock’s southern countryside? You’re in luck: The locals’ favorite way to experience Mackenzie Park is on a horseback journey through the extensive network of equestrian trails.
And now you can join them! Simply visit one of the ranches nearby and inquire about trail riding tours that run through the park.
Caviel Museum of African-American History
For a glimpse into the complicated history of the fight for racial equality in the South, be sure to plan a stop at the Caviel Museum of African-American History. The museum is the first of its kind in West Texas. It’s dedicated to celebrating African-American contributions and achievements from the civil rights era to the present day.
Alfred and Billie Caviel, the museum’s namesakes, were the first African-American couple first own a pharmacy in the United States. Today, the Caviel Museum of African-American History operates in the couple’s original pharmacy building.
Throughout the Caviel Museum of African-American History, you’ll find several permanent exhibits that tell the story of the region’s most impactful citizens. You’ll also get to roam through rotating showcases, jam-packed with interesting art and cultural artifacts.
American Windmill Museum
Not only is the American Windmill Museum one of the top points of interest in Lubbock, but it’s also internationally renowned as the world’s largest windmill museum. This unique attraction is home to over 100 windmills from various historical manufacturers, as well as a 4,000-foot-long model train track that runs overhead.
You’re free to peruse galleries on your own as the American Windmill Museum has plenty of informational signage. Or you can enhance your experience by booking a guided tour with an interpreter. They’ll be happy to teach you everything there is to know about the science and history of wind-generated power in the U.S.
Silent Wings Museum
Another of Lubbock’s top museums worth a visit is the Silent Wings Museum. This gallery educates visitors about the history of the glider program used by the U.S. military during World War Two.
Throughout the various exhibits at the Silent Wings Museum, you’ll find oodles of artifacts and illustrated stories of the heroic glider pilots themselves. You’ll even get up close and personal with a handful of retired and restored warplanes.
Fun fact: The Silent Wings Museum is located in a building that once served as a terminal of the Lubbock Airport. What a fitting place to display some of America’s most prized glider planes for all to see!
The Science Spectrum & OMNI Theater
The Science Spectrum & OMNI Theater is the science museum of your dreams. With interactive exhibits covering subjects from electricity to bubbles and everything in between, it’s one of the most interesting places to go in Lubbock, TX. There’s even a children’s area dedicated to the center’s littlest visitors.
After taking in an education flick at the OMNI Theater, kids will love making their way through a series of at-your-own-pace experiments. The dinosaur exhibit is amongst the most popular, featuring fossils, skeletons, and even an animatronic T-Rex!
Prefer learning about live species? No problem. The Science Spectrum hosts daily reptiles and amphibian shows. It’s also home to an aquarium housing native species of the Brazos River.
Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark
For a deeper look into the natural history of Lubbock, be sure to plan a trip to the Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark. The artifacts found on this dig site have helped researchers prove that the ancient people of Lubbock lived here and hunted bison for nearly 12,000 years. Still, to this day, the site holds annual excavations to further this research.
During your tour, you can browse exhibits that tell the story of the landmark’s past inhabitants or take a walk through one of the hiking trails. The archeological trail will bring you through the research sites, while the wildflowers trails will whisk you through blooming fields of native species.
If you’re looking for a unique way to fit a visit to Lubbock Lake Landmark into your jam-packed schedule, consider participating in one of their “Landmark After Dark” hikes. As the name suggests, you’ll be guided through the archeological dig sites at night. It’ll offer you a unique perspective on living in Lubbock before modern technologies existed.
Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts
One of the top places to see in Lubbock for arts & culture lovers, the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts is considered the official gathering place of the city’s creative community. From dance classes to a drop-in clay art studio, there’s something to do here for everyone, young and old.
The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts is home to several contemporary art galleries to browse at your leisure. Perhaps the most exciting thing to check out, though, is whatever is happening on stage. Throughout the year, you’ll find plays, musical performances, and even film screenings on the calendar. Don’t miss out!
