Welcome to the Amarillo Meeting and Event Planning Guide, a City Guide written for meeting planning professionals. A modern, sophisticated destination boasting a strong Western heritage, convenient Texas Panhandle location and a variety of meeting and unique venues, Amarillo offers a perfect blend of 21st-century economy and historical wealth. Situated almost equidistant from both coasts and along I-40, one of the busiest east-west highways in the country, Amarillo is not only a major destination for Old West enthusiasts, but also a fantastic meeting and event destination. The city's year-round attractions, vibrant arts scene, spectacular canyon country and stretch of historic Route 66 put Amarillo on the meeting and travel destination map.
Founded in 1887 at the intersection of two railroads, Amarillo now sits at the intersection of two major interstates, I-40 and I-27. Sitting seven miles outside of the city center and fresh off a $52-million upgrade, the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport offers nonstop service to major regional markets, including Dallas, Houston, Denver and Las Vegas. The airport operates more than 200 takeoffs and landings each day including operations from American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, along with various general aviation aircraft and military flights.
The Tri-State Exposition fairgrounds events complex and the Amarillo Civic Center Complex serve as the city's two major meeting and event venues. Amarillo Tri-State Expo offers 488,000 square feet of arenas, stalls, riding and workspace; it hosts large-scale meetings and sporting events in its Amarillo National Center, which offers 5,000 permanent seats and 5,000 additional seats on the floor. Additional spaces include the 44,000-square-foot, 2,188-seat Rex Baxter Building and the 14,430-square-foot Commercial Exhibit Hall, as well as equestrian and livestock centers. Located in the downtown area, the Amarillo Civic Center Complex hosts meetings, conventions, trade shows, banquets and sporting events throughout its 410,000-square-foot complex. Spaces include the 4,870-seat Cal Farley Coliseum, 2,345-seat Amarillo Civic Auditorium, home of the and Broadway Spotlight Series, and several exhibit halls, banquet halls and meeting spaces. The complex's Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, which serves as the host of the Amarillo Opera, Amarillo Symphony and Lone Star Ballet, offers 1,300 seats, rehearsal and education rooms and a multi-level lobby. Amarillo's variety of year-round attractions, cultural venues and museums double as unique venues suited for private events and meetings. The picturesque Palo Duro Canyon State Park welcomes visitors to take in the 120-mile long, 800-foot deep Palo Duro Canyon, often dubbed the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” as well as camp, ride horses, picnic and hike or bike along 30 miles of marked trails. The park's Pioneer Amphitheater is home to TEXAS, an outdoor musical drama and the state's official play, which runs throughout the summer months. The internationally famous musical draws thousands each year. Palo Duro Canyon State Park offers private event spaces at its Lone Star Interpretive Theater and Mack Dick Group Pavilion, among others.
Amarillo's variety of museums celebrates the Western heritage, art and sport, as well as offer rentable space for groups. The only museum in the Texas Panhandle dedicated solely to the visual arts, the Amarillo Museum of Art welcomes groups to gather amongst its renowned Asian art collection, as well as its American and European works. The Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian provides a glimpse into the cultures of the people of the Pueblos through its art and artifacts, as well as regular performances by the Kwahadi Indian dancers. Its indoor and outdoor activity areas, as well as beautiful grounds, provide a fantastic landscape for private events. The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame Museum showcases the history and modern activities of the American Quarter Horse, as well as offers space rentals in its Grand Hall, theater/club room and gallery/classroom. Finally, situated a 20-minute drive outside of Amarillo, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum showcases Western and Panhandle history dating from the dinosaurs. The largest history museum in Texas, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum offers special event space in several large venues, including its 4,325-square-foot Pioneer Hall, 4,644-square-foot Derrick Room and 1,894-square-foot Hazlewood Lecture Hall.