Texans aren’t a bit shy about letting people know that “everything is bigger in Texas.” It shouldn’t come as any surprise that this saying is just as apt with Texas Route 66 landmarks as it is with anything else. The enormous cross that was erected in Groom, Texas and the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo are just two of the examples of “big” things along Route 66 in Texas. Route 66 only goes through a portion of Texas, and that portion is known as the panhandle. It is the part that connects Texas with Oklahoma to the north and New Mexico to the west.
Here is a look at some of the best and most significant of the Route 66 attractions in Amarillo, Texas.
Amarillo Route 66 Attractions
Amarillo is probably the biggest of the panhandle towns that lie along the path of Route 66. There are several great landmarks there, and they make for some fun and interesting experiences for adults and children alike.
The Cadillac Ranch is located near Amarillo. It is owned by helium magnate and millionaire Stan Marsh. The first thing people see when approaching the ranch is the ten vintage Cadillacs that are buried front end down, in the ground, each standing vertically at an angle.
Marsh said he had the exhibit created as a tribute to “the greatest American automobile.” The ranch was designed with a California artist collective called Ant Farm. The exhibit was designed to be a homage to American cars (from 1949 to 1963,) but also to Route 66, because it passes the ranch.
There is another ranch that is 18 miles east of the Cadillac Ranch and it contains five VW Bugs that are secured front end down in the ground. It is hard not to see that this was an attempt to model this exhibit after the one at the Cadillac Ranch. Cans of spray paint are available at these places (which you can visit for free,) and visitors are encouraged to create their own graffiti on the cars with the spray paint.
The Big Texan Steak Ranch
Although the Big Texan Steak Ranch has earned fame in its own right, it hasn’t hurt that the Travel Channel included this restaurant in one of its shows about great eats, specifically steaks. The Big Texan Steak Ranch is easily identifiable to anyone driving by. The huge trademark cowboy serves as part of the sign outside the restaurant. The restaurant was originally located on Route 66, but the original structure was destroyed by a fire, so the restaurant was located to its present location.
It opened in 1960 with the free 72-ounce steak meal challenge. The meal, costing $72, consists of three shrimps as an appetizer, and that is followed by a 72-ounce steak, a baked potato, roll and butter, and a salad. The challenge requires that participants cannot receive any help in any way from anyone else. Before the challenge begins, participants may taste the steak to make sure it is done to their liking.
The rules stipulate that in order to get the meal for free, the participant must eat the entire meal, without getting sick or spitting anything out, within one hour. If they do complete the challenge, the money they paid in advance for the meal is refunded.
They also have a western hotel here. Check prices at the Big Texas Hotel.
These are just a few of the many sites you can see along Route 66 in Texas.