Depending on where you’re coming from in Texas, Lubbock might seem like a daunting road trip. But it can be a convenient stopover for Texans headed to New Mexico or Colorado for winter sports or cooler weather during the summer. And it’s also a worthy weekend trip of its own. Whatever the reason for your visit to Texas Tech University’s Red Raider-land, we have a few recommendations.
The Arbor Hotel and Conference Center is conveniently located off the loop, near plenty of restaurants and not far from the university. It’s part of Choice Hotels’ Ascend Collection, and the rooms are spacious and appointed with beds with luxury linens. Most importantly, it serves a free hot breakfast. Other amenities include free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool and fitness room.
For a more unique overnight option, try the Pioneer Pocket Hotel in Lubbock’s downtown district – an area slowly being revitalized. There’s only one floor of hotel rooms in this old building that was once the Pioneer Flour headquarters. They are all suites, and each has its own upscale décor that will surely delight any weary traveler. It’s Lubbock’s most high-end hotel, and it’s fully automated; there’s no front desk, and everything from booking to check-in is done digitally.
When hunger sets in, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cooler eatery in the Panhandle than The Funky Door. This bistro and wine bar is a perfect blend of stylish eatery and hip hangout that doesn’t feel pretentious. The restaurant has 10,000 bottles of wine, 850 of which are displayed on the impressive multistory wine tower in the middle of the restaurant. It also has live music every night, and features the work of local artists, all of which is for sale.
Start with a Mediterranean trio of avocado hummus, red pepper hummus and tabbouleh served with pita bread and veggies, or try their fried cheese in phyllo dough. The wasabi-and-pistachio-crusted chicken with mushroom risotto, the squash lasagna, or the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese are all hearty, comfort-food choices. But the three-cheese risotto might just be the best entree on the menu.
If you’re looking for authentic, Latin-inspired cuisine, Cocina de la Sirena is a great option. A mother-daughter team opened it in Lubbock’s Cactus Alley Courtyard. Order some starters to share, like their poblano “fries,” which are crispy, deep-fried poblano peppers, or try their queso-and-salsa duo. Then enjoy empanadas, street tacos or stacked enchiladas. Pair any dish with a margarita. And save room for their Mexican wedding cookies or their chocolate-chili tart with a coconut crust.
For a tried-and-true local favorite, and for a breakfast feast, visit the Cast Iron Grill. Their slogan is, “It’s all about the boots and the pie and the chicken fry!” So try a down-home dish like the chicken-fried steak and eggs. You’ll also be pleased with their omelette served with delicious homemade biscuits and gravy, and a hash brown on the side. And why not have dessert with breakfast? Cast Iron Grill is known for its pies, and a local favorite is the Texas Delight: layers of sandy cookie, chocolate mousse, vanilla and cream cheese. Take it to go if you can’t finish it there!
There’s even more to do in Lubbock:
Breweries: Two Docs, The Brewing LBK
Live Music: The Blue Light, Cactus Theater
Arts: Lubbock Cultural District, Texas Tech Public Art Collection
Music History: Buddy Holly Center
Cocktails: Lubbock’s signature drink, The Chilton
You can learn more about these and other Texas destinations in the travel issue of Texas Lifestyle Magazine.