City Guide of Amarillo, Texas

Overview Tab

History: In 1887 J.T. Berry arrived from Abilene to plat a new town after the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway had been built earlier that year. Many merchants were traveling into the Amarillo area to choose sites to establish stores. Berry decided on watered land along Potter County which contained a large lake namely known as Amarillo or “Wild Horse Lake.” The land was originally known as Oneida, but was renamed Amarillo for the nearby lake. After the name change, most of the town’s first houses were painted yellow in commemoration. Shortly following the opening of the railroad, Amarillo took off as a central cattle-marketing center. As time evolved the city introduced three newspaper publications, a courthouse, city parks, churches, and more. By 1890, Amarillo had become one of the busiest cattle-shipping points in the entire world. Today the city maintains its status of being the fourteenth most populous city in all of Texas with a population close to 300,000.

Location: Amarillo is the largest city in the panhandle of Texas and is located right in the geographic center. Hence the nickname “Crossroads of the Panhandle.” The climate of the city differs from that of south and east Texas. Amarillo is in the grasslands of Northern Texas surrounded by dense prairie. Most of Amarillo is located in the county seat of Potter County, however there are portions that extend into Randall County. Randall accounts for the Metropolitan Statistical Area of the city.

Commutes: The public transportation in Amarillo is continually growing. To keep up with rising population, the city has introduced several bus routes in addition to what they already have in place. These additions allow commuters faster and more efficient options when traveling to their destinations. Amarillo has two central highway systems — Interstate 27 and Interstate 40 — for quick travel. In addition, there are interchanges like the I-40 Expressway and Loop 335 that allow residents to travel in all four directions.

Culture: The city is known by many different names — “Yellow Rose of Texas,” “Bomb City,” “Rotor City, USA,” and the “Helium Capital of the World” — but one thing is for sure, Amarillo truly celebrates the origins of their cowboy culture. This being due to the fact that many residents are descendants of 19th century ranchers who settled in Amarillo because of the booming cattle market. From mouth-watering barbeque, to Cadillac Ranch, and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the city exemplifies living in the Old West. Often, Amarillo puts on fun events like the Tri-State Fair and Rodeo to bring the community even closer together.

Local Government:

City Council
The Amarillo City Council acts as the legislative body in the city. They look at the city’s main issues and goals and seek to accomplish them. The Council is also involved in making ordinances and setting the city budget.
Phone: (806) 378-3000
Address: City Hall, 509 S.E. Seventh Avenue, P.O. Box 1971, Amarillo, Texas 79105
Email: elaine.hays@amarillo.gov

Mayor’s Office
The Mayor is responsible for making and implementing laws in Amarillo. Duties also include the strengthening of police departments and first responders, as well as the setting of the city’s annual budget and how the funds will be allocated.
Phone: (806) 378-3000
Address: 509 SE 7th Ave Amarillo, Texas 79105
Email: ginger.nelson@amarillo.gov

Chamber of Commerce
Established in 1926, the mission statement of Amarillo Chamber of Commerce is to enhance business and industry growth while improving residents’ overall quality of life. They aim to be influential leaders of not only economic expansion, but also cultural, social, educational, environmental, and governmental services as well.
Phone: (806) 373-7800
Address: 1000 S Polk St, Amarillo, TX 79101
Email: lindsey@amarillo-chamber.org

School Tab

Overview: All of Amarillo’s schools focus on four key objectives: (1) Students academic performance, (2) cost effectiveness, (3) building constructive relationships with both parents and students, and (4) hiring qualified and quality staff. Each of these goals are exemplified throughout the entirety of the city’s school districts, making for an exceptional academic environment. Despite which district you may be closest to — Amarillo, River Road, or Highland — there are both public and private institutions for every grade level. School districts in Amarillo are considered to be a “choice district.” This means the city has a flexible enrollment policy for residents. With school choice as a looming option students can ‘test the waters’ to find the perfect institution which will fit their specific needs

School Districts: There are three school districts in Amarillo, Texas. Amarillo (Amarillo ISD), River Road (River Road ISD), and Highland Independent School District (Highland ISD). All three districts have schools ranging from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade. Amarillo ISD is the largest district by far. It covers over 70 square miles of Amarillo, has 50 schools, and serves close to 33,576 students. River Road ISD is the next largest with 1,300 students and twelve schools. The last and smallest district is Highland ISD, which has just under 900 students and contains three schools within its limits.

