The popular Lubbock, Texas mural in the Arts District Image: Courtesy Visit Lubbock
TThere is no doubt that the state of Texas is big! From the sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains in the west, you’ll find everything from swamps, rivers and marshes to mountains, plains and plateaux. In Northwest Texas is a town on the High Plains where 90% of Texas grapes have grown and one of the Nation’s Top 10 University public art museums — Lubbock.
With a population of nearly 300,000, Lubbock is primarily a cotton-growing city and was home to rock ‘n’ roll legend Buddy Holly. It is also known as the “Hub City” – originally intended to describe Lubbock’s accessible location to four major US highways, being in the Central Time Zone, equidistant from both coasts and facilitating commerce requirements. Today, it lives up to its nickname for world-class healthcare, agriculture, and education, but most importantly for its well-planned transportation network — unlike Houston, there’s no traffic — to the point that you can get anywhere in the city with an average commute time of 15 minutes.
Houstonia We visited Lubbock to see first hand what the city has to offer and we were not disappointed. A visit to this city will immerse you in the creative arts scene and satisfy a foodie’s taste buds with newly developed restaurants. You’ll also get a glimpse of West Texas’ rich history and ranching culture. If you want to take a trip somewhere new without leaving the Lone Star State, Lubbock is an easy flight direct from Houston.
Whether you want to explore the deeply historic National Ranching Heritage Center or sample the vines at Llano Estacado Winery, here’s everything you need to know for the perfect weekend in Lubbock.
If you are looking for a unique dining experience, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. As well as classic Texas staples like barbecue and chicken steaks, this city has expanded to all corners of the globe with more eclectic cuisines and locally sourced fine dining that appear to have reinvigorated Lubbock’s local dining scene.
Go to breakfast Cast iron cooking grate for its homemade cakes and unsurpassed hospitality towards visitors. Think hearty Southern fare with cookies and gravy, or a cake you can smell before it hits the table. If you’re waiting for a big lunch and looking for a quick bite, grab an espresso and freshly made pastries Ninety-Two Bakery & Cafe. The beautifully decorated interior with a quaint wall adorned with fresh flowers and ceiling full of black and white umbrellas will make you feel like you have just been teleported to France.
Cast Iron Grill, 620 19th St., Lubbock, TX 79401, (806) 771-7690
Ninety-Two Bakery & Cafe, 6303 82nd St., Lubbock, TX 79424, (806) 853-5459
A good place for lunch in the Hub City isn’t hard to find. A Lubbock native and Texas Tech University graduate, Chicken Bar comes from chef and owner Cameron West Dirks. What was once just a diner is now a renovated diner where you’ll find a wall covered in cartoons of West’s grandfather, Dirk. Grandpa West is a former mayor of Lubbock and a cartoonist for the Avalanche Journal. Order the freshest oysters in town, crispy fried chicken and the famous Lubbock cocktail called The Chilton, made with vodka, lemon juice, soda water and a salted rim.
Dirk’s, 1636 13th St., Lubbock, TX 79401, (806) 368-3915
Another undeniably delicious lunch choice is Evie Maes, a family run, award winning BBQ joint. Try a combo plate of brisket and pulled pork, and order green chili grits, cornbread, and green beans as sides (though you can’t go wrong with whichever you choose). A must-have sweet treat is the banana pudding, which is 100% homemade and gluten-free. Don’t leave Lubbock without trying what might be the best hidden gem for grilling in Texas.
Evie Maes BBQ, 217 US-62, Wolfforth, TX 79382, (806) 782-2281
If you had a big lunch, tapas and sangria La Diosa Cellar for dinner is the way to go. This downtown Lubbock bistro brings a warm Spanish ambience and cuisine to the city. There is an eclectic collection of furniture, lighting and paintings by Frida Kahlo covering the walls. Eat family style, ordering a selection of starter bites like bruschetta, olives and shishito peppers, or larger dishes like Spanish meatballs and classic gazpacho.
La Diosa Cellars, 901 17th St., Lubbock, TX 79401, (806) 744-3600
Lubbock is a great place for art lovers as the city takes great pride in art. One percent of the estimated budget for every new capital project or major renovation in the city must be set aside for a public work of art. The city is home to one of the first nationally recognized cultural districts. Today the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (LHUCA) has become the driving force behind the revitalization of downtown Lubbock, using art to fuel the city’s growth.
