Deep industry roots and a rich architectural heritage in this favorite Texas town.

By Travel & Leisure
July 09, 2014
West Texas Escape to Abilene
Credit: Photo via Randy D. of

There are still signs of Abilene’s late 1800s wealth—spurred by the railroad and cattle industries—in its historic downtown. Bank of America is housed in a 20-story building, still one of the five tallest in West Texas, and the city has three manmade lakes for resident recreation. The city works hard to maintain its architectural legacy, and has revitalized important buildings—the Paramount Theater and Grace Museum—and built new ones like the multi-million dollar Frontier Texas! museum.

Beehive Saloon

The Esfandiary brothers, who originally hail from Iran, are famous for their steaks in here in Abilene. Settle in the saloon-style restaurant for choice meats ranging from New York strips and chop sirloin to shish kabob and chicken-fried steak.

Rancho Loma (Bed & Breakfast)

At this prairie ranch outside of Abilene, breakfast is served and beds are slept in. Otherwise, Rancho Loma, or what owners Laurie and Robert Williamson call a Restaurant + Rest, is a serious departure from a traditional B&B. The five stand-alone cottages are modern and minimalist, with polished concrete floors, southern exposure sliding glass doors, Frette linens, and in the case of the King Room (the best to book) a freestanding soaking tub. Surrounding fields of strawberries, heirloom tomatoes, and almond, pecan, and peach trees now supplement Laurie’s daily changing menus.

Frontier Texas!

Hear history from the holograph’s mouth: This center has high-tech exhibits where visitors can “meet” historical figures that settled the Texas Frontier between 1780 and 1880.

Paramount Theater, Abiline

This restored Art Deco theatre is crowned with a ceiling painted with twinkling stars and fluffy clouds. Stop in for old movies on weekends or plays and concerts throughout the year.

Grace Museum

There are actually three museums—one covering history, another for children, and a third that welcomes world-class art exhibits—here at the Grace. Don’t miss the Mallouf Boot Shop, a permanent exhibit with a custom cowboy boot collection.