Schools:

Elementary Schools
All of the private elementary schools in the city are based around some sort of religion. There are ten different private institutions of Montessori, Christian, Catholic, Baptist, and Episcopal faith. Although private elementary schools are helpful for students who need or prefer a one-on-one sort of approach with their teachers, the highest rated schools actually come from the public school district. Windsor, South Lawn, Woodlands, Whittier, and Lamar, are highly sought after. Most of the schools range from kindergarten to fifth grade, but the Woodlands serves students up to fourth grade. They are all contained within the Amarillo ISD.

Middle Schools
Wherever you may be located in Amarillo, there are quality middle schools just around the corner. Schools span throughout the entire city. Nearly all of them start at sixth grade and end at eighth, however there are a few exceptions. Take Greenways Intermediate School which teaches students through fifth and sixth grade and Lorenzo De Zavala Middle which starts their curriculum at fifth grade, for example. Bonham, Crockett, Lorenzo De Zavala, are well-rated public schools. The Vista Academy of Amarillo, a charter school, is well looked upon as well.

High Schools
The city of Amarillo contains many highly ranked high schools. Public schools greatly range in the amount of students in attendance, with some serving close to 2,000 and others serving 200 to 400 students. From Amarillo ISD, Amarillo and Tascosa High are good options. Highland ISD has Highland Park High, whose students are known to perform well. The last district, River Road ISD, contains River Road High which offers students the ability to participate in a variety of extracurriculars such as athletic sports and theater.

Private Schools
Private schools are a popular choice of residents of Amarillo. As stated above, most private institutions are based around a religion. Often times, the difficult curriculum and close teaching approach will provide students with the basis of knowledge they need to move onto higher education and may even afford them special opportunities. A huge plus for enrolling in private schools like Central Baptist Christian or San Jacinto Christian Academy, is that students can stay in the same school throughout their entire educational experience. As both of the above schools start at kindergarten or pre-kindergarten and end in high school.

Housing Tab

Overview: Amarillo, Texas, has an undeniable suburban feel. There are a variety of housing options in the city. Single-family homes, townhomes, apartments, and mobile homes are some of the most popular options. Homes undoubtedly dominate the properties available, with condos, townhomes, and apartments following behind. Single-family homes in the city generally contain three to four bedrooms. While condos and townhomes tend to be slightly smaller with only two to three bedrooms. Many more properties are for sale on the Amarillo market than for rent. However, if you prefer to rent, homes and apartments are available just with less quantity on the housing market. According to the Niche rankings, Amarillo is the 17th best city to buy a house in America, the 19th best city with the lowest cost of living in America, and the 38th best city to retire in America.

Housing:

Single Family Homes
Approximately 71% of all properties in the city are homes. Single family homes span outwards of Hollywood Road all the way to Pleasant Valley. With this being said, a large majority of the properties available are located in the central part of the city near Interstate 27. Although there is new construction in Amarillo, houses are most often between the ages of 1940-1969 or 1970-1999. Two, three, and four bedrooms are the most prevalent, leading to high square footage. City Center, Bell Street, North Grand Street, and Georgia Street, are popular neighborhoods in Amarillo.

Apartments
For a low price, you can find quality apartments in Amarillo with high square footage. Here, residents truly get what they pay for. Well over half of all apartments on the market range from $500-$700, with the remaining properties falling above or below this margin. Essentially apartments span over the entire city. In almost all complexes amenities are included in the price of rent or sale. Near the Amarillo Airport prices will be the highest, with the Wolfin Historic District accounting for the lowest pricing.

Highrises
Near the exceptional retail and dining in Downtown Amarillo, high-rise apartments are readily available. Luxury La Tour Condo is just one example of luxury living in the city. Here you can enjoy a beautiful bird’s eye view accompanied with an inside parking garage, rooftop pool, hot tub, sauna, and workout room. Not to mention 24-hour security around the whole property. Highrises when compared to other types of housing in Amarillo do come at a much steeper cost. You are paying for the view, convenience of Downtown, and the added bonus of special amenities.