Explore art galleries that First Friday art trail and open art studios in the art district. Find out more about rock ‘n’ roll legend Buddy Holly at the Buddy Holly Museum or buy a ticket to a state-of-the-art show Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts. Opened in January 2021, Buddy Holly Hall features two theaters, an events space, a full-service bistro, and a ballet academy under one roof.
One of the most impressive things about the Lubbock art scene can be found at Texas Tech University. TTU public art collection was named one of the top 10 public art collections in the United States by Public Art Review, the leading publication in the field of public art. There are more than 101 pieces of art in the Texas Tech system and 87 of them are on the Lubbock campus. Art placement is site specific, with the building type matching what the installation represents. For example the stainless steel sculpture “agave dreams,” of a female figure kneeling and holding a live agave plant in her hands stands outside the biology building. You can request a public Art Cart tour or take a self-guided walk around campus to see the art. There are no fees to either tour.
TTU Public Art Collection, 1508 Knoxville Ave., Lubbock, TX 79409, (806) 742-2011
When you think of grapes, West Texas might not come to mind. But Texas is fifth largest wine producing state in the US, and 90% of the wine grapes grown in the state actually come from the High Plains, just outside of Lubbock. There’s a lot of fuss about Texas wine originating in the Hill Country; In the meantime, the High Plains do all the “dirty work.” When you visit these High Plains vineyards and wineries, you’ll find a sense of collaboration and support rather than competition. The collaboration makes the taste of these wines so great!
Visit McPherson Cellars Winery at the beautifully restored and historic Coca-Cola bottling plant in Lubbock’s Depot Entertainment District. Here you will find locally made, award-winning wines at great prices. Owner and winemaker Kim McPherson inherited the family business from his father, who is considered a pioneer of Texas winemaking. The winery grows and bottles everything, and the wine is enjoyed at many restaurants around town. Try the Les Espines Rose made from Grenache grapes.
McPherson Cellars Winery, 1615 Texas Ave., Lubbock, TX 79401, (806) 687-9463
Another must-see winery is Llano Estacado Winery, leading the wine making game with Texas-style tasting rooms. Since 1976, Llano Estacado has proven just how delicious Texas grapes can be, crafting each bottle with the goal of good taste and quality. It is the largest best selling premium winery in Texas and when you visit the winery you will notice a unique southern touch to fine wines.
Llano Estacado Winery, 3426 FM 1585, Lubbock, TX 79404, (806) 745-2258
A trip to Lubbock would not be complete without a tour of the National Ranching History Center. At first glance, this 27-acre outdoor museum and historical park might seem like some old ranch houses in a park just off TTU’s campus, but what you learn is that these houses preserve Texas history. Step back in time by taking a guided tour given with passion and humor; You will kick yourself for doubting the experience.
The National Ranching History Center concept began in 1966, with all but five of its 53 historic buildings more than 100 years old. What is most amazing about this place is that each building was carefully deconstructed from its original location and then carefully rebuilt in the center so that visitors can learn about the history of the frontier settlers who lived there. If you only do one thing in Lubbock, this should be it.
National Ranching History Center, 3121 4th St., Lubbock, TX 79409, (806) 742-0498
stick with Cotton Court Hotel; An urban luxury meets southern boutique hotel in the heart of downtown. Influenced by Lubbock’s history in the cotton industry and his musical roots, this hotel encapsulates what it means to visit Lubbock. Enjoy live music in the open courtyard (hint in the name), swim in the outdoor pool, and experience casual fine dining and cocktails at Midnight Shift Restaurant & Bar 7:00pm stay for Yappy Hour. You’ll find drink specials, dog treats, and of course, live music.
After spending a week in Lubbock, it’s clear that this city has a lot to offer. Other experiences include Prairie Dog Town, unique murals to admire around town, and beer tasting AULD Brewery or the new one LBK Brewery. You can dine at the fine dining restaurant The Nicolett or the west tableand visit the local bookstore, Wild Lark Books.
For more information about visiting Lubbock, see Visit Lubbock.org.