While it may not be pronounced like the Spanish word amarillo, the 14th most populous city in Texas is in fact named after that word (which means “yellow,” by the way). Sometimes referred to as “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” Amarillo is a small metropolis of 199,826 people in Potter County and Randall County. Originally known as Oneida, Amarillo offers classic Texas charm plus relatively easy access to the southwestern states of New Mexico and Colorado.
If you’re considering moving to Amarillo, let’s take a look at what makes this Texas town special.
Amarillo is Home to Cadillac Ranch
Even if you don’t know what Cadillac Ranch is, you’ve definitely seen it in photos or on TV before. The much-photographed art installation in Amarillo features the curious sight of cars sticking out of the ground. Cadillac Ranch was originally made up of ten Cadillacs, but has since grown to include many more. The vehicles are spray painted with colorful graffiti and are located off of I-40. Technically, Cadillac Ranch is on private property, but visiting—and taking fun selfies—are allowed.
More Than Just Helium
In addition to being referred to as “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” Amarillo is also known as the helium capital of the world (we’re pretty sure that first nickname is prettier). Why exactly is that? Well, Amarillo is the site of the Federal Helium Program, which once supplied 50 percent of the U.S. helium demand, according to the Bureau of Land Management, which is the organization that currently manages the helium reservoir. Turns out helium does way more than just making your voice sound weird, so this helium stash is kind of a big deal. Amarillo is also known for its meat-packing plants and nuclear weapons facility.
Everything’s Bigger in Amarillo
They say that everything's bigger in Texas. In Amarillo, that slogan refers to steak. If you’re a carnivore, you’re going to be pretty excited to move to the home of the Big Texan Steak Ranch. This famous steakhouse is known for its signature 72-ounce steak. If you order one and finish it in an hour or less, it’s free. If you can’t clean your plate, be ready to shell out $72.
Watch Out for Storms
The weather in Amarillo is more similar to the dry desert climate in nearby New Mexico than it is to the humid climate found in some Texas cities. If you move to Amarillo, expect hot summers and mild winters with drastic shifts in temperature from day to night. You should also be aware of the fact that Amarillo is occasionally affected by tornadoes, which have touched down as recently as 2016.
Amarillo is Close to New Mexico and Colorado
One of the cool things about living in Amarillo is that you can easily vacation in some pretty awesome nearby states. Amarillo is just 70 miles from the border of New Mexico and just 135 miles from the border of Colorado. Make the four hour drive to Santa Fe and spend the weekend enjoying art and southwest cuisine, or make the five and a half-hour drive to Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado and see the highest dunes in the country.