New Construction
There is a bunch of new construction going up in Amarillo currently as well as properties that have just been built, and plans for future construction. Essentially there are new homes, apartment complexes, condominiums, and townhomes. The pricing on newer properties varies based on the type of housing as well as area. Overall, they are still very affordable. A large amount of newly built construction is near Interstate 27 and West Hollywood Road, as they are easily accessible and popular areas.

Mobile Homes
Over 60 mobile home parks are located all around Amarillo. This type of housing is a popular option for residents who want less space for a lower price. Mobile homes can be purchased or rented depending upon the length of stay and budget. Some of the mobile homes in the city can be customized — soaker tubs, entertainment center, farmhouse sink, etc., — and others can even come fully furnished. Willow Estates, Southgate, Oakwood, and Northview are highly-regarded mobile homes and RV parks in the city.

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Overview:

Things to Do Tab

Overview: Amarillo has some beautiful landmarks that are truly unique to the city. Museums, nature and parks, outdoor activities, zoos, aquariums, and more are just a short distance away. One of the most famous points of interest is Cadillac Ranch. The roadside attraction features ten different cadillacs upside down, in a row, buried face down in the ground. Visitors can add to the art already put on the cars with their own spray paint and use creativity and imagination as they please. Cowboys and Cowgirls in the West, a ranch, is also a well-rated option. Here you can enjoy horseback riding, cowboy entertainment, private chuckwagon meals, and route 66 tours. Jack Sisemore Traveland RV Museum, American Quarter Horse Heritage Center & Museum, Amarillo Botanical Gardens, and Texas Air & Space Museum are additional city treasures.

Retail & Entertainment

Parks & Recreation
Residents have their pick of parks and recreation in Amarillo. You can see nature up close and personal at the scenic Amarillo Botanical Gardens and Wildcat Bluff Nature Center. Or enjoy wildlife from a distance at the Amarillo Zoo, which boasts a 15-acre property with over 60 species of animals. Your pup can even join in all the fun with John Stiff Memorial Dog Park down the road.

Shopping
New to Texas? Be authentic and grab a snazzy pair of boots at Cavender’s Boot City. The city also has multiple antique shops such as Alley Katz and Hide & Seek Treasures. For larger shopping plazas, Westgate Mall is the top pick. The complex has 120 shops and multiple restaurants.

Art & Culture
Amarillo has a diverse mix of museums, art galleries, and performing arts. The Amarillo Cultural District includes: Historic Downtown Amarillo/Center City, Historic Route 66, Sunset Center Galleries, The Wolflin area, Amarillo College Washington Campus and the Amarillo Museum of Art.

Night Life
There is no shortage of nightlife in Amarillo. The House Bar is a local favorite, giving off dive bar vibes and serving up great drinks. If you want a place with amazing comfort food, delicious beer, and the atmosphere to top it all off, try out Six Car Pub and Brewery. Buckles Lounge, R & R Bar, and Rumors are also well-liked.

Restaurants
If you are one of those people who want breakfast all day every day you are sure to love Ye Olde Pancake Station. For quality BBQ Tyler’s is the number one highest rated restaurant in the city. Coyote Bluff Cafe, 575 Pizzeria, and El Bracero Mexican Grill, and Blue Sky burgers following closely behind.

Neighborhoods Tab

Overview: Living in Amarillo has a ton of positives: low cost of living, close amenities, low unemployment, high graduation rate, and so on. In every city, however, there are high crime rates. Thus it is important to find a safe neighborhood nestled in the city that is well-rated and has a high livability score according to current residents. Below are the five safest neighborhoods in the city based on the number of crimes reported each year: (1) Georgia Street/West Farmers Avenue, (2) West McCormick Road/South Georgia Street, (3) Lake Tanglewood/Palisades, (4) Broadway Drive/West Cherry Avenue, and (5) Bishop Hills. The neighborhoods are made up of various single-family homes ranging in size as well as mobile homes. Some of the neighborhoods are slightly more expensive than others, but the price is justified. As many are remote, with much less crowding, low traffic, and lots of room. These factors may contribute to why the five neighborhoods above are more secure than other Amarillo housing areas.

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