If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind souvenir to bring home, you can even shop at their art market, selling a huge variety of pieces made by local artisans.
Llano Estacado Winery
Though Lubbock is a hot choice for parents traveling with their little ones, there are plenty of adult-friendly attractions in the area, too. Begin exploring them with a wine-tasting adventure at Llano Estacado Winery. The estate is home to “Texas’s best tasting room,” which is a selling point that’s pretty hard to argue with.
If a guided tasting feels a little too structured for an afternoon of unwinding, taste your way through a flight at your own pace under Llano Estacado Winery’s terrace pergola.
Looking out over your shoulder, you’ll find scenic cotton fields amongst the acreage of grape vines and realize you’re at a splendid vantage point for watching the sunset. If that doesn’t sell you on a trip to the vineyard, nothing will!
Why stop at one vineyard when you can visit two? McPherson Cellars is an award-winning winery that got its start as a 1930s Coca-Cola bottling plant. Talk about a plot twist!
“Doc” McPherson, the original winemaker of the McPherson estate, is widely recognized as “the founding father of modern Texas Wine.” And that’s a pretty big testament to the pedigree of these wines. These days, Doc’s son has continued winemaking and honors his father’s legacy.
Premium pours, a pretty covered courtyard and a unique history all make McPherson Cellars worthy of a place on any Lubbock itinerary.
Be sure to get a taste of their Sangiovese during your visit, as it was one of Doc’s specialties. (Fun fact: He was actually the first grower in Texas to plant this grape varietal!)
If your children need to be bribed to get out of the pool at the end of the day, then a trip to Water Rampage is a must for your Lubbock travel plan. Here, everyone can swim and play to their heart’s content and bask in the West Texas heat.
This pirate-themed water park is a hit with kids of all ages—and their parents. With winding water slides, a lazy river, a “dump bucket” splash pad, and even designated wading areas for little ones to enjoy, Water Rampage is one of the top-rated Lubbock attractions for family fun.
If you’re planning your visit for later in the day, you can even spend your evening watching iconic pirate movies from the wave pool—or the loungers on dry land if your fingers start to prune.
FiberMax Center for Discovery
Does your little one love tractors and farms? The FiberMax Center for Discovery is one of the coolest things to see in Lubbock to learn about the city’s agricultural past.
This FiberMax Center for Discovery is home to a blacksmith shop, dozens of restored tractors, a massive irrigation system, and an extensive collection of farm tools and machinery. There’s even a farm toy exhibit that’s sure to be your kid’s favorite. The room is packed to the brim with vintage toy tractors.
Centrally located on Canyon Lake Drive, the FiberMax Center for Discovery makes an easy addition to your plans for the day. The American Windmill Museum and Joyland Amusement Park are situated just down the street. Several other top-rated Lubbock attractions are also mere minutes away.
If you haven’t already exhausted your theme park quota, then a trip to Adventure Park is one of the best things to do in Lubbock. Located in the city’s west end, this entertainment complex is the perfect family destination for making playful memories.
If you’re not too afraid of heights, you’ll love their selection of sky-high attractions, including a ropes course, zip line, and rock climbing wall. Prefer to keep your feet on the ground? No problem. Adventure Park is home to an arcade, go-kart track, and mini-golf course, too.
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Also included in your admissions price is a pedal boat ride on the lake and playing “bumper boats” (the quirky younger sister of bumper cars) for a little bit of aquatic family fun.
Lubbock Municipal Garden and Arts Center
Located in Clapp Park, the Lubbock Municipal Garden and Arts Center is a must-see for touring art lovers. Oftentimes, you’ll find drop-in fine art classes, gardening workshops, and even exhibitions running throughout the year.
If you’re traveling with a group or celebrating something special on your vacation, consider renting out one of their spaces. The most popular are the tea terrace and the rose garden. Both will ensure a magical experience and are a great way to take your afternoon family picnic to the next level while in Lubbock.
Be sure to check the center’s event calendar to see what’s on during your West Texas trip.